Walt Disney World Character Dining
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.
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*
More Disney Links
- Character Dining Info at The Dis
Includes prices and menus for all Character meals
- Character Dining Locations Chart
From AllEars, this handy chart is useful if you want something you can print out and stick between the pages of your guidebook.
- Walt Disney World Character Experiences
Disney's website is kind of horrible to navigate, but there's a ton of info here about all kinds of Character Meet & Greet opportunities
- Wat Disney World Dining Plan Options
My Hub about the Disney Dining Plan and the Disney Dining Experience discount card
- How to Survive Your Walt Disney World Vacation
My hub on how to enjoy Disney World without stress and tears
- Walt Disney World Resource Guide
My guide to the best websites for planning your Walt Disney World vacation
- Disney Vacation Club Timeshares
Interested in the Disney Vacation Club timeshare membership? Read all about the DVC at my hub.
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
- 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.
- 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.
Disney World Guide Book
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!
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.