Best Walt Disney World Restaurants for Kids
A friend recently posed a question, and it puzzled me. Due to the pandemic, my standard answers don’t apply.
The person wondered where she should take her pre-teen son to eat at Walt Disney World.
Ordinarily, I’d suggest a character meal, but those are few and far between during the pandemic. And they’re also often booked.
So, I had to come up with a new list. Here are my current choices for the top ten Walt Disney World restaurants for kids.
Note: If something’s not open for multiple meals at the time of publication, it’s not eligible.
1950s Prime Time Café
Do you know what kids love to do? They adore snapping back at grown-ups who tell them what to do.
The experience soars in popularity when the adult snaps right back, playfully tweaking the kid.
From an early age, it’s how children learn to relate to adults. It’s also the core concept behind 1950s Prime Time Café.
At this restaurant, the cast members act like aunts and uncles, bossy family members who like dictating terms.
These servers will remind you to sit up straight, eat your vegetables, and clean the dishes.
When a parent tells a kid to do that, it’s an order. When a stranger at a restaurant does, it’s somehow a license to play.
Oh, and kids especially love it when someone bosses around their parents. Cast members know that and play it up, too.
1950s Prime Time Café is guaranteed to provide plenty of laughs for your kid(s).
Cinderella’s Royal Table
A couple of these must make any list of best Disney restaurants for kids. I would consider each of the next three as requisite for such lists.
The appeal for Cinderella’s Royal Table is obvious, even without Disney Princesses holding court.
You’re still walking straight down Main Street, U.S.A. and heading to Cinderella Castle.
Then, when you reach that destination, a cast member will invite you inside to experience a royal meal. What kid wouldn’t love that?
In fact, a conversation starter among Disney fans is when they ate at Cinderella’s Royal Table for the first time. It’s a signature moment for people.
Coral Reef Restaurant
Back in the early 1980s, Disney built the largest aquarium of its kind in the world.
At some point, somebody decided to monetize the idea by slotting a restaurant right beside part of this ginormous fish tank.
The restaurant in question, Coral Reef, doesn’t receive the most glowing reviews for its cuisine.
Personally, I’m a fan and think these criticisms are too harsh, but that’s beside the point.
The thrill of watching the fish play in the tank counts as the real selling point at Coral Reef. Nobody really cares whether the Mahi Mahi is good.
You dine here to experience an inimitable atmosphere with your child. And I can say with complete sincerity that they’ll be mesmerized.
Whenever I sit right by the aquarium, I feel a child-like sense of wonder as I watch my friend, a manta, swim around the tank between naps.
Coral Reef is criminally underrated. People get too focused on what it’s not and lose sight of the marvelous thing that it is.
Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café
Yup, I know that the food here comes with a fair share of detractors. And I cannot lie. I’ve had a bad experience or two over the years.
Even so, this quasi-futuristic restaurant comes with a live band. Well, it’s one alien, and he’s an audio-animatronic, not something alive.
Still, when Sonny Eclipse sings his tunes, children’s eyes sparkle, and their entire bodies seem hypnotized by the spectacle.
This place is a must for parents who want to win a Magic Kingdom visit.
Pinocchio’s Village Haus
Sometimes, the menu matters. In other instances, the surroundings determine whether a child will want to eat somewhere.
Thankfully, Pinocchio’s Village Haus appeals to fans of both.
The menu includes pizza and chicken nuggets, the kind of cuisine that everyone can eat, even the pickiest diners.
The setting ties into the adjoining attraction, It’s a Small World.
When you’re lucky, you’ll get to sit at a table facing the ride. If you do, you can watch guests take the Happiest Cruise That Ever Sailed.
I should stress that these tables are in demand and hard to get. So, you should strategize a bit.
Either eat early or late to give yourself a better chance at grabbing one. Your child will never forget the experience when you do.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge hosts some high-end culinary experiences like Jiko, Boma, and Sanaa.
Your child probably won’t care about the depth of flavor of Bobotie, though.
What they WILL love is this remarkable opportunity to eat while watching animals play in the background.
The restaurant features several tables that overlook the surrounding savannahs and other animal habitats.
During your meal, you’re sure to see some creatures frolicking, a sight that will mesmerize your children.
If Sanaa stretches their culinary palate, that’s an even bigger win for you, too.
For whatever reason, children love to learn about the generations that came before them, especially if it allows them to make fun of their parents.
At Sci-Fi Dine-In, you can show your tot how movies worked back in the day. Teenagers used to hang out at the drive-in and watch horrible movies.
Technically, they were sci-fi films whose filmmakers had believed would be good, which makes the whole thing that much funnier.
Your kid will love sitting in a convertible and having a server bring them food in the car.
You can even let them pretend that they’re driving, a special thrill.
Then, you can both laugh as some of the worst films ever made take themselves far too seriously.
Oh, your child will love the Walt Disney clips and sci-fi cartoons, too. The alien-fighting secretary’s my favorite.
This restaurant’s one of my go-to suggestions for parents. I answer with confidence here as I’m someone with perennial Peter Pan Syndrome.
I know that I have a wonderful time every time I visit the restaurant. So, I can state with certainty that kids will love it, too.
The theming here includes several audio-animatronic dinosaurs, and some of the tables reside close to them.
A couple of times an hour, the dinosaurs scream with concern as the ceiling reveals that a comic strike is ending civilization.
The experience is loud, distracting, and way over the top. Ergo, kids adore it.
Question: have you ever known a child who didn’t like to play with their food? I’m dubious that such a creature exists.
Ergo, a place like Teppan Edo will appeal to kids for multiple reasons. First, it’s dinner with a show.
Unless you’ve taken your child to a teppanyaki restaurant before, the chef will blow their mind with his cutlery tricks.
The cast members at Teppan Edo love showing off for kids, guaranteeing a great deal. Once the food is ready, it’ll seem like play food that’s safe to eat.
That’s a win/win, right?