Filed under: Dining
Making heads or tails of all of the character dining options at Disney World can be daunting, so I wanted to take this week’s post to give our readers a guide to those experiences. Here you will be able to get a handle on which characters appear at what restaurants and some other basic information about each establishment. Hopefully it will help you and your family decide where you may want to eat and interact with your favorite furry friends on your next trip!
Before we begin our tour of the character dining restaurants, let’s go over some basics of character meals at Disney World. These are very popular with guests of all ages, so reservations are a must. When guests book these experiences, they must provide a credit card number to put a hold on their reservations. You may cancel your reservation at any time up to 24 hours in advance without having your card charged. If your party does not show up for its Advanced Dining Reservation (ADR), you will be charged a “no show fee” of $10 per person.
Please note that character appearances are always subject to change and are never guaranteed.
Cinderella’s Royal Table – Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are served as prix fixe meals inside Cinderella Castle. Cinderella and her princess friends (who may include Belle, Aurora, and Snow White) appear during the meal. This is one of the hottest tickets in town, so if your little prince or princess wants to dine in this royal setting, be sure to make an ADR 180 days in advance.
The Crystal Palace – Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are served buffet style. Characters who appear here include Winnie the Pooh, Piglet, Tigger, and Eeyore. You may want to book breakfast here early in the morning to gain access to the park before regular guests. This way you can have a yummy meal, meet Pooh Bear, and take your family’s picture in front of the castle without 1,000 people in the background. I’ve only had breakfast here, but it was a great time!
Akershus Royal Banquet Hall – Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are served family-style here in the Norway Pavilion. There is also a buffet at lunch and dinner featuring Norwegian favorites. Cindrella, Ariel, Belle, Aurora, and Snow White are all regulars here at Akershus, and they can’t wait to meet their royal subjects. A special perk at this restaurant is that a professional group photo is included for every four guests in your party.
The Garden Grill – This restaurant only serves a dinner hosted by Chip and Dale and their friends, including Mickey and Pluto in their farmer outfits. The restaurant is within the Land Pavilion, and it slowly rotates to allow guests to have a view of the Living with the Land attraction while they eat their family style dinner.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Hollywood & Vine – A character buffet is served for breakfast and lunch. Disney Junior characters are here to greet guests and pose for pictures. Handy Manny, Special Agent Oso, Jake the Neverland Pirate, and June from the Little Einsteins series are all among the kid favorites who appear here. A dinner buffet is also served, but it does not feature character interaction. This experience caters more to the younger crowd since Disney Junior characters are highlighted.
Tusker House – Characters have appeared at breakfast here for a while, but they have more recently been added at lunch, too! Donald, Daisy, Mickey, Minnie, and Goofy appear in their safari outfits as if they are ready to hop aboard the trucks for a two week journey at the nearby Kilimanjaro Safaris. The African-inspired menu is served buffet-style, but there are plenty of more traditional options for those folks who may not be as adventurous. Tusker House also serves dinner, but without characters.
Cape May Cafe – With its location at the Beach Club Resort, you can be sure that this seaside eatery will feature characters in their beach-going best. The breakfast buffet features everyone’s favorite furry friends, but dinner does not, so be sure to book breakfast if you are looking to take some great photos with the likes of Minnie, Goofy, and Donald. This has been one of my favorite character breakfasts I’ve attended!
Chef Mickey’s – Breakfast and dinner are served year round, and lunch is sometimes added during busy seasons. This restaurant always seems to be busy, and its location at the Contemporary Resort makes it easy to get to via the monorail. Mickey, Donald Duck, Goofy, Minnie, and Pluto all greet guests as they munch on their buffet goodies. This is another extremely popular location, so be sure to make your ADRs well in advance.
Mickey’s Backyard Barbeque – This party is held on Thursdays and Saturdays from March through December, but be aware that it can be canceled for bad weather. Here, guests can enjoy a buffet full of summertime grill favorites while dancing, playing games, and meeting characters. Since it is held at the Fort Wilderness Campground, the easiest way to get there is to take the boat from the Magic Kingdom. A little escape from the parks for an outdoor picnic with characters sounds like a great time!
1900 Park Fare – Located at the Grand Floridian, this eatery serves breakfast with Mary Poppins, Alice, the Mad Hatter, and other “Wonderland Friends.” Alice and company return in the afternoon for a “Wonderland Tea Party,” where guests get to hear stories, play games, and decorate their own cupcakes! For dinner, Cinderella takes over greeting guests along with Prince Charming, the Fairy Godmother, Lady Tremaine, and the wicked step sisters. Meals here are served buffet style, and there is sure to be something on the menu to please every palate.
‘Ohana – This fan favorite, located at the Polynesian, is a hit for breakfast! The meal is served family-style and features appearances by Lilo, Stitch, Mickey, and Pluto. Characters only appear at breakfast at this eatery. I have found the characters to be especially playful at ‘Ohana. Guests may also participate in games and have their family portraits taken with their leis.
Garden Grove – This restaurant may be a bit off the beaten path with its location at the Swan. Characters are featured on Saturday and Sunday mornings for breakfast, as well as at dinner each night. The dinner buffet is themed according to different days of the week, so you will want to double check what will be served before you make a reservation. We should note the Dining Plan is not accepted at the Garden Grove. You may run into the likes of Goofy, Pluto, Rafiki, and Timon here.
The Garden View Tea Room – During lunch hours kids can meet their favorite princesses during the My Disney Girl’s Perfectly Princess Tea Party. The Tea Room at the Grand Floridian hosts guests with a prix fixe menu where girls are encouraged to dress like their favorite princess to meet their host called Miss Rose Petal, along with Princess Aurora of Sleeping Beauty fame. Girls will also receive a doll and other goodies as a keepsake for participating in the afternoon tea (boys get a Duffy and Pirate Mickey hat). This experience comes with a hefty price tag of about $250 for one child and an adult companion. There is an additional charge for each added child or adult.
There you have it: a basic guide to all of the character dining locations on Disney World property. Please let me know if you have any questions or tell me all about your favorite places to dine with characters in the comments!
Next week I’ll continue my discussion of character meals with tips to ensure a great experience at one of the character meals!