I really think eating choices at Disney World can make or break a day, especially if you have a couple of young ones in tow. We found there’s really no way to go on the cheap since a burger at the counter service window cost about $7, and most of the time it was worth the extra few dollars to sit at a restaurant table, order real food and be tended to while we tended the children and planned the next leg of our Amazing Adventure.
Whether you like things planned down to 15 minute blocks of time (like my husband) or prefer to go spontaneous and see what you see (like me) you may want to have a plan loosely based on restaurant reservations you’ve made in advance…excuse me. They call them ‘priority seating bookings’ not ‘reservations’ which simply means you are on the list and will be seated soon, unlike the dozens of disappointed families who didn’t call ahead and will carry their screaming children away from the podium while you wait for your table.
Since we had two little ones on our most recent trip, (we went as a childfree couple about 10 years ago…the contrast is stark) we hit a bunch of character meals. The benefit of going to character meals with your children is that you can tell them that standing in line for a two hour wait to get a character autograph in the park will not be tolerated. I was aghast at the hundreds (thousands?) of families willing to do this!
Crystal Palace Buffet – fantastic. The food was outstanding, the theming was flawless, and the Pooh characters were a big hit with the kids.
Chef Mickey’s Breakfast – I’d do it again. Great food, fun atmosphere, and you’re literally under the monorail so if you book your table early enough in the morning you can make a fast escape directly into the MK as the gates open.
Liberty Tree Tavern – Okay. Family style meals made this one a little easier. Fun classic characters like Goofy, Pluto, Chip and Dale.
Restaurantosaurus – Breakfast buffet. Really stupid name, but it was a great way to start the day at Animal Kindom.
We also had dinner at Cinderella’s Royal Table in the castle. While this isn’t technically a character meal, it seems to be the only way one can meet Cinderella, so it’s wildly popular among families with young girls. The downside is that it is shockingly overpriced, the menu isn’t very kid friendly, the food is miserable and tasteless, and the service sucked princess ass the night we ate there. M’Lady thinks next time we’ll book our table so we can wait in the Grand Hall and chat with Cinderella, but change our minds about eating before we’re taken to our seats! (nice way to model integrity for the kiddoes, right?)
Eating at Epcot can be a nightmare…or a great treat. Again, plan way ahead and plan wisely. If you book a table at the Rose & Crown, ask for terrace seating, and time your meal right (the reservation staff will help you with this) you can be finishing your pint just as Illuminations starts right in front of you.
The Coral Reef restaurant in the Living Seas building was also a hit with our family, since the baby goes ape over fish and there we were, seated next to the room-size window of a building-size aquarium.
The Rainforest Cafe in Animal Kingdom was also pretty good, and I’m sure there were more but this is turning into a guidesite.
And speaking of guidesites, we dug around fan sites and used the official Disney site to plan our trip. As a compromise to our vastly different and often conflicting approaches to time management, my husband and I agreed on a tri-fold sheet of paper that acted as our daily planner for each day. Morning. Afternoon. Evening. Each block had priority seating bookings we had to hit (or a counter service option) and our list of must see attractions in the vicinity.
So, I guess we kind of ate our way through Disney, but it worked very well. Mind you, we were there for 14 days :eek: while FarmMan attended a symposium.