All posts by Modern Boca Disney Mom

Best Places to Eat at Disney World- 2016 Update

There is a tremendous amount of choices when looking for the best places to eat at Disney World. What is the best character dining? Where should we grab a quick bite to eat? Which restaurant has the coolest atmosphere?

Modern Boca Disney Mom shares the best places to eat at Disney World!

Safari Donald at Tusker House- Best Places to Eat at Disney

Character Dining: 

Character dining is the best way for you and your family to get great interaction with your favorite Disney characters. There are a lot of options in park and at Disney resorts, but here are our picks for the best places to eat at Disney World:

  • Tusker House at Animal Kingdom – Hang out with Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Goofy at this colorful African inspired marketplace. The food is buffet style and includes Disney favorites along with the flavors of Africa. It is relatively easy to get into, character interaction is plentiful, and if you make reservations before the park opens, you can beat any crowds for popular rides.  MBMom Tip: Make a reservation for late morning and you can experience both breakfast and lunch.
  • Chef Mickey at Disney’s Contemporary Resort – This character dining experience is classic. Hang out with Mickey and the gang while the monorail passes above. It is typical Disney buffet food, but not bad for breakfast. Reservations can be hard to get, so book early. Since Chef Mickey can be busy, it often times take awhile for all the characters to get around to every table.  MBMom Tip: We have only experienced breakfast at Chef Mickey and from what I have heard, we will probably keep it that way.
  • Cinderella’s Royal Table at Magic Kingdom – This might be one of my favorite character dining experiences yet. I am not particularly enamored by Princesses, but being in Cinderella’s Castle was magical. We enjoyed a breakfast of delicious pastries, Filet & Eggs, all while overlooking Prince Charming’s Regal Carousel and the park attendees from above. The dining experience includes a souvenir family picture with Cinderella herself, as well as a Wishing Star and Prince’s Sword for the children.  MBMom Tip: If dinner is sold out, check for a late breakfast or lunch.
  • Ohana at the Polynesian Resort – My family loves Lilo & Stitch, but beyond the two of them, there is Mickey and a few of his friends. The food is Hawaiian family style dining and kind of ‘stick to your ribs’ selections with Pineapple Breakfast Bread (you will want to eat the entire loaf), Potatoes, and Hawaiian Sausage.
Lilo &Stitch Disney's Ohana Best Places to Eat at Disney
Lilo & Stitch Disney’s Ohana

Magic Kingdom:

  • Liberty Tree Tavern –  Recently renovated in 2015, this gem is located in Frontier Land and is a family style restaurant serving American Classics such as carved turkey, pork, and steak, with sides of mashed potatoes, gravy, mac & cheese, green beans, and stuffing. The food is plentiful and scrumptious and prix fixe.  MBMom Tip: Save room for the dessert. Also, if your little girl is a fan of Ariel, they have a killer souvenir cup with light-up mermaid you can purchase for only $5.

Best Places to Dine at Disney Little Mermaid Cup

  • Be Our Guest – Located in the new Fantasyland, this Signature Dining is available as a table service meal for Dinner, but I prefer it as a quick service for lunch. You still get to experience the inside of Beast’s Castle, but don’t have to keep the kids at a sit-down dinner for an hour + when they are itching to get on some more rides. The food for lunch includes American and French classics like French Onion Soup, Quiche, and Croque  Monsieur – all really good.  MBMom Tip: The only way to get into Be Our Guest for lunch is to make a fast-pass reservations at this special link here.

Hollywood Studios:

  • The Brown Derby – This is a Los Angeles staple, going all the way back to the 1920s, and was popular with Film Industry elite until the 1970s. Fun fact: The Brown Derby restaurant also invented the Cobb Salad. The food is sublime, the food fancy, and the price tag high.  MBMom Tip: Make reservations for the Fantasmic! Dining Package and enjoy dinner and the VIP treatment at the nighttime firework and laser show.


There are as many options for food at Epcot than there are countries in the World Showcase. A few of our favorites among the best places to eat at Disney World include:

  • Teppan Edo in Japan – Hibachi style dining with options of Sushi.
  • Rose & Crown in England  – British Pub with great Fish & Chips and Shepherd’s Pie.  MBMom Tip: Try the beer flute.
  • Biergarten Restaurant in Germany – Food is okay, but atmosphere is fun and lively. Consider visiting Epcot during the International Flower & Garden or Food & Wine Festival and seek out the various outdoor kitchens for small bites and big flavors. No reservations necessary and exploring is the best part of the experience.  MBMom Tip: All these small bites really add up. If you are on the dining plan, you can reserve your snacks for the day you visit one of these shows and use them for single items at the various kiosks.
  • Cantina in Mexico – With (fancy) indoor and outdoor seating with a view and some of the tastiest fish tacos and margaritas MBMom has ever had, this stop is a must for happy hour or if you’re at Epcot in time to eat lunch.
Buffet at Tusker House in Animal Kingdom- Best Places to Eat at Disney
Beautiful Buffet and Atmosphere at Tusker House in Animal Kingdom

Animal Kingdom:

  • Tusker House – The buffet is great for breakfast, lunch and dinner. They offer American classic dishes and then twist them up with African spices (see more in the Character Dining sections above).  MBMom Tip: If there is a wait or you feel like a mid-morning adult beverage, check out the numerous choices in Bloody Mary’s at the Dawa Bar just outside the Tusker House.
  • Yak & Yeti  – MBMom just dined here during her last visit and  the Chinese, Thai, American, Indian cuisine was delicious! Open for lunch and dinner. The Sweet & Sour Chicken and Chicken Tikka Masala are MUSTS. Trust.
Bloody Mary's Galore at Dawa Bar in Animal Kingdom- Best Places to Eat at Disney
Bloody Mary’s Galore at Dawa Bar in Animal Kingdom

Modern Boca Disney Mom’s Favorite Restaurant (still):

Sanaa at Animal Kingdom Villas – Kidani Village. This restaurant is off the beaten path, just like we like it. We stayed at the Villas in 2013 and it is by far our favorite resort and dining experience. Make reservations for a little before sundown and enjoy Indian and African food as you watch the animals roam the Savanna.

MBMom Tip: The Butter Chicken and the Indian Style Bread Service are must haves!

There are so many options for dining at Disney that we surely have not had the chance to try them all. The list above reflects some our favorites among the best places to eat at Disney World and there certainly are a lot more great ones out there including this one at Disney Springs. Have fun trying them out as you visit our favorite place in Florida (besides Boca Raton of course), Walt Disney World!

MBMoms- what are your favorite places to dine at Disney? Comment below! 

Casey has traveled to 47 out of the 50 States, and Disney World probably as many times. The mom of Irish Twins Hunter and Ruby, she runs a blog called Hunting for Rubies that focuses on Family, Travel, and Adventure here in South Florida and beyond. Interested in travel tips and fun adventures to be had, follow Hunting for Rubies on FacebookTwitterand Instagram

Handy Tropical Storm or Florida Hurricane Prep

From Modern Boca Mom contributor, Casey of Hunting for Rubies: I am not going to panic about a tropical storm or hurricane, but I will be prepared…and go get some beer, wine and vodka in the event we are stuck inside for 24-36 hours with no power.

We are not native Floridians, but I have been through a few hurricanes in my time. I have been lucky to not be impacted more than losing power for a few days, but that was all pre-kids, so this season, I want to make sure we are well prepared for any kind of storm that comes our way. At the end of the day, I am not terribly worried about a Tropical Storm or a Category 1 Hurricane, but it is better to be safe than sorry. Continue reading Handy Tropical Storm or Florida Hurricane Prep

Splash Adventure at Quiet Waters Park, A Bucketful of Fun!

Splash Adventure at Quiet Waters Park from Modern Boca Disney Mom…

Hunting for Rubies picture of Splash Adventure Quiet Waters Park

With temperatures reaching 100º degrees, we think it would be a much cooler idea to plan your upcoming summer play-dates around the water. Beaches, pools, and splash pads all accomplish the water part. However, they all have their downsides too.

Beaches can be a lot of work with small children and a mess to clean up after. The pool is a great option, but getting a bunch of toddlers and preschoolers plus siblings together can be hectic and hard to manage safely.  And, your typical splash pad at the playground isn’t going to cut it for us parents. We have to be out there enduring the heat too and need some relief!

Splash Adventure at Quiet Waters Park in Deerfield Beach is a great option for “cool play-dates” the entire family can enjoy. It is a playground within a wading pool – with lifeguards! Safety, fun, and water– we like it.

The pool goes from 0 to 12 inches, much like a beach without the waves. Bring some pool toys and your little babies can splash in the water while watching the bigger kids zoom by. There are large umbrellas with lawn chairs to catch some shade and have a snack.

Hunting for Rubies picture of Splash Adventure Quiet Waters Park
Toddlers love the Splash Adventure! Photo by Sarah Freudenburger

There are 3 different kinds of slides for all levels of adventurers, a rope ladder, a octopus waterfall, and gears, levers, and wheels to turn and crank to make different water features go! When the bell rings, watch out as the kids move to get under the giant bucket as it empties.

TIP: Move your little ones out of the way after the giant bucket dumps. Older kids will be rushing back to go down the slides. So if your little one is just getting comfortable on the stairs, you may want to move them to a safer spot, just in case. 

Hunting for Rubies picture of Splash Adventure Quiet Waters Park
Young kids test their developing skills and confidence by challenging themselves on the rope ladder and slides at Splash Adventure. Toddlers love the Splash Adventure! Photo by Sarah Freudenburger

Our family gets the season pass, since we typically go 1-2 days a week in the heat of summer. The best part about the season pass is that you are not locked into going during the sessions that are mainly in effect from June-August.

TIP: We find that mornings are the best time to avoid afternoon thunderstorms and summer camps (as it can get crowded).

Quiet Waters Park Splash Adventure also offers concessions, bathroom facilities and birthday party packages.

What is your favorite Splash Pad besides Quiet Waters Park in the tri-county area? Let your follow #ModernBocaMoms know by leaving us a comment below! 

huntingforrubies-stamp-2xCasey has traveled to 47 out of the 50 States, and Disney World probably as many times. The mom of Irish Twins Hunter and Ruby, she runs a blog called Hunting for Rubies that focuses on Family, Travel, and Adventure here in South Florida and beyond. Interested in travel tips and fun adventures to be had, follow Hunting for Rubies on FacebookTwitter and Instagram

Beat the Crowds, Beat the Heat! Top 5 Walt Disney World Resort Pools

Top 5 Disney World Resort Pools from Modern Boca Disney Mom…

Disney World Resort Pools
Disney’s Art of Animation Splash Pad

Spring = Summer here in South Florida, and Summer equals, well….you should probably just stay inside.

But, kids do need fresh air, so a trip to Disney World should be in the cards between April and October. Here is how #ModernBocaDisneyMom and family beat the heat and the crowds, and maximize our fun at Disney, even when it’s a scorcher outside!

Top 5 Walt Disney World Resort Pools

Get to the Parks when the gates OPEN. If you have never seen the Opening Ceremony at Magic Kingdom, get there a few minutes early for some song and dance, as Mickey arrives on the Steam Train. The show is short but sweet and then you can zoom through the park for shorter lines at your favorite rides.

MBMom Tip: All parks do an Opening Ceremony show, so get to the parks 30 minutes earlier than gates open.

By lunchtime, the sun is high in the sky and everyone is at the park. This is when we head back to the hotel for some lunch, pool time, and maybe even a nap.

We make our way back to the parks around 4:00 p.m. (well rested and cooled off) and then to our dinner reservation sometime around 5:30 p.m. While everyone else is hitting dinner at 6:00-8:00 p.m., we might get lucky with another lull in the lines at the more popular rides.

If taking a break might seem like a waste of money, avoiding heat exhaustion, crowds, and taking it easy will make for a much more enjoyable family trip. Plus, we find that our little ones are more likely to stay up for the night time festivities like the parade and fireworks with the little extra downtime. It’s a win-win for us all!

So what hotels have the best pools for that mid-afternoon break?

Here are #ModernBocaDisneyMom’s top 5 picks for Disney World Resort Pools…
Disney World Resort Pools
Art of Animation’s Radiator Springs at Walt Disney World
5. Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort is a great hotel with fun pool options, and is in the moderate price range!

“Hold the fort at this old Spanish citadel with a zero-entry pool, 2 slides and water cannons. Climb a spiral staircase to the top of a turret for an 82-foot trip down the larger slide, which penetrates the fortress wall! Two relaxing spas with the capacity for 12 allow for sweet surrender. Kids under 48 inches tall will love being marooned at the nearby shipwreck play area, where a barrel periodically dumps a deluge and 3 small slides delight little scalawags.”

4. Animal Kingdom Kidani Village could possibly be my favorite pool, but it is also my favorite resort that we have stayed at to date.

Disney describes it as a “tropical oasis” and it really is. The kids area is both a water playground and splash pad, so they spent a lot of time there. Then you move on to a gorgeous zero depth entry, heated pool with a 128-foot-long waterside. It is kind of awesome!

3. Art of Animation has the the largest pool at Disney World which is the focal point of Art of Animation.

The coolest features of this pool is the underwater music and Finding Nemo splash pad for the little ones. We could have probably skipped seeing Mickey with the fun my daughter had at 18 months. There are 2 other pools at Art of Animation for cooling off. The Little Mermaid pool and adorable Cozy Cone Pool from the movie Cars.

Disney World Resort Pools

Disney World Resort Pools

2. Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort‘s Nanea Volcano Pool.

The lava pool and slide have been redone. There is a new kids aquatic area that hosts playground and slide, 2 hot tubs, and a lay out area. Don’t forget to head over to the Pineapple Lanai for a DOLE WHIP – the ultimate in Disney cool-off treats!

1. Disney’s Beach Club Resort has the ultimate beach resort pool!

Of course it is, it only has The Beach Club in the name! Stormalong Bay located near The Boardwalk, Hollywood Studios, and Epcot has something for everyone. Climb high upon a shipwrecked boat and ride down one of the highest hotel water slides to see views of the Lighthouse, Boardwalk, and Crescent Lake. Even though you are an hour from the Atlantic Ocean or the Gulf, enjoy a sandy beach that dips down into the pool. The Beach Club also is equipped with a relaxing lazy river, a sun-bathing deck and kiddie pool with its own slide.

And those are our top picks for Disney World Resort Pools!

Do you have great tips for cooling off at Disney? Let Modern Boca Mom know about  your favorite cold treats, rides with A/C, or ride/water attractions in the comments below!

 huntingforrubies-stamp-2xCasey has traveled to 47 out of the 50 States, and Disney World probably as many times. The mom of Irish Twins Hunter and Ruby, she runs a blog called Hunting for Rubies that focuses on Family, Travel, and Adventure here in South Florida and beyond. Interested in travel tips and fun adventures to be had, follow Hunting for Rubies on FacebookTwitter and Instagram