No matter where you are, dining with children can either be a thoroughly enjoyable experience or a thoroughly exhausting one. Dining at Disney World is no different, although I must say, having characters around can definitely help! One of the highlights of our trips is when we have family meals together. We usually go as a group of 9, so it’s a rare occasion away from Disney that the whole family ever gets to sit down together and break bread, outside of holidays.
My husband and I make a point to go over proper behavior at the table before we get into the restaurant. We also let them know about any characters, noises, etc. that they might encounter. On one trip we went to Rainforest Cafe and thought our son would enjoy it because of the animals, but we had not anticipated his reaction to the thunder and lightning that also took place! OOPS! Make sure you think about where you are eating, what food is available for little ones and the general setting. If we are going to a fancier restaurant, we make sure we go earlier, that way you can kind of ward off potential meltdowns that might occur later in the night. My children go to sleep fairly early, so they are used to eating earlier. It also makes it easier to go to parks after dinner.
Our day usually goes like this... (our kids don’t nap anymore!)
Eat a small breakfast
Head to parks
Come back around 1 or so
Go to the pool
Head to dinner
Off to parks or sleep
This plan really seems to work for us, particularly if we are at Disney in the summer when the Florida heat can be brutal in the afternoon.
I really suggest dining at least one time at a character meal. The interaction between the kids and characters (or husband and characters) are memories that will last a lifetime. Our next meal will be the Akershus Princess Breakfast at the Norway pavilion. I don’t know who is more excited-my daughter or my sister and me. We can’t wait to have our photos taken with Belle!