Home » 5 Time-Honored Strategies to Deal With Picky Eaters at Walt Disney World

    5 Time-Honored Strategies to Deal With Picky Eaters at Walt Disney World

    50s Prime Time Cafe

    Handling any vacation is tricky with a picky eater in your party. Though Walt Disney World is an extremely kid-friendly location, it helps to know your options before you arrive so you’re prepared to keep family fights to a minimum and help picky eaters stay comfortable throughout your visit.

    Look to the kids menu

    50s Prime Time Cafe

    Walt Disney World is designed to cater to families, so you’ll find a kids menu at nearly every dining location. These menus typically feature “kid foods” that are popular picks among younger visitors. At 50’s Prime Time Café, you’ll find Grandma’s Macaroni and Cheese and Aunt Betty’s Chicken Nuggets awaiting kids. Though Animal Kingdom’s Flame Tree Barbecue focuses on smoked meats, the kids menu features a simple baked chicken drumstick or hot dog.

    If you have a picky eater in your party, always check out the kids menu for fare that they’ll enjoy. The kids menu is technically reserved for children age 9 and younger. However, at counter service restaurants it’s not uncommon to walk up and order while the rest of your party is already seated elsewhere, making it impossible to verify children’s ages.

    Even at table service locations where the server may have the opportunity to ask how old your children are, you can often get away with ordering from the kids menu for an older child if needed. Jodie from the Disney Parks Mom Panel reported that servers were always very accommodating, often providing options such as an adult-size portion of a kids menu item to help picky eaters.

    Check out Mickey Check Meals 


    Uncrustables are a popular Mickey Check Meal pick
    Image: Austin Kirk, Flickr (license)

    Mickey Check Meals are Disney’s latest innovation for helping to ensure the health and wellness of its youngest visitors. Mickey Check meals adhere to the Disney Nutrition Guidelines Criteria. This criteria addresses:

    • Appropriate limits for unhealthy nutrients such as sugar, sodium, trans fat, and saturated fat
    • Kid-appropriate calorie counts
    • Nutritious inclusions such as fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and low-fat dairy

    Mickey Check Meals are the healthiest option on the menu, but they don’t always cater to picky eaters. One of the most accommodating Mickey Check Meals is the Smuckers Uncrustables meal available at many counter service restaurants. This includes an Uncrustables sandwich, Dannon Danimals Smoothie, GoGo squeeze, and milk or water.

    At table service restaurants, Mickey Check Meals are often more similar to the adult dishes. For example, Tony’s Town Square offers Spaghetti and Turkey Meatballs with salad and sliced apples. If you’re getting breakfast at the Wilderness Lodge’s Whispering Canyon, the Mickey Check Meal is a Spinach and Tomato Omelet with fruit and Goldfish Honey-Wheat Toast.

    Pack reliable eats 


    Image: Joe Hall, Flickr (license)

    Don’t forget that Walt Disney World allows you to bring your own food and drinks into the park. If you have picky eaters who will likely turn their noses up at what’s on the menu, consider bringing your own bites along. You can pack your own Uncrustables for a fraction of what you’ll pay in the park. Fruit, crackers, and cheese sticks are easy to pack as well.

    Stashing a small soft cooler in the bottom of your stroller can save you many a tantrum if you have small children who are particular about what they’ll eat. Even if you have to Uber it to a local grocery store to pick up staples, this can offer a cheaper and more convenient option than trying to force mealtime in a restaurant.

    Go buffet style for special meals 

    Buffet at Chef Mickey's

    Kid-friendly foods at Chef Mickey’s
    Image: danuv, Flickr (license)

    If you’re going to splurge on a sit-down meal, consider hitting a buffet to appease picky eaters. Buffet-style meals give you a chance to taste everything and turn down whatever you don’t like. Disney’s buffets almost always include a kid-friendly section with options like Mickey waffles and scrambled eggs for breakfast, or pizza, chicken nuggets, and macaroni and cheese for lunch and dinner.

    If your children are occasionally willing to try new things, or are inconsistent with what they’ll eat on a given day, a buffet will give you the chance to serve up something special with the back-up option of allowing them to pick favorites that they’re more familiar with on their second trip to the buffet.

    Check menus before you go 


    Image: Josh Hallett, Flickr (license)

    One of the most convenient features of the Walt Disney World website is its full inclusion of menus. You can look up the current menu offerings for any dining location on property. Get to know the options available throughout the parks before you go, so you’re not left wandering aimlessly with an empty belly.

    There are many locations that serve up favorites as their main feature so you don’t have to worry about special menus. Casey’s Corner at Magic Kingdom is all about hot dogs. At Animal Kingdom’s Pizzafari, the regular menu includes a selection of flatbreads, including a simple cheese version.

    You should also be aware of restaurants that don’t offer typical kids meals. These are particularly prevalent in Epcot’s World Showcase. Here, the kids menu is usually as culturally appropriate as everything else at the restaurant. At the Lotus Blossom Café, kids can choose from sweet-and-sour chicken or potstickers & spring rolls. Monsieur Paul serves a roasted chicken breast, breaded red snapper, or filet mignon grille for children. Know your dining options well so you don’t sit down to a dinner reservation only to find there’s nothing for your kids on the menu.

    With a little planning and research, you can plan an easy-going vacation where everyone stays fed, no matter how particular their preferences at Walt Disney World.