Grizzly River Run

Insider Tips for Dining with Disney Characters at Walt Disney World

posted on May 11th, 2011 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


So many favorites, so little time! Dining with the beloved Disney characters is a fun way to get up close and snag some fantastic vacation photos – and have a delicious meal too.

Dine with Your Favorite Characters at Disney Parks

Here are some of our insider tips for navigating. And, please, share your tips with us too.

  • We strongly recommend reservations far in advance – but if it’s last minute, it’s worth a try to stop by the restaurant and inquire.
  • If you’re planning breakfast, go early – or go late. It’s a great way to wake everyone up and be ready to take on the attractions with a full tummy, or to miss the busiest times (and maybe have a little more time with the characters).
  • Don’t forget an autograph book for the kids!
  • The characters make a stop at every single table. They will get to yours.
  • Dine with Your Favorite Characters at Disney Parks

  • Best audience with the Big Cheese: Chef Mickey’s Fun Time Buffet at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. He’s in that adorable chef hat. Breakfast or dinner, both buffets are bounteous.
  • Some of our favorite food: The Crystal Palace in Magic Kingdom Park with favorite Disney storybook friends for breakfast, lunch and dinner; The Garden Grill at The Land Pavilion at Epcot (Chip n’ Dale for dinner); 1900 Park Fare at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa (Supercalifragilistic Breakfast and Cinderella and friends for dinner).
  • Dream come true for little girls: “Princess Storybook Dining” at Akershus in Epcot’s Norway Pavilion for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
  • Where to find Minnie Mouse: At breakfast at Cape May Café at Disney’s Beach Club Resort. Dressed in her best swimwear.
  • For Disney Channel fans: For little ones who love Handy Manny, Agent Oso and June and Leo from “Little Einsteins,” book breakfast or lunch at Hollywood & Vine at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Get ready for singing and dancing.
  • The most coveted table: Fairytale Dining at Cinderella’s Royal Table in Magic Kingdom Park. Reservations can be made 180 days in advance.
  • No adults allowed: Wonderland Tea Party at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort. Drop off the kids for tea with Alice and the Mad Hatter.
  • Make an evening of it: When the weather’s right, Mickey’s Backyard Barbecue dinner show at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort.
  • Speedy service: The family-style platters at ‘Ohana fill you up at breakfast, with Lilo and Stitch to keep you company.
  • If you love Donald Duck: Start your day at Tusker House at Disney’s Animal Kingdom at Donald’s Safari Breakfast.
    • Share: 

    Tagged: ,

    Filed: Walt Disney World Resort

    19 Comments

    1

    Margot on May 11th, 2011 at 11:31 am

    We go to Disney World every year and our favourite’s as I think we have pretty well done every character dining experience possible. Chef Mickey’s is always a good way to start the vacation and get the kids excited about the Disney experience. My suggestion is book earliest time possible for lunch or dinner as you get to spend a little more time with characters as it isn’t crazy busy yet. We do breakfast at Cinderella’s Palace and we love this again try and get first setting as you are already halfway into the park and you can be first to get to the busy rides prior to line ups.

    Is there any new dining experiences with characters that people are aware of? Like a Phineas and Ferb… we actually saw them doing a commercial a couple of years ago and my daughter was over the top. If anyone has done something cool please post so we can look into it. Our daughter is 6.

    Thanks

    2

    Sean on May 11th, 2011 at 11:32 am

    I wasn’t “in the know” in regards to dining with the characters @ WDW. However we didn’t have as much advance notice as to when we would be staying and it looks like that is key.

    This is GREAT information and I’ll put it to use on our next visit.

    Thank you.

    3

    Shaun from AR on May 11th, 2011 at 11:36 am

    Great advise. Already got all mine booked for September. By the way, that top picture is a little creepy,…

    4

    Eric on May 11th, 2011 at 12:18 pm

    Best way to meet the characters bar none! We went last September on the deluxe dining plan and for six days had at least 1 character meal every day.Our favorite to meet characters was Chef Mickeys. For the food it was 1900 Park Fare.Both Princess dining experiences wonderful as well.Another tip is to go “off season” when Disney offers the “free dining” and for a relativly small fee upgrade to the the Deluxe Dining Plan and eat like a King!

    5

    Elizabeth from VA on May 11th, 2011 at 1:58 pm

    We visit WDW at least once each year. Our favorite must-do used to be Chef Mickey’s because there was a lot of character interaction. Then last year, following the revamping of the restaurant and revamping of the way the characters moved thru the restaurant, we found the experience less than satisfactory. If they would go back to the old layout and plan, we’d go back. As a back-up, we also like the Crystal Palace for time with Pooh, Piglet, and Eeyore!

    6

    Joy from OH on May 11th, 2011 at 2:03 pm

    We love character dining and find it the best way to get autographs and pictures. Especially when the kids are little, that way Mickey or Pooh Bear etc come to the child without having to stand in lines and the child has to approach which can be scarier for some kids. Our favorites have been Chef Mickey’s, Crystal Palace, Liberty Tree Tavern, 1900 Park Fare and Garden Grill. All but Chef Mickey’s are fairly easy to get reservations for even after arriving to the resort.

    7

    Cheryl on May 11th, 2011 at 2:08 pm

    We just returned from an 8-day vacation at WDW (or the Mouse House as I like to call it) and need to add Tusker House in Animal Kingdom to our list of favorite Character Dining locations–we had breakfast there and loved it–I especially loved the real coffee–I’ll never get coffee again at the Hollywood and Vine character breakfast–it was horrible!

    8

    Colleen from PA on May 11th, 2011 at 2:08 pm

    Never assume your daughter is too old for the Princesses. My daughter and I had “girl” time at Disney last October. We left the boys on their own to go ride. She was 8, when we had lunch at Cinderella’s Royal Table! I am not sure who was more excited, me or her. We keep trying to guess which Princess was going to be next! A tresaured memory for sure!

    9

    Jason on May 11th, 2011 at 2:12 pm

    We just booked our a week ago. Lucked out and booked lunch at Hollywood & Vine with the Disney Junior gang! I was advised by the Disney Dining folks to call between 7:30-8:30am for breakfast cancellations and to check with the hostesses at the park restaraunts for cancellations. June can’t get here soon enough for us!

    10

    Patricia on May 11th, 2011 at 2:12 pm

    ‘Ohana breakfast was delicious and lots of food. We saw Mickey, Pluto, Lilo, and Stitch. Stitch is a riot!

    The Akershus banquet is great, you see 6 princesses and tons of food. The servers are very nice as well.

    11

    kimberly on May 11th, 2011 at 2:15 pm

    We’ve been to WDW 3 times in the past 18 months and ate at almost every character dining. But nothing beats our last trip and dinner at Chef Mickey’s. It was our last day of our vacation and we had really late reservations (8:40) with two small children we were considering cancelling. Thank goodness we didn’t. Since it was later the restaurant was pretty empty. All of characters came around as usual but at the end of dinner, almost 10:00 at this point, all the characters came to our table together and sat with us, played with the girls and posed for numerous pics! What a great experience and a spectacular end to another wonderful Disney vacation!

    12

    Camille from TX on May 11th, 2011 at 2:40 pm

    There’s nothing that starts off your day quite like having breakfast with Pooh and friends, The Mad Hatter or the Princesses. <3 I love making the plans as to where we’re going to eat according to what park we’ll be in that day. I know this sounds a bit controlling, but it helps to stay as close as possible if not in the park where your playing that day so your not all over the place. Walking the parks all day is enough work, going to the place where your going to eat shouldn’t have to be. :O)

    13

    Amber on May 11th, 2011 at 2:42 pm

    We have all our characters meals booked for Sept! We can’t wait! It sure will beat standing in line in the heat waiting with 2 little kids!

    14

    Kayla on May 11th, 2011 at 5:03 pm

    This should also be part of Disney Land Resort.As a Premium Passholder we would love to have have the same opportunities and entertainment as Disney World. I feel like we’re being left out in many events.

    Thanks

    15

    Erin from RI on May 11th, 2011 at 7:39 pm

    Tusker House breakfast with Donald and the gang will always be on our list even as the girls get older. The food was out of this world, the chef was amazing when dealing with an allergy, and the fast passes for safari were right out the door. I love going into the parks early before they open for a quite/private start to the day. Your day will always go better with a good breakfast.

    16

    Lauren on May 11th, 2011 at 9:32 pm

    Can’t say enough good things about Character dining! We ate at Chef Mickey’s on our last trip and had a great time. It was a little pricy not on the DP but to see the look on my 4 year old son’s face when Goofy came out or to see my 10 month old daughter nose to nose with Mickey Mouse, priceless! Just have to mention for first timers: remember when booking early morning breakfasts, you’ll need to call a cab as buses aren’t running yet!

    Also wishing and wishing for a Toy Story Character dining experience!!!

    17

    Walter on May 12th, 2011 at 8:18 pm

    To Shaun, what’s creepy about the top picture? It’s “party” time, and everyone is having fun. And, my cast member wife, in the background, wouldn’t like that analogy.

    18

    Brian on May 16th, 2011 at 9:17 am

    I’m pretty sure proposing at Cinderella’s Royal Table after a day full of Disney magic would be the perfect thing for my special girl. :)

    19

    Rita from NH on May 17th, 2011 at 12:02 pm

    Looking forward to our trip in June! First time for our granddaughter Emilee, so we booked breakfast at the Crystal Palace and the Polynesian!!

    19 Comments