We are heading to Disney in April for 8 nights and 8 days. I’ve been researching and researching and have made dining reservations based on what I’ve read are great places for kids/families. We are surprising our 6 year old twin girls and my parents are also coming (so 6 total). I have the following dining reservations and I’m hoping you can provide input that I’ve got it right (or not). Our kids are very adventurous eaters and pretty much eat and like everything.
Akershus dinner first night
BOG lunch second day
California Grill dinner second day
Sanaa dinner third day
Cinderella’s Royal table breakfast fourth day
Hollywood and Vine lunch fifth day (For Disney Jr characters)
Hollywood Brown Derby fantasmic package fifth day
T-Rex dinner sixth day
Are we missing anything we should do? Is there a place on the list we should skip?
Love the choices - Akershus is good - if you want to save a bit of $ - lunch is great
California Grill is good - but pricy - but I think it is good to expose kids to finder dining
Cinderella - ok - but you go for the characters and breakfast is more affordable so good job
T-Rex - loud loud loud - did I happen to mention loud. If this is purely for the kids - good choice - but I didn’t care for it at all.
I HIGHLY recommend JIKO at Animal Kingdom as an option. Outstanding food, exceptional wine selection, service is fantastic. Plus afterwards you can do a nightime animal watch.
To set expectations correctly - the food (especially breakfasts) are not great. But you are going for the experience - so just to set expectations correctly. I think your choices are really good though.
Thanks @davidtyost. Yes we are definitely going for the experience for most of these reservations. It’s all about the kids on this trip! I didn’t even think of doing Akershus for lunch - when I made the reservations we hadn’t booked our flight yet and expected to arrive midday, but we found a super cheap flight that made it cheaper to fly in the night before and now we have the full day the first day. I will have to look into lunch on that day. Thanks.
If we change out T-Rex (not sure how much loud I can take) - what would you recommend in Disney Springs that would be fun for kids?
I will definitely look into JIKO. We are planning our last full day at AK and that might be an ideal last dinner.
Alternatively what are your thoughts on Kona and Narcoosee’s?
One thought here is Day 5 - H&V lunch plus HBD Fantasmic package means a lot of food and a lot of dining time. If the characters are the most important thing then I would consider dropping HBD, but personally I would drop H&V and keep the HBD reservation.
Great choices! One other I would possibly add (because it’s a favorite of ours) is Tusker House breakfast. We love it because the character interaction is good (Mickey, Donald, Daisy, and Goofy in their safari gear) and the food is delicious (different than the usual breakfast fare.) The characters do a fun conga line and get the kids playing African instruments periodically as well. Also, if you can get a pre-RD ADR, it’s an especially nice perk, as the early morning walk through AK is even more beautiful without the crowds, and you’ll probably even beat the crowds to your first attraction.
One tip I’ll add is that for Sanaa (another favorite of ours!), make sure you get an ADR while it’s still light outside, and when you check in, super sweetly ask for a table near a window. My kids were amazed to be able to watch giraffes and other animals right outside the window while we dined. And get the bread service…yum!
These are great reservations, as others have said. But they’re a long list of reservations - if your crowd is beat and just needs a totally unscheduled day, be prepared to dump something (or several things) on the fly, by midnight the night before to avoid penalties. We always used to book 1-2 ADRs per day, and now book 3-4 per 7-day trip, to leave lots of flexibility.
Have a great trip!
With twin girls have your considered switching your T- Rex to Ranglan Road? The dancers and music make Raglan such a fun place, plus it has great food! Jiko to me has the best food and it is my favorite restaurant anywhere- but save it for another trip!
I definitely recommend RR over T-Rex. MUCH better food and the entertainment is great (for all ages).
Kids at signature restaurants really comes down to the individual kids. Are they prepared for a quiet sit-down meal that can last 2 hours? Some are, some are NOT. Hate me and call me selfish grumpy old man, but when I am spending $150 or more for a “date night” dinner with my wife, I get very frustrated with kids who are screaming/yelling/howling, running between the tables, or throwing food (all things I have personally experienced at signatures) and just plain angry with parents who seem to think that this is OK. And the “but it’s Disney” excuse doesn’t work for me. With 150 (or maybe more) TSs on property, most of which are designed to be kid-friendly, it’s unfair to make a kid who isn’t ready for the experience of signature dining to sit through a long “formal” dinner. And it’s also unfair to parents for whom that meal may be the only “alone time” they have in a week-long vacation that has been built around making their own kids happy. For the record I HAVE seen younger kids at signature dining who were very well behaved and were obviously well prepared for the meal (our last meal at Citrico’s come to mind; the table next to us had “4 under 10”, and it was a pleasure to sit next to them).
Having been to all of the signatures, some a number of times, I would say that FF and CG are probably the best choices for first time signature dining because they are visually stimulating and give the kids something to look at between courses. And if restlessness sets in, it’s easy to pop out to the BW at FF and the viewing deck at CG. Conversely, Jiko and Monsieur Paul (2 of my favorites in WDW) are probably the most “adult” and least “kid-oriented”; they are more intimate, quiet, and beautiful in a formal sort of way. I think Boma would be a much better AKL choice; it’s a huge buffet (with very good food) so finding food the kids will like is much easier to do and it’s a much more “exciting” restaurant to eat in.
Your ADRs look great! I haven’t been to all of the ones you are trying, but have done most of them and like them all. I have only been to T-Rex once, but it wasn’t loud at all when we were there, and my kids LOVED it. You will probably find the food at Hollywood and Vine to be very average, but sometimes with kids you just have to go for the fun experience and not for the gourmet meal!
While I haven’t eaten at California Grill, you might consider 1900 Park Faire as a more kid friendly location. We’ve eaten there mulitiple times with 2 boys and 1 girl. Even the boys loved the character interaction. I also haven’t eaten at the Brown Derby, but we really enjoyed Momma Melrose for dinner and that too seems more kid friendly.
Just thought I would add that we did 1900 Park Fare breakfast on our recent trip and the character interaction was fab. The Mad Hatter was hilarious! We also saw Alice, Mary Poppins, Winnie Pooh and Tigger. It was the most fun of all our character meals (did Cindys, Chef Mickeys, Crystal Palace, H&V & 1900). I’ve heard that the dinner with Cinderella, lady Tremaine is equally as good. We liked the atmosphere in the restaurant. We also loved CP - only meet with Eeore & Piglet I think. CG was a fantastic experience, especially seeing the fireworks from the outside viewing area and the food was good, but it was pricey and did not feel as exclusive as I had expected.