Blog roll

Some our best travel blogs!  Full of tips and great information to help you plan your next vacation!

Disney Dining Plan snack credits – more than just water and chips! 

How to surprise your kids with their first Disney trip

Reserving the Magic: Tips for scheduling your advanced dining reservations

Where can I find Lightning McQueen at Disney World?

Disneyland’s Grand Californian Hotel and Spa



How to Dine at Disney with a Toddler (who doesn’t sit still)

We’ve all witnessed it. A family is trying to enjoy a meal and their young child is misbehaving; standing in their seat, sitting under the table, running around the table, etc.  I have never understood how a parent could allow their child to behave this way at a restaurant.  I had a son who could eat anywhere, perfectly well behaved…then… I had my daughter.  I quickly learned that sometimes despite everything you do, some children are just not destined to eat out. Our daughter is 2.5 and is usually very well behaved, until we eat out, that is! We have learned to eat at home instead of dining out these days. But what are you to do when you are on vacation at Disney?  Here are some tips I have learned through trial and error that help with my squirmy toddler:

Visit restaurants where there is a lot to look at. Coral Reef, Rainforest Cafe, T-Rex, 50′s Primetime Cafe and Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater are great examples. They each provide a unique themed atmosphere where there is a lot to take in visually.  Makes for a great place to play “I spy” game.

henley sitting at rainforest cafe

 Take them to a character meal.  Having trouble sitting still?  “Hey Look!  I think I see Mickey coming!”.

Instead of sitting at the table while waiting to eat, take them to Biergarten at Epcot where they can watch the oompah band and get out on the dance floor and get some energy out. Mickey’s Backyard BBQ  and ‘Ohana are other good options for those that can’t sit still.

henley dancing at biergartenwm

 Take them somewhere where they won’t stick out- clearly a Signature restaurant isn’t the best choice.  Restaurants that are a bit on the “loud” side, (Whispering Canyon Cafe, I’m talking to you) may help drown out a toddler’s eating antics in comparison to others.

Limit your table service reservations.  Want to get a dining plan?  Maybe the quick service dining plan is a better option for your family during this stage.

Make sure children are well rested. Plan your dining times accordingly. If they are falling on their face tired, let’s face it, it’s just not going to be pretty. Perhaps start the day with a breakfast buffet instead of a late dinner or mid day lunch when a nap should be taking place instead.

Make sure they are really hungry.  If they just had a snack, forget it, they are not going to want to sit still and eat a meal if they are the slightest bit full.

Take advantage of the crayons and the two sided place mat coloring sheets  your server will provide upon seating.

Ask for more bread if they are hungry. If getting them to eat bread/butter while waiting on food to arrive will keep them from getting antsy, I say go for it.  Just don’t give them too much or they will be too full for their meal obviously.

henley with bread and crayonswm

 Ask for their meal to be delivered early.

Dining at a table service restaurant at Disney does take time. In the past (before daughter) I have enjoyed this because it provides a nice break from the hustle and bustle of the parks. It’s nice to sit down, take a break and enjoy some yummy food.  I have learned to tell the server ahead of time in a nice way that we have a squirmy toddler and if there’s anything they can do to get food/check out quickly, it would be great for us, them and basically anyone sitting near us.

When all else fails, take them for a walk!  It happens almost every time we eat a meal out. Either myself or my husband will have to take our daughter outside.  I refuse to be one of “those” who lets their kids run around wild at the table (or under the table) and if it means I have to eat in a hurry and take her out, I will.  My husband and I try to take turns so one doesn’t get the wrong end of the stick each time.

Hopefully these tips are helpful.  Remember you’re not the only one who has ever gone through the squirmy toddler stage.  Many a parent has walked in your shoes and has lived to tell about it so hang in there! Keep in mind, this too shall pass!

If you are interested in planning a trip to Disney World, I’d love assist!  Feel free to call me at 1-800-670-4312 x128, email me at or find me on facebook!