One of the requests I get when planning Walt Disney World vacations is that they would like to book the character dining experience. They are usually taken aback when I ask which one? Did you know there are more than a dozen restaurants at Walt Disney World that offer the opportunity to dine with some of your favorite characters?
Some restaurants have great interaction where the characters spend meaningful time that you wouldn’t get in the parks with a line behind you, others rush through service.
Some have fantastic food and is worth visiting even if characters didn’t add to the experience while others slop some mostly edible food on a buffet and charge you an arm and a leg because Mickey is there.
How do you know the difference?
In today’s post I am laying out all of your options, providing all of the details AND sharing the pros and cons of each experience.
Grand Floridian (MK area)
Delight in breakfast and dinner buffets, plus a merry afternoon tea party, each hosted by Disney Characters. Supercalifragilistic Breakfast features Disney Friends for this fabulously festive, all-you-care-to-enjoy breakfast buffet. Enjoy Cinderella’s Happily Ever After Dinner with an enchanting buffet as the honored Guest of Cinderella and Prince Charming!
Open: Breakfast, Tea, Dinner
Characters:Supercalifragistic Breakfast – Mary Poppins, Pooh, Tigger, Alice, Mad Hatter Happily Ever After Dinner – Cinderella, Prince Charming, Lady Tremaine, Anastasia, Drizella
The Details: Buffet/ Adults $35/breakfast $60/dinner / 1 Table Service credit on the DDP
Popular Menu Items: Mickey Waffles, Bananas Foster Pancakes, Mojo roast pork loin, Mongolian beef stir-fry, Mississippi fried catfish
My Favorite Dish: Cheese Blintzes and Strawberry Soup!
Good For: Families, Adults who love characters
Pros: Some of the best character interactions at both meals, at dinner the Tremaine family make the experience more fun than the other princess meals (especially for brothers of princess fans,) short boat ride from Magic Kingdom and a great escape from the park.
Cons: Food is better but not the best, Expensive for what you get
EPCOT – Norway Pavilion
Join Disney Princesses for Storybook Dining inside a medieval castle with soaring archways and cathedral ceilings inspired by Nordic Medieval castles.
Open: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Characters: Snow White, Cinderella, Belle, Princess Aurora, Ariel
The Details: Buffet $53-$63 per adult 1 Table Service credit on the DDP
Popular Menu Items: Kjottkake (Ground Beef and Pork Dumplings served with Mashed Potatoes, seasonal Vegetables, and Lingonberry Sauce), traditional Rice Cream dessert, traditional Norwegian koldtbord buffet (selection of prepared salads, sliced meats and cheeses), smoked fish
My Favorite Dish:: The Kjottkake are amazing, they are basically swedish meatballs in a berry sauce!
Good For: Princess Fans
Pros: A much better value than Cinderella’s Royal Table, if you are looking for a princess meal to avoid waiting hours to meet your royal favorites this is my recommendation, the interactions are much better here, great use of a Table Service credit when using the Disney Dining Plan
Cons: Scandanavian food may be a little bit outside of picky eaters comfort zones, food is good but not great, waits can be long even if you have a reservation
Polynesian Village Resort (MK area)
Lilo and Stitch, along with other friends, invite you and your ʻohana to an American breakfast influenced by Polynesian flavors.Open: Breakfast
Characters: Lilo, Stitch, Mickey, Pluto
The Details: Family Style Adult Price: $42.00 1 Table Service credit on the DDP
Popular Menu Items: scrambled eggs, island-style fried potatoes, and Hawaiian pork sausages.
My Favorite Dish: pineapple bread
Good For: Guests of the Poly, School aged children
Pros: Good food, Activities for children
Cons: Takes a lot of time out of your morning that could be better utilized for park touring, incredibly loud and crowded, Hard to get reservations, extremely long wait for reservations
The Boardwalk Inn (EPCOT area)
Jump-start your morning with a hearty breakfast featuring beloved Characters from some of your favorite Disney fairytales. Familiar faces from popular animated tales such as Tangled and The Little Mermaid will be drifting through the restaurant and stopping by your table to meet you while you dine on delicious morning staples.
Characters: Ariel, Eric, Rapunzel, Flynn Rider
The Details: Pre Fixe Menu Adult Price $34.00 1 Table Service credit on the DDP
Popular Menu Items: Egg white omelet with smoked salmon, goat cheese, spinach, mushrooms and tomato, Breakfast calzone with scrambled eggs, cured meat and a blend of cheeses My Favorite Dish: Rapunzel’s Tower of Pancakes
Good For: Princess fans with brothers, Adventurers, Germaphobes
Pros: One of the few meals that is not a buffet, excellent food, Finally some male characters!!Cons: Difficult to get to before park opening, room is dark and difficult for photos, slow service
Contemporary Resort (MK area)
Enjoy a lively, all-you-care-to-eat buffet with Disney Friends in a bright, happy space. As the monorail whizzes by, Disney Characters mingle with Guests for photos and autographs and periodically lead diners in song and dance.
Open: Breakfast, Brunch, Lunch, Dinner
Characters: Mickey, Minnie, Pluto, Donald, Goofy
The Details: Buffet Price (adult) $50-61 1 Table Service credit on the DDP
Popular Menu Items: Breakfast features such favorites as Mickey waffles, buttermilk biscuits, fresh fruit and hickory-smoked bacon—while brunch offers everything from classic scrambles to our chef’s selection of seasonal vegetables. Dinner showcases buttered chicken, a seafood paella, glazed salmon, carving station selections and kids’ favorites such as macaroni and cheese and chicken nuggets.
My Favorite Dish: The sundae bar!!!
Good For: Families with young children
Pros: Easy to get to from the Magic Kingdom, Nostalgic for many,
Cons: Extremely popular, extremely loud
Dine with Disney Princesses inside Cinderella Castle during this one-of-a-kind Fairytale Dining experience. Dine in a storybook setting surrounded by soaring stone archways, majestic medieval flags and spectacular stained-glass windows overlooking Fantasyland. During your time inside the castle, visit with classic
Disney Princesses.Open: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Characters: Cinderella, Jasmine, Ariel, Snow White (sometimes Aurora)
The Details: Pre-Fixe Menu Adult Price $62-75 2 Table Service credits on the DDP
Popular Menu Items: Steak and eggs, baked quiche and pastries for breakfast. Later enjoy A main course with choices for adults ranging from roasted chicken breast and seared pork rib chop to chef’s fish of the day.
My Favorite Dish: Stuffed french toast
Good for: Princesses Pros: Ultimate Princess experience eating in Cinderella’s CastleCons: Extremely expensive, rushed character interactions, not impressed with food, books up at the 180 day mark
Join Winnie the Pooh and a few of his Pals for a willy, nilly, silly good time! Inspired by Victorian greenhouses of the late 1800s, The Crystal Palace brims with light, topiaries and tropical palms—and is an enchanting spot to meet some favorite Disney Friends!
Open: Breakfast, Lunch, DinnerCharacters: Pooh, Tigger, Eeyore, Piglet
The Details: Buffet Price for an adult $42-57 1 Table Service credit on the DDP
Popular Menu Items: Omelet Station, Breakfast Lasagna, Mediterranean Chicken, Paella, Soft Serve Ice Cream Bar
My Favorite Dish: Jalapeño Corn Bread
Good For: Families with toddlers
Pros: Inside the park, good food, good character interactions
Cons: Long waits, can be loud
EPCOT – The Land Pavilion
Visit Chip ‘n’ Dale and their Disney pals as you dig into family-style dining and revolve around vibrant views from Living with the Land.Open: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Characters: Mickey, Chip, Dale, Pluto
The Details: Family Style Adult Price: $42-55 1 Table Service credit on the DDPPopular
Menu Items: The menu here is all-you-care-to-eat. The rotating menu for lunch and dinner can include grilled steak, roast turkey, and sustainable fish of the day (at dinner only). Salad features items grown right in the Land Pavilion
My Favorite Dish: the cinnamon bread
Good For: Guests with allergies and dietary restrictions, families with small children
Pros: Inside the park, can book for a pre-opening breakfast and walk right onto Soarin, easy to get reservations for
Cons: There is much better dining options within EPCOT
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Meet Disney Junior Characters during a memorable breakfast buffet—or Minnie and friends at seasonal dining parties.
Characters: Disney Junior Play and Dine Breakfast: typically Vampirina, Fancy Nancy, Doc McStuffins, and Roadster Goofy,
Minnie’s Seasonal Dine Lunch & Dinner – Minnie and friends
The Details: Buffet Price Adult Price $42-55 1 Table Service credit on the DDP
Popular Menu Items: Salads, soups, create-your-own pasta, fish of the day, carved and grilled meats, fresh fruits and breads, menu changes often
My Favorite Dish: sundae bar
Good for: Disney Junior fans
Pros: Only place to meet Disney Junior characters
Cons: Food is the worst of any character meal, atmosphere is also lacking
The Beach Club Resort (EPCOT area)
Cape May Cafe’s breakfast is one of the best places to see some of the “Fab Five” characters outside of the parks. Minnie, Donald, and Goofy can often be found at Cape May Cafe, all dressed up for the beach!
Open: BreakfastCharacters: Minnie, Goofy, Donald, Daisy
Details: Buffet $45.00/adult 1 Table Service credit on the DDP
Popular Menu Items: Fresh Yogurt bar with fun toppings, Mickey waffles
My Favorite Dish: I like the cinnamon roll (but it is not as good as the one at Gaston’s)
Good for: Guests of the Beach Club, last minute reservations
Pros: Easy to get a reservation when other character meals are full, convenient if you are staying at an EPCOT area resort
Cons: Expensive for basic breakfast food, Mickey’s absence is noticed,
Wilderness Lodge (MK Area)
Experience Story Book Dining at Artist Point with Snow White—a delicious, fanciful dinner with visits from Snow White, Dopey, Grumpy and even The Queen!
Characters: Evil Queen, Snow White, Grumpy, Dopey
Details: Pre Fixe Menu Adult price $60, 1 Table Service Credit
Popular Menu Items: Roasted chicken, beef stew, prime rib
My Favorite Dish: Slow-braised pork shank
Good For: Adults, the Whole Family,
Pros: This is my favorite character meal by far, the atmosphere takes you to an enchanted forest, the specialty cocktails are creative and delicious, it is easily the best food at any character meal, one of the best values of a dining plan credit
Cons: Reservations are difficult to get, Characters may not be as popular with little ones, expensive if you are paying out of pocket, must take a boat from the Magic Kingdom (could be a pro if you are looking for quiet relaxation time)
Start your morning with breakfast at this beautiful rooftop restaurant offering an exclusive storybook dining experience. The prix fixe menu offers delicious choices to please everyone in the family.
Characters: Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Daisy
Details: Pre Fixe Menu Adult Price $45 1 Table Service Credit
Popular Menu Items: Breakfast begins with fresh pastries—delicious Danish, croissants, blueberry scones, or Epi bread—a rustic pull-apart baguette shaped like a wheat stalk. Your choice of entrées follows: Quiche Gruyère with house-made pancetta, Sour Cream Waffle, Wood-fired Butchers Steak, Smoked Salmon, Spiced Sausage Hash, Two Eggs Any Style, plant-based “Egg” Omelet and more.
This is a brand new restaurant that opened in December 2019. Due to park closures I wasn’t able to try it in April as planned but have a reservation for my October trip make sure you are following me on Instagram @showcasetheworldtravel to know what I think in real time.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom
Join Safari Donald Duck and friends at this colorful Harambe marketplace eatery for a wild Character Dining experience regardless of time of day—from breakfast and lunch to the family-style dinner buffet—all brimming with African flavor.
Open: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Characters: Can vary but a combination of: Mickey, Donald, Goofy, Daisy, Minnie
Details: Buffet Adult Price: $42-55 1 Table Service credit on the DDP
Popular Menu Items: Carved sirloin, rotisserie pork and chicken, chicken curry, seafood stew, spiced tofu
My Favorite Dish: Bobotie and Watermelon Salad
Good for: The Whole Family Pros: The best table service option in Animal Kingdom, great food, best meal with Mickey & Friends,
Cons: May not appeal to picky eaters
While many know characters meals because they started as just available for breakfast doing Lunch or Dinner is a much better use of time. The parks are least crowded in the morning so you want to take advantage of that time to walk onto attractions. One reason people prefer breakfast is that it is a little more cost effective if you are paying out of pocket. If that is the case then try to snag a prepark opening or the last reservation right before lunch to optimize your park time. If you are planning multiple character meals then you will want to consider adding the Disney Dining Plan. On the dining plan character buffets are a great value for a dining credit.
Another thing to note is you’ll want to plan about 90 minutes (plus travel time) for your meal. That gives you time to check in, be seated, and then time to eat and see all the characters without racing to make it before the end of a Fastpass window.
Budgeting is such an important part of trip planning, but it can be difficult to find the time to sit down and actually work out the real cost vs a package deal. My ‘Should You Add the Disney Dining Plan’ guide covers everything you need to know to make the right dining choice for you. From what is covered in each dining plan, and who it will best suit, to the average cost of each restaurant and even calculate your savings!
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