Menu Monday: Infant Friendly Dining at Walt Disney World

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BiergartenOne of the (many) reasons I love Walt Disney World is because the parks are so family friendly. There are some vacation destinations where bringing a baby would be impossible. At Disney, even the dining is suitable for all ages.

Having a young one of my own, I know the insecurities that come with bringing an infant to a restaurant.

Will she get fussy? What if she cries? How will I entertain her?

Quick service dining is one thing, but enjoying a nice sit-down meal is quite another. So with that in mind, i’ve provided a list of my favorite infant-friendly restaurants within the four parks.

Note: When making your dining reservation, be sure to include your child into the final number. Disney counts per spot at the table, not just who is eating.

Biergarten – Epcot’s World Showcase: Germany

This is a great restaurant for several reasons. If your baby is eating solids and you plan on sharing, the buffet will provide plenty for you to choose from. The space is huge, so if baby gets fussy, walk around the outskirts and point out the lights shining from within the houses. See if he can spot the moon! When he’s sitting in his high chair, give him a good view of the polka band. If he’s a party animal, bring him down to the dance floor to boogie. It will tire him out and hopefully result in a good night’s sleep.

Another perk of the loud music is if your little one does cry, there’s no worry about being a bother because the band will drown him out anyway. One thing I will suggest is if you’re worried about harming his hearing, see if you can schedule the meal around the bands break time.

Sci-Fi Dine-In Theatre – Hollywood Studios: Commissary Lane

Baby is used to the car anyway, so you might as well eat in one. The atmosphere here is dark and cozy with a beautiful starry twilight view. Some of the cars have a table and chairs layout, so don’t worry about how you will slide baby into the booth-type seating. The big screen is full of fun campy clips that will hopefully draw baby’s attention away long enough for you to take a bite or two out of your burger. Just be sure to hide that chocolate milkshake before she turns her head back to you. You may end up having to share.

Teppan Edo – Epcot’s World Showcase: Japan

If you’ve read my review, you’ll know i’m a huge fan of Teppan Edo. This place provides fun dinner entertainment your baby will love. I brought my daughter here when she was three months old. I was initially worried she wouldn’t make it through the meal without shedding a tear or two, but that was not the case at all. The chef made funny sounds to grab her attention while he flipped his tools and pepper shakers. When the chef started putting together the onion volcano, he made a mini Mickey head out of the smallest onions. As the volcano started to erupt with steam, my daughter’s eyes shined bright and she smiled. With plenty of people and cooking excitement to watch, your little one will have plenty to keep her busy.

Be Our GuestBe Our Guest – Magic Kingdom: Fantasyland

The space may be a little tight, but it definitely shouldn’t deter you from coming here with your wee one. The staff is so good about letting you explore the different rooms, so grab your little Chip and hop to it! Watch the snow fall outside, see the petals feather down from the enchanted rose. If your baby is extra brave, stand in line to meet the Beast!

For lunch, you can order your meal at the kiosk and watch the servers rush with their dining carts from table to table. However, I know there is an option to order online prior to your reservation date so you don’t have to wait as long. With a tired baby, that may be a good thing!

Rainforest Cafe – Animal Kingdom: Oasis

Talk about sensory overload! This is the perfect place to practice those animal sounds with your baby. Walk around, point out the jungle animals, and make the corresponding sound. If you’re not up to performing your best animal impressions, don’t worry: the animals come to life every few minutes. Just watch out for the swinging monkeys! Bring her over to the fruit tower and name each fruit. Hear the thunder boom and watch the lightening flicker. If baby just can’t sit still in her chair, bring her around the gift shop. Beware: Those big angelic eyes may result in you purchasing a soft stuffed animal. This is why my baby girl now has two Mickeys and three Minnie Mouse friends at home. Do as I say, not as I do.

Coral Reef – Epcot: Future World

I brought my daughter here when she was 10 months old and it was a wonderful experience. The restaurant has a calm and relaxing atmosphere to wind baby down from all the excitement in the park. This is a wonderful opportunity to introduce baby to different textures. Let her feel the shell-themed lights, the tile backsplash, the walls, your mashed potatoes….whoops. Where are the napkins? Take a moment throughout the meal to bring her up close to the sea life. Point out the large sea turtle. Watch the fish swim about. There is so much beauty to share with your baby. Cherish these moments together. They fly by all too quickly.

Have you brought your baby to any of these restaurants? How did it go? Let me know if you’d like me to do a series on infant-friendly restaurants outside of the parks.

Angela Dahlgren

Angela is cohost of the TouringPlans Podcast and regular contributor to the TouringPlans YouTube channel. When she's not talking about the happiest place on earth, she spends her time entertaining her own little Minnie and Mickey Mouse. You can find her on twitter @AngelaDahlgren or via email - angela@touringplans.com

7 thoughts on “Menu Monday: Infant Friendly Dining at Walt Disney World

  • December 22, 2014 at 11:01 am
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    I’ve dined with a <1 yo child at quite a few places including California Grill and Citricos. One important thing is while many would say that every Disney restaurant (save Victoria and Albert's) is child friendly, is the child restaurant friendly?
    Can the child handle being held captive at a table? Do you have enough things to entertain the child (toys, books, games, etc)? Are you prepared to respond if the child indicates that being at the table isn't in its plans?

    50s prime time and character meals come to mind as other places with more active atmospheres where any noises from a child would blend in.

    Reply
    • December 27, 2014 at 10:51 pm
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      Keith,

      These are great points. It really depends on the child and/or how prepared the parents are. Those are two factors that make all the difference when deciding where to bring your child.

      I appreciate the comment!

      Angela

      Reply
  • December 22, 2014 at 4:19 pm
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    I would say know your child for the Rainforest Cafe. We have one in our home town — some of my kids have loved the animatronics and some of them are frightened by the thunder. If you have a split family like ours and end up going there when it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, ask for a table near the bathroom. When the “show” comes up every half hour or so you can spirit whichever little one doesn’t like the thunder off to the bathroom (where it doesn’t play) until the rainstorm and animatronics are finished.

    Reply
    • December 27, 2014 at 10:55 pm
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      Jennie,

      I appreciate the comment. My daughter doesn’t mind a lot of noise, but (like you said) some children might be frightened. It’s good to know the bathroom is an option when you’re looking to avoid the thunder and loud sounds.

      Thanks for reading!

      Angela

      Reply
  • December 23, 2014 at 8:57 am
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    Angela, when you took your infant to Disney did you use any noise cancelling headphones? We will be taking our baby at about 8 weeks. I was worried about the loud music and sounds in rides, restaurants, and fireworks. What was your experience? Thanks

    Reply
    • December 23, 2014 at 9:44 pm
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      Hi there! I know your comment was addressed to the author, but thought I may be of some help. Our family makes an annual trip to Disney World and we have taken our boys as infants, toddlers, and now preschoolers. We are actually preparing for a trip in about a month, and will be bringing our youngest, a five month old as well as our 3 and 4 year olds. We have brought hearing protection (we got Peltor Junior earmuffs online) for our infants/ toddlers every time we have gone. We have only found them necessary for very loud shows (like Lights, Motors, Action at Hollywood Studios) and for the fireworks. Our boys are very sensitive to loud noises, but with the earmuffs they were very happy and content. Our boys did fine without them on the rides and in restaurants, though I did put them on when they were napping in the stroller and they seemed to sleep longer 🙂 We will be bringing them again for sure! Hope you have a great time!!

      Reply
      • December 27, 2014 at 10:59 pm
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        Jennifer,

        We thought about noise canceling headphones, but didn’t end up purchasing them. We knew she would only be around for Wishes, so we went inside the train station on Main Street, U.S.A. and watched through the windows. It blocked out enough of the sound, but gave a perfect view of the fireworks.

        That being said, if you’re going to Fantasmic or Illuminations, I would definitely suggest picking some up. Amazon has them for a pretty fair price.

        Heather,

        Thanks for your advice. I will definitely be looking into those earmuffs!

        I appreciate the comments from both of you. 🙂

        Angela

        Reply

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