This post was originally titled “Best Restaurants at Disney World.” After some thought, I decided to change it to Best Restaurants for Families at Disney World. After all, most of our vacations to Disney World have been with children. Our perspective is undoubtedly skewed towards amazing, incredible, fabulous Disney World restaurants that ALSO happen to be family friendly. With that in mind, if you’re traveling to Disney solo, as honeymooners, with girlfriends, or as a retired couple, you might want to do an additional fine dining at Disney World search. As for me? I’ll be dining with the preschoolers, children, teens and young adults for a few more years!
So here goes nothing, families! If you’re traveling to Disney World with children and are looking for some great sit-down restaurants, these are my faves!
Ohana at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort
On our most recent Disney World vacation, our family of five dined at Ohana for the first time. It was amazing! We had reservations for the 5:15 p.m. seating. As far as we could tell, there were mass seatings; we were called into the restaurant with a large group of guests. The atmosphere is beautiful, casual, classy and very Polynesian. Disney cast members cook on grills in the front of the dining room while you’re served dinner, one course at a time. Our meal consisted of bread with butter, delicious wings and potstickers, noodles with fresh grilled vegetables, skewers of grilled shrimp/beef/chicken, and the most amazing Bananas Foster dessert I’ve EVER had in my life. Yes, it was ah-mazing! The meal was delicious. Service was excellent. We were even given steaming hot towels to wipe our hands off after the wings and potstickers. It was a lovely, lovely meal and setting. Delightful.
Tusker House Restaurant at Animal Kingdom
Tusker House serves African and American cuisine in a “family-focused buffet.” As far as I’m concerned, this place is absolutely amazing. I LOVE it. We’ve dined at Tusker House twice; one time with characters, the other time without characters. The characters, of course, made it extra special for the kids. We saw Donald, Daisy, Mickey Mouse, and Goofy during our lunch buffet. The food at this restaurant is amazing. Absolutely delicious! As I stated in a previous post, picky eaters might be hesitant when they first look at the food on this buffet. But the second you try the food, you realize it’s crazy good! The flavors are rich and complex. You can pair just about anything with an African flair and the tastes blend perfectly. During our most recent visit, I stopped mid-meal to take a photograph of my food. It was THAT good. If you’re not up for African cuisine (trust me, it’s amazing), they have plenty of American fare for you, too, including mac ‘n’ cheese, pork tenderloin, garlic mashed potatoes, veggies, salad, fruit and lots of yummy desserts. Highly recommend this place. But book early, especially for character dining. It fills fast.
1900 Park Fare at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
1900 Park Fare is a buffet-style sit-down restaurant at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. First off, the location is absolutely stunning. Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa is a must see. Second, this dining location is a winner all around. Our family has eaten at 1900 Park Fare at least twice, maybe three times on past Disney World vacations. I highly recommend it. You can’t go wrong with anything at the Grand Floridian. The buffet is delicious. And the characters are great! We saw Winnie the Pooh & Alice in Wonderland characters at breakfast, and Cinderella characters at dinner. If you have children, you can’t go wrong with 1900 Park Fare. It’s a staple character dining location for our family.
Hollywood & Vine at Hollywood Studios
Our family has eaten at Hollywood & Vine twice on vacations to Disney World, once for breakfast buffet and once for lunch buffet. Both were amazing, although I’d lean towards a preference for lunch because I was oohing and aahing over the food on that buffet. This is a definitely a good character dining option for young children. Disney Junior characters such as Sofia the First, Doc McStuffins, and Jake and the Neverland Pirates make appearances while you dine. Sure, it’s a little loud with all the music, characters and children dining with their families. But it’s still lovely and an EXCELLENT choice for young families. The buffet is absolutely delicious. I couldn’t get enough of it, to be honest. And my three-year-old daughter was 100% satisfied with the meal options for children. Even the dessert buffet is tailored towards children, with chocolate covered strawberries, pineapple and marshmallows, among other adult-friendly goodies! Yum! This place is great. If you have little ones, make sure to stop by!
The Crystal Palace at Magic Kingdom
This restaurant is another one of our family’s favorites. We’ve been here three or four times for their buffet lunch, breakfast and dinner. The Crystal Palace is another character dining location, featuring classic Winnie the Pooh characters who visit your table as you dine. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are equally good, although I recommend TRYING to book this restaurant at off-peak hours if at all possible. Since it’s just off of Magic Kingdom’s Main Street, it’s incredibly convenient, popular and busy. If you land an off-peak reservation, it’s quieter and more relaxed, which personally, I enjoy. Great food. Convenient location. Fun characters. Beautiful setting. Highly recommend.
Akershus Royal Banquet Hall in Epcot
Okay, I’m beginning to sound like a broken record. But this is one of our absolute FAVORITE character dining locations of ALL Disney World. If you have ANY princess lover (or good food lover) in your party, you must visit Akershus Royal Banquet Hall. The atmosphere is amazing, and the food is even more amazing. As far as quality of food, this location ranks among my top three favorites. I LOVE the salmon and cold shrimp on the buffet, and meatballs with mashed potatoes and gravy off the menu. Delicious. And the desserts? May I have some now, please?Any meal promises to be excellent, but I prefer the dinner menu. Did I mention this is ONE of the ONLY Disney World locations that has character dining with PRINCESSES? No surprise, lots of little girls choose to dress up as their favorite princess. It’s simply lovely, friends! Super sweet. A must see, must do.
Sci-Fi Diner at Hollywood Studios
We’ve eaten at the Sci-Fi Diner three times. Our kids are especially huge fans of this place. There aren’t characters at this location, but it is extra special for other reasons. You’re seated in old-fashioned cars in a large, dark, open-air room. Basically, Sci-Fi Diner is like a drive-in movie theater with restaurant. They play old movies on the screen, which the kids think is super cool. It’s a fun location for young and old kids alike! Their food is great, too. The menu is diverse, with items ranging from burgers to steak. And their desserts? Fabulous every time. Bonus, if you have the Disney dining plan, you can order a SHAKE instead of soda if you’d like! My husband and kids take advantage of that every time, without fail. Sci-Fi Diner is one of Disney World’s hidden little treasures. It’s fun and unique, and loads of fun for everyone. Because of the dark room and movie playing in the background, it’s a relaxing dining option, too. Check it out. I hope you’ll love it as much as our family!
Be Our Guest Restaurant at Magic Kingdom
This restaurant is one of Magic Kingdom’s newest sit-down options. It’s crazy busy and crazy popular, but worth every bit of effort you to put in trying to get a reservation. We were fortunate enough to eat there for lunch AND dinner on our most recent vacation to Disney World. The atmosphere, both outside and inside the dining hall, is absolutely stunning. Disney has gone all out when it comes to this dining experience. The food is excellent for both lunch and dinner, but PLEASE NOTE that if you have a reservation for LUNCH and are on the Disney dining plan, it counts as a quick-service meal. DINNER at Be Our Guest counts as a full-service, sit-down meal. (As of October 2015.) At lunch, families order electronically from kiosks in the main entrance to the dining room, with the assistance of Disney cast members as needed. For dinner, families are seated and order off a full menu. Again, all meals are wonderful, offering a variety of items to meet the needs of each family member’s unique palate. I highly recommend the slow-roasted pork for both lunch and dinner, as well as the chocolate cake with chocolate mousse filling and chocolate frosting for both lunch and dinner. Did I mention I was highly satisfied with the Be Our Guest restaurant?
Well, that’s it, friends! Those are my recommendations for best sit-down restaurants for families at Disney World. I could certainly add more, but these are the restaurants that rose quickly to the top. We dined at ALL of these locations using our Disney dining plan, which we HIGHLY recommend. If you have any questions about the Disney dining plan or restaurants at Disney World, please let me know! I’m happy to field any questions you have.
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