Character Meals: Vol. 2 – Chef Mickey’s

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Welcome to the continuation of my Character Meal series. If you are interested, the first installment was about Cinderella’s Royal Table.

If you are not familiar with the Disney channel show Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, it focuses on six characters; Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Goofy, and Pluto.  Chef Mickey’s character meal allows up close visitation with five of those (sorry, no Daisy), which means that it is a very popular meal.  My daughter is a huge Mickey Mouse Clubhouse fan meaning that this was a definite stop for us, as it is for many.

Here are my thoughts on this very popular character dining option:

Atmosphere

Chef Mickey’s is located in the Contemporary Resort, which has some definite pros and cons; we’ll start with the bad.

- It is not in a park meaning that you have to work it into your schedule and take the time to travel to the Contemporary.
- It is very loud.  And I don’t mean noisy restaurant loud, it’s as if one hundred children just saw Mickey Mouse and screamed inside a cavernous, echo-prone space (oh wait, that’s exactly what it is).

Now the good:

- It is not in a park meaning that you can visit it without using a park ticket.
- The Contemporary is a very cool resort and riding the monorail right through it never gets old.

Overall, the restaurant space is nice, but nothing special.  There are quite a few seating areas spaced around a large buffet area and if you get lucky you may be in a smaller, more out-of-the-way room.  Otherwise you will be passed by many, many people on their way to the buffet (or bathroom, or about to tackle Goofy).

Characters

Like most Disney character meals, the interaction here is fantastic.  While the restaurant is spread out, it does not have a huge capacity meaning that the character to guest ratio is pretty good.  In the hour or so that we were there we met all five characters twice, and they were all decked out in their chef-y best.

The only bad thing about all of this interaction is that you’re also supposed to be eating.  My daughter was thrilled each and every time one of them came around, meaning it was next to impossible to get her to eat anything.  Since I am usually in charge of the pictures and video, I alternated between setting up photo opportunities and shoveling as much food into my mouth as I could manage in between visits (meaning there’s a lot of background audio on the home movies that sounds like “grph gack”).

Food

I was at Chef Mickey’s for dinner so I can’t speak for any other meal, but here’s where the review goes downhill a bit.  I will say that when I found out that the meal was an open-air buffet I expected the food to be putrid.  Luckily, I was pleasantly surprised because the food was only below-average.

What disappointed me most was that the food sounded good.  They had things such as a carving station with spice-rubbed beef, red beans and rice, and beef stroganoff, but all of these were dry and lacking in flavor (in other words, buffet style).  Since I got excited when I read the descriptions, I felt more let down.

On the positive side, there was a large selection of items so finding something descent shouldn’t be hard.  The big plus though is the dessert selection; cookies, ice cream, rice cereal treats, bread pudding, cheesecake…okay, I gained 2 lbs just typing that.  I would recommend sampling the dinner items and saving lots of room for dessert.

Odds, Ends, and Details

Chef Mickey’s is open for breakfast and dinner.  The breakfast costs $35.14 for adults and $19.16 for children while the dinner will set you back $40.46 and $20.23 respectively..  Somewhat pricey, but remember that you’re paying to see the stars here.

Final Thoughts

Yes, the food is not great but I paid the money for a) personal time for my daughter with her favorite characters and b) to avoid spending my week finding said characters and wasting my touring time.  For both of those reasons I am happy I did it and I would happily do it again (note from my stomach: do not eat the red beans and rice next time).

 

 

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Posted on August 31, 2011

11 Responses to “Character Meals: Vol. 2 – Chef Mickey’s”

  • by Debbie from Chicago on August 31, 2011, at 9:47 am EDT

    I was told by family and friends that I had to take my daughter to Chef Mickey’s. So, we went for the first time last year and I have to say I was disappointed. I thought the food, character interaction and ambiance were below average(we also had dinner and were in a small room). I think there are definitely other character meals that are better: Garden Grill at Epcot, Crystal Palace at MK, Akerhaus at Epcot. Even breakfast at O’hana and dinner at CRT are better. We are trying Tusker House for the first time this November. We won’t go out of our way to go back to Chef Mickey’s.

  • Thanks for the great review Brian! Even with what you are saying, it’s the ambiance & atmosphere you are paying for – agreed! I’m going for dinner my first time 9/18 to meet some friends and just because I’m at WDW, nothing…disappointing food and noise, can take away from that LOL Personally, I’m looking forward to watching the fireworks from the balcony there..isn’t there an area where they stream in music and you can watch the MK fireworks? Not the 15th floor for those eating at the Cali Grill…but a special area for Chef Mickey’s patrons? Thanks for your help! Lisa

    • Sorry Lisa,
      But there is no viewing area at Chef Mickeys for fireworks. It is just a dinner buffet with characters and a very very loud one at that!! We’ve done it once and I don’t think we will be back. Hope you have a good time. My family and I will be at Disney same week.

      • Thanks for the info! I’ll just have to head over to the MK then! LOL Hope you have a blast also!!

        • A very nice place to view them is the beach at the Polynesian. Just take the monorail after dinner, grab a coffee and sit on the beach and watch the fireworks and water parade. It is a very relaxing way to end the day.

  • I have been back to character breakfast here. Basically it is the only place with the most classic looking mickey. Anywhere else and not only do you possibly not even see mickey, but Mickey might be wearing a weird outfit.

    The food here is basically way overpriced and you can get the same food at most resort counter services or for the cheapest table service over at trails end in fort wilderness. And while the food is good (on par with a golden corral or something) it’s definitely not up to those fancy breakfast place standards.

    My advice: Do it once or even twice. Or do it to save time meeting characters in the park. You’re not going to go “wrong” eating here. But don’t feel bad if you can’t get in or something screws up your ability to eat here. It’s not an essential experience. (And once you factor in what you could do with that money instead, you really think about doing that something else.)

    I consider Chef Mickey’s to set the standard for character breakfasts. However, many of the other disney restaurants with characters actually beat this standard in quality, price, or character interaction. However, Chef Mickey cannot be beat when it comes to classic characters.

    And BTW, Chef mickey’s is not that high up in the building, but there is a bar / lounge attached. Maybe this is what Lisa is referring to. I wouldn’t imagine this as one of the better fireworks viewing spots.

  • I have always enjoyed Chef Mickey’s. The food is pretty good and dancing with Donal Duck is a riot. One night we saw Donald and Pluto doing karate moves on each other it was too funny!

  • Time with Mickey and friends without standing in line while I keep checking my watch and touring plan is what it’s all about for me. I’m not looking forward to the noise or lousy food, but I’ll take one for the team. Is there a better character meal with Mickey and friends?

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