Magic Kingdom is best known for its classic attractions and favorite Disney characters, but the park also has its share of great family meals.

Leisurely Fare

Cinderella’s Royal Table

One of the most coveted dining reservations is for breakfast or lunch with the Disney princesses at this enchanting restaurant in Cinderella Castle. (Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother greets dinner guests.) The majestic dining room is a magical experience for little ones, with leaded windows, coats of arms and medieval flags – and a visit to each table by Disney “royalty.” The signature dish is Major Domo’s Favorite Pie, with shredded beef simmered in cabernet sauce with mashed potatoes and topped with pastry. For little ones, there’s a minor Domo version of the popular entrée.

Liberty Tree Tavern

In Liberty Square opposite the riverboat landing, Liberty Tree Tavern offers all-American fare. For lunch, pot roast in cabernet sauce, roast turkey with herb dressing, or a favorite cheeseburger. Dinner is all-you-care-to-eat roast turkey, carved beef, pork loin, herb stuffing, macaroni and cheese and mashed potatoes. The restaurant is a re-creation of an 18th century American inn, with six small dining rooms with Colonial artifacts.

Crystal Palace

Winnie the Pooh and his pals are the stars at this venerable Magic Kingdom restaurant inspired by San Francisco’s Conservatory of Flowers. A generous buffet for breakfast, lunch and dinner includes favorites such as prime rib, salmon, clam chowder, dozens of salads and sweets. Little ones get their own buffet with chicken nuggets, macaroni and cheese, peanut butter and jelly and pizza.

Plaza Restaurant

Tucked on the side street on Main Street, U.S.A., around the corner from the Plaza Ice Cream Parlor, this eatery is a respite from the hustle and bustle of Magic Kingdom – no Disney characters, no entertainment, just a quiet, Art Nouveau-inspired spot. The grilled reuben is a longtime favorite, as well as the chicken strawberry salad. But the biggest sellers are sundaes, floats and hand-dipped milkshakes.

Tony’s Town Square

Inspired by the Disney classic Lady and the Tramp, Tony’s features spaghetti, chicken Parmesan, flatbreads and other Italian specialties. The best seats are on the airy patio with a view of Town Square.

For a Fast Bite

Land to Land in Magic Kingdom, quick-service has a variety of great tastes to please every guest. On Main Street, U.S.A., Casey’s Corner is the spot for giant hot dogs and corn dog nuggets and fries, with tables on the sidewalk where a pianist entertains with old-fashioned tunes. In Adventureland, El Pirata Y El Perico (the Pirate and the Parrot) offers beef and vegetarian tacos and taco salad. Nearby in Frontierland, Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Café serves burgers (including vegetarian), a chicken wrap and chicken salad – with a terrific toppings bar.

Next is Liberty Square, where Columbia Harbour House is the only place in Magic Kingdom for fried fish, but you also can get tuna on a toasted multigrain bun and a hummus sandwich with tomato and broccoli slaw with a side of vegetarian chili or New England clam chowder. In Fantasyland, Pinocchio Village Haus is a kid favorite with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, macaroni and cheese and salads for mom and dad.

In Tomorrowland, Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe is a great spot for picky eaters, with three counters: one with rotisserie chicken, barbecued ribs and salad; one with burgers and hot dogs; one with Caesar salads, wraps and barbecue sandwiches. Tomorrowland Terrace Noodle Station has an Asian flair with noodle bowls, beef and broccoli with steamed rice and sushi.

Throughout the park there are walk-up windows for everything from the legendary Dole Whip at Aloha Isle in Adventureland to ice cream at Mrs. Potts’ Cupboard in Fantasyland and funnel cakes at Sleepy Hollow in Liberty Square.

Wrapping it up

The food at the parks has consistently improved over the years. Disney realizes the amount of time, and money, families spend in the park is important to the bottom line and improving the quality increases the value perceived by the guests. The park has also expanded the healthy alternatives to the standard hot dog & hamburger fare to include lots of lighter meals, salads and vegetarian alternatives for everyone.

As a parent I am glad to be able to order grapes, apple slices or carrot sticks in place of french fries for my child’s lunch. Let’s face it, the kids will get a lot of treats in the park, mealtime is about the only chance you have to get them to eat healthy while at the Magic Kingdom.

Next time you are wandering around the Magic Kingdom, check out the menus and you will pleasently surprised by the wide variety and higher quality of the food available to you.