/ Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

Please welcome to the blog Paul Cyopick.  Paul hails from Toronto, Canada, and is a widowed dad to three great kids; son Brendan (11), and twin girls Jessica and Ciara (7). A former leukemia reseracher turned IT professional, Paul enjoys watching Toronto sports teams, podcasts, and keeping up with technology. Life for the Cyopick family is what happens in between Walt Disney World trips.

If there ever was a “Louism”, it’s that it always comes back to food. As a widowed dad of three great kids, Brendan 11, Jessica 8 and Ciara 8 (yes twins), I’m the one planning (with the kids’ help) all aspects of our next WDW trip, including where we’re eating each day. While some children are happy eating chicken nuggets, burgers and macaroni and cheese all week, my kids are on the more adventurous side, and as such, like variety in their meals. Here are our best “nugget-free” kids meals, both quick service and table service (buffets, signature restaurants and those not on Disney dining plan excluded).

Magic Kingdom

Best Table Service
: Tony’s Town Square

While the ever popular chicken nuggets are still available, who doesn’t love a nice serving of Mickey-Shaped Raviolis? If a larger portion size is needed, I’d suggest the traditional spaghetti and meatballs (with added grated cheese). Other options (that we haven’t tried) include a multi-grain pasta and a cheeseburger calzone.

Best Counter Service: Casey’s Corner

I’m not sure why, but don’t hot dogs from Casey’s taste a thousand times better than hot dogs from anywhere else? Must be the pixie dust in the kitchen. Better still, if you’re on the Disney Dining plan, a kid’s meal gets you the same as an adult’s meal here, with a brownie or Cracker Jack for dessert and a drink. An added bonus is the people watching factor from a table outside the restaurant.

Animal Kingdom

Best Table Service: Yak and Yeti

We chose Yak and Yeti on the advice of a friend, and weren’t disappointed.One of my girls chose the vegetable lo mein as their main dish, the other chose the egg roll, then they traded half to each other, with chicken fried rice as their side dish. Ice cream sundaes were a nice treat on a hot day. Other main dish options include a mini burger or chicken bites. Carrots, apple sauce or Jello are other side options.

Best Counter Service: Flame Tree BBQ

By far the best counter service for adults, and not too shabby for kids either. Large baked chicken drum sticks or hot dogs, with the sides a choice of carrots, grapes, apple sauce or Jello. As with Casey’s Corner, the view from the tables is outstanding.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Best Table Service: Mamma Melrose

While both Sci-Fi diner and 50’s prime time top the list for atmosphere, nothing beats Mamma Melrose for its huge portions and home made style Italian cuisine. The chicken parmesan is amazing, or the penne alfredo (topped of course with more freshly grated cheese from the server) is always a hit. Tomato or meat sauces are also available.

Make sure and book the Fantasmic Dinner package (when available), which gets the adults in your party an appetizer (usually extra with the Disney dining plan), as well as reserved seats for Fantasmic.

Best Counter Service
: Backlot Express

The meaty macaroni is my daughter Ciara’s favourite meal at WDW, and you get a large cup of it here. Nuggets are also available. More importantly, the endless drink counter is a must on hot days. Sides are apple sauce, carrot sticks or fries.

If going during a Star Wars weekend, go early to get prime seating for the parade’s ending ceremonies.


Best Table Service: World Showcase

What’s the famous saying, “Gotta eat’m all”? That definitely applies to all of the delicacies available at World Showcase. Be it Canadian cheddar cheese soup and steak at Le Cellier, Friand au Fromage (cheese puff pastry) and Filet de Limande Saute avec Haricots Vert et Tomates (pan roasted flounder) at Chef de France, Shepherd’s Pie at Rose and Crown, or the endless choices at the other pavilions, World Showcase’s restaurants are THE place to go wild and let you and your kids try something new and exciting for dinner.

Best Counter Service: Sunshine Seasons

Yes people, The Land pavilion is home to something other than Soarin’ and the former home of “Veggie Veggie Fruit Fruit”. Sunshine Seasons has as much variety as World Showcase does when it comes to counter service. Sweet and Sour chicken, a kid’s panini, or a chicken leg with mashed potatoes are some of my daughters’ favourites.


Best Table Service: Whispering Canyon Cafe (Wilderness Lodge)

Accessible by boat, it’s a bit of a trek to get to get to the Wilderness Lodge, but well worth the trip. What kid wouldn’t love the Canyon Skillet, with chicken or ribs, mashed potatoes and corn on the cob. Even if you don’t need it, make sure to ask for ketchup.

Best Counter Service: Mara (Jambo House, Animal Kingdom Lodge)

I’d call this one of Disney’s “hidden treasures”. There are many great choices for kids, including roasted chicken, cheese pizza and a burger, as well as the old favourites of mac and cheese and nuggets. Be sure to pick up some Zebra Domes with a snack credit.

Downtown Disney

Best Table Service: Raglan Road

Another “hidden treasure”. Great variety for kids in a friendly atmosphere. Shepard’s Pie, Crispy Shrimp, Fish and Chips and others are all on the menu for kids.

Best Counter Service: Wolfgang Puck’s Cafe

Everything from a cheese pizza, grilled cheese, to a California roll and more. Great variety, and usually our first day stop.

So there you have it. Hopefully this will help satisfy even the most adventurous children on your trip. But make sure that no one restaurant, hotel or attraction are “must do’s” for your trip. The only “must do” for us is to sit back, relax and enjoy our vacation. If you’re stressing out at Walt Disney World, you’re doing it wrong.

Until next time my friends!