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:
– 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).
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”).
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.
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.
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).