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Walt Disney World Character Dining

Updated on May 8, 2011
embitca profile image

Emma's been to Disneyland and Disney World many times and has lots of tips to share with you for your own Disney Parks adventure.

Disney Character Dining

One of the most popular activities at Disney World are the character meals. Held at various restaurants inside the parks, as well as at several of the Resorts, character dining is a great opportunity to get your kids some solid face time with their favorite Disney characters without having to fight it out with the hordes of other parents and kids whenever a character is spotted wandering around inside the parks.

Character meals also tend to be a safe introduction to characters for very young children. Many parents are surprised and dismayed to discover on their first visit to Disney World that toddlers and the like are often terrified of the Disney characters upon first meeting. But it really isn't that surprising. They are HUGE! They usually have enormous heads, they don't talk and their faces are frozen into a single expression. So it can be a bit startling for little ones to encounter a GIANT Mickey Mouse, especially when there are so many people around pushing everyone towards them and angling for photographs.


My niece at Chef Mickey's with Minnie and Chip. Even older children enjoy characters!
My niece at Chef Mickey's with Minnie and Chip. Even older children enjoy characters!
Chip waves hello at Chef Mickey's
Chip waves hello at Chef Mickey's

The character meals are a completely different type of experience though. Instead of having to track characters down, they come to you. Whether you are at a buffet or a standard table-service restaurant, you'll simply be able to sit at your table and the characters will make their way around the room, visiting with each family and spending some quality time one on one with your kids.

Be sure to scroll down to the bottom of the page for some photos of just what can happen at a Disney character meal *g*

Character Meals at the Disney World Parks

Here's the line-up of character dining in the parks. Theme park admission will be required for all of these and advance reservations are highly recommended, but if you are unable to book before your trip, you occasionally will have luck as a walk-in or calling the morning of the day you'd like to dine. Unless otherwise noted, all restaurants have breakfast, lunch and dinner seatings.

Call 407 WDW-DINE (407 939-3463) for Reservations

Magic Kingdom

  • Cinderella's Royal Table - Dine with the Disney Princess at Cinderella Castle. Table service from a fixed menu.
  • Crystal Palace - A lively American buffet near Main Street with Winnie the Pooh, Tigger and Eeyore and Piglet. This is the only character meal anywhere at WDW featuring Winnie the Pooh and his friends.
  • Liberty Tree Tavern - Located in Liberty Square. Only dinner is a character occasion and the meal is served "family-style", basically the buffet is brought to your table. Usually Minnie Mouse, Goofy and Pluto are in attendance.

Epcot

  • Restaurant Akershus - Princess Storybook Dining at the Norway Pavilion. Meals are served family-style
  • Garden Grille Restaurant - Located at "The Land" in Future World. Buffet Lunch and Dinner with Chip & Dale. This is a very cool revolving restaurant with a decent wine menu. Recommended if you're travelling without kids, but would still like to enjoy a character meal.

Animal Kingdom & Disney-MGM Studios

  • Tusker House at Animal Kingdom - Characters are at Breakfast only. Restaurant is located in Dinoland. Enjoy a breakfast buffet with Donald Duck and friends.
  • Hollywood & Vine at MGM - Characters are at Breakfast and Lunch only. Enjoy a buffet with characters from LIttle Einstein and Jo Jo's Circus.

Photo: flickr.com/photos/athena1970/
Photo: flickr.com/photos/athena1970/
Snow White signs autographs Photo: flickr.com/photos/xnera/
Snow White signs autographs Photo: flickr.com/photos/xnera/

Booking Cinderella's Royal Table

The character breakfast at Cinderella's Royal Table is the most popular character dining event at Disney World, so you will need to book it well in advance of your trip, 180 days to be exact. Yes, you really do need to plan that far ahead.

You will need to be by your phone, waiting to call, about five minutes before Disney's phone lines open on the morning of the 180th day before you would like to dine at Cinderella's Royal Table and you should start dialing about 30 seconds before the lines open.

If you get a busy signal, hang up and hit redial. If you do not have any luck, try again the next day.

Now that Cinderella's table also serves lunch and dinner, you may have an easier time booking a reservation for a lunch or dinner seating. Breakfast still remains the most popular even because it starts before the park opens to the public and many people enjoy the special magic of the nearly empty park.

Meal Prices at Cinderella's Royal Table:

Breakfast costs $32.99 (adult) or $22.99 (child). Lunch costs $35.99 (adult) or $23.99 (child), and Dinner costs $40.99 (adult) or $25.99 (child).

Prices include a professional photo (8x10) taken with one of the characters.

When you call to make your reservation, you will need to pay with a credit card.

Many regular Disney visitors believe that Cinderella's Table does not live up to its hype and not worth the price (it is the most expensive character meal) and prefer dining with the Princesses at Akershus Restaurant in Disney's Norway Pavilion at Epcot. This will be much easier to book.

Dale at Chef Mickey's

The last time I was at Chef Mickey's with my niece, we went for a very late lunch and so the restaurant was practically empty. Since there weren't a lot of guests in the restaurant, the characters basically camped out at our table. At one point, Dale decided he needed to do some hairdressing on my niece's hair and these are the fabulous photograph results!

This still makes me laugh like crazy!

Click thumbnail to view full-size

Character Meals at the Disney World Resorts

In addition to the character meals in the theme parks, a number of the Disney resorts hold them as well. If you arriving in Orlando late in the day, this makes a nice way to get some of that Disney magic while still allowing yourself some time to recuperate from the flight. Plus, you won't need a theme park ticket to have dinner with the characters!

  • 1900 Park Fare at Grand Floridian Hotel - The buffet breakfast is with Mary Poppins and Alice (in Wonderland) and the Mad Hatter. The dinner buffet is with Cinderella, Prince Charming, Anastasia, Drisella and Lady Tremaine.
  • Cape May Cafe at the Beach Club - Only the buffet breakfast is a character meal. Meet Minnie, Goofy and Chip & Dale
  • Chef Mickey's Buffet at the Contemporary - This is where we usually go. In addition to Mickey, usually Goofy, Minnie and Chip & Dale are on hand. Breakfast and dinner is scheduled. I'm pretty sure I've done a character lunch buffet here, but they may have cancelled it. This is very popular so RESERVE EARLY.
  • Mickey's Backyard BBQ at Fort Wilderness - This is not held during January and February because it is outdoors. It's a dinner buffet with Mickey and friends and features live music.
  • Ohana's at the Polynesian - Character Breakfast Buffet featuring Lilo & Stitch.

Comments

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    • Lisas-thoughts101 profile image

      Lisas-thoughts101 

      6 years ago from Northeast Texas

      embitca,

      Thanks for the great info. We are planning a trip at the end of sept. I called last week to get reservations at Cinderella's royal table for breakfast, lunch or dinner over a 1 week span in sept and there was NOTHING available. Just a warning to all those out there that you really do need to call 180 days in advance. I voted up and useful. Again, a great hub!

      Take care,

      Lisa

    • profile image

      kreddfc 

      6 years ago

      I love Disney World! its so much fun to take my kids! I love to also take pictures with the characters!! Even though your really old doesn't meen you can't do these things!! Anyways i even enjoy seeing their houses in Magic Kingdom! So i highly require all parents to take their kids to Disney World!! There is just so much to do that we cant finish it all in one trip so we always have to go back!

    • profile image

      Figment 

      7 years ago

      We had an early dinner (3:50 PM) at Crystal Palace for our big family reunion trip in 2009. What a fantastic experience! The food was delicious, and there were plenty of healthy options. My Aunt is a vegetarian and when asked what foods she could eat, a chef came out and walked her through every item and told her which were meat free. The kids (4 kids under 7) all loved meeting the characters, getting their autographs, joining the "Pooh-rade" and posing for pictures.

    • love2scrap profile image

      love2scrap 

      7 years ago

      We have done a lot of character meals at WDW and love them. It's great to relax and enjoy some one-on-one time with characters without a line of people waiting for you to hurry up. Our favourite is the Crystal Palace...mostly because we love Eeyore! :)

    • talfonso profile image

      talfonso 

      8 years ago from Tampa Bay, FL

      I would do a Character meal if I have the chance - I'm a Disneyphile holding a Seasonal Pass and I love those Disney peeps!

    • profile image

      unknown 

      8 years ago

      how much do Character Meals at the Restaurant Akershus cost

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 

      10 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Love the picture of Dale doing "hairdressing" work on your neice LOL. I wonder if Disney HOngkong provides this...this is nearer us than Orlando. :) It sounds a lot of fun. Thanks :)

    • profile image

      D Rodgers 

      10 years ago

      I find this page very informing! I now know that I can dine in other areas than Magic Kingdom!

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