If you’re heading to
Walt Disney Worldin Florida or even just visiting the Orlando area don’t forget to head over to Disney Springs. Sure Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, and the other theme parks are fun but you can visit Disney Springs for free. We’re sharing the best Disney Springs restaurants and what our favorite Disney Springs kids’ menus. Here’s where to eat while checking out shopping, activities and more at Disney Springs.
Beyond Chicken Nuggets: Food for Kids at Disney Springs
When it comes to planning a Disney vacation, one of the first questions my husband asks is, “Where are we going to eat?”
I appreciate his focus. After all, he’s a consummate foodie, always planning dinner while we’re still eating lunch. And I appreciate his excitement – after all,
Until recently, my children didn’t echo his excitement for the Disney meal experience. After all, kids’ menus looked pretty much the same – all chicken nuggets and burgers, hot dogs and mac and cheese. Nothing to get excited about here (especially for our youngest, who is a vegetarian). Given the choice of trying a new restaurant or going on the rides at Disney, park time trumped yet another personal pizza every time.
Times have changed – and so have the children’s menus at Disney. Of course, you’ll still be able to find the old standards. But if your child’s palate has matured beyond grilled cheese and fries, head over to Disney Springs.
Best Disney Springs Restaurants vs. Disney Springs Kids’ Menus
We need to face facts. Sometimes a best restaurants list does absolutely no good if you know your kiddo won’t eat anything on the menu. We love these restaurants because they have great options for adults and offer variety for kids. These best Disney Springs restaurants will cover your adventurous and picky eaters, whether you’re seeking table service restaurants or quick service restaurants.
SheBuysTravel Tip: Don’t forget to check out other fun things to do with families at Disney Springs, like Splitsville, amphicars, and the Lego store.
Disney Springs Neighborhoods
The four “neighborhoods” in this sprawling remake of Downtown Disney offer a surprising variety of menu items. With a variety of dining experiences ranging from high end gourmet to kiosks and food trucks, Disney Springs certainly offers something for everyone. And that includes every kid! Here are our favorite eclectic choices of food for kids at Disney Springs, by area.
SheBuysTravel Tip: Disney Springs restaurants can be part of the Disney Dining Plan. Currently, Disney has not announced a return date for their dining plans.
Best Disney Springs Restaurants: The Marketplace
Let’s face it some of these choices are 100% kids-oriented. They may not be our first choice as adults but your kids will have a blast and there are some standouts on the menu for grown-up tastes.
- The Rainforest Café is an old standard. Come for the atmosphere, stay for the food choices! Kiddie favorites include the Mini Mojo Bones (St. Louis style pork spare ribs); Python pasta, served with a choice of butter, Alfredo or marinara sauce; and Shrimpkens, consisting of a mash-up of popcorn shrimp and chicken nuggets. (Yes, I said chicken nuggets, but at least they were dinosaur-shaped and came with popcorn shrimp!) For grown-ups the salads with an added protein are great choices. In addition, the fish tacos are surprisingly good. Not super hungry? The mozzarella flatbread with arugula is yummy but not so filling it will cause you to drag.
- Similar to the Rainforest, T-Rex is also about motif – this time, a prehistoric one. Dinosaurs surround you and watch your every move. Their kids’ menu is also similar, but there’s the addition of Lava Lasagna. Yum! Kids also go crazy over the T-Rex character cup – a blend of Icee flavors, frozen and served in a souvenir cup. For adults, skip the pricey entrees which are passable but nothing special. The salad section of the menu holds some standouts like the Cobb salad and the surprisingly filling grain bowls.
SheBuysTravel Tip: It’s important to note that both the Rainforest Cafe and T-Rex dining rooms are immersive with loud noises and flashing lights occurring. If you’ve got a nervous or sensitive to noises kiddo this may not be for you. The plus side? Both of these spots are Landry restaurants. Look into Landry Club membership before your visit to jump the line.
The Landing: Best Disney Springs Restaurants
- Irish eyes are smiling at Cookes of Dublin – and your kids will, too, when they see the menu! Along with the regular fare (burgers or chicken tenders – not nuggets! – this time), authentic fish and chips are part of the cuisine offered to kids.
- Morimoto Asia is a signature dining experience, meaning it can get pricey. So, what does famous Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto serve up for the kids? They’ll get to choose from Lo Mein (Cantonese noodles tossed in butter), Menchi Catsu (a panko-fried ground beef patty) and Karaage Drumettes (fried chicken, Japanese style), and fancy ramen among other delicacies.
- Taking the prize for fun eating is Paradiso 37, which is heavy on finger food. Yes, that means hot dogs, mini cheeseburgers and chicken fingers. But it also means chicken or beef crispy corn shell tacos, served with cilantro rice and black beans.
- Want Italian – but the kids want more than pizza? Then try Portobello Country Italian Trattoria. Their extensive kids’ menu includes grilled steak, fresh fish, grilled chicken and spaghetti with a variety of toppings. If you’re specifically looking for pizza we would recommend Terralina. The wood-fired pizzas are delicious and the kids menu is varied and extensive.
- Wine Bar George is a favorite for grown-ups but can you take kids there? If you choose to venture in with kiddos know that the kids menu for lunch and dinner is very basic and regular entrees are pricey. We recommend brunch if you’re bringing kids. Brunch entrees can be split between kids fairly easily and you’re not going to get any complaints about their french toast with caramel sauce. More sophisticated tastes? Definitely try the fried chicken biscuit with pimiento cheese, bacon relish, and a sunny side egg (drool).
More from The Landing
- Best naming of kids’ menu items? The award goes to Raglan Road, a family-friendly Irish pub. After all, what kid can resist foods like Silly Steak (5 ounces of steak, complete with onion ring) or Ham Nom Nom (honey glazed loin of bacon served with colcannon potatoes and savoy cabbage)? Their menu also includes Yummy Risotto, Salmon Savoy and Young Shepherd’s Pie. Are you sure this is a children’s menu? Live music occurs regularly.
- Being from the Jersey shore, I was practically raised on seafood. So naturally, I wanted to try The Boathouse! Yes, they have mac and cheese on the kids’ menu, but they also offer grilled salmon, popcorn shrimp or fried clam strips. And for dessert, how does strawberry kabobs topped with chocolate fudge sauce sound? (It sounds like we need to plan another Disney trip, pronto!). If you’re gluten-free there are some great options here. Paddlefish is another great option for similar food but with a dress code and a more formal feel we’d recommend it when kids aren’t dining with you.
- The kids’ menu is pretty typical at STK Orlando. Think cheeseburgers, mac and cheese and chicken fingers. But a notable exception to the “same old same old” kids’ cuisine is Crispy Mahi Fingers. (Which of course begs the question – do fish have fingers?) Adults will love the classic steakhouse options, along with creative drinks and unique appetizers.
Best Disney Springs Restaurants: Town Center
- A kids’ menu featuring quesadillas, chicken enchiladas and tacos? Point me in the direction of Town Center and Frontera Cocina, where the children’s menu features these Mexican specialties. Celebrity Chef Rick Bayless, host of PBS’ “Mexico: One Plate at a Time,” design his menu with authenticity in mind – and he didn’t forget the kids! Adults will love the margaritas and wide array of entrees.
- For comfort cuisine, you can’t beat Celebrity Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’ Kitchen. It’s just like Grandma’s cooking, if your grandma was a Southern two-time James Beard award winner. Even the kids’ menu is upper crust. Think grilled tenderloin with a side creamy mashed potatoes or fish sticks with momma’s mac and cheese. (Sorry, this cuisine is reserved for the under-12 set!) Adults can explore an extensive moonshine menu, indulge in chicken and donuts, and deliberate between braised short ribs and shrimp and grits.
The West Side: Best Disney Springs Restaurants
- Who doesn’t like a barbecue? That’s what The Smokehouse is all about. And yes, like at all BBQ’s, the offering for kids is heavy on beef hot dogs and baked beans. So why did this make the list? Well, check out their Mini Smoked Pulled Pork Slider especially for the 9 and under set. Now who’s your pit boss? For grown-up tastes check out the Smokehouse Nachos and BBQ Brisket sandwich on a brioche bun.
- Sushi on a kids’ menu? Leave it to the Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill. Kids can choose between California rolls and Crispy Chicken Finger rolls (a gourmet nod to the standard nuggets, no doubt!) If your little prefers her fish cooked, there’s a kid’s salmon on the menu as well.
- Jaleo, a Spanish tapas based restaurant, by celebrity chef Jose Andres is a fun option for adults and children alike. The kids menu offers old standbys like Grilled Cheese and chicken with rice. Spanish favorites like chicken coquetas (fritters) and potato bravas (fried cubes of potato) offer familiar items with more flavor. If you are an adventurous eater definitely check out the tasting menu. At $95/person it is a fun splurge for grown-ups. Two of our writers hit Jaleo on the first night of a girlfriend getaway and raved about the food.
These Disney Springs restaurants didn’t show as much creativity as the others did on their kids’ menu. Still, they are noteworthy for more specific contributions to preteen cuisine. (Meaning: my kids liked this food!)
- Food Trucks Exposition Park (West Side) – there’s no kids’ menu here per se, but kid-sized portions are always available upon request. That means your more adventurous little ones can try a scaled-down dish of lamb kefta at Namaste Café, cheese flatbreads at Superstar Catering, or the rice and bean tacos at World Showcase of Flavors. (My young vegetarian enjoyed the cilantro-lime rice side dish here!)
- Yes, pretzels are usually a snack food. But at Wetzel’s Pretzels (Marketplace and West Side), your hot dog lover can try a cheese dog or pretzel dog, for a new twist on an old favorite.
- Not exactly Disney Springs, but the closest thing to it….the Wyndham Lake Buena Vista offers a Disney character breakfast three mornings a week. Located in easy walking distance to Disney Springs, the breakfast buffet – with real Mickey waffles, an omelet station and a variety of other choices – is one of the best buys in the area. Come late, and make it a brunch!
- The menu at the Planet Hollywood Observatory is standard kids fare at best. But the specialty drinks for kids here are out of this world. Maybe the kids can be bribed to eat one more cheese pizza, if they’re washing it down with a Shooting Star (strawberry puree with pineapple and apple juices) or a Mars Attack (coconut and strawberry puree garnished with fresh blueberries).
Quick Counter Service Options at Disney Springs
Sometimes we’re looking for dining options that are quick service restaurants. Whether it is your patience or the kids’ patience running out these options are still great. They might not be the best restaurants at Disney Springs but they’re solid contenders for a quick meal.
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- Earl of Sandwich is a family favorite not only for the fun sandwich options but also for its proximity to the fountain at Disney Springs. Not feeling like a sandwich? Kids will love their pizza bread option (think french bread pizza). If you’re staying in a Disney Springs area hotel keep in mind that they serve breakfast!
- Morimoto Asia Street Food serves up pan-asian favorites from a street food counter at Morimoto Asia from 12-8pm daily. It’s a great (and affordable) way to try out favorites like Morimoto Baby Ribs, BBQ pork buns, and Chicken Chimaki. You can utilize covered patio seating or order takeout and kids will love trying out the boba tea- it pops!
- Blaze Fast Fire’d Pizza offers table service but we love the ease of grabbing takeout from this Town Center spot. If your party has multiple food allergies or special diets this is your spot. Gluten-free and keto-friendly pizza doughs are available. The pies are 11″ so you can order several to cover different dietary needs or preferences.
- The Daily Poutine is a fun stop for a snack that could double as a meal. Who doesn’t love french fries and cheese?
How adventurous do your little eaters get at Disney? Share your favorites here!