I know eating out with youngsters can be daunting at the best of times, let alone when you are on vacation and everyone has just had an exhausting day of touring the parks. Believe me, I understand the concern! I have to go back to the main theme of this column, which is changing the way you do Disney World when bringing your young children along. Of course, this applies to all aspects of the vacation, especially dining.
If you go into your vacation expecting dinners to include some crying, whining, throwing of food or cutlery, etc, then you won't be disappointed! The good news is that it's rarely as bad as you expect it will be. So, how can you handle dinner out at restaurants every night with young children? You could a). shy away from the table service restaurants and resign yourself to burgers and fries all week, or you could b). plan the best ways to enjoy Disney's fabulous table-service restaurants.
Despite the ages of our two little ones, we have always opted for b). Call us crazy, but we just think Disney World has too many wonderful restaurants to stay away from. The key is, we know we want to experience them, but we plan to experience them differently because of our two little monsters - errrr, I meant munchkins. ;) For example, are we expecting to have a two-hour, candelit dinner, sipping wine at Tutto Italia? NO! We want to enjoy the food, but we know it will have to be fast. With a two and a half year-old and a baby, we know there is little time for leisure. That brings us to the magical "B" word... buffet!
We find buffets to be the best for enjoying Disney's food without the wait. You get seated, wait for your drink order to be taken, and then hit the line! As any parent would tell you, the wait for the order to be taken, then the wait for the food is the worst part about dining with children. I know what you may be thinking... buffets may be quicker, but usually at the expense of the quality of the food. That may be true elsewhere, but we've always enjoyed our buffet dinners at Disney World. Besides the obvious allure of the character buffets, we would choose Biergarten as our favorite family buffet.
This is a Fairytale Family Favorite for many different reasons, many of which center around our children (big surprise!). Yes, it's a buffet so we get to start chowing down quickly. However, the need to eat fast isn't as important here. The reason is due to the great live entertainment this restaurant provides! No time for boredom! Biergarten provides Oktoberfest music and entertainment performed by fantastic musicians during lunch and dinner. The best part? Everyone can participate! Unlike some character meals where you find yourself telling your children to sit down because it's not their turn with Mickey yet, here, everyone is encouraged to join the fun all show long! My kids both love the show. As babies, they are mesmorized by the music, costumed performers and guests on the dance floor. As a toddler, my daughter loves running around the dance floor with the other children. She was up on the dance floor for the entire duration of the show on our last trip.
Let's not forget the food. We have loved Biergarten since before having kids due to the delicious food! I'm not usually very daring in my food selection, but I can now say I like German food! The assortments of salads and sausage and soup is enough for me! My husband loves all the meat. From the breaded pork Schnitzel to the rotisserie chicken to the crisp pork roast and all the spatzle in between, he leaves more than satisfied every time! Of course, I would be amiss without mentioning the wide selection of German beers that this restaurant serves.
Something else that makes this restaurant unique is the banquet-style seating. You will literally be pulling up a chair beside someone you don't know! Not only is this nice for some adult conversation, but if there's other children at your table, it's a bonus. We all know how fascinating it is for children to stare at other children! Some more built-in child entertainment to add to Biergarten's list.
This is a restaurant which sometimes flies under the radar, but it is definitely worth checking out with your family. Give a "Prost!" (Cheers) for me!
Photos from www.wdwinfo.com