Buffet dining
  • On Dec 29, 2019
    Kristi from CO Asked Note: This answer was provided prior to the change to planDisney and may still contain references to Disney Parks Moms Panel.

    We are planning our trip for Disney World 4/2020. My husband, myself, two kids (5 &9), and my parents. Staying at the Animal Kingdom Lodge (7 days). Where are the best places to eat and is there a specific day to visit each park that is better?

    Hi Kristi!

    It sounds like you are planning quite the magical trip for your family! We took our girls on their first visit to the Walt Disney World Resort when they were 5-years old and my parents joined us. It was the perfect trip in every way and I am sure yours will be as well!

    Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge is a beautiful resort with lots of fabulous activities for little ones and several great dining options. We still plan several meals at or near the resort - dinner at the resort is especially relaxing after a long day fighting the Dark Side, greeting fellow princess friends or pirating through the parks! So, I would first recommend the dining options at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge. Our favorites are Boma and Sanaa. We love Boma for breakfast and Sanaa for lunch or dinner! On our last visit to Sanaa, we actually did the Dine with an Animal Specialist experience and it was fantastic. If you plan to divide and conquer with different activities for your kids, I think your 9-year old might enjoy it or, it might be a nice adult experience for you and your husband while the kids are enjoying grandparent time. At the end of the meal experience, our girls were able to feed a tortoise! 

    We have tons of other favorite restaurants. Keep in mind that we also consider location in our decision-making. For instance, we love dining at The Crystal Palace in Magic Kingdom for an early morning breakfast because when we do, we almost always get a window table with a gorgeous view of Cinderella Castle. 

    • Magic Kingdom - Be Our Guest Restaurant (dinner), Cinderella's Royal Table, Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe (quick service)
    • Epcot - Coral Reef Restaurant (the aquarium view is awesome), Space 220 (projected to open this winter), Chefs de France, Via Napoli Ristorante e Pizzeria
    • Disney's Hollywood Studios - Hollywood & Vine (breakfast character experience), 50's Prime Time Café
    • Disney's Animal Kingdom - Tusker House Restaurant (breakfast), Yak & Yeti™ Restaurant
    • Disney Springs - Chef Art Smith's Homecomin', The Edison

    Other restaurants that we love include 'Ohana at Disney's Polynesian Village Resort, 1900 Park Fare at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, and Beaches & Cream Soda Shop at Disney's Beach Club Resort. When celebrating my husband's birthday, we love to dine at California Grill during the Happily Ever After fireworks. Prior to every trip, I always make reservations at any restaurant that allows reservations, especially for character dining experiences!

    When making breakfast reservations, I typically make them at 8:00 a.m. so that we are in the park early and have a good chance of getting a window table if those are available. Finally, my family often does dining packages. A few of our favorites have been the Rivers of Light: We Are One Dining Package, the Fantasmic! Dining Package and the Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade Dining Package. 

    Kristi, although I occasionally check online crowd calendars on other sites, I cannot say that there are better days to visit a particular park - just be sure to check the park hours. We tend to avoid Magic Kingdom on the weekend, but on our last visit, we went on Saturday the week prior to Christmas and had a fabulous time! As long as you make dining reservations and Fast Pass+ selections, you should be able to manage the crowds!

    Magic and memories,

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Meet the Panelist: Donyell, North Carolina

Hello from North Carolina! I am a mom of twin girls, wife, and university professor who has been inspired by the creativity of Disney for a lifetime. Since my first Disney visit when I was 12-years-old, I have been drawn to the adventures crafted by Disney Imagineers. Planning Disney vacations helps connect me to families who will find in Disney the kind of joy my family has experienced over the years. Allow me to help you map your own Disney journey so that you, too can create the memories of a lifetime! Learn More About Donyell

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