Here’s our final installment in this series on dining with teenagers, t’weens, and older kids at the Walt Disney World Resort.
You aren’t limited to restaurants in the parks – Disney has several great choices at the various resort hotels and you don’t need a park ticket to access these locations. Anyone is welcome to dine at these restaurants whether you’re staying at the resort or not.
- Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge ~ Boma. This buffet features African influenced foods in a unique setting. We consider this restaurant the perfect way to end a day at the Animal Kingdom Theme Park because the hotel is so beautifully decorated and has its own Savannah area with animals.
- Disney’s Beach Club Resort ~ Beaches & Cream. This is a tiny restaurant designed to resemble and old fashioned soda shop. They mostly serve burgers but the ice-cream desserts (Banana Splits, Sundaes, Milkshakes etc) are the selling point here. The whole family may want to dive into the Kitchen Sink (about $22) which has scoops of many different flavors of ice cream with every topping imaginable. It is served in a sink shaped bowl and has even been featured on the Travel Channel.
- Disney’s Boardwalk Hotel ~ ESPN Club. This is a sports bar type setting with soups, salads, and sandwiches on the menu. The décor and memorabilia will appeal to sports fans. No advance reservations available.
- Disney’s Contemporary Resort ~ California Grill. This is an upscale choice with entrees ranging from $20 – $36. This is definitely a “special occasion” location and it has a “Resort Casual” dress code (no tank tops etc.). The California Grill is at the top of the Contemporary hotel and offers fantastic views of the Magic Kingdom. We list this on the “Dining for Teens” page because the restaurant has its own observation deck which makes dinner during the Magic Kingdom fireworks very special.
- Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground ~ Hoop Dee Doo Musical Revue. I really debated about adding this location to the list because the Western themed dinner show will make many teens roll their eyes. Teens can have very strong opinions about their music but this is an incredibly popular dinner show that is a lot of fun. Use your best judgment about your own teen.
- Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort ~ Garden View Tea Room. Tea is served from 2:00 – 6:00 p.m. and can be a memorable and elegant experience for girls who enjoy this type of experience. Tea & Scones will cost about $11 but other more elaborate options are available and you can spend up to $25.50 per person (plus tax & gratuity).
- Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort ~ Grand Floridian Café. Here’s another location that almost did not make this list. However, this restaurant can be a great choice for girls who enjoy lovely settings. The hotel is beautiful and the restaurant is elegant without being pretentious. Taking the monorail over from the Magic Kingdom makes the arrival special too. This is a great choice for Grandmother / Granddaughter or Mother/Daughter lunches.
- Disney’s Polynesian Resort ~ ‘Ohana. Dinner at ‘Ohana is one of our family favorites. The meal has a fixed menu served family style. Pork, beef, and chicken are cooked over fires and brought to the table on long skewers. The food gets mixed reviews and some teens might be put off by the activities geared towards little kids (hula hoop contests, limbo contest) etc. This is one of those locations that you either love or hate, there doesn’t seem to be much middle ground.
- Disney’s Polynesian Resort ~ Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show at Luau Cove. The Disney Luau makes the list because it is very popular. In our opinion, you should skip this if you ever plan to go to Hawaii. Do a luau there instead. But this dinner show is worth seeing if you don’t know when you might get to Hawaii and if you think your teen will enjoy Hawaiian music and dance.
- Disney’s Wilderness Lodge ~ Whispering Canyon Café. This is a rambunctious restaurant with a western theme that is always popular. The food is hearty and good and the waiters are obnoxiously fun. There will be hobby horse races for little kids but most older kids will have fun with the theme. We consider this an “Arrival Night” or Water Park Day option because the rowdy atmosphere can be overwhelming after a day at the theme parks.
- Disney’s Wilderness Lodge ~ Dinner with an Imagineer at Artist Point. We’ve already mentioned Lunch with an Imagineer offered at Disney-Hollywood Studios. Like lunch, this is a very expensive experience and completely worth every penny. “Imagineers” are the men and women who innovate and invent all the wonders you see around you and the chance to have dinner with one and hear about how the parks and attractions were created is an amazing experience. Dinner is at the Artist Point restaurant which is very good. Dinner is only offered at 5:30, every other Thursday. Because there is room for up to eight guests per table, you might be seated with other parties. Although young children aren’t prohibited, this experience is really only recommended for ages 14 and up. It can only be booked 30 days in advance. The meal is $99 for guest aged 10 and older or $120 with wine parings for adults. Each guest will receive a special souvenir to commemorate the occasion.
A Few Final Thoughts
One of the great things about having older kids is that they can help with the planning – ask them to look over this series and to tell you what types of meals interest them. It’ll be a lot easier than trying to guess what they will enjoy.
Keep in mind that these articles don’t include every restaurant on Disney property; we’ve focused on the ones that are fun or a neat dining experience. There are other restaurants that are simply good WDW restaurants; for example, your family may love a nice seafood meal when on vacation – we didn’t included Narcoosees on this list but that might be the best choice for you. Narcoosees is upscale and very good; it just isn’t an obvious first choice when feeding teens.