Disney Food for Families columnist and Disney World Moms Panelist Erin Foster has more great info about kids’ dining in Disney World!
If your family is like mine, then at some point at least one of your children will go through a picky eater phase — where he or she will ONLY eat a certain type of food, texture of food, color of food, or food prepared in a certain way.
Luckily the chefs at Walt Disney World are well acquainted with the picky eater syndrome. They’ve seen it all before and can accommodate most childhood food idiosyncrasies. That’s one of the reasons WDW became such a frequent destination for us; dining out with our fussy daughter was a breeze compared to other vacation spots.
The Fab Four of Kid Food
Some common variations on the picky eater theme are the kids who will only eat pizza, or pasta, hot dogs, or chicken nuggets. While these favorites are, of course, readily available in the parks, they are not all available at every restaurant.
At some of the table service restaurants, you can ask for these basics even if they are not officially on the menu. In many cases, the table service chef will be able to come up with something that suits the child. But here I’m going to focus on where you can find the choosy eater favorites at the counter service restaurants, because generally kids who are in an I-only-eat-this phase are also in an I-don’t-want-to-sit-still phase.
Where You Can Find ‘Em — Theme Park Counter Service
As you read below, you’ll notice that there is no quick service restaurant at the Magic Kingdom that offers all of the fab four kid foods. If you have a family with multiple children with divergent needs, you’ll need to choose carefully.
For example, if you have one child who neeeeeds pizza and another who neeeeeds nuggets, then your only real option is Pinocchio Village Haus. Parents with several picky eaters will have to do this type of analysis in all the theme parks.
To help you do this, here’s a quick guide to some of the places you can find each of the kiddie favorites at the park quick service venues:
Chicken Nuggets: Columbia Harbor House, Cosmic Ray’s, Golden Oak Outpost, Pinocchio Village Haus, Tomorrowland Terrace Restaurant
Pizza: Pinocchio Village Haus
Pasta: Pinocchio Village Haus (mac & cheese), Tomorrowland Terrace Restaurant (mac & cheese)
Hot Dogs: Casey’s Corner, Cosmic Ray’s, Doggone Good Dogs, Friar’s Nook, Liberty Square Market, Lunching Pad, Westward Ho Refreshments (corn dog only)
I’ve omitted the Golden Oak Outpost from the “pizza” list even though they sell flatbreads. Flatbread is Disney code for a rectangular piece of baked dough covered with savory toppings. Most of the world would call this a fancy pizza. I’ve left the Golden Oak off the list because the flatbreads listed on the menu come with non-traditional toppings. While these are delicious, they are not usually what a temperamental three-year-old has in mind when she wants pizza.
Chicken Nuggets: Electric Umbrella, La Cantina de San Angel, Liberty Inn, Tangierine Cafe
Pizza: Cool Wash Pizza
Pasta: Sunshine Seasons (mac & cheese)
Hot Dogs: Liberty Inn, Sommerfest (frankfurter with a roll)
There are vegetable flatbreads sold at Sunshine Seasons, but again I’m not counting that a plus for a choosy preschooler. The hot dogs at the Liberty Inn are really chili cheese dogs, but you can ask to have the extras omitted.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Chicken Nuggets: ABC Commissary, Backlot Express, Rosie’s All American Cafe
Pizza: Catalina Eddie’s, Toy Story Pizza Planet
Pasta: Fairfax Fare (mac & cheese), Rosie’s All American Cafe (mac & cheese)
Hot Dogs: Backlot Express, Fairfax Fare, Herbie’s Drive In, Hollywood Hills Theater (open during Fantasmic), Min and Bill’s Dockside Diner
The notes here are all about the hot dogs. The dogs at Fairfax Fare and Herbie’s are embellished with chili; ask them to leave it off. The dogs at Min and Bill’s are served in a pretzel roll. These are seriously yum (in my opinion) and the pretzel bread may seem familiar enough to be non-threatening to the kiddos.
When in doubt, before making your purchase, ask the cast member at the counter to hold up the item so that your child can see it. This may help alleviate potential conflicts.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom
Chicken Nuggets: Restaurantosaurus, Safari Nuggets, Yak & Yeti Counter Service
Pasta: Pizzafari (mac & cheese)
Hot Dogs: Dino Diner, Flame Tree Barbecue
There are more than enough options to satisfy most choosy children, but as is common during this phase of childhood, you may have to plan your restaurant choices with a bit of care.
Have you run into some picky eater phases with your kids? Let us know about ’em in the comments section below — maybe you can help some other parents!
My 6 year old is pretty much a pizza and burgers champ right now. He will also eat salad if there is enough ranch dressing on it 😛 The chicken nuggets Disney offers are terrible. A few years ago they had chicken strips that were really good, I’d order them for myself once in a while. But these newer nuggets are gross. And don’t even get me started on their cheaper dipping sauces. Honey mustard is really just plain mustard. Doesn’t work with chicken, yuck!
Dana (aka DragynAlly) says
I was a strange child who HATED ordering off the childrens menu and liked what ever the adults where eating. But for the kiddies who are picky this is very helpful!
Fab four kid foods? – Just add desserts and this is my wife’s food pyramid.
Griffin – I agree that it’s tough when Disney tinkers with their menus. Hopefully the nuggets you enjoyed will make a return.
Dana – Your parents were lucky to have an adventurous eater. My picky one is beginning to branch out a little, but it is a looong slow process.
Alan – LOL! A pizza or dog certainly does hit the spot now and then.
I find it ironic that Epcot, has the least amount of options whereas it’s known as the place for the most food in the park.
Great job compiling all of the restaurants Erin. Those really are the four most known kids’ foods.
I’d also consider the burgers partly, but it’s not of McDonald’s quality which kids like here…
At Epcot, there is also a small unnamed “hut” that offers hot dogs, popcorn, drinks between Canada and (closer to/across from) the first freestanding gift shop…by the side path to Future World.
Griffin — You can still get the chicken strips at Restaurantosaurus in AK!! YUM!
Dana — Sounds like you were a dream child!
Alan — HA! That gave me a laugh this morning! (My husband would say the same about MY food pyramid.)
Josh — Ah, McDonald’s… ’twas my favorite until I found Whataburger. Next time you’re on this side of the pond we’ll have to take you there!
Andy — Ooh, I think I know what you’re talking about! They have cheesy pretzels, too, no?
Ahh, picky eaters! The only items my siblings and I wouldn’t eat when we were young were fish, onions, and eggs; apparently my parents got off easy. I think those are items most children are adverse to because of their strong scents and tastes. I was a nanny for a few picky eaters (and some kids who were more spoiled than pickyeaters, heck if I knew I would always get a McDonald’s if I demanded it at that age I probably would have wielded this power often,) and I feel for those of you who must parent them (or any of those beasties really, hehe.)
This list is good though, it seems when I am running through the parks and waking up early to get there for rope drop, staying until closing, and all of that I get a crazy carb craving and I have to have a individual pizza or breadsticks or something comparable every other day. Apparently my body replaces sleep with complex sugars and, despite my midday naps, I never sleep enough when I am in WDW.
AJ- Agreed on Whataburger! It is my favourite large burger chain.
Also Cheesy Pretzels?? I know I don’t need anything else to eat at Epcot but mmm. As long as they aren’t the sweet cream cheese pretzels for they are my enemy.
I wish it were as easy as pizza and nuggets. Those are acceptable to my 4-year-old, but pizza has to be scraped clean of toppings or a sometimes slice of plain chesse pizza that has sat long enough for the cheese to fully adhere to the slice. And nuggets are tolerated on occasion, but are not something she wants frequently. Noodles are only served plain with butter. She actually really likes fish sticks, fried shrimp, CALIMARI, and crab legs!! If it weren’t for her love of bacon, I’d say I was raising a pescetarian. We go to WDW in 29 days, and time will tell what the girl will eat.
In my house, there is a definite difference between chicken nuggets and chicken strips. In my experience, the QS options with a Kid’s menu have different nuggets than the adult offering–anyone else notice this?
Seriously – where’s the spaghetti?!?! Kids love plain spaghtti and red sauce. Can anyone tell me where you can find this kids dish at WDW?
Oh yes. This was me for sure. Now it’s my little Lilly’s problem. We are leaving for Disney world in about 5 days and she is a big problem. Won’t even eat a hot dog. She lives off of chicken nuggets, hamburgers, cheese pizza, calimari, and desserts. I think I now have a pretty good idea of where to get food for the little ones in a park. I know they also have lots of snack foods in little carts around Disney which have pretzels, popcorn, Churros, and I’ve even seen doughnuts in Epcot! This blog has changed my life. We go to dis ey at least every two no the for 2 weeks. Always had problems with Lilly and Jack in the past… Now I know where to find their kind Of food pyramid! Thanks again!