Table service or counter service with kids

Discussion in 'Disney for Families' started by Helene_C, Jun 14, 2017.

  1. Helene_C

    Helene_C Earning My Ears

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    Purely from a parental convenience point of view (ignoring price or menu differences), do you find it easier to do a table service or counter service meal with young kids? I'll be solo with a 2.5 and 7 yo and I'm debating my meal plans. The 2.5 yo is definitely in the phase where he might climb/grab/run at any moment, and the 7 yo can't quite be trusted to keep his little brother in line. I'm thinking that sitting down and ordering from a waiter will beat having to stand in line to order, then wait, then carry food back to a table, go get napkins and silverware, etc. Of course TS will be slower, requires planning around an ADR...
    Does anyone have different thoughts on this?
     
  2. piglet1979

    piglet1979 DIS Veteran

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    The first time we went I had a 4 and 5 year old. We have always had the dining plan so we have done both. For us it is easier at a table service due to the lines, carrying food and trying to keep the kids from running off. Also, you are not trying to find/fight for a table. We always do the QS for lunch and TS for dinner. It gives us a chance to sit down and rest for like an hour.
     
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  4. kohlby

    kohlby DIS Veteran

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    We found counter service easier. A big part is being able to plan where to eat at the last minute. We can base meal times on the kids. Also consider how your kids do when you go out to eat at home. I've heard some kids are great at this. It's taken quite a while for us to get all three kids to that point - and it wasn't when we had a 2 year old in the mix. (Actually, even at 7, only two of the three did well).
     
  5. mdelano4

    mdelano4 Mouseketeer

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    We did the trip when our boys were about the same age as yours. The only reason QS worked for us was because there were 2 of us to 2 of them. Go TS, sit, relax and let someone else wait on you. You will have your hands full enough and if you are chasing and trying to get food and eat, you are sure for indigestion. I don't want to get too hokey, but sit, enjoy, take pictures and make the memories.
     
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  6. kboo

    kboo DIS Veteran

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    I would totally do TS. Even a buffet, TS, is better than QS. My 6yo can be trusted to sit at the table by herself if I had to go to the buffet with my toddler alone, and can mostly carry her own food with a little help too. When I've done this at a buffet, I usually get the kids' food set (while carrying the toddler), then get my ODD set up at the table so she can start eating, then get my own plate (while carrying the toddler), and then sit down to eat. But the added stress of finding a table, having all our food at the same time, AND dealing with the toddler ... no thanks.
     
  7. Emily Mitchell

    Emily Mitchell Earning My Ears

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    I've done both and they're both fine. Biggest thing is to pick appropriate restaurants for the kids. We weren't thinking and picked Chefs de France because we loved it but it was way too loud and packed for us to enjoy the meal with our kid. Buffets or family style like Garden Grill are great because there's no waiting for your food.
     
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  8. TinaLala

    TinaLala Hold My Table at Ohana's I'm on My Way!

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    TS will give you more food sometimes to fill bellies that have worked off the burger you had at lunch. Full belly = sleepy go to bed easier IMO! Agree also give yourself a break Andy let someone else wait on you. Just cuz you have kids doesn't mean you can't eat somewhere nice. CM are used to it!
     
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  9. Fosteringaprincess

    Fosteringaprincess Mouseketeer

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    Table service! That's my opinion. I had my 2.5 year old and 5.5 year old with me alone one day at magic kingdom. I got us quick serve and it was disastrous! Trying to carry the tray and have two younger children was awful. Thank goodness someone stepped in to help. Not to mention getting drinks. Worst part was carrying all that around while kids whine bc they were hungry and not being able to find a table for several minutes. Never again! Actually now I have some bigger ones to help with the littles but I will never forget that feeling of bad idea!
     
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  10. Kjbbach1

    Kjbbach1 Mouseketeer

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    I vote table! So nice to sit down and the character meals were the highlight of the trip. Only thing was it was hard to get food at the buffets with two 4 yr olds. We had to set them up and then go back individually for us parents. You might have it better with a 7 yr old though.

    I agree that with QS finding a table to eat at was an adventure I am not a fan of.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2017
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  11. kwdw

    kwdw DIS Veteran

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    You might try BoG for lunch. It's kind of "in between." They bring the food to you - but you do have to get drink. On your way to a table - clarify what the 7 yo wants to drink and get napkins and silverware. Leave that stuff and the 7 yo at the table - and get drinks. If you are close enough to the drink station - you might be able to leave the 2.5 yo with the 7 yo - or drag the 2.5 with you - but at least you will only have to deal with one kid at a time. The room that is "yellow" off the main dining room to the right is a bit smaller and you can keep almost all the tables in eyesight when at the drink machine. Or - order the kids bottled drinks that get delivered with the meal (I think milk comes that way.)

    I also think Garden Grill might be a great choice. It's a character meal - but they bring the food to the table - so you don't have to worry about buffet lines.

    I'd suggest breakfast in your hotel room.

    But yes, until you can trust the 7 yo to carry their own food and drink and - QS is going to be rough as a solo parent with one as young as 2.5.

    I'm not a parent - but I was solo with my niece when she was 5.5 at some QS meals. That was manageable - but if I'd had to add on a 2.5 yo? No way...... Now - at 7 - she could manage a food tray and carry a plate from a buffet - but drinks that could spill were still tough. If the drink cup was ALL she had to carry in her hand - that was fine.
     
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  12. DisneyWishes14

    DisneyWishes14 DIS Veteran

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    I've done 20+ solo WDW trips with DS since he was 3 years old and TS is MUCH easier! I remember being at Pinocchio Village Haus one day when he was about 4 years old trying to balance a tray, get utensils and find a table while watching him and holding his hand the whole time - it was pretty awful. I swore off QS after that until he was about 7. Buffets were very difficult as well. I highly recommend sticking with TS (non-buffet) and any character meals where they bring the food to you (Garden Grill, O'hana breakfast, Akershus, CRT). BOG breakfast or lunch (which are technically QS) would work as well as you order at a kiosk and they bring you the food.
     
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  13. Helene_C

    Helene_C Earning My Ears

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    Thank you all! I think I am going to plan on mostly TS, but make sure I always have snacks on hand if kids get hungry early. We'll actually be at Disneyland for this trip, or I would absolutely be making use of the pre-ordering / hybrid TS/CS places like BoG.
     
  14. sunflowerfields

    sunflowerfields Mouseketeer

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    We found counter service more hectic. Trying to find seating, waiting in the line to order and juggling kids and trays. For us table service was more relaxed since we had reservations ahead of time and were seated before ordering etc.
     
  15. Dana88

    Dana88 Earning My Ears

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    TS and preferably with characters so the kids have some entertainment :)
     
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  16. Shanti

    Shanti Momketeer

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    Table service is much easier than counter service.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2017
  17. HopperFan

    HopperFan "It's a bug-eat-bug world out there, princess."

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    - Line wise obviously TS is going to be easier on you and them, but depending on where you pick you may have to wait on table. Pick accordingly.

    - I would totally avoid the buffets, I found them too much work when alone, especially for the price. If I do TS with kids, I wanted to be waited on.

    - Will your 2.5 yo stay in his booster or seat at the table? If they are going to move about restaurant that would be more tolerable in a CS restaurant.
     
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  18. lchicago

    lchicago Earning My Ears

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    Anywhere they bring the food to you. Even TS buffets can be difficult if you're trying to juggle multiple kids. At least with TS buffets you'll have a designated table and you can (hypothetically) bring both kids up with you to fill their plates. I would also suggest keeping an eye out for carts that sell high protein snacks as a way of keeping them happy and full in between meals.
     
  19. bettybooplove

    bettybooplove Mouseketeer

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    I would do table service and I wouldn't do a buffet. You would still have to get up to get your food as if you're doing counter service. You'll look like you're performing a juggling act with all of the plates you'll end up carrying.

    If you want to entertain them most of the restaurants have crayons and activities on the child menu.
     

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