Ask my kids the 4 main food groups and they will give you an Elf-style answer. Candy, Candy Canes, Candy Corns, and Syrup. Disney World is their personal heaven. Not because of the rides or characters… Oh, no. It is because it is a confectioner’s paradise. Suckers, tubs of cotton candy, candied apples, chocolate chunk cookies, chocolate covered crispy treats, ganache covered everything… Plus, it all tastes 10x better when shaped like Mickey Mouse or served up in a Disney-themed container. I wouldn’t usually give in to so much sugar indulgence, but when I pay $100/person to get into the theme parks, and know a good sugar rush will help us maximize the hours in the day or help the kids better tolerate long waits for popular rides…it seems justifiable. #parentoftheyear
I do know that kid, (nor parent) can live on sugar alone, so we have actually had some other fine cuisine. Here are the highlights:
Be Our Guest Restaurant (Walt Disney World, Magic Kingdom)- a fine mix of kid and adult-friendly French inspired selections. Croque Monsieurs, Pommes Frites, Vegetable Quiche, Braised Slow Cooked Pork, Quinoa Salad, and of course, fancy cupcakes! We tried the Master’s Cupcake (“Chocolate sponge cake topped with Lumiere’s special Grey Stuff”). The grey stuff tasted like a vanilla buttercream of sorts. The ambiance of this restaurant and extra courteous staff make this a great place to take a break from the activities of the day. There are three different dining rooms each with Beauty and the Beast inspired themes. We sat in the West Wing, where the magical rose is located. Caution-if your kids are Nervous Nellies, the West Wing may not be the best seating because thunder and lightning effects take place throughout the hour it takes to dine. For some reason, my kids kept asking if the castle was going to disappear. We reassured them that many more people had reservations after us, so no, the castle was not going to blow away in a storm.
Hollywood and Vine (Hollywood Studios, Character Experience)- So.Much.Food. First, the obvious perks of doing a character dining experience is skipping long lines to get guaranteed time and photo opps with favorite Disney characters. This is a Disney Junior breakfast and I’m telling you, more adults than kids know the words to the songs. Speaking of- there are great sing-alongs, dance time, and hugs.
Second thing to know, this is buffet dining. It’s important to remember, your young children do not comprehend how much money you have paid for them to have this encounter with Doc McStuffins, Jake, and others. They will not eat their worth in food and you have to be OK with that. There certainly is more food available at the breakfast buffet than reasonable to consume- even for an adult who takes two trips back to the line. Not that I would know…but if your kids are at all like mine, they will opt for a small dish of Fruit Loops, and maybe take a couple bites from a cinnamon roll. Perhaps three or four grapes. Expensive grapes, yes, but the memories will be priceless.
Something else worth mentioning here- The Star Wars Jedi Training for kids age 4-12 is at Hollywood Studios. I’d heard that some people will make reservations for breakfast at the park just so that they can get in early and sneak over to register for the Training. What we discovered is that this is not necessary. When we arrived an hour before the park opened, we were happy to discover there was a special park entrance line designated for people who just wanted to sign up for Jedi Training. We were able to enter the park early (before 9a), without the super early breakfast reservations (ours were at 9:40a). The attendants directed us exactly where to go, and we were able to get signed up with no issues at all. You still want to get there early, as spaces fill up quickly, but no need to try and “work the system” by doing breakfast reservations. Book breakfast just because it’s a fun experience.
Not visiting any of the Disney Parks? No problem. Here is an awesome recommendation:
Cooper’s Hawk Winery (International Drive)- We first discovered this restaurant about a year ago while in the Chicago area. Award winning wines, flavorful food, and generous portions. See the picture of the child serving of spaghetti below and notice how the plate is literally bigger than my five year old. Something I really like about this restaurant is how they make a wine pairing suggestion with every single food item on the menu. They will also let you sample two wines per adult before, during, or after ordering your meal. I made reservations for 4p in order to take advantage of Happy Hour that is available throughout the restaurant. $5 wines and a great selection of appetizers, including Seared Ahi Tuna Tacos, and kettle cooked chips with Caramelized Bacon Onion Dip. the kid’s meals are finished with a chocolate dipped strawberry. I had some Lobster Bisque and a Peach Sangria. If the kids can be sugared up on this vacation, I can certainly have my fun, too!
Sweet Tomatoes and Souplantation (Lake Buena Vista)- This is a buffet chain that serves health foods! Salads, soups, sandwiches, and pastas. Not many restaurants, let alone buffets, have the likes of Kale Salad, Vegan Chocolate Chip Muffins, Black Bean and Quinoa Chili, and Tuna Tarragon in the line up. There are plenty of vegetarian and gluten-free options available. Finally, guilt-free buffet dining…you know…after you’ve had your fill of sugar.
To your health,