Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to take your tween/teen to Walt Disney World and insure that you both will have a magical vacation. In true Mission: Impossible style, any vacation with a teenager or tween can be a challenge. Couple that with early mornings at Walt Disney World, and you can end up with a very moody kid on your hands. But, teenagers love to eat, so take a look at these 8 great options for dining and you will surely turn things around in your favor.
8. Trail’s End, Fort Wilderness Campground
A relaxing boat ride across Bay Lake from the Magic Kingdom transports you into an entirely different atmosphere at Fort Wilderness Campground. Teens and Tweens can get some down time here as you visit Trail’s End Restaurant. Trail’s End is an all-you-care-to-eat buffet featuring comfort foods like fried chicken, ribs and all of the fixins’. Hungry teens (and picky eaters) are sure to find their fill here of delicious food . . . it would be hard to walk away from this restaurant feeling hungry. And while you are at Fort Wilderness take a little while to explore all it has to offer: visit the stables, check out the store, sit on the beach, or visit Chip & Dale’s Campfire Sing-Along after dinner (even teenagers can succumb to some Disney magic & fun).
7. Splitsville, Disney Springs
How about some fun and competition with your meal? Splitsville at Disney Springs offers both! Located in Disney Springs, Splitsville is fun to visit for lunch or dinner and add a round or two of bowling to your meal. The food here is really good and there are a lot of choices, many of which you wouldn’t typically associate with a bowling alley. Teens and Tweens will find lots of their favorites on the menu like pizza and burgers, but more adventurous eaters will enjoy the sushi, grilled salmon or Kimchee fried rice. This is a great spot for a “break” day, or a rainy day activity—my family of teenage boys loves to visit Splitsville.
6. Boma, Animal Kingdom Lodge
I added Boma at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge to the list because it offers a chance for Teens and Tweens to sample some more exotic or adventurous foods in a “safe” way because there are also tried & true favorites on the buffet. So if they try something new (like Pap & Chakalaka or Fufu) and don’t like it, they can just go back up and get familiar foods (like slow roasted pork ribs or mac & cheese). You don’t have to worry about them leaving hungry (and begging for a cheeseburger later) because they didn’t like any of the offerings. I also love to visit the Animal Kingdom Lodge because it is such a unique and beautiful resort. Teens may enjoy walking around and looking at all of the art and artifacts from Africa that fill the lobby and hallways, and of course you want to venture outside to take a look at the animals on the safari. If it is after dark see if they are offering the night vision animal viewing activity on one of the savannas.
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5. D-Luxe Burger, Disney Springs
I think it is safe to say that most teenagers like burgers and fries. And at Walt Disney World you won’t find a better burger than those served at D-Luxe Burger at Disney Springs. These burgers are massive and come with creative toppings options like the Southern Burger with pimento cheese and a fried green tomato or the El Diablo Burger with fried banana peppers, pepper jack and chipotle mayo. Or, if you prefer it plain there is a classic burger. The fresh cut fries are served with a variety of dipping sauces like Garlic Ranch or Curry Ketchup. Then there are the artisan milkshakes. Yumm! This seems like the perfect place to take a hungry teen or tween while at Disney Springs.
4. ‘Ohana, Polynesian Village Resort
Dinner at ‘Ohana has long been a fan favorite at Walt Disney World. With delicious sides (to me it is all about the sides) like Coconut Bread, Pork Dumplings, Chicken Wings, Teriyaki Noodles and Stir-fried Vegetables most teens and tweens can find a thing or 5 that they like. Then for the main course there is unlimited meat brought to the table on skewers which is both fun and mouth-watering. Shrimp, Chicken and Beef are offered, so even pickier teens can find something they like. But leave room for dessert—the Bread Pudding with Ice Cream is the perfect finishing touch. Like Animal Kingdom Lodge, the Polynesian Village Resort is another one that teens and tweens will enjoy exploring from the shops in the lobby to the beach with a perfect view of Cinderella Castle. And it is just a quick monorail ride away from Magic Kingdom.
3. Sci-Fi Dine In Theater, Disney’s Hollywood Studios
I can’t think of many restaurants that are better themed or more fun to dine in than the Sci Fi Dine In Theater. As soon as you walk in to this soundstage you are transported back to the 1950s where you sit in stylized cars to dine while you want “horror” movies from the time period on the big screen. All around you it looks like you are outside at night with great lighting effects and stage decoration. I just love eating here, and I have since I was a teenager. The menu is pretty teen friendly too with burgers, a cheese steak sandwich, and pasta options. Creative desserts like a warm glazed doughnut, house made candy bar, S’mores brownie or a hot fudge sundae are the perfect ending to the meal. And don’t forget the milkshakes! No 1950s trip to the drive in is complete without one (& these are delicious).
2. Whispering Canyon Café, Wilderness Lodge
Whether you are staying at the Wilderness Lodge, or looking for a good meal while you are at the Magic Kingdom, Whispering Canyon Café is a great place for teens and tweens. Here you will find some crazy servers who have all kinds of antics and hijinks up their sleeves to make your meal as rambunctious as you won’t (don’t worry, if you are not interested in taking part in the commotion you can let your server know and they will keep in low key). Teens will love the bottomless milkshakes and taking part in some of the jokes from requesting straws or ketchup. Whispering Canyon Café offers a menu that teens and tweens will enjoy featuring an all-you-care-to-eat skillet that includes barbecued pork, smoked brisket, roasted chicken, mashed potatoes, corn, cornbread, baked beans and more.
1. Via Napoli, Epcot’s Italy
It would be pretty hard to find a teenager who didn’t like pizza. I know it is a favorite around our house, and almost every visit to Walt Disney World we make a reservation at Via Napoli in Epcot’s Italy pavilion. This is not your everyday pizza here. The chefs use imported ingredients to make their delicious pies in authentic Napoletana style as you would find in Italy. And the wood-fired ovens make sure that your crust is crispy. The ovens themselves are part of the appeal of the restaurant—made to look like faces and named after Italy’s volcanoes (Stromboli, Vesuvius, & Etna). From most seats in the restaurant you can see the fire glowing in their “mouths” as the pizzas are baked. Via Napoli offers other great menu item as well like Chicken Parmesan and appetizers like Arancini. But ordering the Mezzo Metro pizza for the table to share and watching your teens face as they bring a humongous ½ meter pizza to the table is priceless.
What are your top restaurant picks for teens & tweens?