Orlando is one of the entertainment capitals of this country. Full of theme parks, attractions and dining galore, there is so much to do. The majority of the people visiting this fun-filled destination are families. Having children makes a difference in how you choose to experience a location though, and nowhere is that seen more clearly than your choice of dining locations. When visiting Orlando, there are so many restaurants to choose from, but some are clearly more designed to fit the unique family demographic than others. If you are traveling to Orlando with your family in the near future, check out some of our top picks for family friendly Orlando restaurants.
The T-Rex Cafe
The T-Rex Cafe provides the perfect balance of fun and great food that makes it the perfect family friendly Orlando restaurant. With decor that is literally larger than life, that instantly transports you back to prehistoric times when dinosaurs still roamed the Earth, children won’t have a chance to be bored here.
During our visit, the boys and I were say quickly at our reservation time, even though the place was packed. If you plan to dine here, reservations are highly recommended. Since the T-Rex Cafe is located smack dab in the middle of Downtown Disney, it provides a fun-filled night of dining and shopping fun, but stays busy year round.
Apart from the great service and captivating atmosphere that comes complete with meteor showers that take place throughout the themed rooms, the T-Rex Cafe also offers delicious meals to meet the needs of any diner at an affordable price. During our visit, we shred the Supersaurus Sampler which came with enough chili con queso dip, tr-colored tortilla chips, Bruschetta, T-REXadillas and onion rings for the whole table to share.
In addition to our sampler, I ordered a seasonal surf and turf dish that was incredible. I finished every bite without thinking twice. One of the things that makes T-Rex Cafe so great for families is that their kid’s meals are massive. Sometimes since my boys are on the older side of kid’s menus, the meals are not enough to fill them up, but here, they are. Most of the boys ordered the kid’s ribs with fries and I don’t think any of them were able to finish.
Of course, you cannot end a visit to the T-Rex Cafe without dessert. There really is only one dessert to consider in my opinion, and that is the Chocolate Extinction. It comes out with a billow of smoke from dry ice, and is easily enough for 4-5 people to share. *Tip: For a small extra charge, you can order a kid’s souvenir dinosaur cup filled with an Icee and detachable bottom that includes a small toy. It is really a fun treat for the kids, and my youngest two played with their two toy dinosaurs at the table while we waited for our meal.
Also located in Downtown Disney, Raglan Road is an Irish themed restaurant with tons of rowdy fun for families. While it is loud inside, that only lends to the atmosphere, and you don’t have to worry about shushing your children and keeping them quiet. Live music and Irish step dancing provide ample entertainment while waiting for your food, and children are often invited to be part of the festivities on stage as well.
Coming from Irish roots, I am partial to the menu, but the food is truly authentic and incredibly tasty. A basket of Irish soda bread and butter is brought out to your table, but don’t use that as an excuse to skip appetizers here. I highly recommend the Scallop Forest, it is what I have each time I visit, and nothing tops the sweet, perfectly cooked flavor of the fried scallops.
Choosing an entree at Raglan Road isn’t simple. For adults, choices like Shepherd’s Pie, Serious Steak topped with an Irish whiskey glaze and glazed ham served with authentic colcannon potatoes make for quite the debate when ordering. Children will enjoy options outside of the normal “kid’s menu” realm such as shepherd’s pie, chicken risotto or the Dalkey Duo of sausages. No worries, the old favorites like burgers, mac and cheese and more make the list for picky eaters as well.
Dessert is in a realm all its own at Raglan Road. If there was ever a time for you to try bread pudding, it would be here. Ger’s Bread and Butter Pudding is the best bread pudding recipe I have ever tasted, and other desserts would pale in comparison. With it’s convenient location, live entertainment and authentic Irish food, Raglan Road should definitely top your list of family friendly Orlando restaurants to visit.
Hard Rock Cafe
Hard Rock Cafe has been entertaining people of all ages around the country for years. It is a name that people recognize as being synonymous with great food and a whole lot of fun. If you are a music lover, then this is a must visit dining option for you. The Hard Rock Cafe in Orlando is located in Universal’s Citywalk, located between the two theme parks. If the neon lights and popular tunes weren’t enough to draw kids in, then the new Roxtars menu will be.
Hard Rock Cafe has recently given their kid’s meal a makeover complete with fun guitar shaped plates. In addition, when families arrived, kids are greeted with fun play packs that go way above the traditional coloring sheets and crayons that you’re used to. The Roxtars are unique rocking kids who encourage children to really rock their individuality.
What about the food? Mostly American classics done up right with a twist is what you’ll find at the Hard Rock Cafe. My personal favorite? The Twisted Mac, Chicken and Cheese, a delicious chicken mac and cheese with a spicy kick thrown in for good measure. Other crowd-pleasers like burgers, fajitas and smokehouse favorites top the list of meal options here. After your meal, you are just steps away from the theme parks and the highly-entertaining Blue Man Group show.
Catch a break from theme park row and transport your family back to Medieval Times. At this themed family friendly dinner show, don crowns and join the king and princess of the land in welcoming the knights of the realm as they compete in a tournament. Not only that, but it is the only place I know that absolutely allows you to eat with your hands and only your hands! Knights, crowns, kings, horses and eating with your hands, is it any reason kids love it?
Grab your color coded crown and seating card and proceed to your seats as the tournament gets started. The color of your crown and seating section represents the color knight you will be cheering for that evening. We were placed in the red section at the very end of the stadium instead of at the sides where we have been seated every other time, this gave us a unique perspective of the show.
Dinner consists of a starter of soup and bread followed by a main course of roasted chicken, ribs, and a garlic herb potato halve. Dessert is a delicious apple pastry, and all of this is served while you watch stunning horse work, jousting and even falconry. I won’t give too much of the story theme away for those of you who haven’t been yet, but suffice it to say, that the whole family will be yelling and cheering for their knight by the end of the evening.
As evidenced by our top picks above, Orlando is bursting with dining options that work well for those traveling with kids. If you are planning a visit with your children, I highly suggest visiting some of the family friendly Orlando restaurants above.
The boys and I were provided with meals for the purpose of review, but all opinions are my own.