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Sit down meals at Disney World, (or table service meals as Disney calls them), are awesome. They offer good food, fully themed atmospheres, and a much-needed break from the hustle and bustle of the theme parks. These meals are one of our favorite parts of being at Disney World. Yet, many people skip all table service meals because they don’t think their kids can sit through a long meal unless there are characters. This is a shame because Disney World, including most of the restaurants, are designed with families in mind. Many of these restaurants have some sort of entertainment to keep kids busy while parents enjoy relaxing with some decent food. Here are the best restaurants for kids at Disney World without characters.
The first restaurant on my list is ‘Ohana, which is a great family-friendly restaurant. It is our favorite restaurant of all time. We eat here every trip. And we have never had a bad meal here. You will find ‘Ohana in the Polynesian Resort. You can get there by monorail, boat, or bus. The word “ohana” means family, and this restaurant is the definition of family-friendly.
The all-you-can-eat meals here are served family-style, with the exception of a variety of meats, which are brought around on large skewers. The food here is delicious! But, be sure to leave room for dessert because it is the best part of the meal: bread pudding with a bananas foster caramel sauce and ice cream. ‘Ohana will also make a separate kid-friendly meal for your children if they don’t like the food typically served. Just ask your waiter. ‘Ohana offers a character breakfast, but is character-free during dinner.
The atmosphere in ‘Ohana is somewhat loud, which is great when you have children who tend to be loud themselves. And don’t worry if your child can’t stay in his seat. Here, kids are encouraged to get up and participate in the entertainment. A Polynesian entertainer sings and leads diners in a variety of games including limbo, coconut races, and hula dancing. Kids always have a blast participating.
‘Ohana has the added benefit of location. It is on the second floor of the Polynesian’s Grand Ceremonial House with large picture windows overlooking the Seven Seas Lagoon. If you are seated by the windows, you can enjoy views of the lagoon, Cinderella Castle, and Space Mountain. During one trip, my son spent the entire meal at ‘Ohana looking at the castle and talking about going to see Mickey Mouse.
Teppan Edo is located in the Japan pavilion of Epcot’s World Showcase. It is a hibachi-style restaurant where you are seated around a grill. Your chef prepares your meal at the table grill right in front of your eyes. Kids love watching the fun tricks the chefs perform while cooking. Because the tables only seat 8 and each has its own chef, your children will have constant entertainment during the meal, which will keep them engaged even if the meal runs long. And while this is a Japanese restaurant, the food is basic enough that even picky eaters are sure to find something they will eat here. My son, who is super picky, loved eating here and quickly added it to his list of favorite restaurants.
You will find Coral Reef in The Seas pavilion in Epcot. While this restaurant serves primarily seafood, they do have a steak on the menu. If you have some people in your party that love seafood and some that hate it, this is a good compromise. For kids, they also have mac and cheese and chicken on the menu. We really enjoy the food here as well.
Coral Reef is quiet and relaxing, with dim lighting. The biggest draw of Coral Reef, and the main reason it is on this list, is the aquarium. One entire wall of the restaurant is made up of windows into the large tank. All of the tables are arranged with a view into the tank. There are fish guides on each table so your family can identify each of the fish they spot. You will also, at times, see divers inside the tank. Sometimes, they will come over and wave to diners. Children of all ages love the aquarium. It should keep your kids’ attention long enough for you to finish your meal at a leisurely pace.
Enjoying a nice sit down meal is difficult when you have small children. This is especially true when they know that there are rides and other attractions waiting for them right outside. However, most parents need this small amount of down time to relax while at Disney World. I hope these three restaurants, which are the best restaurants for kids at Disney World without characters will help your family to find a nice balance between your need for some relaxation and your kids’ need for entertainment and fun. To see menus for these and other Disney World restaurants, visit allears.net. Please try them out and then come back and let me know what you think! For more on Disney dining, see my posts on Disney Dining Plan, tips on using it, how to save money on food at Disney, best character meals for boys, and a list of all character meals. Happy travels!