Top 10 Restaurants for Families with Small Children at Walt Disney World

Top 10 Walt Disney World Family Restaurants

My husband and I have been taking our kids to Walt Disney World at least once a week since they were 14 months old.  We’ve taken them to 75% of the family-friendly restaurants on Walt Disney World property.  It’s amazing in a place like Walt Disney World, which is made for families with small children, that there are so many restaurants (primarily counter service restaurants) that do not have enough high chairs.

We’ve learned which restaurants always have enough high chairs and don’t mind loud toddlers.  In fact, we’ve definitely found our favorite restaurants where we dine again and again.  This top 10 list includes a varied selection of those favorites.

1.  The Plaza Restaurant at the Magic Kingdom

We love this restaurant for its location, turn of the twentieth-century atmosphere, price, and service.  It was always one of my favorite restaurants as a child, too.  There is nothing like eating in the heart of the Magic Kingdom with a sundae for dessert.

2.  Riverside Mill Food Court at Port Orleans Riverside

This is one of my favorite hotels for families and the food court is equally wonderful.  The food selections are diverse, and the pricing is fair.  The atmosphere is truly made for families with children.  Your kids can be loud, and it won’t matter here.  As a special treat, we like to sit by the windows overlooking the boat launch where we can see the horse and carriage pass by during our meal.  We find that the whole family can really relax and enjoy our meal when we dine at the Riverside Mill Food Court.  For a counter service restaurant, the decor is quite lovely.  Currently, the food prep and service areas are being refurbished and are due to reopen in April.  I can’t wait to see the renovations.

3.  Chef Mickey’s at the Contemporary Resort

I highly recommend a character breakfast at Chef Mickey’s during any vacation to Walt Disney World.  Not only is the food amazing, but the atmosphere is all about kids and fun.  Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Pluto, Goofy, Chip, and Dale visit diners at their tables for autographs and pictures.  Music plays throughout the restaurant to create a sense of excitement, and every 15 minutes or so the characters and Disney cast members to stop singing along with them a special celebration song.  Diners are invited to twirl their napkins in the air, dance, and sing along.  It’s a big party, and kids go crazy for it.  What kid wouldn’t love being given permission to swing his napkin over his head and dance during breakfast?  Not only that, but kids can be as loud as they want at this restaurant, and the music will still be louder.

Chef Mickey’s at the Contemporary Resort
Chef Mickey’s at the Contemporary Resort

4.  Pizzafari at the Animal Kingdom

This restaurant serves great pizza and more at reasonable prices.  The best part, however, is the amazing artwork on the walls for kids to look at during their meals.  The paintings are different in each room.  For example, one room is filled with safari animals while another is painted with sea life, and another is covered with insects.  The restaurant is very large, and seating is rarely a problem.

Pizzafari at the Animal Kingdom
Pizzafari at Animal Kingdom

5.  Rain Forest Cafe at the Animal Kingdom or Downtown Disney

My triplets love this restaurant.  First, it’s hard to get them out of the store before and after our meal.  During the meal, they are completely entranced by the decorations from the flowers and trees to the animatronic animals and live fish.  They get very excited when it “rains” every 15 minutes or so and the animals “wake up.”  This is another restaurant where the kids can be loud, and it doesn’t matter.  I love restaurants like that.  With three kids, my table is going to be loud.

Rain Forest Cafe at the Animal Kingdom
Rain Forest Cafe, Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World

6.  San Angel Inn in the Mexico Pavilion at Epcot

I’m not sure why my kids love this restaurant so much.  It could be that eating in the dark is really cool, or it may be that they get to run around the market inside the Pavillion while we wait for our table.  Perhaps it’s because they know they get to ride on the boat in the El Rio del Tiempo ride after dinner.  Whatever the reason is, I’m glad they love this restaurant because it is also one of my favorites.  We’ve taken some great pictures of the triplets covered in black beans after a delicious meal at the San Angel Inn.  Now that the El Rio del Tiempo ride is being refurbished to introduce Donald Duck and the Three Cabelleros, I have a feeling the Mexico Pavillion and the San Angel Inn will become even more popular for my kids, but that’s fine with me.  I love it, too.

7.  Whispering Canyon Cafe at the Wilderness Lodge

I’m not aware of any other restaurant that holds wooden stick pony races during your meal.  The Whispering Canyon Cafe is unique in its comedic approach to service.  Cast members act as if they are all related calling each other Uncle Bob or Cousin Alice.  Even guests are treated like family members.  There is a great family atmosphere, and it’s very inviting to small children.

8.  The Crystal Palace at the Magic Kingdom

Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Piglet and Eyeore, need I say more?  For the kids, the food is secondary to Pooh and his friends, but I do have to say the buffet is delicious.  The decorations are beautiful and the location is perfect.  Anywhere I can sit and enjoy great food with a view of Cinderella’s Castle is perfect for me.  Hint – you’re kids will undoubtedly demand a visit to The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh ride after a meal at The Crystal Palace.  It is wise to get a FastPass before you eat.

Crystal Palace at the Magic Kingdom
Crystal Palace at the Magic Kingdom

9.  Hollywood & Vine at Disney-MGM Studio

Here you and your kids can have breakfast with the Little Einstein’s, JoJo, and Goliath.  Every 15 minutes or so two cast members go to the front of the dining room with the characters and invite the children in the restaurant to join them to sing and dance.  I thought my son was going to pass out from excitement when he got to dance with Leo and Goliath.  Each child also receives a sheet of free tattoos with Disney characters on it.  My kids still talk about those tattoos, and it’s been two or three months since we got them at Hollywood & Vine.  The food is also fantastic with a large and diverse buffet.

10.  Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe at the Magic Kingdom

This counter-service restaurant truly caters to children.  At the front of the main dining area, there is a large animatronic alien named Sonny Eclipse who performs on stage singing, telling jokes and playing an elaborate electronic keyboard.  There is also an area in front of the stage for children to dance.  My triplets love Sonny.  We like to get a table where they’ll have a good view of his performance.  During our meal, the triplets clap, sing and laugh at Sonny’s jokes.  After the meal, I always let them dance in front of the stage before we leave.  The menu is also diverse from traditional kids’ favorites like chicken nuggets and hamburgers to soups, salads, and sandwiches.

Final Word

There are many other great restaurants on Walt Disney World property for families with small children.  Don’t be afraid to try any restaurant.  There is a growing trend of more and more business conventions going on at Walt Disney World, which does negatively impact the family atmosphere that Walt Disney dreamed of, but don’t let anyone make you feel uncomfortable about taking your children anywhere in Disney.  Remember, Disney was made for children and adults should adapt to their requirements when we’re there, not the other way around.  So have fun, and let your kids be kids.

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