Adults Dining at Chef Mickey’s

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On my August trip I had a friend in tow who was not a Disney geek (gasp!).  She was, however, excited to see characters so I made arrangements for us (along with about 20 of our friends) to have breakfast at Chef Mickey’s at the Contemporary Resort one morning.  I hadn’t been to a character dining experience in quite some time so I was a little wary about a bunch of adults heading to a restaurant to see Mickey, Donald, and pals.  Couldn’t I just eat eggs somewhere quiet?  Would it be swarmed with little kids going nuts?  Would it be total chaos? Would the food be any good?  These were all questions I had running through my head.  But I overlooked all this to make a great trip for my friend and signed us up.

Before we get into my thoughts on Chef Mickey’s there are a few things to know about this eatery.  This is among the hotter tickets in town and it can be difficult to get an Advanced Dining Reservation (ADR).  The ADR maker in your party should close to your 180 day window to make arrangements to eat here.  Chef Mickey’s normally operates for breakfast and dinner, although it is occasionally for lunch when crowds are heavy.  You may also consider arriving a few minutes early for your allotted time since it is usually fairly busy.  The restaurant’s location at the Contemporary Resort makes for easy transit to and from your breakfast or dinner.  I would look at a meal here as an opportunity to take a break from the Magic Kingdom, especially since their table service options leave a lot to be desired.

Since our ADR was for breakfast and our group was spread out all over at different resorts we decided to meet at the restaurant about 15 minutes before our time.   Once we had most of our people together we checked in and then there was a little surprise I wasn’t aware of.  A fun element in the dining experience here is that they take a “family portrait” before seating your party.  In our case we had about 20 people, all unrelated (aside from a few married couples) in our family.  Your group can buy a package of these photos for about $30 which is a bit steep, but we split it up among us, making the fee easier to swallow.  After our picture was taken we were asked to hang out in a waiting area until our tables were ready.  I was concerned it would take a while with such a big group, but we were seated fairly quickly.  We had two very large tables right next to each other.  Our tables were in a smaller room with windows that looked out onto the Magic Kingdom.

Photo by Megan Annunziata

Shortly after we were seated we were told we could ourselves to the buffet and our waiter took our drink orders.  Large pots of coffee were brought out for everyone to share as well as juice and whatever else folks wanted.  We decided to make our way to the buffet before characters started to make their rounds.  There are a ton of options for every kind of taste on the Chef Mickey’s buffet.  Everything from cold cereal and fruit to eggs and pancakes, to a dessert table can be found here.  I’m a sucker for those Mickey waffles so I enjoyed a few of those and they had a berry sauce which I’m sure was all kinds of artificial, but it was tasty.  I also have to recommend the hash brown, cheese, and bacon casserole.  My philosophy is everything is better with bacon and who doesn’t love a potato?  It was seriously yummy.  Most of the selections available are typical Disney breakfast fare.  The food is tasty, but certainly nothing out of this world.

The character interaction at Chef Mickey’s was a blast.  I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about posing with these furry guys, but it turned out to be great.  Laughing with my friends while we took pictures and getting excited to see Minnie or Goofy was fun even for us adults who usually avoid characters in the parks.  At this particular dining experience Mickey, Minnie, Pluto, Donald Duck, and Goofy make appearances and are happy to visit each table.  The will make the rounds posing for pictures and playing with kids (and some adults).  Occasionally music comes over the loud speakers and the characters dance around while guests are encouraged to clap along or wave their napkins over their heads. We all just let lose and let ourselves feel like kids again without feeling embarrassed about it in anyway.

Photo by Megan Annunziata

The play time with the characters provides a lot of laughs and a lot of photo opportunities.  I have tons of pictures from this meal!  It’s funny how in everyone of them we are smiling from ear to ear.  My friends and I were just so happy to spend some time together in our favorite place living the magic.  These pictures are proof that it is totally ok for a group of adults to have a character meal together.  While we might have felt a little silly at first, soon those insecurities fell to the side and we had a ball.  If you head to Chef Mickey’s be sure to have your camera ready!

I think the price is a bit high for what you get (this coming from someone used to dining in New York City and the surrounding area), but it’s Disney so I’ve come to expect that.  You are really paying for the experience more than anything else.  And if you asked me if I’d spend the money to have a fun meal at a fun place with some of my best friends I certainly would.  I recommend checking out Chef Mickey’s for yourself if you ever get the chance.  It may not be the greatest food on WDW property, but the atmosphere and the experience are a ton of fun.

What about you?  Have you dined at Chef Mickey’s?  I hope you had as much fun as I did!  Let me know about your meal at this classic Disney restaurant.

Next week I’ll take a look at some holiday happenings around the Disney parks!

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Posted on November 10, 2010

20 Responses to “Adults Dining at Chef Mickey’s”

  • On our last trip to WDW, we did Chef Mickey’s for dinner on our arrival day (after a drive of 7+ hours). It was a great way to get into the Disney spirit without having to utilize a day’s park admission ticket/price. Our kids (4 and 2) got to meet Mickey and the gang on their first day without having to wait in line too, which was a big plus. Food was OK, but plentiful. Atmosphere was fun.

    • Hi Josh! Yes, character meals are a great way to see everyone’s favorite furry friends without waiting on line. I should have emphasized that more! I can’t remember the last time I meet a character in a park because I never want to take the time to queue, plus I don’t have kids with me. A meal at Chef Mickey’s does sound like a great way to get things started after a long drive. Thanks for reading and posting!

  • Thanks a lot for this post. I’m so torn about whether to book for Chef Mickey’s on our next trip. It’s just my hubby and myself and I’m not sure about dining here alone without kids. Your post makes it seem really fun – but I don’t know if just two adults would be a bit more odd than a whole gang, getting into the spirit of things!

    • Thanks for reading! I say you and your husband should go for it. Embrace your inner kid and have a good time and don’t worry what anyone thinks about it. I’m sure you guys will have a blast.

    • My wife and I have enjoyed dining at Chef Mickey’s (for breakfast). We did it a couple of times in the last few years. It’s worth doing at least once, and we felt very welcome even though it was just the two of us. At Walt Disney World, it’s perfectly normal to let your inner child out. :)

  • I’ve never been to Chef Mickey’s but a couple of years ago, my grandpa, my mom and I had dinner at 1900 Park Fare in the GF and it was a great time.

    I too was worried about being the only table in the place without any kids and as it turned out, we were. At first it seemed like the characters were skipping our table – assuming that our kids were at the buffet or in the bathroom – but once they realized we were an adult-only table, we weren’t treated any differently. In fact we gots tons of attention.

    One of the step-sisters grabbed my grandpa and forced him to dance. It made for quite a scene and for a guy who – let’s just say isn’t into princesses – he seemed to love it. My mom was also treated to a cupcake for her birthday and was in her glory meeting her favorites, Cinderalla and Prince Charming. We ended up with a ton of great photos.

    Like Kristen says, the food isn’t spectacular and the prices are kinda steep…but if you’re a Disney person, the character interaction will certainly make it worth your while.

    • Thanks for the comment, Wally! I’m glad your family had such a good time at 1900 Park Fare! I think those moments when grandpa gets pulled out of his chair are priceless and your family will always remember that. It’s just an example of Disney magic at work!

  • I have been a huge fan of Chef Mickey’s going all the way back to the days at the Marketplace… I find the experience and location to be even better now. The iconic Contemporary Hotel, the Monorail, the interaction can’t be beat! You are right, it’s “good food” and you do pay for the opportunity to eat among the characters. But there is a great maximizing of character times at Chef Mickey’s.

    AND- as I think we all proved and you wrote about- adults are kids when eating at Chef Mickey’s! It was a great time for all of us and I hope others follow your idea and enjoy this experience for themselves.

  • My children are older and we love eating at Chef Mickey’s. The food is average, but the atmosphere more than makes up for it and it doesn’t matter that our table does not have young children at it.

    I too can remember eating at Chef Mickey’s when it was at the Marketplace.

  • by Nelson Breitman on November 10, 2010, at 6:39 pm EST

    Great post !!! I have already booked Chef Mickey’s for January, 2nd (and also a breakfast, at 10:15am) !!! And I have a 3-year-old baby who loves Mickey and the others !!!

    Let me ask you something: in the same day (January, 2nd) I also want to go to the Magic Kingdom (we’ll spend 2 weeks in Orlando, so I have already bought the 10-day ticket, I can “lost” the morning in the park because we’ll still have 9 other days…) because it’s the last day that the Splash Mountain will be operating (it closes on January, 3rd !). Is it easy to go from the Magic Kingdom to the Contemporary using the monorail ??? I’m thinking of parking the car in the Ticket and Transportation Center (the Magic Kingdom parking, if I can say so…), get the monorail to go to the Magic Kingdom, ride (or get a fastpass to) Splash Mountain (I don’t know if I’ll be able to ride when I come back from the breakfast, I think the lines can go crazy because the ride will close the day after) and the get the monorail to the Contemporary. After finishing the breakfast, we’ll go back to the Magic Kingdom, spend some more time there and leave. Do you think it is possible to do this ??? How long do you think that we’ll take from the Magic Kingdom to the Contemporary ???

    And one more question: do we have a time limit to stay there having breakfast ??? My baby will probably love everything and it won’t be easy for her to leave !

    Thanks,
    Nelson

    • You can take the monorail from the MK to the Contemporary, but you have to wait for it to come to the station. If you don’t want to wait, it is about a 10 minute walk. My hubby, and I and our 2 kids 4 & 8, like to go to Chef Mickey’s on our last day of vacation. We take the bus from our resort ( we have stayed at Pop Century on our 2 trips.) to the MK and then walk over to the Contempory. It is a great place to see the characters. My girls love it. (however, for breakfast at the MK, you can’t beat the Crystal Palace and all the POOH characters!!)

      • by Nelson Breitman on November 11, 2010, at 8:41 pm EST

        Thank you for the information! 10 minute walk ? I couldn’t imagine that it was so close! Good to know.

        • I must add that “10 minutes” depends on where you start from. It may take slightly longer from the main gate to walk to the Contemporary. If you time your departure just right it may be easier to take the monorail. Also remember that you have to cross a street to get to the contemporary. But it was not that busy. If you do walk, be sure to notice all of the bricks dedicated to the families who purchased them. On our last trip, we did not carry a stroller for our 3 yr old (we did rent one in the park though) and she had a great time walking with the ducks that joined us for part of our hike! hope this helps. I would definitely ride the monorail back to MK. it is a great ride. Don’t for get to look for the 5 legged goat on the mural in the Contemporary!!

          reply

          • by Nelson Breitman on November 12, 2010, at 4:23 am EST

            Thanks again! We’ll carry our stroller, in case our daughter doesn’t want to walk. And I hope the ducks are still there…

  • Chef Mickey’s is on our son’s list of required restaurants – it is his first choice. If he could pick only 1 ADR-restaurant, this would be it. We normally do breakfast but dinner isn’t bad (and my husband and I think it is a better value than breakfast). I agree – the character interaction brings out the child in everyone!

  • I must add that “10 minutes” depends on where you start from. It may take slightly longer from the main gate to walk to the Contemporary. If you time your departure just right it may be easier to take the monorail. Also remember that you have to cross a street to get to the contemporary. But it was not that busy. If you do walk, be sure to notice all of the bricks dedicated to the families who purchased them. On our last trip, we did not carry a stroller for our 3 yr old (we did rent one in the park though) and she had a great time walking with the ducks that joined us for part of our hike! hope this helps. I would definitely ride the monorail back to MK. it is a great ride. Don’t for get to look for the 5 legged goat on the mural in the Contemporary!!

  • I dined at Chef Mickey’s solo on the last day of my August trip this summer and had a blast (and was asked if I was a cast member after I insisted on having my photo with “the Chef”). I was definetely the only solo adult table but I didn’t mind. I befriended the table beside mine and had them grab some pictures of me with the characters on my phone (I was unfortunately camera-less) I thought the food was pretty good and it was a great way to finish out my trip (though having to head back to Pop! to pack was a downer) I also dined solo at Cinderella’s Royal Table for lunch one day and really enjoyed myself. I had the best character interacts there and had always wanted to dine in the Castle so I decided to go for it – and it’s one of my favourite memories of my trip! (even though my camera stopped working and I lost all my pictures with the fabulous princesses)

  • I am the non-Disney geek (gasp!)… but I’m slowly turning into one. This breakfast at Chef Mickey’s was SO amazing. Everytime I turned around a new character had snuck up behind me. And since I am basically just a tall (not a whole lot) kid, I soaked up every moment. I may have even clapped in excitement. A couple of times…