Many of us have been there — you’re trying to plan the best and most delicious vacation, but when it comes to Disney Kids’ Meals, the options can seem pretty ho-hum at first glance.
But there’s more to eating with small fry in Disney World than meets the eye! We first told you about Unique Kids’ Meals a while back in a Tip from the DFB Guide.
But times marches on, and menus evolve. And since we first visited the subject, Disney has committed to offering guests healthier eating options — and that includes Kids’ Meal reforms. We’ve fully updated the DFB Guide again this year, and I thought it was the perfect time to revisit Unique Kids’ Meals at Walt Disney World!
Mickey Check Meals
We can’t begin to discuss Disney World Kids’ Meals without at least touching on the biggest change to come to children’s menus in the history of the Resort. We’re talking about Mickey Check Meals.
Part of the Disney Magic of Healthy Living Initiative, the meals are designated on Disney restaurant menus with the “Mickey Check” Symbol. Meals earning the Mickey Check meet the Disney Nutrition Guidelines and limit the amount of sodium, sugar, and saturated and trans fats. In addition, they must also include at least three of the following:
- fruits and vegetables,
- low-fat dairy,
- whole grains, and/or
- lean protein, beans, eggs, and/or nuts.
So what’s the bottom line? The guidelines have certainly challenged Disney chefs to come up with some interesting meals as a result.
But how do they taste? Wellllll…my jury is still out on that one. While I commend Disney for offering healthier options to guests who are in search of them, the Disney Check Meals that I’ve seen and tasted personally…let’s just say they have a long way to go before taste catches up with the requirements.
A la Carte and Appetizers as Kids’ Meals
If you aren’t using a Disney Dining Plan, then another great idea for a Unique Kids’ Meal option is to order a la carte sides or appetizers instead of something from the Kids’ Menu.
This strategy works great for a couple of different reasons. Even with all of the improvements to kids’ meals across the parks and resorts, some Disney restaurants lag behind a bit, and the options can be a little, well, boring. After all, you can only eat Chicken Nuggets so many times. So it’s a great way to get your young, adventurous eater something tastier and more satisfying.
It’s also a great idea when kids aren’t hungry enough to do a full meal justice. After all, a day of Disney Parks usually means, meal, snack, meal, treat, snack, meal! (Oh, and don’t forget special drinks!) The chances of getting to meal time with a not-so-hungry kid in tow are pretty excellent.
Some More Interesting Kids’ Meal Menu Options
But where does this leave us when it comes to actual Kids’ Menu meals? Well, there are some pretty good options — especially in the realm of table service restaurants.
If Junior has carnivore tendencies, check out the St. Louis Style Pork Ribs at Rainforest Cafe. (Check out our review of the ribs as part of an adult entree here.) For kiddos with vegetarian leanings, I love the option of a half-size Grilled Vegetable Sandwich at Studio Catering Company. (I review the same sandwich at Backlot Express in this post.)
Raglan Road Irish Pub at Downtown Disney offers a kids’ version of their popular Dalkey Duo — Battered Sausages with a Creamy Mustard Sauce for dipping.
And don’t forget dessert! Some of the most creative sweet endings at Disney restaurants are found on Kids’ Menus. The Spaghetti and Meatball Cupcake at Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano is a showstopper!
Seriously. Grab your own serving on this one. Your kid isn’t gonna wanna share.
Ready for All of Our Best Tips?
We’ve got TONS of Disney World Dining Tips — including great information for scoring healthier eats for you and your kiddos — in our big, bold, 490-page DFB Guide to Walt Disney World® Dining 2015 — and the guide is your ticket to planning your best Disney trip yet!
The DFB Guide to Walt Disney World® Dining 2015 is full of tips and planning tools developed by Disney World experts over 20+ years of visits. We’ve done the research for you, so you’ll know just which spots will uniquely suit your family’s needs!
With sample dining itineraries, plus our “Disney Dining at a Glance” section, featuring “Where Can I Find?” options, you’ll have everything you need to plan the best vacation ever. Click here to get your copy of The DFB Guide to Walt Disney World® Dining 2015 E-book — and use code 2015 for an extra $4 discount for a limited time!
Now let’s hear from all of you! What are your best tips for providing kids with interesting eats around Walt Disney World? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts!