Character meals are one of my favorite things at Walt Disney World. You get to meet a lot of characters in a short period of time and you get to eat while you wait for the characters to come to your table. If you gave me the choice of waiting an hour to meet a couple of characters outside or meet many characters while sitting in air conditioning, I’m going to choose while sitting in air conditioning every time. To ease the movement of the characters and guests through the restaurants, most of these restaurants are buffet style.
Keep in mind that this is what I think the top five character meals at Walt Disney World. There are some things that I like food and meal-wise which you, the reader, may dislike. On the other hand, you may like something which I dislike. As a result, your list may look different from mine. That’s what makes these lists fun.
5) Crystal Palace in The Magic Kingdom
Crystal Palace is always on my family’s list as a restaurant to eat on just about every trip. We don’t eat there on every trip but we have eaten there a lot. What pulls us in? It’s a great chance to meet Winnie the Pooh AND his friends – Eeyore, Piglet, and Tigger. It’s one of the few places when you can still meet Winnie the Pooh and it’s only place (that I’ve found) where you can meet Eeyore which is one of my wife’s favorite characters. The food is standard buffet fare. However, it is one of the better buffets at Walt Disney World. Another plus is the characters are available for breakfast, lunch, and dinner as opposed to just one or two meals during the day. It’s a fun meal right in the middle of Magic Kingdom.
4) Donald’s Safari Breakfast at Tusker House in Animal Kingdom
This is another fun meal at Walt Disney World. My family did this meal once about two or three years ago. We got our picture taken with Donald outside the restaurant (though I think this is no longer available). Not many people make their way out to this character meal so the restaurant is usually not very crowded. As a result, the character interaction is great with each character spending a good amount time at each table.
We got a late reservation for breakfast – which also could have led to the restaurant being less crowded. My family also doesn’t spend a lot of time in Animal Kingdom so took an early safari ride on Kilimanjaro Safaris before heading into breakfast. Even though it was close to closing time for breakfast, the buffet was well stocked with food and it was later in the morning so I more willing to eat as opposed to an earlier reservation as I am not an early morning eater.
The only drawback to the restaurant is its location out in Animal Kingdom since it’s a bus ride for everyone. However, its location is also a plus since it helps keep the restaurant less crowded than if it was in another location. But still a fun experience.
3) 1900 Park Fare Dinner at The Grand Floridian
1900 Park Fare has two options for character meals. Breakfast has a meal with Mary Poppins and Alice in Wonderland. Dinner has Cinderella, Prince Charming, The Fairy Godmother, and the Evil Stepsisters. We’ve eaten dinner here twice. We’ve passed on breakfast though I have heard from friends that Mary Poppins and Alice in Wonderland put on a very good breakfast.
We go to the dinner because of the availability of Prince Charming and the Evil Stepsisters. These characters are rarely seen in the parks especially Prince Charming. 1900 Park Fare puts on a good buffet for dinner. You have to work hard to leave the buffet hungry. For guests staying on the Magic Kingdom, it’s easy to get to via the monorail. It’s easy to combine a dinner with an evening in the Magic Kingdom.
The Evil Stepsisters will interact with both you and other tables at the same time as they choose male guests to “fight over” and hypothetically marry. Prince Charming treats every female guest like they were Cinderella. It’s a fun-filled meal.
2) Cinderella’s Royal Table at The Magic Kingdom
A meal in Cinderella’s Castle is something that every guest to Walt Disney World should experience. When we went, a couple of years ago, a packet of pictures with Cinderella and a princess wand (which can double as a teacher’s pointer) for girls and a sword for boys were included in the package. Though this is changing, I believe, in the future with the picture package going away.
It is a sit-down meal compared to the buffet-style meals with the rest of the meals on this year. The menu isn’t expansive but there is something for everyone. The meal can be a bit pricey (two Disney Dining Plan table service credits per person) but you are paying for the experience of eating in the castle not for the meal itself.
The character interaction is great with Cinderella in the lobby and The Fairy Godmother and Cinderella’s mice in the restaurant. The mice are rarely seen in the parks except for special events.
Cinderella’s Royal Table will be closed for refurbishment from January 5, 2015 through March 6, 2015.
1) Chef Mickey’s at The Contemporary
Chef Mickey’s always makes the “must eat at” list when my family plans our Walt Disney World vacations. We always go for dinner and almost always on our first night. It is a very fun meal. It’s a lively atmosphere. The characters do an excellent job of interacting with guests especially the children. If you are sitting in the right location, you can watch the monorail go through The Contemporary which is a big plus for me.
It is a great chance to meet the Big Five Disney characters (Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Pluto, and Goofy) in a short period of time. This can free up time for other attractions when in the parks – a huge plus. The food is probably the best character buffet food in Walt Disney World. Like most buffets there is something for everyone and it will be hard to go leave the meal hungry. Chef Mickey is available for breakfast and dinner.
Chef Mickey’s and Cinderella’s Royal Table are very popular restaurant and should be booked when you are able to make your reservations at the 180 day mark.
If you were to ask me what character meals I would recommend if Chef Mickey’s and Cinderella’s Royal Table are booked, I’d recommend:
Tusker House and Cape May Breakfast at Beach Club for Chef Mickey’s
Akershus Royal Banquet Hall in the Norway Pavilion of EPCOT or 1900 Park Fare Dinner for Cinderella’s Royal Table
So that’s my list of the top five character meals at Walt Disney World. What restaurants would make your top five?
Honorable Mention: Cape May Breakfast at Beach Club, Garden Grill in The Land Pavilion at EPCOT
The Dad For Disney Facebook Group now has over 400 members. I plan to do a giveaway of some sort when I reach 500 members and I return from Disney later this month. So please tell your friends and family about this growing community.
I can also be found on twitter: @DadForDisney
Thanks for reading!