Between racing from attraction to attraction and waiting for parades or fireworks, sitting down to dinner with the family is a welcome reprieve from all the excitement and activity of a day at the Walt Disney World Resort. Opting for a table-service restaurant can give the family a chance to share their favorite parts of the day while refueling for the next one. Whether you have 2-year-olds, 5-year-olds, teenagers, or maybe even some of each, there are plenty of great Disney World family restaurants! With so many restaurants to choose from, deciding where to settle down for dinner can become a bit overwhelming. Every family is different, with different needs and different taste buds, but a few Disney World restaurants stand out for dining together as a family.
Here are my top five Disney World family restaurants:
5. Coral Reef Restaurant
The stunning panoramic underwater views make Coral Reef Restaurant a one-of-a-kind experience that is sure to delight kids and adults alike. Nestled beside Epcot’s The Seas with Nemo & Friends, the restaurant offers phenomenal seafood dishes like the creamy Lobster Orecchiette, an incredible selection of desserts, and a diverse kids menu ranging from seared mahi mahi to tried-and-true cheese pizza.
With tranquil tones of swirling blue, dim lighting and soft music, this restaurant is a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of a day in the park. The whole family will be entranced and entertained by the brightly colored fish darting in and out of the reef and the huge sea turtles, looming sharks, and graceful stingrays gliding through the water. A friendly scuba diver might even swim by to wave hello!
4. Beaches and Cream Soda Shop
Walking into Beaches and Cream at Disney’s Beach Club Resort in the Epcot resort area is like strolling into simpler times. This colorful diner is a short walk from Epcot, through the International Gateway between England and France and over the bridge to the Beach Club (or take the Friendship Boats!). The soda fountain-style restaurant serves burgers and sandwiches, including a Vegetarian Falafel sandwich, and of course, ice cream! Kids can choose from healthy, Mickey Check meals like pasta marinara or the turkey sandwich and familiar favorites like hot dogs or macaroni and cheese. Choose some tunes on the classic jukebox while indulging in milkshakes, floats or sumptuous sundaes. Families with a real sweet tooth can take on the Kitchen Sink, eight scoops of ice cream smothered with every topping they have, including brownies, bananas, sprinkles, and a whole can of whipped cream!
3. Tusker House
Tusker House, a buffet-style restaurant at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, is one of my family’s absolute favorite places to dine at Disney World. The expansive variety of African style and familiar fare appeals to everyone in the family from vegetarians and adventurous eaters to those who prefer to stick to their familiar favorites. With so many choices like Peri-peri Marinated Baked Salmon, Spit-roasted Chicken, Vegetable Samosas, Macaroni and Cheese, and a variety of soups, pastas, salads, and more, every member of the family is sure to find something to delight their tastebuds.
Tusker House is a great choice for any meal; however, please note that character dining at this restaurant is for breakfast and lunch only with appearances from Mickey Mouse, Goofy, Daisy and Donald Duck. Tusker House is located in the Harambe Village in the Africa section of Disney’s Animal Kingdom near the new Festival of the Lion King theater.
Say Aloha to the island life at this Disney's Polynesian Village Resort restaurant. ‘Ohana is an all-you-care-to-eat Hawaiian meal across the Seven Seas Lagoon from Magic Kingdom. Families are greeted with a warm loaf of pineapple-coconut friendship bread, followed by waves of delicious Polynesian fare, such as honey coriander chicken wings, teriyaki noodles and vegetables, and skewers of pork, steak, and peel and eat shrimp. Dinner finishes off with ‘Ohana’s signature bread pudding a la mode with banana and caramel sauce.
This might not be the best restaurant for extremely picky eaters, but as at any Disney restaurant, accommodations can be made; just ask the server. While savoring the island flavors, enjoy storytelling and games with the evening’s ukulele-playing hostess. Kids can delight in coconut races and hoola hooping as they wait for the next course. Check the schedule and make reservations close to fireworks time for a spectacular view of the Magic Kingdom display over the lagoon.
1. Chef Mickey’s
This classic buffet restaurant resides just a short monorail ride away from the Magic Kingdom at Disney's Contemporary Resort and is the best way to meet the Fab Five: Pluto, Donald Duck, Goofy, Minnie Mouse, and Mickey Mouse himself! Chef Mickey’s is the ultimate crowd pleaser, especially for groups with a wide age range. Adventurous eaters can taste flavors from around the world like Thai curry and chipotle BBQ chicken or seasoned salmon filet with mango chutney, while traditional favorites such as pizza, pasta, and chicken nuggets are also available. Mingle with the characters, enjoy impressive views over Bay Lake, and watch Disney’s most famous transportation system, the monorail, as it passes overhead while enjoying a family dinner at Chef Mickey’s.
*At any Disney restaurant, remember to let the server know of any dietary restrictions or special requests. Reservations are highly recommended, and be sure to call ahead to make arrangements for your celebrations and special occasions! Bon Appetit!
What is your favorite Disney World family restaurant? Share in comments below!
Brittany is a lifelong Disney fan and freelance writer, focusing mainly on food and travel tips for the Central Florida area theme parks. Her work has appeared on DisDining.com and Examiner.com. She is best described as an adventure-seeking nerd who loves good food and a good read.