Visiting Disneyland can certainly make you feel like a kid again! But what about if you’re visiting with…you know…real, live, actual kids?
We talk a lot about good options for grown ups, but today, I thought we could hit up our very favorite spots in Disneyland for when you have some small fry with you (which, for many of us, is most of the time!). So let’s tick off the Top 3 Restaurants for Kids in Disneyland.
Grab your Mickey Ears, and let’s go!
If you have a small child in tow on your Disneyland trip, a character meal is practically a requirement.
After all, most kiddos love meeting larger than life characters. But kids and adults alike can agree that long lines in the hot sun don’t make for magical memories. So our first suggestion is that you book your advance dining reservation asap for Goofy’s Kitchen.
Why? Because we think the food is better here than at many other character meals.
Located in Disneyland Hotel, choose from brunch or dinner character dining at this popular spot. And the characters are especially fun at Goofy’s. Because in addition to Goofy, you just never know you might drop by!
Of course, you can totally expect to see the man himself.
But you might just see a prince or a princess as well! And MANY other friends!
Parents will appreciate the terrific seating options here. Sure, there’s no monorail whizzing above your head like you’ll find at Chef Mickey’s. But there are tables located both inside the sunny dining room and outside on a shaded patio. Ahhhh…how I love California.
And even though the characters are fun and the atmosphere is adequate, the eats are what will impress you the most!
Choices are seemingly endless at Goofy’s Kitchen. With five stations to choose from at both brunch and dinner, the biggest problem you’ll have will be getting full before you try everything that catches your eye.
Fancy a made-to-order omelet? No problem.
Enjoy both kid and grown up-pleasing dishes at dinner time, such as selections from the carving station, the catch of the day, and a bounty of hot and cold sides. And don’t forget the Goofyroni and Cheese!
Big Thunder Ranch BBQ
Our next kid-friendly stop takes you into Disneyland park for a western-inspired meal at Big Thunder Ranch BBQ. Located in Frontierland, this spot is a little off the beaten path, and perfect for a break in the middle of your busy day.
The open air dining spot is rustic and just plain fun as you dine at picnic tables shaded by tarps and trees. And it’s clearly not very formal here, so no worries if the kiddos get a little rowdy!
Both lunch and dinner are served family-style and offer barbecue-supper family favorites. A bucket of barbecue ribs and chicken greet you for lunch (they add smoked sausage to the mix for dinner). And no worries about sharing, because they’ll replenish all of the items as often as you’d like!
Dessert is priced separately — but oh so worth it when you’re talking about this amazing Chocolate Chip Cookie Bake! It says it serves 2 or more. OK. Sure.
But there’s more to Big Thunder Ranch than just barbecue. Lively entertainment is a little silly, but the kids always seem to join in on the fun.
But the really cool, kid-friendly thing about Big Thunder Ranch BBQ is the petting zoo right next door! Kids of all ages can pet, feed, and brush sweet farm animals after they’re all finished with their ribs and chicken. It’s a win/win!
For the royal treatment, you must make a stop at Ariel’s Grotto to visit with the Disney Princesses.
Located on the water (naturally) in Disney California Adventure, follow the spiral staircase up to the dining area, which is perfectly themed for underwater kingdom exploration.
Ariel is this party’s hostess, of course, and she greets guests as they enter her underwater dining room.
Once you’re in and seated, an Official Court Dude announces each Princess and gives a little bio about her. Perfect for parents who are trying to keep all of the royalty straight!
The Princesses are the classic players — Cinderella, Snow White, and Aurora. But don’t put it past Disney to throw in a few others or different damsels now and again.
We haven’t been wowed by the food here. The meals are prix-fixe, and come with a shared antipasti platter, your choice of entrees, and a shared dessert platter. Save room for dessert — it’s the best part of the meal!
But let’s be honest: it’s all about the Princesses, right? So if seeing them without standing in endless lines is your objective, Ariel’s Grotto is the perfect choice!
Regardless of whether you’re looking for meals that will yield happy kids in the parks or resorts, there are some excellent options available for kid-friendly table service dining all across Disneyland.
What is your top spot for Kids’ Dining in Disneyland? Let us know your favorites in comments below!