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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!