Should Walt Disney World bars and lounges serve only adults?

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Visitors familiar with Walt Disney World know how difficult it can be to get reservations at some of the most sought-after restaurants on property. Travelers scramble to secure hot tickets, like Cinderella’s Royal Table and Le Cellier, when the booking opens 180 days in advance. And Be Our Guest (Beast’s castle) in the Magic Kingdom? Forget it! You basically need to be staying at a Walt Disney World resort so you can book it even sooner or luck into a cancellation. So is it any wonder that some families have found a way to experience some of the top Disney restaurants without a reservation?

Recently, we have observed families with young children eating at the bars in restaurants such as the California Grill at the Contemporary hotel or lounges such as Tune-In adjacent to the 50s Prime Time Café at Hollywood Studios. Bar seating doesn’t, of course, require a reservation, and may be the only way to gain entrance to a particular eatery that is booked solid six months in advance. Our family has never tried this, but I’m curious how other adults feel about sitting at a bar next to unrelated children. Do you feel like that area should be restricted to adults of legal drinking age or is first-come, first-served the best way to handle the open seating?

Walt Disney World has introduced a policy with its newest lounge, Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto at the Polynesian Village, that is something of a compromise. The bar opens at 4 p.m. daily and welcomes all guests until 8 p.m. After that, access is limited to guests 21 years and older until closing time at midnight. Trader Sam’s is modeled after the original lounge at the Disneyland hotel and serves “light bites” in addition to an extensive menu of specialty drinks. It is a highly anticipated addition to the re-imagined Polynesian hotel. Although Trader Sam’s doesn’t take reservations, it’s expected to have hours-long waits for at least the first few months of operation, so I wonder if this clear-cut policy will make guests grumble or accept the inevitable. (Trader Sam’s is in soft opening now and is expected to have its official opening toward the end of April.)

So, is eating at the bar a great tip for families or something that is best left to the adults? We’d love to hear what you think in the comments!


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99 Replies to “Should Walt Disney World bars and lounges serve only adults?”

  1. I don’t have a problem with children sitting at a table in a lounge but I dont feel the children should be allowed to sit at the bar. If I were a bartender I would have an issue with children taking up paying customers’ seats. Plus most children seated at a bar in WDW have not been well behaved nor have their parents addressed their behaviors. Another problem we once encountered at ESPN Club was parents who sat at the bar and sat their children at one of the booths not ordering any food for them. Therefore they took up a table that people eating lunch could have sat at. Again if I were the waitress, I would be upset about children trying up paying customers seats.

  2. i have been to Disney 20+ times with children age 2 and older and also adult only and while i don’t object to children sitting at tables in lounge area I don’t think they should be there late in evening and children should not be sitting at or on a bar anywhere .

  3. My husband and I are kidless, but love Disney because we enjoy the kids. This doesn’t mean, though, that we don’t enjoy adult only times sometimes. The people who disagree with this are probably the same people who bring their pets to inappropriate places. Dress code was also mentioned – why doesn’t Disney enforce dress code? I have been to Jiko several times alongside people dressed like they just got back from grocery shopping. The worst is Party for the Senses during Food & Wine. We get clear direction on this when making the reservation, yet there are numerous people there in logo T shirts. There is a certain expectation when you pay $200+ per person, yet Disney doesn’t support those of us who pay these prices.

  4. I thought it was a law that minors couldn’t sit at a bar. I personally have had bartenders
    ask me to take my child off the barstool. I have no problem with that.
    I stay at the Bay Lake Towers often and the last time I visited I wasn’t allowed upstairs to have a drink because it was full to capacity. I don’t think families should be allowed to sit at the bar and eat their meals.
    Yes it is hard to get reservations but it is hard for everybody. I travel to WDW at least once a year and have yet been able to get a reservation at Be Our Guest.

  5. As a parent who likes beer, wine and cocktails, I think that children sitting at the bar is not necessary, but children in a bar or lounge with their family members is totally acceptable as long as they are supervised. My children always have at least two sets of eyes on them while we are on vacation. My family vacations together in a large group, with ages 1 to 65, so we all like to have as much fun together as we can, and sometimes this includes drinking alcoholic beverages. I don’t expect children to be at a bar past 10 p.m., but if they are passed out in a stroller with their family members, so be it. We all unwind in our own way at the end of the day.

  6. Just an FYI, Florida law does not prohibit minors from sitting at bars serving alcohol. It is not a “Disney only” thing. I assume this is due to the tourist industry. The rules/laws vary widely from state to state. My son who is a bartender in Delaware was quite surprised that kids were allowed to sit at the bars in WDW.

    All that being said, I’d rather there not be kids sitting at the actual bar, but it’s Disney World so I’m not going to let it get me too upset.

  7. My wife and I are in our sixties and have been to WDW many times, but lately the availability of alcoholic beverages in the parks is too widespread.
    To us it is troubling to see a dad pushing a stroller and drinking, the two activities don’t seem to mix. And worse than that I saw a vendor walking the streets of Hollywood studios selling beer as though he were at a sporting event. Another dad tried to leave Epcot on the way to the parking lot with an unfinished beer in a souvenir container. Fortunately, a guard made him dump it out before proceeding to his car.

    It’s funny you mentioned that parents are bringing children into bar areas,
    we as adults always decline a table in a bar area due to the noise and abundance of TV screens. Not being regulars at bars we feel it is inappropriate for children to be seated in bars and especially not at the bar itself. They will have plenty of opportunities to do so when they come of age.

    On a very rare occasion at Boma, I did order a cocktail while seated at a table, and oddly enough there were no small children near us. Of course we expect to see lots of children in Disney venues and restaurants and that would not have stopped me from ordering. Now that I think about it, my wife and I have never ordered drinks at a restaurant while seated with our daughters when they were children.

  8. I feel we have lost sight and forgotten that Walt Disney designed WDW for families. A place where he could enjoy time and interact with his daughters. So, whenever people hear about WDW they think children and families. We know that adults travel to the World (myself included) sometimes without their children. But, we have to realize we are in the minority.

    Alcohol is a money maker and it is the subject of contention not just at Disney. This is going to be a turning point for Disney.

    What would Walt say?

  9. Walt’s original vision was a FAMILY place. Adults, go somewhere else if you do not want to see kids!!! There is a BIG, WIDE world out there. Disney is for kids AND adults TOGETHER!!!!!

  10. I think the emphasis is well-behaved, and that goes for the parents and children. Especially at signature restaurants I think well-behaved should be enforced. One time my family of four went to California Grill, carefully reading and following the dress code. Not only were we overdressed,(compared to what was on display that night) but dress shoes and stuff also took up luggage room. For the expense some rules need to be enforced

  11. This was one of the reasons that Pleasure Island was so good. It was an adult-only area where you could get away from the kids. I miss so many of the clubs. As a single adult with no kids it was something I enjoyed whenever I was at WDW.

  12. Disney is very family friendly, no one disputes that but there needs to be a place where adults can go to get away from children. So many people go to WDW without children, that they need a place to relax & have some quiet time. As other posters have said, if the Disney Cruise Line has designated adult only areas why can’t WDW? Bottom line, bars are for 21 and over, no exceptions. And as for adult only times/seating areas for the Signature restaurants -count us among the first to book an ADR.

  13. I am fine with children in the lounge area at a table if they can behave which as parent I understand that is not always easy esp at WDW but the bar itself I think should be 21 and over.

  14. I think a difference should be made between at the bar and in a bar. While I agree that children should not be sitting at a bar, I have no problem with children being at a table or seat within a lounge or bar. Assuming, of course, that the children are well-behaved and not causing a problem.

    A couple of years ago we found ourselves at Epcot with no dinner reservations. My older daughter was dying to eat at one of the Italian restaurants, and my younger was feeling sick from the heat. But no indoor seats were available, and I wanted to get into air conditioning. I had just explained to my oldest that we would just have to eat somewhere else when the woman at the desk suggested trying the bar next door. Since both my girls were teenagers, I didn’t think anyone would object.

    As a result, we had a wonderful meal. They seated us at a low table with a love seat and two ottomans around it. My husband felt a bit odd perched on an ottoman, but the sofa let my wilting child lie down to rest before the food came. The server was very attentive, and we left with refreshed daughters and a great story.

  15. Kristen Ford neglected to inform the reader that the Tune In adjacent to the 50s Prime Time Cafe’ happens to be the waiting area which the seating staff send people with reservations to wait for their tables. This makes her article very uninformative as to what the real situation is. I have never seen children eating at this bar. I am an annual pass holder and go to this restaurant several times a year. If the people with reservations are no longer allowed to wait for their tables with their children at Tune In then they will have to wait in the heat and bright sun outside the building. I have waited as much as an hour pass my reservation time at this restaurant.

  16. I’m a little conflicted on my feelings about this. As a mother of two I totally respect an adults only area, especially in a family friendly place such as Disney World. I also love the part about Disney that most areas can be enjoyed by all members of the family because it’s our vacation too. As a parent I’m responsible for the environment I put my children in but on the other hand I understand as an adult sometimes I like to cut loose without having to worry about the impressionable minds around. I’d say as long as there are plenty of family hangouts at the resort then there is no problem with an adults only or limited hours for children. I wish the bars and clubs opened at Downtown Disney, then I’d say we wouldn’t have to limit resort amenities 🙂

  17. Sorry .. but please no kids at the bars, the last thing myself or anyone needs is a crying child sitting at the bar. At Disney there’s plenty of places to bring the kid . In other states its against the law to have kids sitting at the bar … so please parents use some common sense … thanx

  18. My husband and I were just discussing this topic when we were hanging out at Trader Sam’s (Disneyland Hotel) last week. Seeing children at bars are a pet peeve of ours (even in Disney). While at Trader Sam’s, we saw a family come up and order appetizers and drinks (the children were about 5 and 7). The children were running around their table after about 20 minutes and started yelling like they were at a McDonald’s playground. Several neighboring tables had folks rolling their eyes and shaking their heads at this family. We went after work to relax and have a couple of drinks and appetizers. Yes, we know it’s Disneyland. Yes, we know kids will be kids (we have 2 teenagers ourselves). But it’s a BAR. There are so many other food options at Disney that do not require ADRs, so I do not go for parents who excuse it by saying, “We have babies with inconsistent schedules.” or the like. If this is the case, go to a Counter Service option. As a parent, when my children were small we would never take them to bars. If you are a single parent, I’m sorry, then “relaxing at a bar” is not an option for you. I know my post may upset some, but a bar is for 21+. Let’s keep it that way.

  19. I like the Trader Sam’s policy, as it seems a good compromise at a place like Disney. I don’t think all bars should be 21+ only, but at least a few for adults to “get away” would be good.

  20. We just returned from Disney. We spent many nights at Trader Sam’s. There was at least a one hour wait to get into the bar. Once in, we were told our kids (12 & 10)could not sit at the bar. There were no tables available, so we just looked around and then went back outside. Being outside was better for us than inside because we had a view of the water, castle, beautiful fountain, pool, and the ukele player. The waiters were very entertaining as well. We loved being able to see the inside of the grotto, but preferred the outside area.

  21. Well hard to say what is the right thing to do. You are at Disney World. Kids are everywhere.
    But I think sitting on barstools right on the bar shouldn’t be done or allowed. It should be 21 and over. But at a lounge it shouldn’t be a big deal. (sitting in the tables/couches. I travel both with kids sometimes and without. When I’m with them sometimes I enjoy taking a break and sitting at a lounge but I would never sit them at a bar. Also if they are not behaving I will not go. I see it as other people are also taking a break and hearing kids crying and running around is not what they want to be hearing. When I don’t go with them and I sit at a bar, I don”t want to be sitting next to a kid at all. 1. I am a mother so I will want to help them(parents). 2. I am looking and waiting for the melt down. One other thing when I go to Epcot lets say the like the UK they have a Pub there I do not go in there with my kids ever. They sometimes ask can we go in and look? “I say no that’s 21 and over sorry.” A place like that kids have no business in. I went in once to get a cup of water and saw kids and I was super surprise. My kids waited outside.
    But I do understand if you have to feed kids, you do what you have to do. Maybe those who have to feed their kids can do takeout. From the bar. Not sure what bar does that.

  22. Alcohol is such a pervasive intruder into our present day society. There was a time when you could take your children to WDW and go to any eating establishment and not be faced with the ALCOHOL QUESTION. I understand the financial gold mine for WDW, however it would still be nice to expose your children or grandchildren to a fine gourmet sit down and dressed up eatery without the ALCOHOL FACTOR.

  23. In a lounge where there are tables that don’t require sitting at the bar, as long as the children are well behaved, and because it is Disney I can put up with children. However, I do not feel they should ever be allowed to sit at the bar.

    What I really don’t like are the kids running all over and almost tripping the waiters who are carrying trays of drinks.

    The River Roost lounge with Bob Jackson is one place the kids do have a lot of fun but I think they should be out of there NLT 9PM.

  24. I think there should be a difference between “the bar” and lounges. I don’t agree that anyone under 21 should be allowed at the bar on a bar stool. However the seats in the lounge area around it should allow kids. My husband and I took our then 9 month old to the California Grill for apps and drinks but didn’t have a reservation. We were able to get great seats in their lounge/waiting area, and was even able to slide her stroller up to the table. There was a table next to us with two children who were having a full meal in the lounge. All the kids were very well behaved, so no one minded them there. We were even able to bring our baby to the lounge outside O’hana and the Belle Vue Room at The BoardWalk. She was sleeping in her stroller while we had a drink. I’m sad to hear that Sam’s will be limiting availability to 21+ after 8pm. I can understand kids being in bed by 8pm in the “real world” but it’s Disney…kids are up late having fun with the rest of the family.

  25. I don’t have a problem with children in the bar area, however, they should not be standing at the bar or sitting on the bar stools.

    Just because it’s Disney doesn’t mean that there can’t be adult only areas. I also think that there should be more adult only dining options. Victoria & Alberts used to be 18 or over – it’s now 10 or over. 99% of Disney is geared towards children – it’s ok if 1% is for adults only.

  26. This is always been my pet peeve. I love children BUT I do not want them in a bar or lounge. This should be an adult area. Parents need a break too. There are plenty of other areas to eat with the kids. Also if you use My Disney Experience app it is really easy to get reservations. I use it all the time and have great success getting them. Some parents just don’t like to wait and want immediate service, but a bar or lounge just isn’t the place for young children. Teenagers are OK.

  27. Like others here, it’s news to me that children sitting at a bar is even an option. It’s not allowed where I live. I am totally on board with a 21 or older policy in the bar areas, or a policy like Trader Sam’s. I wouldn’t mind children being able to sit at the tables in a lounge area around a bar, but I don’t believe they should be able to sit at the bar itself.

  28. I’m an 18+ person.
    My daughter will turn 21 the week after we visit and there is a huge difference between children and a 20 y/o college student. We are not drinkers, but we do enjoy some of the snacks and appetizers that are special to the specific lounges.
    I don’t begrudge the kids their access but they do change the dynamic of a lounge dramatically.

  29. As long as it is before 8pm who cares. Everybody has a right to sit and eat. I am from Texas so having kid’s at bars nothing new. If you don’t like kid’s at the bar’s don’t go to Disney. My kids are grown and I have grandchildren, one of which we took last year. We sat at the bar at Yak-n-Yeti before our lunch table was ready. I saw nothing wrong with it.

  30. We have always taken our kids to the “bars” in WDW. When they were younger, it was sometimes not possible to feed them when coming back late from the parks. It is not always possible to wait for a table & a seat in the “bar area” was always quick and no waiting. We have many fond memories of playing trivia games and the like when we would return to our hotel at the end of a long day. The kids to this day like to get the frozen apple drink at Ariel’s. We never sat at the bar (on stools) with the kids but, always at a table. Unfortunately, with the new rules we can no longer do this….my one son is 21 and the other is only 17….they have been going to WDW since my oldest was 2. For my family the changes just are not fair!

  31. I have 2 children who have been sitting at bars with my husband and myself for years, they know how to behave and they would sit between the 2 of us so they are not next to another adult enjoying a cocktail.We only sit there at lunch time when we would like an adult drink. Disney is Family Friendly, and if you don’t want your child to be subjected to the conversations at bar, then be prepared because the conversations at Disney Bars are more PG rated then what your children will hear at school, malls, etc. I can understand people wanting adult only at a bar and I do agree that maybe after 7pm on would be a good idea, especially at DTD where not only Disney Guest are but the locals who come to hang out too..

  32. We’re a childless couple and we enjoy having adult beverages, especially on vacation. We prefer to sit at the bar so we wouldn’t want to see children at the bar. However, if the bar has a lounge providing table seating and offering small bites, families welcome. We all need a place to sit, relax, recharge.

  33. I feel like it would be better to be over 21 in bars. At least after 8pm. But I would want there to be an exception for Top Of The World. It was designed for fireworks viewing, a family experience, and does a good job of keeping a family friendly environment.

    Other bars and lounges, over 21 makes total sense. Even at Disney.

  34. A difficult question, as being from the UK and my kids being 18 & 19, not being able to drink in bars is alien to them and me.

    But one of the highlights of our previous Disney holidays is, after spending an exhausting morning at the parks taking an early lunch at the rain-forest cafe (or similar), sitting at the bar with a nice cold beer (for me) with a plate of nachos and wings to share, nothing better.

    I must say that I only do this lunchtimes as at 12 noon there are not many people sitting at the bar. Maybe if the over 21 law (something I don’t agree with)is enforced maybe make it after 6pm.

  35. I am pushing Senior Citizen status but I love going to Disney. I think there should be a few places where an adult can have some time alone from all the kids at the park. I like the Trader Sam’s policy and feel that some of the higher end restaurants should adopt that policy as well.

  36. Someone commented earlier that there’s always V&A if one wants an age restricted dining experience. Not all of us are prepared (or able) to drop a minimum of $400.00 on a single dinner for two. Should we be required to do this if we want a quiet, romantic dinner for two? Should we confine ourselves to our hotel room with takeout from the quick-service on the way back from the park if we want to wind down? If it’s unreasonable to expect families with children to do something like that, why is it fair to tell adults who would like to have some quiet space to enjoy a drink (or heaven for-fend, dinner) to ‘deal with it, it’s Disney’? That’s hardly magical.

    No one disputes that Disney is a place for children, but by that same token, is it wrong to expect a certain level of decorum and ambiance in a restaurant that has a dress code (at least on paper) where you could (if so inclined) drop 4 figures on a single bottle of wine? (I’m looking at you, California Grill). Would it be such a heinous proposition to have an Adults section, or possibly Adults hours at more than one restaurant? At least having a select number of locations (e.g. not the dinner shows, not the restaurants inside the theme parks, not even all of the resort restaurants, just a few) with well defined ‘Adult only’ hours (say the last 1.5 or 2 hours of operations) which should tend to be outside of normal children’s dining times would be a reasonable compromise.

  37. IMO all bar areas should only have people over the age of 21. In Australia you can’t enter any type of bar area if you are under the legal age of drinking. I would not feel comfortable at all being around children while eating or drinking or even just talking at a bar.

  38. WDW is a place for children (of any age)to enjoy. However, not every place in the World needs to be FOR children.
    Bars and lounges are normally thought of as ‘adult’ venues, and IMO, should be treated that way no matter where they are.

    Very few (not enough) places in the World are designed expressly for adults. People mumble ‘..family-friendly..” if one complains, verbally or by body language. But not every family includes children. Where’s the ‘friendly’ for them ?
    There are few things as disconcerting as going to a bar or lounge, with the intention of meeting friends, or looking for a quiet nook to enjoy some company with a beverage of choice – and encountering a very underage patron, up far past their bedtime, and behaving in a way that makes one uncomfortable to be around them. (Crying, yelling, wandering, staring… All perfectly normal, but highly inappropriate for the location)

    The original policy at Pleasure Island – gated after 7pm – makes perfect sense for those few places left that attempt to provide an adult setting.
    Open during the day, for everyone to enjoy, but open only to those who meet a legally valid criterion after a set hour

  39. PRECISELY ADULTS ONLY….. Adults entering the WDW zone understand they are outnumbered by parents/grandparents with children of all ages.
    Sometimes is it NICE to have a peaceful or convivial ‘beverage’ and escape the young ones.
    If The Prime Time cafe wanted to have rapid seating they need to have MORE seats, period.
    I appreciate this forum and the points they raise!

  40. Let me start this comment by saying that I LOVE KIDS! I understand that Disney Parks are for kids and kids at heart everywhere. That being said I believe that bars and lounges should be 21+ ONLY, at least some of the time.

    I know that there are kids and families everywhere but that’s why there should be some restrictions. Have some areas where adults can go to get away for a little while, have a drink in peace or just feel free to let loose a little bit more than being on guard all the time with kids around.

    I would suggest that some bars and lounges should be 21+ ONLY all the time and some should be 21+ after 8pm or so. I think that would be a fair balance for those looking to have little hideaways and others who are looking to enjoy a different atmosphere with older kids when appropriate.

  41. While I think bars late at night are not the place for children, I disagree that the lounges at WDW should be restricted to those 21 or over. As a Canadian, our children were “legal” to drink alcohol (in Canada) at 18 and they had certainly seen people drink before that. I see no harm in a family eating a light meal and the parents or those over 21 having a glass of wine or beer or whatever in the company of their minor children, if they so choose. There are usually tables available and young children should not be seated at the bar itself, and I would say,maybe, teenagers shouldn’t come in on their own, but I actually don’t see any harm in those under-age coming in as long as the servers serve them appropriately. AS ALWAYS young children should be supervised by their parents and not allowed to run around. That applies even in the most family-friendly restaurants and is a completely different matter than being “allowed” in the lounge.

  42. Adults only, please.
    There are hundreds of places for children at WDW.
    The bars should be limited to the 21 & over crowd.

  43. Bar = Adults only. No question needed.
    When you take on the responsibility of parenting children, your lifestyle changes. When they have grown, or, you hire a babysitter, enjoy those child-free activities. 🙂

  44. I agree that the bars at WDW should be for adults only. I would be okay with the compromise however such as children until 7 PM or 8 PM something like that. I once had an experience at the animal kingdom lodge lounge. There were two parents sitting at the bar and five children sitting in the lounge chairs away from the bar. They were completely unsupervised they were bouncing a ball through the bar, running through the chairs and between other guests, they would reach their hands into the little drink garnishes up on the bar. No parental supervision no management or staff saying anything to the children. My mother and I just wanted to have a nice relaxing drink after the day at the parks it would be so nice to have a place where we adults can have some quiet space.

  45. I am fine with the kids being there provided 1) the parents enforce behavior and 2) the parents do not sit there and complain that there are adults drinking in the bar next to their children, when they chose to patronize the bar knowing that it’s a bar. I’m also good with some 21+ hours like Trader Sam’s has.

  46. I agree as well that bars should be 21 and up. We were also at Martha’s Vineyard and the BC and a family of probably 6 adults with about 8 children were there about 9pm and the kids were laying down on the floor sleeping with their heads on backpacks while the parents drank and socialized. Not only did you have to step around them, but they had clearly had enough as did the parents. If there’s alcohol and it’s a bar, the kids should be a no-go. Just because it’s Disney, parents seem to think something would be appropriate there that wouldn’t be most other places. But that probably goes for more than just the bars.

  47. Never seated at the actual bar, but yes to tables in a lounge area.

    I’m of the theory that a glass or two of an alcoholic beverage is a normal part of life. Drinking should not be taboo, children should see their parents and other adults enjoying alcohol responsibly as to develop a healthy relationship with alcohol when they are of age. The problem is that many people have a “spring break” mentality the minute they step foot in a bar. If you are behaving in a way that may be offensive to children, you are probably offending the other adult patrons as well. All that being said, any parent who is letting their child run around and disturb others in a bar or restaurant should be asked to control their offspring or leave. However, as a responsibly-drinking parent of a well-behaved 7-year old, I feel we have the same right to be at Trader Sam’s as the next person.

  48. Seating at the bar itself should be for 21+. I honestly thought that was the law through-out the US.

    If the bar has some tables off the bar area then kids at those tables would be OK but I do like the idea of having limited hours.

  49. I have to admit I was shocked last Sept when my husband & I dined at the bar at the California Grill & people brought in their toddler age children. We spent six days with kids 15, 12 & 9. We were looking for a child free evening. It is illegal where we live for anyone under 21 to go into the bar area, so we assumed it was like that everywhere. I really think families need to be served in the dining room. Disney isn’t just for kids. Adults who would like to experience some alone time ought to have a place to do so. There are plenty of places that cater to families at WDW , so I see no reason to bring your kids to a bar.

  50. I’ve never understood why parents let their young kids sit at the bar, especially when there are grown adults there. My parents would never have let my sister and I sit at a bar, or anywhere for that matter, when there were adults standing.

  51. I was brought up that kids do not sit at the bar. Our state has a law that prohibits kids from sitting at the bar. I don’t mind them being in the bar at tables but not bellied up in a bar stool. We have 3 children and wouldn’t allow even if we were desperate for a seat.

  52. I like the compromise proposed at Trader Sams. And as a parent who has taken her kids to most of WDW’s better restaurants, CA Grill, Citrico’s, Flying Fish among them, I wouldn’t mind seeing a similar time restriction there, to be honest. There is no reason for little ones to be sitting down to dinner at 8 PM or later after a long day at a park. My boys are older elementary aged now but we still get our ADR’s for the earliest possible time these restaurants open (like 5:00) like we did when they were little. That way we can enjoy a great meal but we are out of there well before most adults travelling without kids are coming in for their dinner, and our boys are still in good moods and ready to eat. Win-win!

  53. My wife and I (who have 2 children) have been visiting WDW since the kids were 8 months old. We never felt it was appropriate to bring our children into any part of a lounge of a restaurant. We either utilized services that Disney offers at the Hotels for childcare or we purchased cocktails to go. In our most recent trip to the Wilderness Lodge, a couple with a small child pushed 2 tables together in the Territory Lounge and proceeded to have drinks and appetizers as a full meal with their crying and tired toddler. I am sure that this facility was not designed for 2 adults to take up 2 tables plus 4 chairs in an intimate setting to have “dinner”. Needless to say, although this couple may have been able to unwind, none of the other guests were able to do so.

  54. One of my fondest memories when I was a kid was going to the bar at the California Grill (whatever it was named then) with my Dad. He got me a virgin strawberry daiquiri and we watched the fireworks. I had on a pretty dress and felt important out with my Dad. I knew that I had to behave my best. Dad tells me that we also went to the Luau at the Polynesian, but I don’t recall that at all.
    My husband and I have been going to Disney both before we had kids and now that we have two. I don’t think people should expect that the bars in Disney be kid free. I do think both kids and adults should be expected to behave appropriately in public and judge for themselves what is good for their family. When at Disney there will be kids, for a kid free experience go elsewhere.

  55. There are plenty of places for children to eat in Disney. I don’t think they should be able to sit at a bar as well. Bar areas should be left open for 21+ only. There are plenty of adults only who travel to Disney World. It would be nice if there were a few things for adults only to do/enjoy.

  56. At a real world bar NO , But at Disney it is different. But I do like that they can be there till 8pm at least that way the whole family can enjoy the Grotto which looks like a fun place, but after 8pm time to go so the adults can have a time to them selves. Kids don’t want to be hanging at a bar all night long when there are Fireworks to see, Luau’s and electrical parades to go to. Not to mention that some adults,after a few drinks seem to go blind to the fact their kids are bored and are running all around the place yelling and bothering everyone around them.

  57. As a parent I don’t have a problem with taking my child into a lounge at WDWor seeing other kids there. Having a drink in a WDW lounge is no different than having a drink at your table in a restaurant. Its a quite place to have a cocktail, not a rowdy bar with staggering drunks. It’s nice to not need a sitter to enjoy a drink or 2 before dinner.

  58. I fully agree that all bars and lounges should be 21 with no exceptions.
    There are still plenty of places that families can go to take their kids at all hours of the day.
    Growing up, I always was taught to stay out of a bars,parents should have better common sense to begin with.
    With that said, I do like the compromise that Trader Sam’s is doing. An 8pm bar and lounge restriction I think can work for everyone.
    Perhaps that will encourage parents to get their young children back to their rooms to rest at a reasonable time.
    I cringe when I see parents out for a drink at 11pm with a screaming crying infant at a bar. I do agree with others that there should be a time put aside that adults can enjoy “Adult time” while spending $300 for a meal and drinks.
    Disney is a place for magical dreams in young minds. Their last impression should not be a “Nightcap” at the nearby lounge.

  59. I totally agree that 21 and above should be the age for people at bars, and there should definitely be adult areas in the restaurants, esp the “signature” ones. We don’t have kids, but we know that Disney is obv.for families. However, WE are a family of two adults who LOVE WDW, but do wish often for a nice quiet drink, without being plagued by someone elses children running about or screaming!!!
    Also we have experienced the annoyance of a top-end meal being ruined by kids. Parents (not all!)don’t control their children!
    And why the heck are they in romantic restaurants running around at midnight?!
    Some are good. But consideration of others is definitely needed!!! xxx

  60. In my hometown children are not Allowed to sit at the bar however up until 8pm they are allowed to sit in the lounge area I think this is perfectly acceptable at wdw I have worked in restaurants that have also tried one side family oriented and one side only those 13 and over those have gone out of business after 6months because while a good concept the sound carries and adults are still annoyed

  61. Are we talking about Lounges or the Bar? First off it is DISNEY WORLD and you should expect kids everywhere. Secondly, There is nothing wrong with my wife and I wanting to sit in the lounge of The California Grill, Tambu Lounge, Crew’s Cup or whatever lounge we choose after a long day at the parks/pools have a drink and/or a light meal and enjoy our family in a casual setting. In fact, some dishes are only offered in the lounges and are some of our favorites. You MIGHT be able to make a case for the Bar Counters.

  62. I have no problem with children in a bar, or in the bar area of a restaurant. We love going to La Cava, Top of the World, Tutto Gusto, and would be bummed if the only way we could do that were if we got a sitter. With that said, I do not think that children ought to be permitted to sit AT the bar.

  63. Children at the bars at WDW is a pet peeve of mine. I know I probably sound like a prude, but I don’t think it’s appropriate. As a solo traveler, I often eat at the bars in nicer restaurants. I’ve had parents set their diaper clad children ON the bar right next to my dinner plate. Yuck. When you’re sitting at the bar, it’s like sharing the dinner table with everyone else there. For some reason when sitting at the bar, some parents feel like they can be more casual than if they were at a table at the same restaurant, so I have had dinner with many misbehaved children. Conversations at the bars are often not kid friendly, and the later it gets, the looser everything gets at the bars, even at WDW. There are SO many options for families, my opinion is that the bars should be adult only space.

  64. One of my favorite things to do when we stay on property is to take my preschooler up to Top of the World Lounge to watch Wishes. We go up about an hour before the show to order a drink or two and some snacks. It is a very family friendly environment.

    In contrast, I struggle to see why we would take her to Trader Sams when the Kids Club that she would enjoy a great deal more is right there at the Poly.

    Kids in bars at WDW is a question where I would tend to trust parental judgement as the rule and give CMs the ability to deal with the exceptions as needed.

    For adults desiring high end dinner experiences – Victoria and Albert’s has a minimum age requirement.

  65. I think only those 21 & over should be allowed to sit at the bar. I have a few reasons, first sometimes there is adult conversation that you might not want small children to over hear. Second children are everywhere in the park, as a parent with an adult child of my own sometimes it’s nice to get a break from the fidgety little ones & just relax.

  66. I think it’s a good idea to have some bars be adults only, or adults only during certain times, so that adults do have some place to go and not be bothered by children, but in most cases I don’t have a problem with children being in bars. At least, I don’t have any more problem with it than I do with children being in restaurants in general. If your kid is disruptive then you should take him or her out, regardless of the type of establishment. I really don’t like the idea of making all bars adults only at all times. If a bar serves food, and a kid is eating that food and drinking a soda, then they have just as much right to be there as someone who’s going to be ordering a beer.

  67. This whole discussion reminds me of Pleasure Island. There were times for families to visit and times for only 21 and above. Yes I did see children at the Adventurers Club and the Comedy Warehouse. The parents made the decision to expose their children to the “adult” humor. I did not visit the other bars but the web site stated that they were for over 21. I still do not understand why PI was removed. The conclusion is that the bar area could be used by families before 8 or 9pm then be adults only after that. This is just my two cents.

  68. An age requirement of 18 is more appropriate. If someone can serve our country or vote, they should be able to sit at a bar at the very least. That being said…we don’t mind children in the venue, but they probably shouldn’t sit at the bar. We do mind when families with children take over the space such as California Grill. Lately, it is difficult for those wanting a cocktail to find a spot at the bar because there are usually several children/families eating there…I assume because they didn’t have a reservation

  69. I like the concept of allowing all ages up until a certain hour, 7 or 8 o’clock. Past that and up until closing, 21+ only.

    There’s a huge range of ages, obviously, that make up “under 21”. I personally never imbibed in the presence of my daughter until she was about 9 years old. If you have little kids, toddlers or infants, you need to be on your A-game. They’re 100% dependent upon you. Booze impairs your skills.

    Older kids can be given a little more leeway, and the adults can let the guard down a bit.

    Then, of course, you could have “kids” that are 19 or 20. These are the ones to really watch! So close to being of age, yet so far…

    Bottom line: we’re all here to enjoy ourselves. Moderation is key.

  70. Adult only!!! Ok, I realize that Disney is all about families and I totally accept that, but a few adult only escapes will not take away from that!

    As one who also makes several solo trips a year to Disney World, I don’t mind sitting at a bar and ordering dinner (along with a couple of cocktails). This doesn’t tie up a table for four that could go to a family. However, the last couple of trips I’ve found that I can’t get a spot at the bar and as I look around I see several families sitting there with their kids. I guess I shouldn’t be so worried and just go ahead and reserve a large table for myself.

  71. This is for all bars. I remember when we had the Adventures Club. When parents brought little children in there the place was totally different with the loudness and jokes and the drinking. The Fun level went down. I Do Not think they should be in Bars on Disney Property. you cannot take children in bars in your home town. Then parents wonder why there are so much under age drinking.

  72. I believe that bars and lounges in WDW should be restricted to adults (ages 21 and older). Perhaps this should apply to nighttime hours only (i.e. after 8:00 PM). There are so many places for children. The adults deserve a place where they can relax and unwind without the distraction of children bothering them. Yes, WDW is for children, but I don’t think it unreasonable to have some things for adults to enjoy without children. Lastly, I agree with the writer posting about the California Grill and those saying there should be an adult only section offered at the Signature Restaurants. My husband and I wanted to celebrate a romantic 25th wedding anniversary dinner at Le Celier and were seated next to a table with screaming, children who ran around and climbed under our table and others. All this happening at a 9:00 PM dining time! Needless to say, our $300 dinner was ruined!

  73. I am a parent of 3 children. I like the time restriction for having them not be allowed to enter after a certain time. I personally don’t allow my children to sit at the bar, but I think it is ok for them to be seated at the tables in the lounge. My reasoning is more for the safety of my children sitting on the stools and because I feel that the bar area should be reserved for adults dining alone.

  74. I think bars should be adults only. The purpose of a bar or lounge is to make money selling alcohol. If a 8 year old is taking a spot at the bar drinking coke, that is unfair to the bar, this is speaking strictly business.

    As far the other side of the coin, sometimes when adults drink they might say or act in a manner that would not really be appropriate in the presence of children. So that being said, I would not bring children into a bar because we couldn’t get a seat in the restaurant.

    Also, its a nice respite from the young ones, we all need some adult time

  75. Being that drinking age is 21, nobody under 21 should be permitted to sit at a bar in Walt Disney World. Disney goes through great lengths to protect the welfare of the children, sitting at a bar should be no exception. Not to mention, sitting a wiggly toddler on a tall bar chair is a safety hazard.

  76. There are so many family activities at Disney for entertainment I feel bars and lounges should be for 21 and over. My kids are grown, but I still like to do my yearly Disney trip and it’s nice to have adult places to go to where you can have quiet time to sit and relax with a cocktail or two.

  77. I completely agree with this policy. In fact I don’t feel that the policy goes far enough. I have been saying for years that there needs to be adults only sections in the restaurants as well. Like the earlier post, we have also stopped going to the California Grill. The kids and more often the lack of parental control has made this restaurant not worth the expense. They used to have smoking sections in restaurants so how hard could it be to create a section for adults only. I would certainly be willing to wait for a table in this section. I know WDW is all about family and WDW goes out of their way to provide an outstanding family experience. But families are not the only visitors. Adults traveling without children want some quiet time also and depending on where you go for a drink or a meal the quiet is in short supply.

  78. There are so very many places at Disney World for children, as there should be. Can’t there be a few that are just for adults? There are times when a grown-up just wants adult company and a little more quiet than can be found on Main Street or next to the pool. Having a space reserved for adults is appropriate. I like the compromise offered at Trader Sam’s, I believe it provides a fair balance.

    It’s also worth noting that Disney provides a significant amount of adults-only space on their cruise ships. I think it’s trainable reasonable to expect some in the resorts as well.

  79. I am in total agreement of age restrictions in certain WDW bars and establishments. There are adult only spaces on the cruise ships, so why not at the resorts/parks…

  80. I think only adults 21 and over should be in a bar. There are countless other places that families with children can go at WDW.
    I have two children, which are grown up now. We spent our vacations at WDW every year since they were infants and I never ever thought about going to a bar with them!
    I think although WDW is a child friendly and family place, there are numerous people travelling without children, who also “deserve” a small adult only spot.

  81. I visited WDW for years before having a child and have enjoyed vacations there for the last year with my infant daughter. We have taken her into the wine bar in the Italy pavilion at EPCOT and, until reading this article, I didn’t think anything of it. The bar was actually a relief to find! An infant in particular (not to mention one of vacation) is very difficult to plan around, as their schedule is not consistent. There was no way my family and I could have scheduled ADRs. When my daughter was growing hot in the sun and getting hungry, it was comforting to find a cool spot where we could go and where my husband and I could eat a nice meal while I nursed the baby. No one at the restaurant seemed bothered by us- and the staff had no problem with us being there. I think like most things it depends on the child- and the parents. If my daughter had fussed we would have immediately left so as to spare the other diners- but I would do the same in any restaurant. I also think the bars provide an option for Florida residents- we often plan trips at the last minute and therefore cannot make ADRs. The bars allow us (and other families) the opportunity to have a nice meal with requiring reservations.

  82. As others have said better here, there are tons of places for kids at WDW. Can we have somewhere for adults only? I stopped going to CA Grill because trying to have a nice EXPENSIVE dinner with tons of kids making a lot of noise and no one enforcing the dress code is impossible. It’s not exactly the romantic, quiet dinner you expect away from the parks at that price.

  83. As a father of 2 younger children I see no reason for them to be sitting at barstools at a bar, whether at home or in the family friendly confines of WDW.
    I can see situations where the tables in a lounge area can be used with children.
    After a long day in the parks mom and dad cannot wait to have an adult drink??

  84. Outside of Disney, it’s usually clear whether an establishment is a “bar with food service” or a “restaurant that serves alcoholic beverages”. I would think most parents would opt to not bring children to the former.

    However, the distinction is not always clear. This is particularly true at a family-friendly resort like WDW. Certainly all establishments must be in compliance with local laws, but if a specific establishment has no policy, it becomes a judgment call for the parents.

  85. As surprised as we were the first time we saw a mom and young child at Martha’s Vineyard (bar at the Beach Club), we came to recognize that at WDW, this was OK.
    What is a single parent to do? If they would like to relax with a beer or a glass of wine? As long as the child/children are not misbehaving, we don’t see the problem.

    Almost all of the WDW bars/cocktail lounges have a light bites menu which often has items perfect for kids who will not eat items in the adjoining restaurant!

    And when you couldn’t get a reservation, what a relief to be able to find a limited selection of some real food in a welcoming environment!

  86. I feel that it should be 18+. I felt the same way about Pleasure Island. No matter how hard you try, underage drinking will happen and allowing more kids will allow for more of that to occur. They could allow them early access, but once the majority of alcohol sales take place, those under 18 should be gone. I used to hate being at Pleasure Island about midnight and seeing kids in strollers or kids walking around who should probably be in bed at that time.

  87. Interesting article. I have to admit that as part of an adult couple with no kids, we rarely if ever think about this when we’re at WDW and we often stop for cocktails in the hotels or parks prior to dinner. Outside in the “real world” I do find it at times improper or a bit of an invasion into an adult space, but never crosses my mind at WDW. I think adults should expect it there. And I don’t think parents should have to worry about it either unless WDW mgmt. as they’ve done here make it clear that there is an age limit.

    BUT I have to agree with another poster here, kids of any age should not sit at bar stools or be up against the bar. That is truly an adult space and it is not an appropriate spot for a kid. As a matter of fact, I recall when I was a kid in the 1980s, the bartender at the Pub & Crown in the UK pavillion, politely telling my parents I could stay in the bar area, but I couldn’t be up against the bar. I recall that I hadn’t been in there more than a minute asking my folks for $ no doubt for the toy store across the way. I wonder if WDW still enforces that standard.

  88. I thought it was a law that you had to be 21 to be seated at a bar. I don’t think children should be allowed to eat at the bar. As someone else stated there are plenty of other places to bring children to eat.

  89. I would prefer that it be limited to adults only. There are countless places to go in WDW with children, very few where those of us who chose not to have children can enjoy some time away from families with children. Of course, that doesn’t solve the problems of adults who act like children…

  90. I don’t have issues with people having children at a bar. If you don’t want your child in a bar, don’t take them to a bar. That solves that problem. I only take issue with people “sneaking” into restaurants others have reservations for. Perhaps these bars should serve a very limited menu to deter people from settling down for a MEAL.

  91. As a childless couple we do not mind children at a table in the bar area, but I do not think they should be at the bar itself on a bar stool.

  92. I would prefer limiting access to 21+ only. It makes no sense to me why any parent would want to risk having their children exposed to inappropriate “adult” behavior just to see the inside of a certain restaurant. (It’s bad enough trying to explain the drunken behavior at EPCOT to little ones.)

  93. I think the bar area should be restricted to those 21 and older. I guess I thought it was that way everywhere since that is the law here in IN.

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