Best Disney Character Dining 2018-10-16T16:54:58+00:00

Top 5 Best Disney Character Dining Locations

Which Disney World Character Dining Experiences are Worth the Money?

best disney character dining locations

Photo Credit: Thomas_Jung

Character dining is one of the most unique experiences your family can do on a Disney World vacation. Not only do you get to eat at some of the park’s best dining locations, but your kids are guaranteed to meet and interact with some of their favorite Disney characters.  Sure, it does cost extra – and you must book your reservations well in advance – but this is one of those wonderful purely Disney experiences that you will cherish forever.  Let’s take a closer look at what you need to know about this type of experience and then review the top 5 best Disney character dining locations you should consider booking for your next trip.

What is Character Dining at Disney World

Disney character dining experiences involving first booking a reservation at a specific character dining location (list below). Note that these experiences are very popular so you much reserve your spot well in advance of your trip. Once there, you will eat a meal as fully costumed Disney characters circle the room and stop at each table to pose for photos, sign autographs, hug your kids (or spouse), and that sort of thing. As you may have guessed, these interactions are very lively and upbeat. 

disney character meals

Photo Credit: Thomas_Jung

Pros and Cons of Disney Character Dining Experiences

disney character dining locations

Photo Credit: Ashley

Advantages

One of the main reasons to book a character dining experience is because it guarantees that your children will meet and interact with a Disney character during your trip. You may have the opportunity to meet characters in the park but that may require waiting in long lines and wasting time which could otherwise be used on rides. And even then there is no guarantee you will have the opportunity to have much of an interaction with them because others are competing for their attention.  Character dining ensures you will have your own time with them.

So if you were planning on sit-down meals anyway, why not make it a memorable one that screams “Disney” and gives you an opportunity to takes some great photos while you are enjoying your meal?

Disadvantages

The most obvious disadvantage is that character dining is the expense: they do tend to be more expensive than standard table service meals.

The food is served either as a buffet or family-style, and the cost is set at a fixed price (in the $30-$60 range for adults and less for children, depending on which location you book).

Another disadvantage is the food quality.  The food is universally good, but certainly not the best table service meals Disney has to offer. You are really paying extra for the experience, not the food quality.

Lastly, character dining can consume some of you valuable in-park time (1 to 1.5 hrs). Some character dining locations are hosted at Disney resorts. These will likely consume even more time because of the travel time involved. However, many character dining locations can be found within theme parks. In fact, each theme park has at least one character dining experience, with some serving breakfast at least one hour before the park even opens. Therefore, it is possible to eat breakfast and still make it to the gates before a park even opens. Consider your options wisely or seek out the advice of a Disney travel agent.

Theme Park Character Dining Locations

Disney Resort Character Dining Locations

Magic Kingdom

Cinderella’s Royal Table

Location: Cinderella Castle
ServingBreakfast; Lunch; Dinner
CharactersCinderella, Snow White, Aurora, Ariel, Belle

The Crystal Palace

Location: The Crystal Palace Restaurant (Main Street USA)
ServingBreakfast; Lunch; Dinner
CharactersWinnie the Pooh, Piglet, Tigger, Eeyore

Epcot

Chip ‘n Dale’s Harvest Feast Dinner

Location: The Garden Grill Restaurant (Land Pavilion)
ServingBreakfast; Lunch; Dinner
CharactersChip, Dale, Mickey Mouse, Pluto

Princess Storybook Dining at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall

Location: Akershus Royal Banquet Hall -Norway Pavilion (World Showcase)
ServingBreakfast; Lunch; Dinner
CharactersBelle, Snow White, Aurora, Jasmine, Ariel

Hollywood Studios

Disney Junior Play ‘n Dine at Hollywood & Vine

Location: Hollywood & Vine restaurant
ServingBreakfast; Lunch
CharactersJake, Sofia, Roadster Goofy, Doc McStuffins

Animal Kingdom

Donald’s Dining Safari at Tusker House

Location: The Tusker House Restaurant (Africa Pavilion)
ServingBreakfast; Lunch; Dinner
CharactersDonald Duck, Goofy, Mickey Mouse, Daisy Duck

Magic Kingdom Area

Best Friends Breakfast at ‘Ohana

Location: Polynesian Resort
Serving: Breakfast
Characters: Mickey Mouse, Pluto, Lilo, Stitch

Chef Mickey’s

Location: Contemporary Resort
Serving: Breakfast; Lunch; Dinner
Characters: Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Goofy, Pluto, Donald Duck

1900 Park Fare

Location: Grand Floridian Resort
Serving: Breakfast (Supercalafragilistic); Dinner (Cinderella’s Happily Ever After)
Supercalafragilistic Breakfast Characters: Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Mary Poppins, Alice (in Wonderland),  The Mad Hatter
Cinderella’s Happily Ever After Dinner Characters: Cinderella, Prince Charming, Lady Tremaine , Anastasia, and Drizella

Epcot Area Resorts

Bon Voyage Adventure Breakfast at Trattoria al Forno

LocationDisney’s Boardwalk (Trattoria al Forno restaurant)
ServingBreakfast
CharactersRapunzel, Ariel, Prince Eric, Eugene “Flynn” Rider

Cape May Cafe

Location: Beach Club Resort
ServingBreakfast
CharactersMinnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy

Garden Grove

Location: Swan Resort
ServingBreakfast; Dinner
Breakfast Characters (Saturday and Sunday only): Chip, Dale, Pluto, Goofy
Dinner CharactersPluto, Goofy

*Characters subject to change based on availability

Top 5 Best Character Dining Experiences at Disney

Here is our list of the top 5 best Disney Character Dining locations. We consider such factors as setting, food, the assortment of Disney characters, and overall “wow factor.”

character dining at disney world

Photo Credit: HarshLight

Location:

Magic Kingdom – Fantasyland

Menu:

Check Menu

Price:

$$$ ($35 to $59.99 per adult)

$$$$ (over $60 per adult) 

Disney Dining Plan:

Some excepted

Serving:

Breakfast; Lunch; Dinner

Characters:

Cinderella, Snow White, Aurora, Ariel, Belle

1. Cinderella’s Royal Table

(Magic Kingdom)

best character dining locations

Photo Credit: HarshLight

Cinderella's Royal Table

Photo Credit: Jason Wohlford

If you are looking for the creme-de-la-creme of Disney Character Dining experiences, look no further than Cinderella’s Royal Table.  You really couldn’t ask for a better location because this event is held right inside Magic Kingdom’s iconic Cinderella Castle!

Cinderella herself greets every guest as they enter the majestic Grand Hall, and then you continue up a spiral staircase and enter the Royal Banquet Hall above.  With its massive stained-glass windows, majestic stone archways and draping medieval flags, this setting feels like its right out of a  storybook. If you won’t settle for anything other than the best, set your sights on booking Cinderella’s Royal Table.

Breakfast

Guest will delight in plated favorites like steak and eggs, stuffed French toast, pastries, baked quiche, and pastries.

Lunch and Dinner

Lunch and dinner meals begin with assorted cured meats and cheeses and followed by unforgettable entrees like Chef’s Fish of the day, beef & shrimp, and braised pork shank with vegetable couscous. The kid’s menu has items like beef tenderloin, turkey pot pie, and chicken nuggets. Save room for something sweet because Cinderella’s Royal Table is known for their signature desserts like a white chocolate-jasmine tea mousse and The Clock Strikes Twelve— a chocolate mousse with dark chocolate ganache and raspberry coulis. This is Disney dining at its best!

Note: Cinderella’s Royal Table requires 2 Disney Dining Plan credits.  Reservations must be made very early because this location will book quickly. We recommend making dining reservation 180 days before your trip if possible. Is it worth the extra cost and the extra effort? You bet!

Best Alternative

Princess Storybook Dining at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall – Epcot’s Akershus is a great alternative if you can’t secure a reservation for Cinderella’s Royal Table. Like Royal Table, Akershus has princess theme and guests are personally greeted by Belle (not Cinderella)  upon entering the exquisite Royal Banquet Hall (picture included).  This experience is a bit easier to book and it’s also less expensive (1 Disney Dining Plan credit vs 2 for Cinderella’s Royal Table).  So if you can’t reserve Cinderella’s, Akershus will fill the void!

chef mickey's review

Photo Credit: danuv

Location:

Contemporary Resort

Menu:

Check Menu

Price:

$$$ ($35 to $59.99 per adult)

Disney Dining Plan:

Some excepted

Serving:

Breakfast; Brunch; Dinner

Characters:

Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Goofy, Pluto, Donald Duck

2. Chef Mickey’s

(Contemporary Resort)

chef mickey's disney world

Photo Credit: Matthew Freeman

While Cinderella’s Royal Table may be the “Cadillac” of Disney Character Dining experience,  Chef Mickey’s may very well be the most quintessential. It offers just about everything you would expect from a Disney Character Dining experience, including a classic buffet and the opportunity to mingle with Disney’s most beloved characters – Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy, and Pluto.

Located in Disney’s Contemporary Resort and overlooking Bay Lake, Chef Mickey’s serves breakfast, brunch, and dinner just a stone’s throw from the gates of Magic Kingdom. The expansive buffet offers breakfast standards like fresh fruit, sausages, pancakes, and waffles, while dinners items include carved meats, pasta, sushi, salads, salmon, pork ribs, and lobster mac and cheese. It’s a great place to go with a large group of people because there are menu items to please anyone and you really can’t go wrong with this central Magic Kingdom-area location. Yes, Chef Mickey’s can be noisy with so many excited kids around. However, it’s one of the best dining spots to meet the most popular Disney characters without waiting in lines.

Chef Mickey’s is another one that fills up fast, so book your reservations as soon as you can!

Best Alternative

The Polynesian Resort’s ‘Ohana is a great Chef Mickey’s character dining breakfast alternative. Here you can meet Lilo and Stitch and other classic Disney characters like Mickey and Pluto. The menu features an American-style breakfast influenced by Polynesian flavors.

garden grill character dining

Photo Credit: Michael Gray

Location:

The Land Pavilion – Epcot

Menu:

Check Menu

Price:

$$ ($15 to $34.99 per adult) – $$$ ($35 to $59.99 per adult)

Dining Plan:

Some excepted

Serving:

Breakfast; Brunch; Dinner

Characters:

Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Goofy, Pluto, Donald Duck

3. Chip ‘n Dale’s Harvest Feast at Garden Grill

(Epcot)

garden grill character dining

Photo Credit: beth

The Garden Grill’s Chip ‘n Dale’s Harvest Feast is one of the more unique character dining experiences at Disney World. If you are not familiar with Epcot’s Garden Grill already, you may be in for a surprise. This is because the restaurant (and you along with it) slowly revolves above scenes from the Living with the Land attraction. It will give you an interesting perspective of the Land pavilion with each passing moment! You can expect to do one full rotation during your meal, passing by the rainforest, desert, and farm scenes.

As for the character experience, guests have a generous amount of time to interact with Chip and Dale, Pluto, and Mickey Mouse.

The food is served family-style and many of the dishes incorporate fresh produce grown right there in Living with the Land.  You can expect large portions of classic American fare like salads, roasted turkey, beef, fish, and mashed potatoes.  Simple…but good. Overall, an interesting character dining experience with good food and several popular Disney characters to meet.

tusker house animal kingdom

Location:

Africa – Animal Kingdom

Menu:

Check Menu

Price:

$$ ($15 to $34.99 per adult) – $$$ ($35 to $59.99 per adult)

Dining Plan:

Some excepted

Serving:

Breakfast; Brunch; Dinner

Characters:

Donald Duck, Daisy Duck, Goofy, Mickey Mouse

4. Donald’s Dining Safari at Tusker House

(Animal Kingdom)

tusker house character dining

Photo Credit: JeffChristiansen

Donald’s Dining Safari is held at the Tusker House, a wonderful restaurant located in the Harambe Village section of Animal Kingdom’s Africa section. While the uniqueness of Garden Grill lies in its neat revolving feature, Donald’s Dining Safari at Tusker House stands out because of the restaurant’s exquisite African safari decor, exotic menu offerings, and participatory activities of the event.

As you enter Tusker House, you will be greeted by Donald Duck. Daisy Duck, Goofy, and Mickey will soon appear to join in on the fun. These Disney characters will be dressed in safari gear to fit the setting and theme. One of the main reasons we love Donald’s Dining Safari is because it gives kids the opportunity to join the characters in song and dance. If your family likes a good dance party and willing to test your vocal range, Tusker House is the spot for you!

Adventurous eaters will be delighted to find a buffet teaming with exotic African flavors, but there are plenty less adventurous options as well.  The buffet offers breakfast standards like bacon, eggs and Mickey Waffles and lunch and dinner selections like roasted chicken, beef, and mac & cheese.

We would recommend booking this as a breakfast location for your day at Animal Kingdom. As soon as the park opens and your bellies are full, head straight to Kilimanjaro Safaris to beat the crowds.

Location:

Echo Lake Area – Hollywood Studios

Menu:

Check Menu

Price:

$$$ ($35 to $59.99 per adult)

Dining Plan:

Some excepted

Serving:

Breakfast; Brunch; Dinner

Characters:

Donald Duck, Daisy Duck, Goofy, Mickey Mouse

5. Disney Junior Play ‘n Dine at Hollywood & Vine 

(Hollywood Studios)

hollywood & vine character dining

Photo Credit: JeffChristiansen

While Disney Character meals like the ones at 1900 Park Fare and the Crystal Place are certainly nice, they do tend to be on the boring side. That’s why we decided to go with Disney Junior Play ‘n Dine for our #5 spot on our best Disney Character Dining experiences list.

This fun dining location is hosted in Art Deco-style “diner” of Hollywood & Vine, a restaurant known for its Fantasmic! dinner show.  Disney Junior Play ‘n Dine will give you a chance to interact with your favorite Disney Junior stars like Doc McStuffins, the Neverland Pirates, Sofia the First and Handy Manny.

Breakfast offers classic buffet items like Mickey waffles, eggs, sausages, fresh fruit, and potatoes while the lunch menu consists of the usual meat, chickens, pasta, and salads items you would expect to find at a buffet. Disney Junior Play ‘n Dine’s dinnertime lineup includes Summertime Dine, a beach themed party running throughout the summer, Minnie’s Halloween Dine during the latter half of September through early November and Minnie’s Holiday Dine early November through early January. Dinner guests often include Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, and Goofy dressed to reflect the season.

We hope our Best Disney Character Dining Experiences list has helped you prioritize your character dining location.

For more useful Disney World information, please review some additional pages on MagicGuides, such as our helpfulDisney Dining Plan Calculator and Disney Transportation Map, as well as our Best Animal Kingdom Restaurants, Best Epcot Restaurants, Best Hollywood Studios Restaurants Best Magic Kingdom Restaurants , and Vegetarian Dining recommendations.

If you need help planning and booking your magical Walt Disney World vacation, contact our friends at The Vacationeer. Their services are always helpful and totally free of charge! Thank you for reading our page, and we hope you have a magical Walt Disney World vacation!

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