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Disney with kids

The Best Disney Restaurants For Kids

If you’re planning the ultimate kid-centered Walt Disney World vacation, you’ll definitely want to stay in one of the best Disney resorts for kids. You will also want to book dining reservations at the best Disney restaurants for kids!

While it’s true that almost all restaurants in Walt Disney World cater to children, some dining spots are definitely better suited for the younger set than others. From elaborate theming to exotic menu choices or their favorite characters, here are the kids’ picks for best Disney World restaurants.

Best Disney Restaurants For Kids

And by the way, the kids who shared their opinions below happen to be the children of some of the best Disney gurus on the web!


Character meals are a no-brainer for parents heading to Disney World with small children. The kids get to meet some of their favorite characters and get autographs without waiting in line. It’s perfect for kids who get restless at the dinner table as they will be up out of their seat and distracted by who is coming to their table next.

The drawback of character meals is that they can feel chaotic. It’s hard to relax with a larger-than-life character stopping by your table and thrilling your child every few minutes.

Another negative for some (but not all) character meals is that the quality of the food can be lacking. A lot of character meals are buffets, and many have the same kid-friendly go-to dishes that get redundant after a while.

We like to mix up our dining reservations to have a nice balance of character meals and regular sit down meals, which tend to have a slower pace.

Tusker House

So when I said character meals have lower quality food, this would be an exception.

The food at Tusker House is unique and delicious with an African flare. You can find things like carved bone-in ham, corned beef hash, potato and leek frittata, and the famous POG juice at the breakfast buffet. (In case you haven’t yet had the pleasure of drinking POG juice, POG = passion fruit, orange, and guava.)

Lunch and dinner feature carved meats, seafood, couscous and African stews and salads.

best Disney restaurants for kids

My kids loved meeting Donald, Daisy, Mickey and Goofy at Donald’s Safari Breakfast at Tusker House. Zari says his favorite part was “meeting Mickey with his explorer outfit on, eating waffles and the really good juice that was like… tangy and tropical.”

1900 Park Fare

My daughter Tiana loves the character dining at 1900 Park Fare at the Grand Floridian. First of all she loves everything about that resort, since it’s “the most beautiful and fancy of all of them.”

If you go there for dinner, try to go on a Magic Kingdom day so you can take the monorail from the park to the resort. Get there a little early so you can walk around the lobby and explore a bit before eating.

best Disney restaurants for kids

She also loves the characters at dinner, especially Lady Tremaine, Anastasia and Drizella: “Lady Tremaine was mean just like in the movie. But not too scary. The stepsisters were fighting over my brother because because he was in a prince costume and they both wanted to marry a prince!”

Sarah from MomMoment.com agrees that 1900 Park Fare is great fun for kids. She says:

Our favorite Disney Restaurant is 1900 Park Fare in Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort. We’ve hung out with the Evil Stepsisters for dinner, and stuck our tongues out with Alice and the Mad Hatter at breakfast. I’m usually not a fan of the buffets, but 1900 Park Fare has really delivered with good quality food every time. I also love the variety of Characters you can meet, including villains like Lady Tremaine and favorites like Mary Poppins and Winnie the Pooh.

best Disney restaurants for kids

Her son says, “I love it because it’s a buffet, but the food is really yummy. The characters are all ones that you can’t find at the park really easy. I’ve never found Mad Hatter at the park, and Alice in Wonderful is kind of hard too.”

Crystal Palace

best Disney restaurants for kids

Robin of Luxe Recess says her children’s favorite Disney dining option is Crystal Palace in Magic Kingdom:

My kids consider Crystal Palace in Magic Kingdom our family ritual. We have photos of Pooh, Piglet, and Eeyore from over the last 7 years that serves as our kids’ unofficial growth chart. We have always enjoyed an extended air-conditioned break for lunch, and the buffet offers lots of healthy options so that we can indulge in Mickey bars in the afternoon.

Bon Voyage Breakfast at Disney’s Boardwalk

Disney’s Bon Voyage Breakfast at Trattoria Al Forno on the Boardwalk offers the unique opportunity to meet some Disney PRINCES! The character breakfast features Ariel, Prince Eric, Rapunzel, and Flynn Ryder.

best Disney restaurants for kids

Kayla from Mommy of a Princess writes:

We enjoyed meeting both princesses and princes. They did a formal announcement for each character while we were there which was really fun to see. Rapunzel and Flynn danced together which was absolutely adorable! They also did a character parade (happens once per hour) for all the kids to follow and dance with the characters together. Our food was delicious and presented in a very fun and creative way. I ordered Rapunzel’s Tower of Pancakes and it was so yummy! My little princess loved the pancakes too. She liked the powdered sugar sun off and ate nearly as much as I did!


best disney world restaurants for kids

This one technically qualifies as a character meal AND non-character meal, because it has characters at breakfast (typically Lilo and Stich, as well as Mickey and Pluto in their Hawaiian garb) and no characters and lunch or dinner. Both are great fun and delicious food, but I think the breakfast wins as the meal of choice for kids.

During breakfast, children are given maracas to do a little parade around the restaurant with Mickey.

The food is served family-style in a large skillet in the center of the table. It’s all-you-care-to-eat, so they will keep refilling it until you’re done. The breakfast starts with Hawaiian welcome bread and a side of fruit. Then the skillet comes out filled with eggs, bacon, sausage, biscuits, breakfast potatoes, and Mickey waffles.

If you’re not staying at the Polynesian, booking a meal at Ohana also gives you a reason to go check out the resort. The theming is exquisite and there are several great restaurants on site.

Hollywood and Vine

Truth be told, the food at Hollywood Studios’ Hollywood and Vine has never really impressed me much, but kids rate it one of their favorite Disney restaurants.

Disney Junior breakfast at Hollywood and Vine features some hard to find characters, including Doc McStuffins, Jake from the Neverland Pirates, Sofia the First and Roadster Racer Goofy.

Depending on the season, dinners at Hollywood and Vine feature Minnie in various holiday garb with friends like Daisy, Mickey, Donald and Goofy.

Shannon of BRB Going to Disney says her toddler daughter loved seeing the characters all dressed up for in their pastel best at Minnie’s Springtime Dine. She especially loved Minnie’s dress!

best Disney world restaurants for kids


50’s Prime Time Cafe

This Hollywood Studios restaurant is always a hoot, even if the nostalgia factor is appreciated by the parents more than the kids.

Adults will be blown away by the details in this restaurant where seemingly every tchotchke is the exact one from your grandparents house! Kids enjoy the interaction with the servers, especially when they give their parents a hard time.

Tiana says,

I love how the Aunts and Uncles are your servers and they tell you things like “Get your elbows off the table!” One time my mom got yelled at for being on her phone and it was SO funny!

Randomly, I actually caught that incident on video so here it is:

The menu includes classic Southern comfort food like fried chicken and meatloaf, just like Grandma would make. Definitely a unique experience that is not to be missed.

Teppan Edo

best Disney world restaurants for kids

Teppan Edo is a fun, interactive Hibachi restaurant located in the Japan pavilion at Epcot. It makes a great meal for families because it holds the little ones’ interest but allows the parents to get a break from the typical American casual cuisine and enjoy some yummy Asian food.

Gena from GingerCasa.com says, “My boys (4, 7, 9) all say Teppan Edo at Epcot! My youngest was celebrating his birthday and they gave him a chef hat and he loved it! The food is THE best and they were all so nice (of course!).”

Via Napoli

best Disney World restaurants for kids

Lisa from Adventures In Familyhood shares that her 11 year old daughter loves Via Napoli in the Italy section of Epcot:

My favorite Walt Disney World restaurant is Via Napoli. The pizza is heavenly! It tastes as if the chefs put Disney Magic into every pie they make. The margarita pizza is my absolute favorite. It’s the dough that makes the pizza so yummy.

Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater

best disney world restaurants for kids

Lindsey of Red Head Baby Mama writes:

My son loves Sci-Fi- Dine-In Theatre because of the unique car seating and awesome movie clips! Mama likes the fact that he’ll clean his plate here, too.

AJ, age 7, also loves Sci-Fi Dine-In Theatre:

The Sci-Fi drive in movie restaurant is the coolest because you get to sit in these cool cars and you get to watch TV!

Some parents love Sci-Fi as well, however they caution that it can be very dark and difficult to read the menu. There is also the issue of the seats, which all face the screen. That means if two parents are sitting with two kids, you are not facing each other. The kids most likely won’t mind, but it can make it a little difficult to cut their food and address any needs they may have while they dine.

Rainforest Cafe/T-Rex

best Disney world restaurants for kids

Darkness, noise, and animatronic animals might not be at the top of the list of characteristics adults look for in a restaurant. But for kids, the unique experience found at Rainforest Cafe and T-Rex (both owned by the same company) is about as thrilling as dining can be.

Lena, age 5 says: “We went to Disney Springs and I liked Rainforest Cafe. It looks like a real rainforest and kind of like a zoo!”

Most kids will go gaga for the theming if they are animal fans or dinosaur aficionados. However, if your child is easily frightened by darkness or noise (or thunderstorms!), they might not enjoy the experience.

Both of these serve up your standard American fare with large portions and themed names like Prehistoric Pasta and Guac-asaurus burger.

With two Rainforest Cafe locations (Disney Springs and Animal Kingdom) plus T-Rex also at Disney Springs, these reservations are pretty easy to get in case you missed that 180 day mark when planning your trip.

Does your kid have a favorite Disney World restaurant?

Leave a comment and let us know what it is!

5 Best Disney Souvenirs (and 5 Not Worth Your Money)

Disney world: it’s fun, it’s magical, and… it’s expensive! Parents save and save just to get their kids there. Then you finally set foot inside the parks, and the kids have the audacity to ask for MORE! The reason? There are fun and exciting toys and souvenirs around every corner! The kids don’t stand a chance against the genius of Disney marketing. The key is to figure out which Disney souvenirs to buy and which to skip (or buy ahead of time for a better price!) Here are the 5 best Disney souvenirs, and 5 not worth your money.

best Disney souvenirs

Best Disney Souvenirs

Make your own light saber

A huge hit with all the Star Wars fans visiting Disney World! The price varies depending on how elaborate you want to get, with the simplest single blade design selling for about $25 and the most elaborate double blade designs (like Kylo Ren) going for around $45.

There are several locations in WDW where you can make your own saber. Tatooine Traders in Hollywood Studios can be very busy since it attracts most of the Star Wars crowd, so check out Once Upon a Toy at Disney Springs for the same experience with a shorter line.

Another cool option is the Build a Droid available at the same locations for about $15.

Here is a fun video showing the process:

Photo Autograph Book

This is an easy and inexpensive way to capture the memories of meeting Disney characters!

Instead of just getting the basic autograph book for characters to sign, buy one with slots to put photographs in. Then when you meet a character, snap a photo of the kids (or yourself, who am I to judge?) with the characters to put in the book alongside the autograph.

We actually filled two books with all the characters we met on our last trip, so we did one for just princesses and one with all other characters.

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My kids ADORE looking through these! It helps to preserve their memories of the trip too. (Have I ever mentioned how I can’t stand it when people say not to take young kids to Disney World because they won’t remember it? Preschool age is an amazing and magical time for a Disney trip!)


Ok this one isn’t exactly the most Disney-esque of all Disney souvenirs, but it is probably the best bargain around for a truly lovely keepsake.

For only $10 per person you get TWO portrait silhouettes (the way they are cut leaves you with two copies, one facing left and one facing right).

They are done extremely quickly. We were in awe watching the process, and even our toddler was able to sit long enough to get hers done. It was shocking to me how wonderful they came out. They captured our children’s profile at that age perfectly. I absolutely cherish these silhouettes!

The carts selling silhouettes are stationed in several locations throughout WDW. We did ours in Liberty Square because we weren’t able to find the one on Main Street near Town Square (maybe the artist was missing that day?).

You can also get them done in Disney Springs and sometimes in the France pavilion at Epcot.

best Disney Souvenirs
Silhouette Cart in Magic Kingdom (photo credit: touringplans.com)

HOT TIP! Learn from my mistake and make sure to bring cash or credit card with you when you get these done!

We are so accustomed to just putting all expenses on our Magic Bands when we’re in WDW that we don’t even bring a wallet to the parks. But the silhouette makers are considered independent contractors and can not accept Magic Bands! I almost had to run all the way back to our hotel to get money after we had ours made, but luckily I was able to recite my credit card number for memory and they ran the transaction by typing it in.

My husband was a little alarmed by my ability to recite my entire credit card number, but that’s another story for another day 😜

Personalized Mickey Ears

The most classic of all Disney Souvenirs has got to be the Mickey Mouse ear hat. Go with the classic or pick your favorite character: Buzz Lightyear, Piglet, R2-D2, and tons more.

They have sparkly Minnie Mouse ears attached to a headband, an ear hat with a bride’s vail attached, and even light up ears that change color to the beat of the fireworks music. Prices range from $15-$25 depending on the style you choose.

best Disney Souvenirs

While these may not be the most practical choice for theme park attire, there is just something special about a kid wearing them on their first trip to Walt Disney World. And it makes for all kinds of iconic photo ops.

One way to make these extra special is to have them embroidered with your child’s name on the back. Choose your font and stiching color, and within the hour your Mickey ears will have their owner’s name on them for only $3. You can also add two lines of text for $7.

best Disney souvenirs

You can get your Mickey ear hat embroidered at The Chapeau on Main Street of Magic Kingdom or at Disney’s Wonderful World of Memories in Disney Springs. If you want to order them ahead of time for your trip, you can order them through Disney Floral and Gifts.

Pressed Pennies

All over the parks, restaurants, and Disney hotels you will see pressed penny machines. Normally this is the kind of thing I try to steer clear of, but when traveling to Disney World with small children it’s one of those tools to keep in your arsenal. When there is downtime, things like this are a great distraction for kids and they get SUPER excited about it.

Here is the book we use to store them in:

best Disney souvenirs

They love going back and inspecting each one to see the different characters and rides on them.

best disney souvenirs

Disney Souvenirs Not Worth Your Money

Mickey balloon

I feel like such a Disney grinch saying this, but I just can’t bring myself to spend $12 on a souvenir that won’t even survive the duration of the trip.

While they will delight your kids for a moment, they will likely drift into the sky minutes later causing a flood of tears. Best case scenario, they end up tied to a stroller that gets parked somewhere for the day while you go on rides.

Disney souvenirs Mickey balloon

HOT TIP! If you are staying at Animal Kingdom Lodge, they do not allow balloons of any kind on the premises. They are hazardous to the animals on property. Avoid disappointment if you are staying there and don’t try to bring one back to your room!

Princess dolls

For the 12 inch (Barbie size) Disney Princess dolls, buying in the parks will cost you around $20. The same dolls are sold at any Disney Store nation wide for $10 when you buy two or more.

Delight your kids by taking that same $20 and buying two at home before you leave for your trip and surprise them when you get there 😃

best Disney souvenirs

Princess dress up dresses

One thing every little girl wants to do in Disney World is Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique.

Girls get princess makeovers with hair, nails, and shimmering makeup by cast members called “Fairy Godmothers-In-Training”. The basic package costs a hefty $65 for the experience lasting 30 minutes to an hour. If you want the package that includes a new princess dress, it will set you back $200!

best disney souvenirs
Photo credit: disneyworld.disney.go.com

My advice would be to buy a dress elsewhere and stick to the basic package. Disney store, JCPenney, Amazon, Etsy, etc all have similar dresses.

Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique is a special experience due to the interaction with cast members and feeling of being pampered. It really doesn’t matter much where the dress comes from.

FYI: Without considering BBB, just to buy the dress alone that they sell in the parks goes for $70. This dress is considered “deluxe” meaning it is a bit more ornate than the regular Disney store dresses. But I truly don’t think most kids would notice the difference between that and the $45 Disney store dress that is still shiny, sequined, and has the Disney label.

Light up Toys

When the sun goes down in Walt Disney World, the light up toys come out. Glowing swords, necklaces, spin toys, etc are everywhere you look.

Of course every kid will want one and of course they are way overpriced. I have fallen for this one before but then I got smart and came equipped with this:

Disney souvenirs light up toy

Light Up Galaxy Spinner with Flashing LED Lights

The kids were enthralled and I spent $7 on it. WIN!

Amazon also has a light up princess wand that would do the trick:

best disney souvenirs
Light Up Princess Wand

Then when it breaks or gets lost in an hour, it doesn’t ruin your night 👍

Large stuffed animals

Please try to talk your kids out of buying a big stuffed animal in Disney World.

First of all, you can get them anywhere. Choose a souvenir that is more unique to the Disney parks.

Secondly, what are you going to do with the thing while you walk around the park and go on rides all day??? Yes, Disney has thought of everything so they do offer the service of holding it for you or sending it back to your room. BUT, how many kids are going to be ok with shipping off the giant Mickey they just talked you into buying? Then you know who is going to end up carrying it around… MOM!

best Disney Souvenirs
Don’t be stuck carrying these guys around

What are some of YOUR favorite Disney souvenirs?

If you are planning an amazing family vacation to Disney World, don’t miss these 5 underrated attractions!

Kids Favorite Disney Resort For Each Price Category

You can read all you want about which Disney resort hotel is the best, but kids have their own criteria! Whether it’s activities, water slides, or animals, the kids choose their favorite hotel based on FUN! Read on to find out the kids favorite Disney resort for each price category.

Kids Favorite Disney Resort

Why choose a Disney resort?

I know there are tons of non-Disney hotels in the vicinity of the property that offer more space at a lower cost than Disney-owned resorts. Personally, I have never managed to break away from Disney to go try them! There are a few reasons for this preference:

  • Never breaking the “Disney bubble”. Everything Disney does is magical and themed down to the smallest detail. When I’m on a Disney vacation, I love staying immersed in that world.
  • Disney knows kids. They just get it right every time. In the lobby, they have Disney cartoons playing on TV with kid-sized chairs in front of them so Mom and Dad can check in peacefully. You can have a character call with your wakeup call each morning. The staff are amazing with children and always seem to have a sticker or a wink and a smile for the little ones. I’ve even had a child get sick while staying at a Disney resort and they had a doctor to the room for me in 30 minutes. That’s the kind of thing that’s worth paying extra for as far as I’m concerned.
  • Magical Express Sure, there is always Uber, but when you have four little ones in tow without car seats, the free bus from the airport to your hotel is a major convenience. (And they take your bags for you too, so no waiting around at baggage claim!)

    Kids Favorite Disney resort
    Happiness is… boarding the Magical Express!
  • Earlier Fastpass Booking Window When you stay at a Disney hotel, your window to book Fastpasses opens up 60 prior to your trip. For all other guests, Fastpasses can only be made 30 days out from the start of your trip. This is a big advantage for getting those hard-to-get Fastpasses, like Avatar Flight of Passage. (Be sure to read this post for help with your Fastpass+ selections!)
  • Getting to the parks It’s super easy to get to any of the parks (and Disney Springs) when you stay at a Disney hotel. There are frequent buses that take you to whichever one you need to get to and they run all day. Some resorts also have boat transportation, which is a slower but more fun way to travel. Some people don’t care for the buses, but I’ve always found them to be prompt and relatively enjoyable.
  • Extra Magic Hours These hours, either super early in the morning or late at night, are times when only Disney resort guests are allowed to be in the parks. They may or may not fit in with your touring plan- I recommend utilizing EMH only when you have park hopper tickets. This way you can enjoy those hours when the park is less crowded, but switch to another park for the rest of the day. The reason? The park with EMH tends to end up being the most crowded park of that day during regular hours. Click here for more tips on avoiding crowds at Walt Disney World.

Disney Resort Categories: What’s the difference?

Disney categorizes its hotels into Value, Moderate, and Deluxe categories. ALL Disney resort hotel stays come with the perks outlined above. All rooms also come equipped with wifi and mini fridges. However there are also some differences in the amenities based on category.

Value Resorts

Value resorts include Pop Century, Art of Animation, All-Star Movies, All-Star Sports, and All-Star Music. All of the Value resorts are boldly themed to appeal to children. They all have rooms that measure around 260 square feet and are priced around $100-$200 per night (for non-suites), depending on the season.

For dining options, the Value resorts have food courts and pizza delivery, but no sit-down (table service) restaurants.

They all include at least one pool, but no water slides.

Moderate Resorts

It seems like all Disney connoisseurs have their favorite Moderate that they will defend to the death! These resorts do all have their own unique personality. Included in the Moderates are Port Orleans Riverside, Port Orleans French Quarter, Caribbean Beach, Coronado Springs, and Fort Wilderness.

The Moderate Resorts each have a table service restaurant in addition to the food court for more dining options. They also have a main pool with a waterslide in addition to secondary “quiet pools”.

Moderate rooms have a larger square footage than the Values (314-340 square feet) and some can accommodate 5 guests by including an extra pull out bed.

The cost for a Moderate resort is $180-$290 per night, depending on the resort, room location, and season.

Deluxe Resorts

Disney’s Deluxe resorts include Animal Kingdom Lodge, Beach Club, Yacht Club, the Grand Floridian, the Polynesian, Boardwalk Inn, and Wilderness Lodge. The Deluxes have more mature, refined (and of course beautiful) theming. Most offer other methods of park transportation besides buses, such as by boat, monorail, or walking paths.

The dining at Deluxe resorts includes a more upscale table service restaurant and a quick service option, but not a food court. They all have a main pool with water slide in addition to smaller quiet pools. They also have gyms and salons on site.

The cost per night at a Deluxe resort ranges from $325-$830 for a standard room. Animal Kingdom Lodge tends to be the least expensive and the Grand Floridian and Polynesian being the most expensive.

Now Onto the Kids’ Picks!

Kids Favorite Value: Art of Animation

One immediate perk of Art of Animation for bigger families like mine is that is has a large number of suites holding up to 6 people with 3 separate sleeping spaces. The family suites are themed after the popular movies Cars, The Lion King, and Finding Nemo (yes, you can request which one you want to stay in). The standard rooms that hold 4 people are themed after The Little Mermaid.

Kids favorite Disney resort
The bedroom in a Nemo room at Art of Animation

The decor in the rooms is elaborate for whichever movie you’re in. It could be described as “loud” and many adults may find it to be overly bright and perhaps tacky. Kids tend to love it.

Art of Animation’s exterior theming is what we’d call “larger than life.” There are huge sculptures of kids’ favorite characters all over the grounds.

Kids favorite Disney resort
Cars fan can pose with Mater in the Cars section

A major highlight for kids is definitely the Big Blue pool, which is truly enormous and plays underwater music. There is also a fun splash area for little ones to cool down and burn off some energy.

Kids favorite Disney resort

One caution about this resort: Like all of the Values, Art of Animation is VERY large and spread out. If you want to be closest to the lobby, book a Finding Nemo room. The Cars and Lion King rooms are about a 5-7 minute walk from the entrance. The Little Mermaid rooms are even farther than that. If you have any mobility issues or even just with small kids in tow, think about how you would do walking at this hotel in addition to all the walking you’ll do in the parks.

A convenient aspect of Art of Animation is that it does not share a bus with any other resort. It is also in walking distance to Pop Century if you want to walk over and check out another resort or try out a different food court.

Kids Favorite Moderate: Fort Wilderness

Fort Wilderness is a huge 750 acre forest consisting of a campground, family cabins, two restaurants, and dinner show, two pools, a playground, a water playground, tennis, a lake, hayride, jogging trails and more.

Kids favorite Disney resort


The campsite allows families to use their own camper or tent with access to facilities. The 400 standalone cabins can accommodate a family of 6. The cabins include a kitchen, which is nice if you’re on a budget and want to cook in.

This resort has so many fun activities, you could make a vacation out of just staying here and not even going to the parks. Archery, horseback riding, kayak and canoe rentals are just a few of the off-the-beaten-path experiences families can enjoy here.

Kids Favorite Disney Resort
My family ready for a rip-roaring good time at Hoop Dee Doo

Devon of Mama Cheaps rented a golf cart for her kids to ride around the campground. Their other favorite activities included the pool, taking the water taxi to Magic Kingdom, and dinner at Hoop Dee Doo.

Kids Favorite Disney Resort

Ashley of ashleysolberg.com says her kids loved making s’mores with Chip and Dale at the camp fire sing along and move night. You can buy a s’more making kit for $10 on site, or include the supplies with your grocery order if you’re having groceries delivered. It’s a unique memory-making Disney experience!

kids favorite Disney resorts

Whether you like camping or prefer something closer to clamping, Fort Wilderness will win you over with its Disney-meets-summer-camp feel.

Kids Favorite Deluxe: Animal Kingdom Lodge

I once made the terrible mistake of doing a split stay and making my kids leave Animal Kingdom Lodge for another hotel half way through our week. My kids were FURIOUS! They could not fathom how I saw the Contemporary as an “upgrade”, because to them nothing tops Animal Kingdom Lodge.

Had I thought it through ahead of time, I would have realized that for a kid nothing else can compare to having giraffes and zebras roam outside your window.

Kids favorite Disney resorts
No, this isn’t super zoomed in. The animals are RIGHT THERE!

Animal Kingdom Lodge is so elaborately themed, you actually feel like you’re on an African Savanna. I have never seen another hotel like it.

Kids favorite Disney resorts

While all the Disney hotels offer children’s activities, Animal Kingdom Lodge has truly special educational children’s programming. Cultural immersion activities include African face painting, medallion rubbing, stamping, learning the native language of the International cast members, a cultural tour of Sanaa, and many more. Getting to speak with and learn from cast members from Africa is a true gift for our kids.

Animal Kingdom Lodge also has Wildlife Encounters on the premises where you can learn about flamingos, witness animal feedings, tour the savanna, and learn how scientists track animals in the wild.

Then there are the just-plain-fun activities like cookie decorating, Disney trivia, and hula hooping.

The pools at AKL are gorgeous and also have children’s activities like African drumming and wildlife trivia. My kids enjoyed the zero depth entry and water slide.

Kids favorite Disney resorts

The unique ethnic restaurants at Animal Kingdom Lodge are some of the best on Disney property, including Jiko, Sanaa, and Boma. You can even take culinary tours of Jiko and Boma, the two table service restaurants found in Jambo House. The restaurant tours do require advance registration, but any guest of Walt Disney World can participate even if they aren’t staying at AKL.

One activity that’s on my list for a future stay- an evening tour of the savanna with night vision goggles! I know my kids would love to try this.

With so much to do at this resort, a stay at Animal Kingdom Lodge is best enjoyed with one day without any parks just to take advantage of all the fun on the premises.


Which do you think will be YOUR kids favorite Disney resort?



Best of Disney World With Preschoolers

The 2-5 year old age bracket has spoken, and these are their favorite experiences at Walt Disney World! If you’re planning on doing Disney World with preschoolers, here are the attractions and experiences you can’t miss.

Download the free printable checklist to make sure you hit them all!

Disney World with preschoolers

None of these has a height limitation that would preclude a preschooler, nor are they potentially frightening for small children. (For a guide to all the height restrictions and potentially scary rides in Disney World, read this post.)

Magic Kingdom

It’s no surprise that the majority of preschoolers’ favorites are at Magic Kingdom. This is the park that has the most rides in general and by far the most for small children to do. If you’re planning a 5 day trip, I would recommend doing 2 Magic Kingdom days and 1 day at each of the other parks.

Town Square Mickey

Disney World with preschoolers

Aka Talking Mickey! Meeting characters is a huge source of excitement for most preschoolers, and the main mouse tends to draw the most excitement of all. Of all the places to meet Mickey, this one is not to be missed because he’s the only one that talks! He will greet your child, ask them questions and even tell jokes.

Prince Charming’s Regal Carrousel

After walking through Cinderella’s castle, you will see every child’s eyes light up when they see the carousel. In fact, if you are rushing to another attraction you should probably take a different route to avoid walking by the carousel. If you walk by it, your kid is going to want to ride it right then!


It doesn’t matter that today’s tykes most likely have never seen the movie. They will still want to take a spin on the classic flying elephant! An added perk is that you don’t have to wait in line. When you enter the queue you will be handed a paging device which you hold onto while you relax/play in the air conditioned play area. While parents cool off and sit down to rest their legs, the little ones will love running and climbing.

Festival of Fantasy parade

A catchy song, dancers, all their favorite characters, and a fire breathing dragon? What’s not to like? Tip: keep kids under a sun-shaded stroller if you have a stroller. Most of the viewing areas are in direct sunlight and that pavement will cook you. Grab a spot and then send one parent to get them an ice cream and some ice water. It will help the wait go by and keep the kids cool.

Casey Jr. Splash and Soak

Speaking of keeping cool, if you’re visiting during one of the 9 months of the year when it’s hot at WDW, pack a change of clothes and let the kids get soaked at the Casey Jr. splash pad.

It’s A Small World

Disney Scrooges hold your tongue. The little ones truly enjoy this ride, and to them the song is fun, not annoying.

Walt Disney World Railroad

They say Walt himself was a lover of trains and that is why there are so many train-themed attractions in Disney World. Preschoolers may be too small or too scared to ride Seven Dwarfs Mine Train or Big Thunder, but they can certainly enjoy the quaint train ride that circles all of Magic Kingdom. BONUS: Use the train to get from one side of the park to the other if your need to rest your legs and take a break!

Under the Sea: Journey of the Little Mermaid

Ariel fans will be captivated by this mini journey through the movie, taking you virtually under the sea and through all the major scenes from the movie. My 5 year old son was afraid of the larger-than-life Ursula, but I don’t expect most kids have that reaction.

Enchanted Tales with Belle

Disney World with preschoolers

This one is a bit of a time commitment, so plan accordingly! It is well worth it to work it into your touring schedule. Disney magic transports you to the day Belle met the Beast in a way that leaves even adults wondering “how did they do that?” Many small children will get a role in the re-enactment that follows, putting them into the heart of the story.

Peter Pan’s Flight

The line is almost always long for this popular ride, so get to it first thing in the morning or better yet book a Fastpass! Kids love the sensation of flying when the pirate ship you boarded moves by suspension from the ceiling.

Tomorrowland Speedway

It kind of kills me to put this one on here, because it’s truly one of my least favorite Disney rides. The smell, the heat, the old cars that barely move… it’s pretty awful for adults. But this is about the preschool crowd and unfortunately they LOVE it. It’s every small child’s fantasy to drive a car and they manage to see past all its faults and enjoy this attraction.


Disney World with preschoolers

Frozen Ever After

Disney knew what it was doing by bringing Frozen to Epcot. Any parents who were considering skipping this park, which is known for lacking “kid appeal”, are now making a beeline for it so their little Frozen fans can ride this.

Meet Anna and Elsa at Royal Summerhaus

Piggybacking off of the Frozen ride, you will also find Anna and Elsa’s meet and greet at Epcot. My son (the same one who was terrified of Ursula) was afraid that Elsa would “blast him with her ice powers” but I’m pretty sure every other preschooler is delighted to meet the Frozen duo.

Disney World with preschoolers

The Seas with Nemo and friends

Similar to the Little Mermaid ride at Magic Kingdom, Epcot has the Finding Nemo ride that makes you feel like you’re going under the sea. The building that houses this attraction has a fun little aquarium for kids to explore so plan to spend some time there.

Turtle Talk with Crush

Another attraction in the Seas building is this interactive experience with talking Crush, the hippie turtle from Finding Nemo. It’s really impressive to see how he actually responds to what the kids say, and he’s hilarious too. Another great example of Disney magic at work.

Hollywood Studios

Frozen Sing Along

Just in case your kiddos didn’t get their Frozen fix at Epcot, there’s the Frozen sing along at Hollywood Studios. Kids love the show, which will have everyone joining in to sing. Have you ever heard of this little tune… what’s it called again?… Let It Go?

Disney Junior Live on Stage

Disney World with preschoolers

This is a can’t-miss show for preschoolers. Join Mickey, Sophia, Jake, and Doc McStuffins in a live stage show with all their hit songs and plenty of surprises like bubbles and gold doubloons falling from the ceiling.

Toy Story Midway Mania

An all-around fun ride for young and old alike! Put on your 3D glasses and get spun around to a series of midway shooting-style games with all the Toy Story characters. You will want a Fastpass for this one as it’s very popular. Heads up: There will surely be other preschool favorites coming to Hollywood Studios soon with the addition of Toy Story Land, coming in the summer of 2018!

Animal Kingdom

Nope, it’s not a zoo. It’s definitely a theme park (and it’s my husband’s favorite!)

The Boneyard

Disney World with preschoolers

Make sure to take the little ones over to Dinoland USA to let them burn off some energy at the Boneyard, a very cool themed play area. In addition to running and climbing, kids can be mini paleontologists by digging up dinosaur remains with their shovel and pail. Do this one early before it heats up too much to be enjoyable.

The Festival of the Lion King

Don’t miss this captivating show with amazing costumes, music, and talented acrobats. It’s definitely a highlight of Animal Kingdom for the younger set who isn’t quite thrilled by the World of Avatar yet.

Kilimanjaro Sarafis

While Animal Kingdom isn’t a zoo, it does have animals. Board your jeep and drive through the terrain on this safari to see animals “on the loose” in their habitats (there are invisible enclosures). The giraffes, elephants, and lions were the highlight for my kids.

In addition to these 20, all ages will enjoy these 5 underrated Disney attractions

These are family favorites that you won’t find on every must-see Disney list.

Plus, 2 can’t miss bonus experiences

Disney World with preschoolers

Schedule some time at your hotel pool!

Parents might cringe at this, but when you ask a preschooler what their favorite part of the Disney World was, most often their answer is the hotel pool! Make sure to take breaks from the parks and let the kids go for a swim. All the Disney resorts have life jackets in various sizes that the kids can use.

And lastly, book a character meal!

There are so many great ones to choose from, I can’t recommend just one. Cinderella’s Royal Table or Akershus if you have princess fans, Chef Mickey’s or Tusker House if you want the classic Mickey characters, Crystal Palace for Winnie the Pooh and the gang… I could go on and on. Just pick one (or more than one) and book it. It’s a great way to get to meet multiple characters without waiting lines, and a fun way to eat a meal if your kids need some entertainment to enjoy a restaurant. Win-win.

If you’re planning to do Disney World with preschoolers, print this checklist to make sure you hit all the attractions they are sure to love!

Disney World with preschoolers

Click here to download and print!