Best Disney Character DiningJosh2022-04-27T18:56:50-04:00
Top 5 Best Disney Character Dining Locations
Which Disney World Character Dining Experiences are Worth the Money?
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 start with booking a reservation at a specific character dining location (see 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. These interactions are very lively and upbeat, and something you can really only do at Disney.
Pros and Cons of Disney Character Dining Experiences
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 that 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?
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 quality of the food. 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 your 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 good Disney travel agent.
Disney Character Dining Experiences at the Theme Parks
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
Location: Disney’s Boardwalk (Trattoria al Forno restaurant) Serving: Breakfast Characters: Rapunzel, Ariel, Prince Eric, Eugene “Flynn” Rider
Cape May Cafe
Location: Beach Club Resort Serving: Breakfast Characters: Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy
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 it’s 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.
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 are 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 its 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 reservations 180 days before your trip if possible. Is it worth the extra cost and the extra effort? You bet!
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 a 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!
Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Goofy, Pluto, Donald Duck
2. Chef Mickey’s
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. It’s conveniently located 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 dinner 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!
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.
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, this is an interesting character dining experience with good food and several popular Disney characters to meet.
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’ll be greeted by Donald Duck. Soon Daisy Duck, Goofy, and Mickey will appear and join in on the fun. These Disney characters are dressed in safari gear to go with 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, then 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 of 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.
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 the 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 from early November through early January. Dinner guests often include Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, and Goofy dressed to reflect the season.
Enjoy your Disney World vacation!
We hope our Best Disney Character Dining Experiences list helps you narrow down your character dining location. If you’d also like to find other places to meet Disney Characters, check out our article Where Can You Meet Characters at Disney World?
If you need help planning and booking your magical Walt Disney World vacation, then please contact our friends at The Vacationeer for a free quote. 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!