Some of the most requested and favorite dining options in Disney are character restaurants. These are typically buffet meals (and often somewhat similar in cuisine). These are the top choices for those with kids and are also a good use of Disney Dining Plan table service credits (although not a great choice if you are doing deluxe dining). My top 10 is based on the most coveted reservations and best character interactions.
10. Hollywood & Vine. The best place to meet Disney Junior Characters. This location is available for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. While it doesn’t get rave reviews for meal content, it’s great for the little ones in your life! Disney has recently enhanced this restaurant to also include a dinner hosted by Minnie with a seasonal theme. It started with Minnie’s Holiday dine and has scheduled events through 2016! Food is above average for character dining especially at dinner! The character interaction at our dinner was above average as well. Very funny characters!
9. 1900 Park Fare Supercalafragilist Breakfast. One of the few places that you can see Mary Poppins, Alice, and the Mad Hatter. (Alice and Mary Poppins are available in the parks, but not often and lines are often long). This is a great breakfast right before your Magic Kingdom day or to take a break in the late morning! It’s a nice alternative to ‘Ohana if it’s not available!
8. Crystal Palace. Available for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, Pooh and friends are available for hugs! The best part of Crystal Palace for me is breakfast! I try and snag a pre-park opening breakfast for a stroll down Main Street USA and some castle photos. Breakfast is tasty here and character to table ratio is pretty low so they come around quickly. You don’t spend a ton of time waiting for characters when you’re done with meals!
7. Garden Grill. The silly antics of Chip and Dale as well as a little visit with Farmer Mickey and his old pal Pluto make this a fun experience for kids of all ages. This restaurant inside the land pavilion gives you a great view and the food is good. This past fall, the location added reservations for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. If you want some great character interaction, this restaurant is great (it may seem just ok on the surface but characters continue to come back around for more entertainment which is different than most character dining experiences). Watch out for Chip and Dale – they are full of trouble.
6. 1900 Park Fare Happily Ever After Dinner. Always a favorite of kids and adults. This is the best place to meet Prince Charming and Cinderella’s stepmother and step sisters. There’s a lot of great conversation and sass! This is a great place to meet Cinderella if you can’t get into her royal table at Magic Kingdom! If you’ve got a Disney dad in your group, a stop here is a must for a little fun and games!
5. ‘Ohana. This is a character meal for breakfast only, but the only place to find Lilo and Stitch in Disney.Located in Disney’s Polynesian, join Lilo and Stitch on a tropical breakfast and their friends Mickey and Pluto are along for the adventure. This is one of the tastier breakfast options (and served table side with unlimited refills) in the world and has more than the basic waffles. I like doing a later breakfast after rope drop at Magic Kingdom and hopping the monorail over and then being full until dinner! Recently, Disney extended the hours until 12 pm making it a great way to start your day in Magic Kingdom early and having a great dinner!
4. Tusker House. This is only also character meal for breakfast, but it’s a great one to get before or around park opening. Have a safari breakfast with Donald, Daisy, Mickey, and Goofy. It’s another fun place for great character interaction and the food is a little different, plus you get a different photo op than the typical Mickey and Goofy attire! The food is for the more adventurous type with some African and Indian food style items on the menu at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. If you’ve got picky eaters, you’ll still find some items on the menu, just not a wide variety.
3. Chef Mickey’s. Located in Disney’s Contemporary Resort with a view of the monorail, this is the best place to meet Mickey, Minnie, and the gang. Another extremely popular reservation, prime breakfast and dinner times go quickly. I like lunch reservations, because it’s a nice break from Magic Kingdom (and you can walk or take the monorail). The addition of “brunch” makes reservations a bit more attainable here and you can still get your Mickey waffles!
2. Akershus Royal Banquet Hall. One of the greatest princess meals and it’s only one credit on the Disney Dining Plan! Cuisine is Norwegian (pretty standard breakfast stuff). You receive a photo before your meal with the princesses (typically Belle in her large ball gown) Character interaction here is some of the best among all the parks and it’s open for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Before park opening breakfast and dinner reservations before 7 are the first to go. It’s a great option if Cinderella’s Table is unavailable (or if you don’t want to use 2 credits for your dining plan)
1. Cinderella’s Royal Table. This one is no surprise! Dining in Cinderella’s Castle is the most magical experience in all of Disney World. A personal photo with Cinderella before your meal and priceless interaction with many of the Disney princesses at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. These reservations go quickly (especially breakfast before park opening and dinner reservations before 7 pm). This restaurant is one of the smallest so the ratio of guests to characters is low making it one of the great options available.
Sorry Cape May Cafe, you don’t make the cut this time. It’s not the most popular option, but a great choice if you’re staying in the Epcot resort area for a convenient and tasty dining option!
Do you have a favorite character dining meal or special family tradition with character dining? I’d love to hear about it!
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