This is our second time visiting Disney with kids (8, 4, 1). We are staying off-site and are limited to ADR this late in the game (going early October). We are looking for fun dining experiences for our kids. We did Mickey’s Backyard BBQ, T-Rex and the Animal Kingdom Lodge cafeteria last time we went. We really enjoyed all three experiences. We are still trying to get ADR to Mickey’s BBQ but are looking for other ideas or places to consider. We are not super interested in Character dinners or long drawn out meals as my 1 year old will not sit still for more than 10 minutes.
Our kids have enjoyed Rain Forest Cafe…the fish tank, the store out front, the “jungle” with animals, etc.
For QS, BOG QS lunch or breakfast is a cool atmosphere, Pinocchio Villlage has tables overlooking IASW, we also like Les Halles in France in Epcot for picnic type supplies and eat outside near the water.
For TS, we like Teppan Edo–hibachi style, fun to watch the chefs and the food is good (prob same as your local hibachi place), we’ve also done Rain Forest Café at AK or DS and Coral Reef, which both have good atmosphere for kids. Raglan Road at DS has band/dancing entertainment during dinner. Garden Grill is a character meal (although you mentioned your didn’t really need characters) but not buffet so low key and the restaurant revolves during your meal.
Rainforest is good. Coral Reef at Epcot can be fun with the giant aquarium which should occupy any kid’s attention for awhile. Biergarten at Epcot is a buffet with a live band and they often bring the kids up to participate which can be fun. Just make sure your meal timing is during the band…
Pizzafari is now offering a bookable buffet (I think it’s a buffet) which is technically a QS meal. Like BOG for breakfast or lunch.
Beaches and Cream (BC) might be fun, especially if you or anyone else orders the kitchen sink option!
The Contempo Cafe has the fun of the monorail without the Chef Mickey experience, although CM will be clearly visible and audible in case that’s a problem. The menu is pretty varied too.
Geyser point might also be worth looking into. And Trails End at FW.
Our kids really enjoyed Teppan Edo and Whispering Canyon Café.
We all enjoyed Sci fi at Hollywood Studios!
Garden Grill is our fave restaurant, hands down. It’s served family style so it’s fast. It rotates, so lots to look at (you can see living on the lands boats). There are characters, but they are fun and not too disruptive.
My kids enjoyed BOG lunch and Sci Fi. We also did Yak and Yeti at AK and they seemed just fine with that as well.
Quick question… Do the characters have handlers with them who can take a picture? I’m going to be solo and have planned GG for brunch one day and have been really excited about it, but from the videos I’ve found it doesn’t look like there is a handler with them as there usually is with characters at other meals.
Ive never seen a handler with any of the character meals. I’ve seen a CM keeping an eye on things from somewhere in the room, but never one hanging around directly with a character. Most people I have heard that go solo do selfies or ask a neighboring table to take pictures for them. I have been to GG several times and there wasn’t a handler.
Hmm. There has been every time I’ve been to Cape May, Crystal Palace, or Tusker House. I might have to rethink this one…the seating at GG isn’t exactly conducive to asking someone else to take a picture.
I have seen handlers at Crystal Palace, but not at GG or TH. That said the people at the next table were happy to exchange picture taking services with us. I’m sure you could ask your server for assistance with that too. If you ask him or her when you are seated maybe he or she can alert the other CMs to be on the lookout for your visits to help with pictures.
I am going to GG for the first time my upcoming trip, and I will be asking another table, or the server.
My last trip, I didn’t see a handler (up-close) at any of the character meals (I did 3), but usually the server was around to take them.
I also just don’t care LOL - I will ask anyone to take pics.
I am going on the same day as you, but PPO so I am no help
Haha! Warm them up for me!
I can recommend Ohana dinner, Biergarten, and Coral Reef with kids
Is Garden Grill different than Garden Grove? I think they are but I wanted to double check.
Garden Grill is a (slowly) rotating restaurant found at The Land inside EPCOT. Garden Grove is a stationary restaurant found at the Swan.
Both have characters (at least sometimes), though only one is found in-park.