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Disney bans kids at Walt Disney World's top restaurant

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Published: January 5, 2008 at 4:00 PM

Walt Disney World will no longer allow kids under age 10 to dine at the Victoria & Albert's restaurant at the Grand Floridian Hotel.

Disney officials told the Associated Press that only about three families *a month* brought kids to V&As, which requires jackets for men and offers $125 multi-course dinners.

What do you think of the move? Good marketing, or a slap at Disney's core audience? A welcome change or a PR stunt (given that so few kids came anyway).

Readers' Opinions

From Karin S on January 5, 2008 at 4:32 PM
Personally, I think it's fine. There are plenty of other restaurants to choose from and adults deserve a quiet place to enjoy their meal. I've been reading other comments on other sites, and you'd think that Disney was abolishing children altogether from some of the posts. The fact is, not all visitors have children and they might want to enjoy a quiet, romantic evening. We all have seen the uncontrolled kids and clueless parents, so this offers a quiet haven. The people pay enough for their meal so they're entitled to enjoy it. Plus, it's not like NO children are allowed - just the little ones under 10.
From TH Creative on January 5, 2008 at 4:45 PM
The REAL question that should be asked is why the Orlando Sentinel felt that this was worthy of being a front page story.
From Jeff M on January 5, 2008 at 4:48 PM
I don't think of it being a bad move on Disney's part. I have eaten a few meals there with family, family and kids, and with business associates, etc... The only time I have taken my kids (ages 20 months, and 3 at the time I ate there with them) I choose to eat at the "Chefs Table" for the dining experience, and so that my kids would NOT disturb others in the regular dining room area just in case they got out of line. The experience was great and worked out well! The louder kitchen enviroment worked with the kids and actually made them calmer while watching the "kitchen show" take place. Mind you...this was more expensive, but again I was able to eat with my kids and family yet not feel as though I may have disturbed other patrons to the restaurant!

On the flip side I did eat there once also when another family brought in their kids and what looked like a nanny with them. In the dining room, the kids broke the mood with the crying and louder behavior. I could see others put off and yet some other older people smile at the young kids while leaving. Eventually the nanny left with the kids and all was fine afterward. Not sure if the people just got the subtle hint that this restaurant wasn't really the place for young kids, or if they might have been asked to try and tone things down with the kids?

In closing....I'm all for the announced change! At least now it is known of expectations while dining there, and one restaurant out of the many Disney has to not allow kids of young age really isn't that bad. Why not market it? There are some people that do visit Disney without young kids or kids at all!

From Chris Walton on January 5, 2008 at 5:53 PM
Well that's ironic! Disney banning kids!? I love it! j/k
From Diane Graebner on January 5, 2008 at 6:18 PM
I think it's long overdue. There seems to be this feeling that everything has to be for everyone. I see it on this board quite a bit in the discussions about why attractions should or shouldn't be replaced. It's good to have something for everyone. Some attractions appeal to some people and not others. Some restaurants are for some people and not others. That gives people choices. If the parks eliminated all of their shows to appeal to those who only liked rides, for instance, there would be nothing for those who did not like rides to do. If all the soft rides were replaced with roller coasters, there would be nothing for a person who could not ride roller coasters to ride. Eliminating children under 10 from a restaurant that caters to adults, and not just adults but adults seeking a gourmet, fancy, dining experience, makes sense. When I was a concierge at the GF, we were told to discourage families with small children from bringing them to V&A. It's why they are one of the only restaurants on Disney property with no children's menu of any sort. It was a subtle hint to parents that there really was nothing for their kids to do or eat there. Unfortunately, most parents believe their little darlings are precious to everyone around them, and often in that type of setting, that isn't the case. Their "precious darlings" are a disruption. Even normal, childlike behavior is often inappropriate in THAT setting. 10 is a good age. Families who can afford it can take their older children out to experience fine dining, and parents of younger children can find a babysitter or dine somewhere more appropriate for young children.
From Robert Niles on January 5, 2008 at 6:25 PM
I love the comment about the chef's table. I wouldn't take my kids to VAs, but I would love to have an opportunity to introduce them to finer dining, with some expert instruction. Seems like there's an underserved niche there for a Disney experience.(maybe a VA lunch for kids twice a week?)
From rafael g on January 5, 2008 at 9:10 PM
touchy subject, i have a wife and a baby (20 months).

there is a restaurant in new york that banned kids, and people were all fired up. i think certain types of restaurants should be no kids. i mean, when my wife and i finally go out on a date, we get a sitter and go to a fancy restaurant. and sure enough, there was a crying baby.

its not like i went to Denny's and expected no kids, it was a place that charged a good $80+ a meal. so i feel some type of restaurant would benefit more financially if customers knew there were no kids allowed.

From Erik Yates on January 5, 2008 at 9:29 PM
That is kind of a slap. True, they dont attract a lot of families, and being that it is a high end resturaunt, someone like myself would save it more for a special occasion and would be unlikely to take the kids, but why ban them altogether? Why not be like other parks with, oh I dont know....lets say Halloween events and strongly recommend against it? A ban makes it seem like they are definately not wanted, and will send the message that this is an adults only area in an otherwise family world....something I think they would want to steer away from.
From Eric Malone on January 6, 2008 at 5:16 AM
Smart move, frankly. In my humble opinion, if the meals cost more than $50 a person, anyone under 10 shouldn't be allowed to even step foot inside. No, it's not a slap at the core audience. I'd imagine it's more like an easy way to avoid some bad reviews by keeping out the bad kids. Simple as that.
From Mark Hollamon on January 6, 2008 at 6:22 AM
LOVE Eric's comments! I'll go a bit further. I just get steamed when parents lets their kids wail in a restaurant while everybody around them suffers. The parents ignore the constant stares from others and just sit there and let the child cry.

I am totally for asking them to finish up and leave! It would be nice, but probably not feasible for dining areas seperate from others for adults with no children. Hey, I love kids and it's not the kids that upset me in this situation. It's the parents completely ignoring the situation like it doesn't exist that really irritates me!

From Jaivion Williams on January 6, 2008 at 6:58 AM
Personaly, I think agree that children should be an certain age to attend a restaurants.Older children would be more likely to have more respect, and not to be running around the restaurant.
From Mike Shirley Jr on January 6, 2008 at 9:42 AM
Fabulous move!!! Now if we can just get an age minimum in the California Grill, I'll be good to go.
From Keith Rayment on January 6, 2008 at 10:23 AM
Being British, I am mischievously wondering whether, under contemporary circumstances, (Queen) Victoria might have said to (her Consort) Albert 'one is not amused'.
Or is it Disney's intention to go one further than the Victorian adage/practise (?) whereby children were meant to be '...seen but not heard...' Either way, hoorah for our relative freedoms of choice.
From Christina Horwitz on January 6, 2008 at 10:46 AM
I am surprised at this because I always thought there was a minimum required age to dine there. But then again, when my husband and I have gone there in the past we always choose a later dining time, so we may just avoided any kids. Personally, I think 10 is even too young to be there. It should be at least 16. When we go there, it is always for a special occasion and I wouldn't want that ruined by someone's obnoxious kids. I have a 4 year old and he is usually good in restaurants but I wouldn't dream of taking him there - it's too expensive and I would hate to have to leave if he started getting cranky. Whenever we go it costs close to $300 for the two of us (we do the wine pairings) and if I am paying that mnuch for a dinner then I don't want it ruined with some misbehaving children whose parents do not know how to ocntrol them.

Besides, what's the big deal...Palo on the Disney Magic has always had a no children policy - I think you have to either be 18 or 21 to enter. Bottom line is if someone is paying that much for a dinner then a little common sense needs to be employed.

From John Quinteros on January 6, 2008 at 11:54 AM
Considering that many WDW resturants allow kids, I think there are some newlyweds or couples that want a kid-free atmosphere. So, good move on my part.
From Tony Stevens on January 6, 2008 at 12:01 PM
This sounds alot to me to what the Cruise Lines do where there are areas for kids, teens, Adults, and families. There should be certain areas where adults should be able to be have an enjoyable, child free time even at the home of Mickey Mouse.
From claudia maffei on January 6, 2008 at 12:15 PM
I think that if someone thinks their kid can handle it then anyone should be allowed to bring their child. ESPECIALLY at a Disney owned place. ! I feel that if they do this they should have a next door care center to entertain the children free of charge for those who are dining there. I have a son who is 11 but autistic and would not take him to that restaraunt because I know he couldn't handle it but I also have a 16 year old who would have liked and handled it at age 4. Every child is different so how can you ban them. Crazy. I noticed there are a lot of places kids cannot go at Disneyworld. Do they want it a young drinking place with Mickey running around doing shots or do they want to keep the magic and innocent mind of Disney. Come on. If you want to go without your child get a nanny or take a cruise.
From rick stevens on January 7, 2008 at 2:40 AM
One of the things that we are not thinking about is not if the child can handle the situation, but is there anything on the menu a child might like. My kids were very picky in their youth, not that they have gotten much better, I would have never taken them into this type of restaurant. Mac and Cheese was a main stay. Young palates are not atuned to the flavors of a fancy dining establishment. What we consider wonderful, they consider dirt. I have never really cared about the other patrons, but I would have either not taken my kids to an adult oriented eatery or made sure I took them out if they started fussing. I never blame the kids, it is always the parent's problem for not thinking things through.

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