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Disney Food For Families: The Disney High Chair Situation

Disney Food for Families columnist Erin Foster knows that high chairs are of high importance to many families visiting Disney parks and resorts! Check out the specs here!

I made several trips to Walt Disney World when I had three children under the age of four. One of the main reasons our family chose Disney travel destinations was because the parks seemed designed specifically to the needs of folks like me: exhausted parents who need a break from cooking.

You want to eat in a real restaurant with three small kids? Sure, no problem. You need three high chairs to make that happen? Yep, we’ve got you covered.

Chairs ready for guests to grab at Epcot's La Cantina de San Angel

In my own “Disney high chairs” days, I never failed to find as many clean, working chairs as I needed. My girls are much older now, but over the past several months I’ve been keeping an eye out both in the Walt Disney World parks and on the Disney Magic cruise ship to see if Disney has maintained their ability to provide adequate seating for their smallest restaurant guests.

I surveyed more than two dozen restaurants and am pleased to say that in every case I found an ample supply of high chairs, all with functioning buckles.

The chairs are generally fixed-height and tray-less, sometimes made of wood and sometimes plastic. You push the chair right up to your table, so the table functions as the child’s eating surface. Because of this, you may want to keep a supply of disposable placemats on hand.

Chairs in a corner at the Magic Kingdom's Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe Counter Service Restaurant

What Do You Do If You Need A High Chair?

At table service restaurants, if you need a high chair, or two, or three, all you need to do is tell the host or hostess at the podium when you arrive for your meal.

When you make advance dining reservations, Disney will ask the ages of the children in your party and sometimes ask explicitly whether you will need a high chair — they’re trying to anticipate seating needs. But even if you don’t let them know in advance that you’ll need a high chair, the supply on property is such that they’ll be able to find one for you.

Plastic chairs at the Beach Club's Cape May Cafe

At counter service restaurants, there is usually a stack of high chairs located along a back wall of the venue. At larger locations, there may be several stacks of chairs placed throughout the room.

It’s up to you to grab a chair and bring it to the table where you will be sitting. I personally found this to be a struggle: juggle food, child, stroller, and bulky high chair into position so you can eat. If you’re having trouble, simply ask a cast member or other guest to lend a hand.

Wooden chairs at Epcot's Sunshine Seasons

If you’re staying in one of the Disney Vacation Club resorts with kitchen facilities, you are welcome to request an in-room high chair for the length of your stay at no charge. In this case, it is helpful to make the request for a chair in advance of your visit and to remind the cast member at the check-in desk when you arrive for your stay.

Standard safety notice

What About Booster Seats for Slightly Older Kids?

While high chairs are widely available throughout the parks, finding a booster seat for a preschooler can be a bit more challenging. The vast majority of table service restaurants do have booster seats available, although the supply of boosters is more limited than the supply of high chairs.

Both high chairs and boosters ready to go at Animator's Palette on the Disney Magic

Counter service restaurants are more likely not to have boosters on hand. If you have a preschooler and plan on doing a lot of counter service dining, you may want to practice eating at a few simple restaurants at home without a booster.

You can practice with different seating positions (have the child kneel on his chair, for example) to see what is both most comfortable and safest for your child’s size. There are many inexpensive, portable booster seats on the market, but I hesitate to recommend that you bring one with you — it adds a great deal of bulk to the already vast amount of equipment parents of young children travel with.

What have your high chair experiences been at Disney restaurants? Have you found what you needed? Is there anything you wish that Disney did differently? Let us know in the comments!

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9 Comments

  1. jill says:

    Erin can I have a highchair in my room at pop century? I would love to feed my daughter before we leave the room in the morning and that would be the easiest solution.

    also on an unrelated note… do you know if the stores on property (that sell grocery items) sell cheese sticks? if so are they very pricey? Thanks so much!

  2. marcellina says:

    What a timely post! We will be going to WDW in February with my then 13 month old boy and I hadn’t even thought about high chairs.. I guess I just assumed they would be there and would be of good quality! Thanks for checking this out!

  3. Erin says:

    Jill – High chairs are not on the official list of “requestable” equipment at the Pop (Cribs, bedboards, and refrigerators are). However, it’s certainly possible if you ask nicely at the front desk, they would bring one to your room. I stayed at the Pop about three weeks ago, there were plentiful high chairs in the food court area. I just double checked my stash of photos of the refrigerator cases at the resorts (is it weird that I have this?). I did see individually wrapped cheese sticks for sale at several places for about $1.00 each. I don’t specifically have a photo of cheese sticks at the Pop, but my guess is that they are there. Or, if not, you could stop by one of the resorts that has DVC rooms (Boardwalk, Beach Club, & Contemporary are all a convenient walk away from one of the theme parks) to pick some up.

    Marcellina – Have a great trip with your son!

  4. Chris says:

    At any counter service restaurant, all cast members will know where the high chairs are. Even if they are all being used, they usually know where to obtain a backup supply. Don’t be afraid to ask. If you wish for a cast member to help you out and go fetch you one, most are more than willing to.

  5. Diane_N says:

    Great post, Erin! Highchairs are one of those little things that can make or break your meal, if you’re visiting with little ones.

    We’re locals, so we’ve been visiting the parks with our son since he was about three months old, and we’ve generally had very good luck dining with an infant, even at table service locations. The only challenge we’ve run into was the availability of slings for “bucket”-style infant seats. (Explanation for those without small kids: until your little one can sit unsupported–probably around five to seven months for most–highchairs are not much use. Instead, you need somewhere safe to place your child’s infant seat, unless, of course, you plan to hold or wear them throughout the meal.)

    Most of the table-service locations we’ve visited automatically offered a sling to hold our infant seat. The one exception was Via Napoli, which not only didn’t have a sling but didn’t even know what one was. The manager kept trying to offer us a high chair for our very tiny baby, who clearly wasn’t old enough to sit in one, and eventually decided to place us at a booth with our infant seat sitting on the booth. We were nervous about it the whole time, and it definitely impacted our enjoyment of the meal. In fairness to Disney, though, after we contacted guest relations, they followed up with us and told us they would see that the situation was fixed, so hopefully they’ll have slings for guests in the future.

    After that experience, I tend to agree that it’s a good idea to ask ahead of time if there’s a specific type of seat you’ll need (sling, highchair or booster). I wish they would add a field for this to the online ADR system, as I generally make my reservations online.

    Thanks again for the useful post!

  6. Erin says:

    Diane – Excellent point about traveling with the smallest babies. Really helpful tips. Thanks for the extra info!

  7. jill says:

    thanks for the great advice! I will ask at the front desk when we get there!

  8. Alissa says:

    If a sling is not available for a child in a carrier seat, a trick I have learnt back home eating in restraunts is, if they have the wooden style high chairs and the top rails of the chair are even, you can flip the seat upside down and the seat should rest between the legs. Doesn’t work with every style of highchair, but it’s an option.

  9. Julie says:

    Good job Disney! We ate at a local restaurant last week and then only had a couple high chairs in a huge restaurant. They were all in use the entire time we were there and had to hold him while we ate, which is not relaxing whatsoever.

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