I don’t have kids yet, but when I do, I know I’m going to be even happier to call Orlando home. Not only are there approximately a zillion family-friendly things to do in the City Beautiful, but most restaurants here—even the upscale ones—welcome children with open arms. After all, the Orlando area is one of the top family travel destinations in the world, and after families hit the theme parks, they need somewhere to eat. Of course some restaurants are geared very specifically toward children—especially those with Disney-character dining experiences—but even the nicest hotels and restaurants in town make room for kids. For example, at Capa, the brand-new upscale restaurant at the luxurious Four Season Resort Orlando, the atmosphere is decidedly sophisticated, but children are welcome and can order from their own special menu. Also, remember that when you’re in Orlando, you can count on most places near the theme parks, as well as within the parks themselves, having an open-door policy for kids.
Conveniently located in the Downtown Disney Marketplace, this expansive restaurant is a must-see for dinosaur-loving kids. Huge animatronic dinos—including a 15-foot Tyrannosaurus Rex—watch over the various themed rooms, and a meteor shower every 20 minutes keeps things interesting. The super kid-friendly menu even includes including dino-shaped chicken nuggets!
With two locations—one at the Downtown Disney Marketplace and one just outside Disney’s Animal Kingdom—this popular national chain offer plenty to looks at, including animatronic animals, rainforest thunderstorms, and huge tanks of brightly-colored tropical fish. There are plenty of yummy menu choices for kids (and adult-pleasing dishes, too).
Antojitos Authentic Mexican Food
This CityWalk spot is a great choice for kids (as long as you come before 9 p.m., when CityWalk begins to morph into an adult-oriented party spot). Inside, the restaurant is one big fiesta with a lively mariachi band and colorful décor—plenty to keep kids entertained. There’s a kids menu, and you can also ask for guacamole to be prepared tableside, which is fun to watch.
Does your family like to bowl? If so, reserve a lane at Downtown Disney’s Splitsville and grab dinner right there while you play. There’s a nice kids menu (grilled cheese, pizza) and drinks available in fun souvenir cups; more adult-friendly dishes include crab Rangoon, French dip sandwiches, and a good selection of on-tap beers.
Boma: Flavors of Africa
Come to this expansive buffet at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge and stay for a leisurely walk around the property, which is home to more than 30 species of African wildlife. There are plenty of standard kid-friendly food options, but this is also a great opportunity to expose your kids to African-inspired dishes from the buffet spread.