Monday, April 1, 2013

Magical Monday #10: Choosing the Perfect Disney Character Meal for Your Family

When you vacation at Walt Disney World, meeting characters is a MUST DO! You have a couple options of how to go about getting those autographs and special snapshots. You can either stand in a long line for one rushed moment with that favorite character, OR you can book a character meal, then sit in a comfortable air conditioned restaurant enjoying a delicious meal while the characters come to you! I pick option #2 every time!

 This Magical Monday I'm excited to share about our experiences with many character meals, in hopes of helping you choose the perfect dining experience for your family's next trip to WDW!


Cinderella's Royal Table
Character breakfast, lunch, and dinner offered

The biggest perk of booking fairytale dining at Cinderella's Royal Table is that you will be dining IN Cinderella's Castle! Walt Disney World. Where dreams come true!
A complimentary photo package and a few souvenirs are included in the cost of your meal.

This royal meal is the most expensive character meal on WDW property, yet it's also the hardest reservation to obtain. Since this restaurant is so popular you may feel more rushed here than at the other character meals. Some joke that cast members do everything short of pre-chewing your food for you, to get you in and out of there as quickly as possible. All that being said, we've dined there twice and are thankful to have those precious memories of eating in the midst of royalty in the landmark of Magic Kingdom, Cinderella's gorgeous castle.

*For guests using the Disney Dining Plan, this meal requires 2 dining credits. 

The Crystal Palace
Character breakfast, lunch, and dinner offered

If Winnie the Pooh holds a special place in your heart, you'll wanna nab a reservation at The Crystal Palace! While you can find Pooh and his bouncin' buddy, Tigger, elsewhere, this is the only meal where you'll see P-p-piglet, and Eeyore, if anyone cares to see him at all. ;) This entire restaurant is dripping in themed goodness like honey from the paw of a hungry Pooh Bear. Check out the adorable topiaries modeled after the 100 Acre Wood characters! So fun! The drawback of this restaurant is the noise level. It is extremely loud. It's such a bustling (aka: crowded) restaurant that you'll also likely find yourself in a long line simply to reach the podium to let them know you've arrived for your reservation. Bring both your patience and your appetite and you'll have a Tiggerific good time!


Akershus Royal Banquet Hall located in Epcot, World Showcase, Norway Pavilion

Character breakfast, lunch, and dinner offered
This is the only character meal in the World Showcase, and the only table service breakfast in Epcot.

Akershus' Princess Storybook Dining is a fantastic money saving alternative to dining at Cinderella's Royal Table! You'll meet princesses and enjoy a lovely meal for a fraction of the price!

 Current cost for character breakfasts at these locations:
Akershus: Adults $34.99, Children Age 3-9 $20.99
Cinderella's Royal Table: Adult $49.87, Children Age 3-9 $32.44

 We've dined at Akershus twice (both for character breakfasts), and have really enjoyed the experience as a whole! In our experience, our girls have enjoyed more quality time with each Princess at this meal than at the Castle. Also, I love dining that is in keeping with the theme of the area of the park you're dining in. You'll find that to be the case with Akershus. You're in World Showcase and being served in the Norway Pavillion by Norwegian Cast Members. Ask them to teach you a phrase our two in their native tongue! Shh... don't tell the kids, but learning can be disguised as just plain fun while you're on vacation! ;)

*You are NOT supposed to be able to meet Cinderella at this restaurant. I needed to throw in that disclaimer, because as you can see in the photos, we did meet her there once! This is a great example of why you cannot go into a character meal EXPECTING to meet (or in this case, not to meet ;)) a certain character. Characters are always subject to change, with the exception of Cinderella at Cinderella's Royal Table, she'll ALWAYS be there, after all it's her home. :)

The Garden Grill located at Epcot, Future World
Character dinners offered from 3:00-8:00pm

We love Chip 'n' Dale's Harvest Feast Dinner offered at The Garden Grill! Unlike most character meals, this restaurant serves a fixed menu, family style. You just sit still and enjoy, but the restaurant doesn't! It actually rotates throughout your meal! You'll have a continually changing view from the "Living with the Land" attraction. I suggest dining here towards the end of your trip. After a week or more of "vacation food" this home-cooked style meal really hits the spot! Characters you'll likely meet here are Chip 'n' Dale, Farmer Mickey, and his pal, Pluto!


Disney Junior Play 'n Dine at Hollywood & Vine
Character breakfast and lunch offered
This is the only table service breakfast served in Hollywood Studios.

You'll meet Disney Junior characters here!

You'll ONLY meet Disney Junior character here!

If you're traveling with a toddler this may be their favorite meal. If not, there are probably more suitable meals for your party. ;)


Tusker House Restaurant
Character breakfast and lunch offered

Remember in my recent JUNGLE JUICE post how I mentioned this is my favorite character meal? I'll take this opportunity to explain why that's the case. ;) In my opinion, there is no better way to start a day at the Animal Kingdom than with

... I mean, than in a restaurant that's themed as a Harambe marketplace eatery, filled with characters dressed in safari costumes. By the end of the meal you may even forget you're actually in Florida! As you enjoy a scrumptious meal from the buffet, not only will characters make their way around to meet you, one will even invite your kids to grab a maraca and dance around the tables with them! The sights, sounds, and flavors of Africa found here are a perfect way to kick off a day in Disney's "Wild"est Park!


1900 Park Fare
Character breakfast and dinner offered

1900 Park Fare is located inside Walt Disney World's flagship resort, the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. Their Supercalifragilistic Breakfast has the most varied characters of any of the character meals. We met Alice and the Mad Hatter, Winnie the Pooh and Tigger too, and one lonely Princess, Belle. If you'd enjoy meeting a variety of characters, this is an excellent option for you. As with all Disney character meals, the rule applies, characters are subject to change. This was extremely noticeable during our meal that was lacking in the characters associated with the whole "Supercalifraglistic"ness of it all, but I was quickly won over by the scrumptious Lobster Egg Benedict at the buffet, and the playful banter we enjoyed with the Mad Hatter. It was his unbirthday TOO, what were the odds?! ;)

They also host a Cinderella's Happily Ever After Dinner here, where you can meet Cindy and her Prince, as well as her disapproving stepmother, Lady Tremaine, and her mean (but hilarious) stepsisters.

Chef Mickey's Buffet located at Disney's Contemporary Resort 
Character breakfast and dinner offered

This is my oldest daughter's top pick! We've enjoyed both breakfast and dinner there. Dinner was our favorite of the two. In our experience, the characters were much more lively in the evening. Perhaps we caught them before they'd had their morning coffee the year we had breakfast with them. ;) In any case, there's always good food and great times to be had here! You'll normally be dining with Disney's "Fab Five"! Every 30 minutes they'll crank up some fun music and ask you to "celebrate with Mickey Mouse" by twirling your cloth napkins as they dance around the restaurant in their chef garb. This is a popular restaurant, so you'll wanna book your dining reservations here ASAP! :)

Character breakfast offered

At 'Ohana's Best Friends Breakfast you'll meet Lilo, Mickey Mouse, and their best friends, Stitch and Pluto! We haven't dined at this character breakfast yet, but plan to enjoy it later this Fall. 'Ohana is our family's #1 Pick for dinner in all of WDW Property! We absolutely love the atmosphere and the abundance of amazing eats there in the evening. Stay tuned for a review later this year on what it's like to kick off your day with breakfast there. Meanwhile I'll just stick to the facts. ;) It's an all-you-care-to-enjoy, family style meal served from 7:30-11:30am at the gorgeous Polynesian Resort.

Garden Grove 
Character dinner offered daily. Saturday and Sunday mornings they host character breakfast as well.

You can enjoy themed buffets throughout the week here. One night they serve Italian, the next it may be Mexican. You can call 407-WDW-DINE for more details before booking if you have a certain cuisine you'd most enjoy. The pitfall of this restaurant would be location, Walt Disney World Swan Hotel. If you are relying on WDW transportation, this hotel is not as easily accessible to get to as most others. Characters you may meet here include Rafiki, Timon, Goofy, and Pluto.

Cape May Cafe 
Character breakfast offered

At Disney's Beach Club Villas you'll find a restaurant with tables covered in white paper table cloths. The kids (and young at heart) are welcome to doodle crayon masterpieces between bites of Mickey waffles, Cape May Cafe French Toast Bread Pudding, and anything else your tummy desires from the buffet. This is the easiest character meal to book last minute. If you let yourself get in a pinch, this may be the choice for you! You'll likely meet Goofy, Donald Duck, and Minnie Mouse, all dressed for a lovely day at the beach!

Some of our most magical memories have been made at Disney restaurants. There's nothing quite like super cute (and equally YUMMY!) Disney eats & love from your Disney pals! 

You may also be interested in:

Mickey Mouse Cookies & Cream Oreo Brownie
Disney's Jungle Juice (Copycat Recipe)
10 FREE Disney Ringtones!
Perry the Platypus Hand Puppet
Tigger Tails
A Trip to Neverland & the Perfect Treat for the Journey!
Popcorn & Pixie Dust {Peter Pan Movie Party}
Mickey Mouse Munch
Around the World at Epcot

Thanks for stopping by! Don't be shy. Please say, "HI!"

{Visit my LINK PARTIES! page to see where I've shared this post, and find other fabulous bloggers' creations, too!}
I was honored to have this post featured at:

Lil\'Luna The Patriotic Pam


  1. Oh this all looks so fun! Can I PLEASE come with you next time you visit WDW?! ;) hehe! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Can I love, love, LOVE this post? I've been waiting for ages to plan another trip to Disney World--I'll be hitting up the Anaheim counterpart within the month for certain though. <3 Magical Monday indeed!!! I haven't been back to WDW since the new Fantasyland expansion opened, I can't wait!

    1. You absolutely can! ;) Your comment totally made my day! Thanks so much!! :D ENJOY your upcoming trip to Disneyland ... & hopefully you'll make your way back to WDW soon too!! :*)

  3. You always make my head spin with all of your WDW planning! lol I love the pictures of the girls with the characters. SO CUTE!!!

  4. I never heard of doing that! That would be the best way to do it! And that dessert looks freaking amazing!

  5. My family love to do the Character Dining too! They used to have one at the Liberty Tree Tavern in Magic Kingdom and that was always are favorite. This is a great post :)


  6. I can't wait until my son gets older so we can go to Disney!
    Thanks for stopping over at my blog.

  7. Planning another Disney trip next year. I haven't done any character meals before, so this is super helpful!! Thanks for coming to our Link Up Party at!! We hope you have a great weekend, too!!

  8. Great tips! We are going to Disney soon, but we don't have kids... no character meals for us! We still do the dining plan, though, and eat at some of the fancier places. :)

  9. Great rundown....I'd forgotten all about Garden Grove since we usually go on the dining plan and it's not included. We don't have it this year, so this might be the time to check it out!

  10. Wow! What a great resource for figuring out which character meal to choose.
    Thanks so much for linking up at Real Family Fun.

  11. Wow! That pic show sure does bring back some memories for me! My family and I have been to all of those places above. Such a wonderful trip down memory lane. I think our favorite was dining with the princess at Cinderellas castle, but DINNER at the castle is also fun. We need to plan out next trip!

  12. Awesome tips! We haven't made it to Disney World yet but our favorite character dining at Disneyland is Goofy's Kitchen. Pinning and thanks for sharing at Mom On Timeout!

  13. Great tips! Where exactly is that delicious looking dessert trio from???

    1. Thanks, Amy!! Those DELICIOUS desserts are actually from the buffet at Chef Mickey's! So it doesn't have to be a trio ... if you'd like, you can even get half a dozen for the same price! It's a dangerous situation! ;)

    2. Definitely! I've been there for breakfast, but don't think they had those little tasties! LOL Thanks!

  14. How fun! Such great photo's too.... Thanks so much for sharing at Super Saturday Show & Tell... I'm SO glad you came to (link) party with me! xoxo~ Ruthie

  15. I love everything disney, however I'm 23 and since I never met any characters as a child I would love the chance to meet them all now, but I'm sure that's creepy behavior. I was hoping you could stop by my link party and share this.
    "Seasons of a Homemaker"

  16. Wow thanks for this post! It makes me excited to plan a trip to Disney with my daughter!Thanks for stopping by Dear Beautiful You today:-) Chrisitna at

  17. Thanks so much for this! We are planning a Disney World trip for baby girl in a few years & I am already gathering all the travel tips I can now. :)

    Thank you for sharing at Marvelous Mondays this week!

  18. My chiropractor (of all people) tells me that a Disney trip is a must (I have never been!). It was fun to see all your great ideas. Very festive! Lynaea @

  19. We have been to many of these character meals (our favorite is Winnie-the-Pooh) but THIS time, we're going to Cinderella's for the first time for breakfast. Do you know if the souvenirs (photos, wishing star) are included with that, too, or is it just dinner? What about PhotoPass? I'm so excited that our Princesses are finally old enough to appreciate this! They're 4 and 6 now...However, our Pirates (8 and 10) are less-than-thrilled with this new development! ;)

    1. We've been to Cinderella's Royal Table twice. Both of our visits were for breakfast and we received all of the souvenirs mentioned above, which is such a fun perk! You won't use your PhotoPass there. While you're waiting to be seated you stand in a line to have your children, or your entire family (your choice) pose with Cinderella for a photo. While you are eating your meal they will bring you a complimentary photo package (details about sizes of the photos are listed in this post). I hope you all enjoy a magical vacation! We have a trip to the World coming up soon too ... there's nothing more exciting than anticipating a Disney trip - other than being there, of course!!! ;) Great to hear from you today! :)

  20. Love the post. Mind if I link it from my site, It has great info I think my readers might enjoy.

    1. Thanks for the comment! So glad to hear that you enjoyed it! Yes, you're welcome to share a link to this blog post on your site! ;)

  21. This is just the info that I needed before booking our character meal. I have now narrowed it down so I guess i need to see what's available for Feb!

  22. We will be in DW January 2015 and Cinderella's Royal Table will be closed :(

    Would Akersush be a good alternative? Do any of the princes appear or just the princesses? Thanks!!

    1. Yes, I do think that Akershus would be a great alternative. You won't meet any princes there, but you wouldn't at Cinderella's Royal Table either. Disney princesses rule at both of those restaurants. ;)

      If you'd like to see more about my most recent experience at Akershus I've documented details in a trip report blog post, and you can also watch video taken in the restaurant on my family's Disney YouTube channel, Eat, Sleep, Dis, Repeat! I'll share links to both in case you're interested...

      Trip Report // WDW Day 13:

      Eat, Sleep, Dis, Repeat // 2013 Disney World Family Vacation Day 13 (of 17) Part 1:

      So glad you stopped by today, Emily! Great to hear from you! Happy DISNEY trip planning!! :)


I would love to hear from you today! I enjoy reading each and every comment I receive. (I do moderate them before they're published. Gotta keep it family friendly! ;)) Let's chat! B.Y.O.C. {Bring Your Own Chocolate!}