I have been moving slow with all the tips I wanted to share, but life is getting in the way. I blame schoolwork and an upcoming move for distracting me.
I won't lie eating at Disney World is not cheap especially if you have a few kids with you. If you do choose to eat in their restaurants or quick service places be prepared to spend some money. Even if it does cut into your budget, they do have some great places to eat.
One of my favorite places to eat is Epcot's World Showcase. It offers so many options that even the pickiest eater can find something. Some nights, we will just wander Epcot grabbing different items from quick service places. Fish and chips in England, a crepe in France, some noodles in Japan...I think you see where I am going with this. Epcot also has some wonderful restaurants as well. One of my favorites is Teppan Edo. It is located in the Japanese pavilion and it is hibachi style dining. It has your usual hibachi menu as well as sushi menu. I think it is delicious. Another favorite is one I just recently found. It is called Restaurant Marrakesh. It can be found in Morocco. They offer live entertainment with traditional music and a belly dancer. The food is awesome! I tried the vegetable couscous. It was great, but there was a lot. I could not finish it. They offer a nice menu filled with traditional dishes. Hannah loved it too. They gave her a bowl of hummus and she was a happy girl. Tutto Italia Ristorante is another place I have tried. It offers a great Italian menu and can be found in the Italian pavilion. One final restaurant I have tried in Epcot is Coral Reef. When you dine here, you are sitting next to the aquarium found in the Seas pavilion on the Future World side of Epcot. I enjoyed the ambiance although I did feel guilty about eating fish while fish were swimming around me. The menu is mostly seafood so be prepared if you have someone who doesn't like seafood. My husband doesn't like seafood, but I think he found a chicken dish that he enjoyed. As for quick service in Epcot, you can't go wrong. There are so many choices that you should be able to find a meal to satisfy any craving you have. Don't forget dessert while you are there. They have some great waffle cones on the Future World side next to the character spot.
The Magic Kingdom also has some great food options. It does contain your typical hamburger and hot dog quick service spots, but it also has a few different options that I love. One quick service place that is my favorite at MK is Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn & Cafe. It is located in Frontierland near Splash Mountain. It does have hamburgers, wraps, and sandwiches, but it also has a taco salad. The great thing with this place is they offer extra toppings at a bar which make it nice to individualize your meal. It also really big so there is plenty of seating available. As for restaurants, I have only eaten at Tony's Town Square. I wasn't that impressed with it, and I doubt I would eat there again. It wasn't bad. My husband liked it so it may have been what I chose to eat. It is Italian and it is decorated based on Lady and the Tramp. Don't forget about dessert either while at the Magic Kingdom. I like to walk into some of the bakeries and candy shops along Main Street. There are many ice cream places to choose from as well as ice cream from the vendors with carts. One place people rave about is Aloha Isle in adventureland. They have a Dole pineapple whip that others love. I have tried it, and I was not crazy about it. I like pineapple, but it was too much pineapple for me. Be prepared for a wait there since it is very popular.
Hollywood Studios has a few themed places that are great. I love the 50s Prime Time Cafe. It has home style food that my mom used to make. The portions are huge! I would love to eat there again. The Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater is awesome according to a few friends of mine. I have not had the pleasure of eating there, but you eat in old 50s cars and as you watch an old sci-fi movie on the screen. If your kids like Toy Story, there is a Pizza Planet that is based on the pizza place in the movie. It is a nice place to let the kids run and play in the arcade before hitting the park again.
Animal Kingdom doesn't seem to have as many food options as the other parks. To be honest, I don't think I have eaten at Animal Kingdom. There are a few restaurants including Rainforest Cafe as well as some quick service options. The Yak&Yeti Local Foods Cafe seemed to be the popular choice among quick service places.
Don't forget about all the hotels within the resort. They have restaurants as well that cover the spectrum when it comes to food. One of the more popular ones are California Grill at the Contemporary, Ohana at Polynesian, and Jiko at Animal Kingdom Lodge. I have eaten at California Grill. It was wonderful, but expensive. If you eat late enough, you can watch the Magic Kingdom fireworks from the restaurant. There are several mid-priced restaurants scattered throughout the hotels. This site can help sort it out for you.
Unfortunately, I have never been to a character dining, but I can't wait to take Hannah to one in a few years. There are so many options for your kids to dine with their favorite characters.
One last piece of advice, if you are planning on eating at a restaurant, make a reservation as soon as you can. The more popular places book quickly. If you would like to try a restaurant, but can't get a reservation, you can trying going there early for lunch or dinner and sometimes they can squeeze you in. I have shown up around 5 before and been seated before the bulk of the reservations dined. Also if you want to avoid lines at the quick service places eat early if you can. We go around 11 for lunch and 5-5:30 for dinner. The lines are tolerable at this point, and you can usually find a place to sit.