Posts Tagged ‘character dining’

All-New Character Meal Announced For Trattoria al Forno

by on February 1, 2017

©Rikki Niblett

Can you feel the love in the air? It’s not just because Valentine’s Day is quickly coming up. No….it’s because today Disney announced that an all-new character breakfast will be debuting this spring at Trattoria al Forno.

This table service restaurant located at Disney’s BoardWalk will feature a great way to start your day with a fun meal that not only includes some of your favorite Disney Princesses, but also their Princes, as well! Characters will include Rapunzel and Flynn from Tangled and Ariel and Eric from The Little Mermaid.

Not much else is known about this new dining opportunity. Stay tuned to the blog for further information about this great breakfast option.


Best Themed Restaurants at Disney World

by on February 23, 2015


The level of detail that Disney Imagineers put into the theming of the parks is astonishing. If I can be perfectly content just sitting in an area and soaking in all the details, then that to me is a wonderfully themed area of a Disney park. The same goes for Disney dining. Obviously, food quality comes first but with the premium that you’re going to pay at Disney, I always try to eat at restaurants that are immersive and give me that feeling that I’ve actually entered the setting that the Imagineers were trying to convey. If you have that same desire to be transported away during your next Disney dining experience then you’re in the right place. Below, you’ll find a list of my personal five best themed restaurants at Disney World. Each of these restaurants has excellent theming that will surely enhance your meal. Luckily, the food happens to be great at each of them as well.


5. Flame Tree Barbecue

Might have to talk to your kids about the birds and the...snakes?

Might have to talk to your kids about the birds and the…snakes?

Starting off our list is the only quick service entry and the only outdoor entry on our list. Located in Animal Kingdom, Flame Tree Barbecue is my favorite place to eat a meal outdoors in the parks. Animal Kingdom is already a beautiful park so it’s no surprise that Flame Tree lives up to its park’s reputation. There are both covered seating areas and more sunny areas that are overlooking the water with Everest in the distance. There’s also a beautiful pond/pool towards the back of the seating area as well. Along with the great views, the covered areas I mentioned before are cool looking and come complete with a surprisingly “real” Circle of Life theme. Each patio features a predator eating its prey, which shows that Disney can take the kid gloves off every once in a while without going over the top. When it comes down to it, Flame Tree has arguably the best counter service food and best outdoor seating areas in the parks, which make it my fifth most atmospheric restaurant at Disney World. Note: Flame Tree is currently closed during Rivers of Light construction at Animal Kingdom, though some of its seating is open and you can find your smoked meats other places in the park.

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Menu Monday: Cinderella’s Royal Table vs. Be Our Guest Restaurant

by on October 27, 2014

Disney World’s Magic Kingdom is home to two of the most magical dining locations you can imagine: Cinderella’s Royal Table and the Be Our Guest Restaurant. Both are very popular with guests, including myself, because who wouldn’t want the chance to dine in a castle like Disney royalty, right? But which one should you choose on your vacation and which of the two offers the most pixie dust for your buck? That’s exactly what I intend to find out in this Magic Kingdom Dinner Showdown: Cinderella’s Royal Table vs. Be Our Guest Restaurant.

Copyright - Disney

Copyright – Disney

First of all, Cinderella’s Royal Table, located inside Cinderella Castle, is a character meal featuring Disney Princesses at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Breakfast is standard, American fare, while lunch and dinner offer more sophisticated dishes. Touring Plans currently rates this dining destination three stars.

Be Our Guest, however, is only open for lunch and dinner; but the two different mealtimes offer different experiences. At lunch, Be Our Guest is a quick service restaurant where you order your food ahead of time with a Cast Member or at a kiosk and then choose your own table. The menu is centered around soups and sandwiches. At dinner, the dessert menu remains the same, but Be Our Guest becomes a table service restaurant offering a traditional, sit-down restaurant experience. Touring Plans currently rates this dining destination four stars.

Challenge #1: Price

Cinderella’s Royal Table is unique in that the menu is prix fixe. This means there is a set price for your meal, but you choose which selection of dishes you prefer. An average price for an adult meal at Cinderella’s Royal Table is currently around $70 per person and $45 per child.

Dinner at Be Our Guest offer a more typical dining set-up with individual prices for each menu item. To offer a price comparison to Cinderella’s Royal Table, if I were to order a soft drink, an appetizer of Potato Leek Soup, the Grilled Strip Steak, and then the Grey Stuff for dessert, my bill would average to about $50.00 per person. A kid’s dinner consisting of a drink, a garden salad for an appetizer, the Beast’s Casserole (macaroni and cheese), and the Grey Stuff for dessert would cost around $10 to $12.

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Disney Character Meet and Greets: Strategies for Shy Children

by on October 5, 2014

We’ve all seen the ads: the happy child running through the castle arch and into the warm waiting arms of Mickey Mouse. Embraced by everyone’s favorite mouse, the child beams a smile of pure joy, and the world is a better place.

Witch Minnie - Photographer Gene Duncan - Photo from Disney

This mouse may be larger than she expected, but she’s okay with it! Photo: Gene Duncan/Disney

Except, for some children (and maybe adults), meeting a Disney character isn’t always a moment of pure joy. So what to do when your child dives under the table every time a fur character makes an appearance? There a few strategies for shy children that tend to work on all but the toughest cases of character-phobia. Whether your child is worried by fur characters (those covered from head to toe, such as Mickey Mouse or Winnie-the-Pooh), face characters (those with their faces visible, such as Snow White), or both, here are some tips to help make your Disney character meet and greets magical:

Before the Trip:

1. Introduce Park characters at home: YouTube makes everything about being a Disney fan easier, and that includes showing your child that Mickey Mouse is actually five feet tall and may or may not blink his eyes… ever. At Youtube you’ll find an array of Disney parade and show videos. It’s a great way to introduce kids to the larger-than-life scale of Disney fur and face characters. Bonus: they learn the songs, and then everyone can sing along with the parade. Try Attractions Magazine and Inside the Magic for excellent videos of entire parades, shows, and attraction ride-throughs.

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Menu Monday: WHY WAIT IN LINE WHEN WE CAN JUST DINE? Considering the value of Disney’s Character dining.

by on September 1, 2014

Now that Walt Disney World has a fully operational Fastpass+ system, it seems more clear than ever that the days of spontaneous character meet and greets are over. Instead of wandering up to park-goers on Main Street, characters meet with guests at specific locations, at specific times, with specifically designated lines. This translates into more planning, and, possibly, more waiting, to meet your favorite Disney icons.

Character Times

Character Times from the My Disney Experience App

Thankfully, character dining provides another opportunity to meet some of your favorites. As Brian McNichols outlined in a post here a few months ago, Walt Disney World offers a number of different dining experiences that feature visits with beloved characters to go along with your meal.

But is a character meal, which can approach $50 per adult at certain restaurants, a better value than waiting in line for a meet and greet (which has no cost other than Park admission and the time spent waiting)?

In this post, I’ll do my best to put values on character dining and on meet and greets so you can compare and decide how/where you’ll get a picture of little Suzie with Ariel. Read on for an explanation of how I made my calculations, or, if you prefer, skip right to some examples

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How to Pick the Right Disney World Character Meal

by on June 15, 2014

Disney World character meal

Meeting Aurora at Cinderella’s Royal Table

There are 11 places at Walt Disney World that host ever-popular character dining. While the total value of eating with characters can be debated, the thrill of shoveling sausages into your gullet while Mickey Mouse hovers over you can only be experienced by experiencing a Disney World Character Meal.

I am, of course, being flippant, as I am a huge fan of character dining. Along with my family I have eaten at least once at each of the character dining spots (reviews are linked at the bottom). Okay, truthfully I have never eaten at the Garden Grove character meal at The Swan Resort, but it’s never particularly appealed to us. Someday I will eat there just to be a completist, but for now it will not be further discussed.

So, anyway, I’m here to help you pick the perfect character meal (or meals) to visit while you’re on vacation. Let’s start with a few caveats, the most important one of which is that characters rule. What I mean by that is this: if there is a particular character that you or your child wants to visit more than anything, go to that meal. Even if the food is terrible and the atmosphere is worse than a dentist’s office, pick the one with the characters you want to see. Trust me when I say that a small portion of your meal price is going to food and atmosphere. You are paying for characters, so look there first.

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Cape May Cafe Character Breakfast: An In-Depth Review

by on June 3, 2014


OVERVIEW Cape May Cafe has been a favorite for years because of its consistently good food and efficient service. The restaurant is large and tables turn over rapidly, but reservations are recommended. A walk-up request for a table for three at 9:00 a.m. on a Sunday morning required a 48-minute wait to be seated.

The Cape May character breakfast buffet is known for specialties like Chorizo and Four-Cheese Scrambled Eggs, cold salmon, and cranberry and banana breads.

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Universal Dining: Character Breakfast at the Loews Royal Pacific Resort

by on November 15, 2013

DSC_0265I have been fascinated by character meals for a long time now, probably because my parents would never take me to one when I was growing up. I’ve read all of Brian McNicholsarticles on character dining at WDW and love listening to various podcasts talking about the different dining experiences Disney has to offer. One thing no one ever seems to talk about is character dining at Universal. Well, today that is going to change.

Every Sunday, from 8AM – Noon, Jake’s American Bar at the Royal Pacific Resort has a character breakfast. About a month ago, I made a reservation for our party through Open Table for 10AM. Upon checking in, while we were waiting for our table, a couple of Pink Berets from the movie Hop were at the front of the restaurant. The children we were with made a bee line for these characters despite never having seen Hop.

The sheer awe that these kids showed in their faces and reactions made me realize immediately that my parents blew it. Big time.

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