If your kids are anything like mine, some trips to restaurants can be... let's say, adventurous.
Some trips they are like little angels (usually my only shot at this is if at least one of them is asleep!).
Other trips? Well, pick your poison.... crawling under the table, knocking over their cups, playing with silverware, demanding we go see a fish tank or stuffed bear, or playing peek a boo with an irritated couple trying to enjoy their dinner at the booth behind us.
However, if you are considering a trip to Walt Disney World, there are some wonderful restaurants for you to take your children. There's all kinds of ways to keep your children entertained just by sitting at the table. This is one of the reasons you HAVE to eat at Disney when you are there.
Will you pay more than you would at a Chilis or Applebees? Most likely. But these are experiences you won't find anywhere else- and will help you create even more wonderful memories on your trip. They can save you time in the park, as well as getting in the parks sooner. You'll get a more intimate experience with some of the characters.
I've come up with my own top five list of Walt Disney World restaurants for preschool aged children. These are guaranteed hits that your kids will love- and I think the food is pretty good, too.
(A disclaimer: you do not have to be preschool aged to enjoy these restaurants. Grandma and Grandpa will have just as big a smile on their face as your little ones!)
My preschool aged children love the Crystal Palace!
Top 5 Walt Disney World Restaurants for Preschoolers
This is the place to see the one and only Mickey Mouse. Chef Mickey's has great food for both breakfast and dinner. They do a fun event where you wave your napkins, and the characters dance around. The characters seem to appear at your table in perfect intervals. It is very traditional, American food so even the pickiest eaters are sure to find something that they will love. You'll definitely want to make reservations, because this is a very popular spot. You can also get your picture taken before you eat- you can purchase it or have it loaded on a Photopass.
Location: Disney's Contemporary Resort
Characters to be seen: Mickey, Minnie, Pluto, Goofy and Donald
Hollywood and Vine
This location serves breakfast and lunch with some of the favorite of the Disney Junior characters- probably the characters your kids know best. Most preschoolers love their Disney Junior shows and this is the best place to dine with them. I love how they do the "Hot Dog Dance" and interactive dances from other Disney Junior shows to get the kids involved! Last time we ate here, we had just missed Oso. Our daughter looooves Oso-it was the main reason we were eating there. We were done with our meal, and Oso was clear on the other side of the room. We asked our server if Oso could visit us soon, and he was posing for a picture with our kids in five minutes. Be sure to head over to the Disney Junior-Live on Stage Show afterwards!
Location: Hollywood Studios
Characters to be seen: Jake from Jake and the Neverland Pirates, Oso from Special Agent Oso, Manny from Handy Manny and June from Little Einstein's
Winnie the Pooh and friends is a favorite of many preschoolers and this is definitely the place to see them. I love the location of Crystal Palace too, it has a great view of Cinderella Castle. There is just something so whimsical about this place. There is a great selection of fresh fruit here. The hashbrown casserole is wonderful, and Pooh's Puffed French Toast is one of our favorite breakfast items in all of Walt Disney World. I also like how each person can have both orange juice and a milk here.
Location: Magic Kingdom
Characters to be Seen: Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Eeyore and Piglet
Mickey's Backyard BBQ
If you have read my blog before, you have probably heard me rave about this show. I really do love it. I think that the food is great and it is such an informal atmosphere. You don't form lines to meet the characters and the preschool kids don't have to sit in a chair the whole show, they are continuously welcomed to join in on the fun and get up and groove. There are some great characters to see and NO LINES, you just get up and dance with them! The best character interaction there is. Also, the food is wonderful. The ribs are great, and our kids loved the mac and cheese and hot dogs. You can get your own drinks- whether it be lemonade, fruit punch....beer. There's also a freezer where you can get ice cream. All you can eat Mickey head chocolate bars!
Location: Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground
Characters to be seen: Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Chip and Dale
Takes up two table service meals on the dining plan, can only be seen on Thursdays and Saturdays.
Cinderella's Royal Table
Even preschool-aged children love the princesses! The princess meals are a great place to introduce small children to characters because they are face characters rather than furry and they can tend to be less intimidating. Oh yeah, did I mention you are eating IN THE CASTLE?!! What child or adult doesn't love to dine in a castle.. and when else would you have this chance? This is a one of a kind experience. It's also one of the hardest reservations to get.
Location: Magic Kingdom
Characters to to be seen: 5 princesses, including Cinderella
Takes up two table service meals on the dining plan.