This week we’re talking food and not just any food. Excerpt 2 from Beyond the Attractions: A Guide to Walt Disney World with Preschoolers (2011) looks at some uncommon non-character dining restaurants where food and entertainment value for your little guys and girls are rolled into one. Please enjoy the excerpt below from Chapter 7, “Dining.”
Keep visiting Chip and Company for more excerpts as we get closer to the October release date of Beyond the Attractions.
Just for Fun
Not interested in Disney’s character dining but still looking for an entertaining dining experience for your kids? These Walt Disney World Resort restaurants offer a unique dining experience that can be fun for preschoolers. The theming of a couple of these eateries may be intense for some small children. Parental discretion is advised.
Pricing information is for a typical entrée or a full buffet, if applicable.
$ under $15
$$$$$ over $60
Disney prices vary during different seasons and are subject to change.
50’s Prime Time Café (Lunch, adult $-$$, child $; Dinner, adult $$, child $). Roll back the clock to the 1950s and have some good ole fashioned fun, courtesy of the Cast Members at this Hollywood Studios eatery. “Aunt” will remind you to eat your veggies and mind your manners while your “cousin” will give you some good-natured ribbing. Introduce your kids to a classic 50’s toy, the viewfinder; you’ll need to peer into one to read the dessert menu.
Biergarten Restaurant (Lunch, adult $$, child $; Dinner, adult $$$, child $). While Mom and Dad enjoy this German buffet in Epcot, your tiny dancers can boogie on the dance floor to traditional Oktoberfest music. You’ll get to know your fellow diners as you share tables with other Disney guests.
Coral Reef Restaurant (Lunch, adult $$, child $; Dinner, adult $$-$$$, child $). This seafood restaurant boasts incredible views of Epcot’s The Seas with Nemo & Friends’ coral reef. Fish lovers will enjoy the fascinating marine life swimming past the restaurant’s large aquarium window.
Ohana (Dinner, adult $$$, child $). This eatery at the Polynesian Resort welcomes its guests warmly and treats dining “cousins” like family. Dinner entertainment includes singing with the children, coconut races, and hula hoops. If you’re not a meat-lover, skip this one – diners are served fire-roasted meats.
Rainforest Café (Lunch, adult $$, child $; Dinner, adult $$, child $). Dine among exotic animals and foliage when you immerse yourself in the jungle atmosphere of the Rainforest Café. This restaurant has two locations at the Walt Disney World Resort – Downtown Disney and Animal Kingdom. With an entrance to the restaurant outside the theme park, the Animal Kingdom location does not require park admission.
Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater (Lunch, adult $-$$, child $; Dinner, adult $$, child $). Located at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, this restaurant simulates a 1950s drive-in theater. Diners are seated in cars and served by carhops. Movie clips of old science-fiction movies are shown on the large movie screen.
Families with sensitive children should avoid this restaurant. Some movie clips contain large insects, “monsters,” and other sci-fi elements that adults will find corny but that may be too intense for very little ones.
T-REX Café (Lunch, adult $$, child $; Dinner, adult $$, child $). This lunch and dinner restaurant in Downtown Disney’s Marketplace will transport you back in time with its life-size dinosaurs, “meteor showers,” and other prehistoric theming.
The theming can be very intense for small children. Parental discretion should be exercised based on your child’s personality and fears.
Stop by the gift shop to Build-A-Dino by Build-A-Bear Workshop, for about $20.
Whispering Canyon Café (Breakfast, adult $, child $; Lunch, adult $-$$, child $; Dinner, adult $$, child $). This restaurant, in Wilderness Lodge, dishes out more than barbecue with its mischievous servers, games, and sing-alongs. The hilarity will ensue when your kids ask for ketchup!
Lisa M. Battista is the author of Beyond the Attractions: A Guide to Walt Disney World with Preschoolers When she’s not chasing after her little ones, you can most likely find her at the beach or in the kitchen trying her hand at a new recipe. You call follow her on
Twitter @DisneyExplorer and become a fan onFacebook.