For many Disney fans, part of a great experience at Walt Disney World is the dining! While there are numerous restaurant options available throughout the parks and resorts, family style dining is the winner on my vacations. While family style dining is a great option for all types of travel parties, it works particularly well for families with young children. As my family includes a three-year old daughter, family style dining has won us over! Here’s why:
The service style: With family style meals, servers bring platters of food to your table. There’s no ordering from a menu or waiting for your menu item to be prepared, so service is quick. When you have hungry kids (or adults) at your table, this is a huge benefit. You can ask for additional servings of any of the food provided, so come hungry!
Sit back and relax: When you eat at a buffet, dining isn’t relaxing. Between everyone going to and from the buffet, this can make your meal feel a bit harried. Family style dining is relaxed, as the food comes right to you…and characters (when offered) too! This is one of the reasons the Garden Grill restaurant in Epcot’s The Land pavilion is a family favorite. You don’t have to worry that you’ll miss seeing a character while you’re up at the buffet because you can just sit back and wait for them to greet you at your table.
The food: While the family style dining menus vary by location, in general, the menus for these restaurants are crowd pleasing foods. Picky eaters can be placated at these establishments, and you can always order more of the items you love.
Of the family style restaurants at Walt Disney World, these are my favorites:
‘Ohana at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort: Dinner is particularly fantastic, featuring delicious Polynesian style cuisine and skewers of meat and shrimp. ‘Ohana has a fun atmosphere in the evening and some tables offer a view of the fireworks, too! Breakfast is served family style, and you can meet Mickey, Lilo, and Stitch here.
Liberty Tree Tavern at the Magic Kingdom: Surround yourself with colonial atmosphere and enjoy a classic American Thanksgiving-type meal: turkey, mashed potatoes with gravy, green beans, and macaroni and cheese! Dessert is to die for.
Garden Grill at Epcot: This restaurant rotates slowly throughout your meal, providing a cool view into the Living with the Land boat ride. Comfort food classics are served here, and some of the food for your meal comes right of out of The Land’s greenhouse! Greet Mickey, Pluto, Chip, and Dale while you dine here.
Next time you’re making your dining reservations, consider adding a family style meal to your itinerary! I promise you won’t regret it.