This week’s SATURDAY SIX looks at the Top Six Character Breakfasts in Walt Disney World. Two of the things guests like to do most at theme parks are meet characters and eat food. Character breakfasts allow us to kill two birds with one stone and eat while meeting characters. As a side benefit, the interactions with the characters are much more involved and longer than the ones we wait in lines for at the parks. Each character will stop by your table and interact with you and your family, so there’s no need to try to and chase one down, stand in a long queue, or waste a FastPass+ on a meet and greet. They come to you.
Character dining has become a big business – especially at Disney – and the popularity is such that you almost always need an Advance Dining Reservation (ADR). You can now have breakfast, lunch, or dinner with the characters, but for today’s purposes we are going to look at the top six character breakfasts in Walt Disney World. Let’s see what made the cut…
# 6 – The Crystal Palace (Magic Kingdom)
Located inside Magic Kingdom (head right down Main Street and take a sharp left at Casey’s Corner), The Crystal Palace is a great place to meet Winnie the Pooh and his friends. In fact, it is one of the easier ways to meet Eeyore and Piglet.
While the food at this “Buffet with Character” is similar to what’s at most of the other breakfast buffets (scrambled eggs, Mickey Mouse waffles, sausage, etc.), there is one item on the kid’s buffet worth mentioning: Pooh’s Puffed French toast. Fried and coated in sugar, Pooh’s puffed French toast ranks right up there with Tonga Toast at Kona Cafe and Banana Bread French Toast at Whispering Canyon as one of our favorite breakfast items at Walt Disney World. The Breakfast Lasagna is also worth adding on to your Disney foodie bucket list.
One advantage to restaurants inside the parks is being able to schedule your reservation before the park officially opens to guests, allowing you the opportunity to be inside the park before rope drop. There is something to be said about being able to walk down Main Street, U.S.A., and taking pictures of a castle with no one in front of it.
Characters: Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Eeyore, and Piglet
# 5 – Tusker House (Animal Kingdom)
Located in the Africa section of Animal Kingdom, breakfast at Tusker House is called Donald’s Safari Breakfast and – as your host – Donald greets each family (and takes a photo) before the family is seated. This is a nice change of pace from your average character meal as you have an interaction right away with a character. There are some food items in the buffet that you don’t see elsewhere, including frittatas and beef quiches. Because it is at the Animal Kingdom, it can generally be easier to get an ADR (or even a walk up), but don’t let that fool you; between the food and the theming, this is an exceptional character dining experience.
Characters: Donald Duck, Daisy Duck, Mickey Mouse, and Goofy
# 4 – Hollywood & Vine (Disney’s Hollywood Studios)
A stark contrast to the incredible atmosphere at Tusker House, the biggest selling point for Hollywood & Vine is the ability for your kids to meet the very popular Disney Junior characters. It also is one of the easiest places on the list to be able to secure an ADR or be seated as a walk-up.
The negatives? This can be a loud experience; the restaurant itself just doesn’t have the “it factor,” and the Play ‘n Dine Breakfast menu is a by-the-books Disney buffet. But all the negatives in the world are erased when your kids interact with Little Einstein’s June or Jake. These characters can connect with youngsters in a very special way, and you get to spend a lot of time with them.. Like Tusker House and The Crystal Palace, it can be a great benefit to book ADRs early in the morning to get a jump start on a day of park touring.
Characters: June (Little Einsteins), Handy Manny, Special Agent Oso, and Jake from the Neverland Pirates
# 3 – ’Ohana Best Friends Breakfast (Disney’s Polynesian Resort)
The ’Ohana character breakfast has some important differences from the venues we’ve looked at so far. Because it takes place at a resort (the Polynesian), you don’t need to have park admission to meet the characters. While it does have the usual assortment of breakfast items to eat, they are served family style instead of buffet style. Like Hollywood & Vine, it also offers you the opportunity to meet a character that is extremely rare in Lilo, along with some very popular ones like Mickey Mouse and Stitch.
The atmosphere at ’Ohana is among the best at Walt Disney World in terms of overall feel. The restaurant is going to fill up, but because it is so large you don’t feel cramped or overwhelmed. Much like ’Ohana at night, the characters do their best to get children involved with activities including conga lines. With views of the Polynesian resort grounds and the Magic Kingdom, there is something for pretty much everyone at this breakfast. Be sure to get an ADR.
Characters: Mickey Mouse, Pluto, Lilo, and Stitch
Chef Mickey’s could almost be considered the most controversial on the list. Many guests find the atmosphere just too loud and chaotic to have a good experience, while others consider it a must-do on every vacation. Compared to the other character breakfasts on this list, the “Fun Time Buffet” food isn’t great, but – let’s face it – you’re not here to eat the food. Chef Mickey’s is where you can meet the Fab Five (Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, and Pluto), and that is a powerful draw.
Like the ‘Ohana character breakfast, Chef Mickey’s is at a resort (the Contemporary), so you don’t have to have admission to any of the parks to enjoy it. You have the monorail nearby and are inside the main concourse of the Contemporary Resort, itself, so despite the noise and activity, it’s certainly an atmosphere that is unforgettable.
Characters: Chef Mickey, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy, and Pluto
#1 Princess Storybook Dining at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall
With a name that long, it must be good, right? It is. If your kids are wild about princesses, there are two places you are going to want to go: Cinderella’s Royal Table in Magic Kingdom or Akershus at Epcot. Cinderella’s Royal Table is more expensive (it’s also two credits on the Disney Dining Plan, compared to one for Akershus) and much harder to get into.
Just as Donald greets your family at Tusker House, Belle greets you at Akershus. This will be the only time you will be able to interact with Belle. Thankfully, the picture you take with Belle is included with the price of your meal (it is not at Tusker House). The meal is filled with appearances by a wide variety of princesses, which should have the kids in your family smiling for a long time. Like at ’Ohana, the Princess Storybook Breakfast food is served family style.
Characters: Belle, Snow White, Aurora, Cinderella, and Ariel
So there you have it: the top six character meals at Walt Disney World. See you next weekend for the latest edition of the Saturday Six. If you had fun, be sure to check out The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! articles or, for your listening pleasure, check out Pardon the Pixie Dust podcast.