- Trails End at Fort Wilderness. It is a buffet and I have heard the menu has changed. We last ate here in 2008.
- ESPN Club at Boardwalk. Good for sports loving boys/men. There are even TV's in the bathrooms, haha. No reservations required, which is a nice option sometimes.
- Whispering Canyon Cafe at Wilderness Lodge. This is the most kid friendly restaurant I have seen since Chuck E. Cheese. The wait staff is rude (on purpose), ours threw the straws and napkins on the table and slammed the drinks down on the table still on the tray, we had to serve ourselves. You should have seen the looks on the kids faces, priceless. But they do sweet things too, an elderly couple had anniversary buttons on and the waiters had them stand up to slow dance while the entire restaurant sang to them. Make sure your kids ask for ketchup, just to see what happens.
- Sci-Fi Dine in at Hollywood Studios. The food here is very good and it feels like you are at a drive in theater. You even sit in cars. Kids love the old movies on the big screen.
- Garden Grill at Epcot. This is, by far, my favorite character meal. The food is excellent and not a buffet like most character meals. The restaurant rotates slightly so you see different scenery throughout your meal. Request an outer facing booth so your kids can look down and see the ride Living with the Land go right underneath the restaurant. Characters include Mickey, Chip, Dale, and Pluto.
- Crystal Palace at Magic Kingdom. Nothing like breakfast with Winnie the Pooh. We usually book our reservations at the earliest possible. This way you are in the park with the castle right there and NO ONE else will be in your picture :)
We are very picky eaters so we usually go for places that serve chicken, steak, and the like. It is also nice to go someplace to get a $30 steak when you have the dining plan, so you get your moneys worth. When we go during free dining, we found that a free $30 steak tastes the best. I highly recommend the dining plan, whether it is free or not. It makes budgeting so much easier while you are there. It seems simpler that your meals are "paid for" and you can carry less cash. One year I was 3 days into my vacation and the only thing I opened my wallet for was tips. We get the standard plan with 1 counter service meal, 1 table service meal, and 1 snack per day. We balance out the lack of our 3rd meal by ordering breakfast groceries from gardengrocer.com. We don't like heavy breakfasts and it is easier to eat a Pop Tart or granola bar while on the move.
Now on to the restaurants that we will be going to this time.
- Rainforest Cafe in Animal Kingdom. My kids still like Rainforest Cafe's so, why not?
- ESPN Club at Boardwalk. I have told my son that this restaurant will become a tradition for us. Sometimes older boys need a break from all of the princesses. The food is good and the atmosphere is fun.
- Cape May Cafe at Beach Club. We have had breakfast with Minnie Mouse here before but this time we are doing dinner. It is a clam bake with tons of seafood choices. There is also some choices for this land lubber!!
- Chef Mickey at Contemporary resort. We have never been here and I am worried that two 12 year olds and a 9 year old with be too old for this but I didn't have many choices. I had it narrowed down to Chef Mickey and 1900 Park Fare, both character meals. I asked my kids, back in May, which they would prefer, dinner with Cinderella and her step sisters (1900 Park Fare) or dinner with Mickey. They both said Mickey, although the step sisters sounded quite intriguing to Eve.
- Coral Reef at Epcot. Kids love aquariums. This one is huge and you can watch the fish while you eat.
Disney restaurants are important to my kids. They want to know where they will be eating, just as much as they want to know where we will be staying. So, I have made today's countdown gift a restaurant reveal. I have typed up a paper and added some graphics I found online to give to them. Hopefully, this goes well.
I highly recommend allears.net for dining choices. They have menues for all of the restaurants so you can weigh the pro's and cons for each. Make sure you book your dining reservations 180 days in advance. I cannot stress this enough. If you even wait until 170 days some restaurants will be booked. My time for Chef Mickey is 7:45p.m. because I waited until a week or so after my 180 date and all of the earlier times were booked. I had a friend attempt to book Garden Grill at 178 days and the day she wanted was entirely booked.