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:
Pizza: Pinocchio Village Haus
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.
Pizza: Cool Wash Pizza
Pasta: Sunshine Seasons (mac & cheese)
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.
Pizza: Catalina Eddie’s, Toy Story Pizza Planet
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.
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!