Last Updated on January 20, 2024 by Allison Lancaster
Going to Walt Disney World with a picky eater comes with some additional challenges. While most places in Walt Disney World serve great options in foods that please even the pickiest eaters, it can still be a lot of work managing different appetites and trying to make sure everybody is happy. Here are some of the best ways to take your vacation to Disney World with a picky eater.
Do you have one of those picky eaters that would prefer to live off chicken nuggets, chicken strips, macaroni and cheese, and other easy snack-like foods? If your child is the kind that doesn’t find the kids menu appealing, or you are dealing with some food allergies, you know how eating out can be. it’s even harder when you are on vacation. Finding allergy-friendly menus isn’t always easy at counter-service restaurants or quick-service restaurants.
That doesn’t mean that you can’t have a family vacation at your favorite Walt Disney World resort. We have some ideas of good options for you to enjoy your time at the theme park without the stress of new foods putting a damper on your family’s moods. You DO have a variety of options, some will just need some prior planning for delicious food and a great time to be had by all.
Plan Meals that Present More Food Options
Walt Disney World is reopening a lot of its buffets and these restaurants have always been a great option for doing Walt Disney World with a picky eater. Just think of all of the food options available and how customization every plate is. Kids will have no shortage of safe foods to choose from while other more adventurous eaters can have an enjoyable meal as well. Buffets even more than other restaurants are famously good at appealing to anybody. The only caveat is the cover. You pay upfront for all-you-can-eat meals regardless of how much you eat inside.
Kids under 10 cost less than adults, but are still really expensive, so if they aren’t going to eat much of anything, the value may not be there. Still, it is a good option to make sure they get at least some good food on their plate without having to make all kinds of customizations like you might at a table service locations.
Breakfast buffets are pretty crowd-pleasing even with the pickiest eaters. Leveraging the size of a hearty breakfast can be a great way to have picky eaters eat more and not need as much food at the next meal. If everybody fills up on a large all-you-can-eat breakfast, it could amount to savings in the form of skipped meals and snacks later on.
Plan Low Stakes Quick Service Meals
Quick-service meals are the other great way to go for a couple of reasons. Quick-service restaurants tend to have better menu items for pickier eaters anyway. The freedom to share entrees, the lower cost, and time-saving capabilities of quick service are all other great reasons to opt for the faster, cheaper choice.
Quick-service restaurants don’t restrict the kids’ menu the way that table-service restaurants do. That means that even adult picky eaters can benefit from the less exotic kids’ menu offerings like chicken fingers and mac and cheese.
If a platter comes with additional things a picky eater won’t enjoy, there is more freedom to share the food in a quick service environment. This comes in handy when the rest of your party agrees on going somewhere more unique that doesn’t serve hot dogs and burgers with french fries that you can find almost anywhere else.
If pickiness is due to a dietary restriction, such as a peanut butter allergy, that is one exception that warrants reservations at a table service restaurant. If you have special dietary requests a table service restaurant is better equipped to manage your needs and make sure your dietary requests are strictly met.
It’s a good idea to note your allergy information when you make your reservation so that they will be prepared to speak with you about possible adjustments to dishes or other necessary changes. If you miss the opportunity to do so in advance, you can still mention it to your server and they will be able to bring somebody out to address your dietary concerns.
This makes this family-style meal dining a fantastic choice overall, as YOU are in control. That’s the good news. The bad news is that it may be a bit more pricey.
Bring Pre-Approved Snacks
This is something you should always do regardless of picky or non-picky eaters. This may seem like a backup plan or safety net, but it’s good practice to always make sure you have some food for a variety of reasons.
For one thing, bringing your own snacks is great for adhering to special diets. They are also good in a pinch if you are hungry and you can’t find a place to eat due to either crowding or location. Bringing along familiar food items assures that everybody has something that they will eat. This is also a time and money saver in the Magic Kingdom.
Disney food such as a Dole Whip, or even frozen bananas can also be enjoyed along the way with your own food. This will also allow you to keep your picky eaters happy, but still enjoy some of the new things to eat.
Preview Menus While You Plan Your Trip
No matter where you decide to eat or what your plan is, It’s always a smart idea to preview all the menus. This not only helps you decide where to go on each day of your vacation, but it also helps when you determine what meals each person is likely to get.
It helps with the food budget and it helps get a sense of what restaurants will work and which ones won’t when visiting Disney World with a picky eater. The menus online and on the app show all of the allergy menus for common allergens. This indispensable tool will save you lots of time and help ensure you pick the very best places for your party to eat throughout your trip.
So, while enjoying your time visiting Disney, you still have options for everyone to eat. What other suggestions would you add? Don’t forget that picture with Mickey Mouse for a great memory later!