DS12 really liked our PPO Garden Grill breakfast last trip....it is the one repeat he has requested for next trip. He is a fan of breakfast food, the characters were fun to "talk" to and he thought walking right on to Soarin' was cool.
SciFi and TRex are great choices! My son loved those two restaurants at that age. He also loved Teppan Edo. So fun watching the chefs cook. And while some think 50's Prime is hilarious, my son HATED it at that age. He didn't think it was amusing being scolded by the server. Not even a little bit. Lol.
Garden Grill breakfast is delicious, and the characters are so cute too. I love that its all you can eat family style. No need to get up.
Tusker House and Cape May are also great options.
Whatever you decide, remember to just go with the flow and have a great time. You cant see it all in one trip. Been going for years and every trip I always see something new.
My DS14 stopped liking buffets and character meals by the time he was 12 and started liking restaurants for the food and interaction. His favorites were/are Yak & Yeti, 50's PT, Tokyo Dining (he loves Japanese food and we have really good hibachi at home so we never bother with Teppan Edo), 50's PT, and San Angel Inn. He used to like Coral Reef also, but the amazing tank cannot outweigh the mediocrity of the food, so he no longer asks to go there.
I just asked DS11 his opinion and his response was, "at 12, shouldn't he like any restaurant that has good food?" LOL! If you are looking for fun, non-character meal atmospheres (my DS11 won't be caught dead at a character meal at this point), I would consider Whispering Canyon, Hoop Dee Doo, Skipper Canteen, Yak and Yeti, Teppan Edo, ESPN (if he likes sports), Sci-Fi Dine Inn. My DS11 happens to really like Kimono's (if you like sushi and aren't on the dining plan), Cali Grill, Flying Fish and Hollywood Brown Derby (if you don't mind doing signatures).
Thanks everyone! I'm going more for atmosphere than for food, although he is really into seafood! He's a Fortnite/hockey/sports kinda guy. I asked him in a roundabout way if someone like him would still enjoy character meals and he said "for sure!" He's pretty clueless haha! So we're doing Chef Mickey's. Only visiting Magic Kingdom and Studios, so unfortunately a lot of cool restaurants are out.
My son is 11 and his top requests the past several trips have been: Yachtsman, Flying Fish, Beaches & Cream, Garden Grill, Sci-Fi. He also still really enjoys many of the character meals like Chef Mickey, Cape May, Tusker House.
I would agree with some of the above, Teppon Edo is a great place and you get a chef who cooks the food in front of you and you get a show by the chef while they are cooking and the foods great, Coral Reef is good as it has the underwater style restraint and you get to see the animals behind the glass, Be Our Guest is good at the Magic Kingdom for the interior theme, Satu'li Canteen at Animal Kingdom does great food and it's in Pandora land and also has great theme, you could also try Rain Forest Cafe at Animal Kingdom also, if you like buffets you could try Hollywood and Vine at Hollywood Studios as the food choice is great or if you want to order off a menu we like Mama Melrose's Ristorante Italiano, Disney Springs and you have a ton of choices but theme style restaurants would be T-Rex or again Animal Kingdom.
My 12 year old would not be into T-Rex. He liked it as a 6 year old, but as a pre-teen...not so much. Some of his favorites now are Sci Fi, Biergarten, and California Grill. Teppan Edo would also be a good choice, especially if you don't have a local hibachi place. For character meals, Garden Grill is our favorite. The food is really good and served family style and the atmosphere is really fun.
When I took my 12 year old Nephew for his trip-with-Auntie, the highlight was our "date night" at Flying Fish. We started with the Artisan Cheese plate and that was the first thing he told his folks about when he got home. That and that he had been right about everything the entire trip and I had been wrong (he had studied his Disney World for Kids book front to back and was actually right... about a few things).
I have a 13 year old and he loves every restaurant that has good food, especially California Grill. The only places I would avoid are Cinderella's Royal Table, Akerhaus, any character meal and especially any character meal with princesses. My boys were both "too cool" for characters after about age 10/11.
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