Best Sensory Friendly Restaurants at Disney
One of the challenges we face with sensory issues at the Disney Parks is where to eat. Dining out is riddled with performance expectations and often overwhelming. When deciding where to eat at Walt Disney World, waiting times, unfamiliarity, and overstimulating environments play a part in what restaurants to avoid. Preparation plays an important role in overcoming sensory challenges. However, it is sometimes easiest and best to remove as many potential triggers as possible. That’s why quick service options are usually the best way to go. If you are looking for sensory-friendly restaurants within the Disney Parks, here are a few helpful suggestions.
Columbia Harbor House
This is one of my favorite restaurants in the Magic Kingdom for sensory deprivation. It may seem chaotic and overwhelming if you go in during the lunch hour, but if you hurry upstairs, there is a whole second floor that most guests aren’t even aware of. This is a very quiet and subdued dining area which makes for an ideal place to have lunch. There are also plenty of windows for looking out, onto the park below. Use mobile order here to bypass the lines at the registers downstairs.
This hidden gem sits atop a hill that overlooks the Japan Pavilion in Epcot. This is also a quick service location and it has a very tranquil outdoor dining area surrounded by Japanese landscaping and koi ponds. It’s a very quiet corner of the park without too much distraction or chaos. This place is also an excellent choice for dinner as even on cold nights the heat lamps by the tables keep the space warm.
Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater
Although quick-service restaurants are almost always preferable to table service restaurants, The Sci-Fi Dine-in Theater is an exception. It’s got a completely unique set up that resembles a drive-in theater. It’s dark inside and the booths are placed inside classic convertibles which face a large screen in the front of the room. It isn’t quiet inside, but it is quieter than the typical restaurant. The cartoons and sci-fi trailers that play on the screen make a nice focal point in the otherwise darkened theater.
This Animal Kingdom quick service restaurant in the corner of Dinoland USA is a good place for accessible food like burgers and chicken nuggets. There is also a new Ice cream bar that you have to try. It’s a large restaurant and although it is busy with details, the colors are subdued and the surroundings are not too distracting. There is usually a lot of space and seating options to choose from.
Flame Tree Barbecue
Another Animal Kingdom spot is a favorite for all kinds of visitors to the park. Located on the water in the back of Discovery Island, Flame Tree Barbecue offers delicious and low-cost chicken and ribs, plus hearty sides with a lovely outdoor scenic dining spot that is quiet and tucked away from the rest of Animal Kingdom park