As we get ready to take our last Disney vacation with someone in the 3-9 age bracket, I started to think about what will change when she’s officially an adult according to Disney ticketing and dining standards.
Other than the price increase, the big difference will be the bigger meals. For this trip we are using the Disney Dining plan (Quick Service version) and I started to get a little worried that my daughter might just starve based on the kids meals in the parks.
Note – the meals I’m referring to in this post are the quick service meals, but my pictures are table service meals – apparently in my thousands of Disney pictures I haven’t taken any of a kid’s quick serve meal!
Just looking at the age range that is considered a kids meal – from preschool to 4th grade – there’s no way that a one-size-(meal)-fits-all. The main meal at a quick service restaurant is usually not too shabby for a light eater (a hot dog, chicken tenders, PB&J), but over the past year my daughter has started to eat more than I do at most meals. The sides that come with the kids meals are not substantial enough for a rapidly growing kid – grapes and carrot sticks or a tiny packet of goldfish crackers along with a mini-water or milk. I think this is the area for improvement to convert kids meals into ‘Big Kid’ meals.
I’m all for eating healthy, but forcing kids to eat carrot sticks on vacation is just cruel and unusual punishment. Especially when the adult quick service meal comes with chocolate cake or another dessert. And to be honest, how filling is a packet of tiny carrot sticks when you’ve been walking miles upon miles in the parks? If a big kid version offered fries, pasta salad, or some other option that provides more staying power, I think we could work with that. The drinks are another problem. Giving a thirsty 9 year old a mini-water or milk is like using a teacup to take a shower – nowhere near enough! If a big kid version included a regular sized water or soft drink, that would keep my daughter from drinking my whole drink or us having to buy an extra drink.
Aside from the portion size, we know that most 3 year olds have a pretty limited diet (some pickier than others) but as kids get older, they like a wider variety of foods. One restaurant that seems to have kept that in mind is Be Our Guest – the kids menu for the quick service lunch includes Carved Turkey Sandwich, Seared Mahi Mahi, Pulled Pork, green beans, sweet potatoes – a big improvement over most quick serve restaurants! We’ll be sure to try it out and I’ll let my daughter be the judge!
What do you think? Are the kids meals too meager for your ‘big kids?’