You know what’s better than eating at a great Disney World sit-down restaurant? Eating at a great Disney sit-down restaurant… with your favorite characters! There isn’t much cooler experience than eating a meal with Mickey Mouse and his friends, which is why Disney character dining is becoming a staple of any family Disney vacation but just what is the best character dining at Disney World?
That can be tough to answer as currently, Walt Disney World has 13 (give or take a few) character dining opportunities, and they are always adding more as demand grows. But you’ve come to the right place as we not only talk about Disney World on the podcast every week but we go to Disney World multiple times per year and are always trying new restaurants and experiences so we can talk about them for you. So below we will share our top 6 character dining experiences at Disney World.
Cinderella’s Royal Table
At one time, this dining experience was THE reservation to get. Moms and dads would be on the phone with the Disney Dining Reservation system, or online, at 6:00 am on the 180-day mark prior to their vacation visit. It was, and is, so popular that all reservation times are usually taken 6 months in advance. Whew! But there’s a reason why it’s so coveted. The meal, at breakfast, lunch, or dinner, takes place inside Cinderella’s Castle! And, many Disney princesses are present at the meals. They will come to your table, pose for photos, give out hugs, etc. It really is an experience that you should do at least once. Caveat: The food is not always the best, and the prices are some of the highest you’ll find at restaurants on Disney property.
1900 Park Fare – Supercalifragilistic Breakfast
The 1900 Park Fare restaurant actually offers two character meals, one at breakfast and one at dinner, but the breakfast one is better in my opinion. This breakfast character meal, located at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, is quite interactive. It is buffet-style, so it’s easy to have time for character interaction between helpings. And those interactions are great! You’ll get to meet some hard-to-find characters, such as Mary Poppins and the Mad Hatter. The characters also interact with each other, with songs, dances, and silly jokes that all guests can experience. The Victorian feel of the resort lends itself to what characters will be present, as that can be subject to change. Caveat: The atmosphere is fun and frilly, so it can get quite loud.
Akershus Dining Banquet Hall – Princess Storybook Dining
Here’s the second princess dining experience on the list. I would say that this one is more popular than Cinderella’s Royal Table right now. This character meal has at least 6 Disney princesses as well, but the food is MUCH better, in my opinion. And even though you won’t be eating inside the castle, you ARE in close proximity to the Frozen Ever After attraction, one of the most popular rides at Disney World right now. Caveat: This restaurant is located inside the Norway pavilion at Epcot, so the food is Norwegian, which may not appeal to some diners.
Chef Mickey’s at The Contemporary
I had to put Chef Mickey’s on the list because this is THE place to be able to dine with the Fab 5 – Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Goofy, Pluto, and Donald Duck. The interaction with the characters is what you’ll love about the experience. You can have breakfast, brunch, or dinner times, and the food is very “American generic” buffet style. Plus, being in The Contemporary makes the restaurant feel very big and open. You really can’t go wrong with this character dining experience.
Breakfast, lunch, or dinner, this is a wonderfully themed character dining experience. Right in the heart of the Harambe marketplace, in Animal Kingdom, you can enjoy a yummy African family-style buffet. And the main character of the event is “Safari” Donald Duck with a few friends he brings (Daisy Duck is usually one of them). The African flavors are unique, but not too adventurous for little kids and picky adults. Another bonus that is offered now is the ability to book a “Rivers of Light Dinner Package.” Diners can have their character dinner at Tusker House, then be seated in the specially designated area for the Rivers of Light Show that is opened in February 2017. This character dining option is popular and books up pretty quickly. One word of warning about this place is that it can get a little loud, just the way the acoustics of the restaurant are set up, so if your little one is sensitive to loud noises they may not enjoy this one as much as some other ones.
Ohana at The Polynesian Village
This is my personal favorite as we’ve made it a tradition to eat here as a finale for each trip we’re on. Ohana does breakfast and dinner only, no lunch. However, it is only a character meal at breakfast, not dinner. Since the restaurant is family-style, the atmosphere is very laid back and the characters are involved with each table. If you aren’t familiar with family style dining, this is where they bring you a bunch of food at your table that you share amongst yourselves. They will bring you as much food as you would like as well, so in a sense, it’s a buffet but just done in a different way. This is the one dining experience where you can find Lilo & Stitch, so if you’re a fan, this is the place to see these two! You will also find Mickey and Pluto here as well and since the theme of the hotel is tropical and South Pacific, the characters can be decked out in islander garb, like hula skirts, leis, and shirts displaying tropical flowers.
As a general rule, keep in mind that the highly sought after character meals are booked very early on, usually close to the 180 days out mark. So if you’re wanting to do any character dining be sure to book your reservation as soon as you can and also just be aware that you’ll also pay more for the experience of dining with characters, so don’t be surprised if you end up dropping $150 or more for a party of 4! It is expensive but given you can’t get these experiences anywhere else, character dining is definitely worth it and creates memories you will always remember.
If you enjoyed this article then you should be sure to check out some of our other articles that can help you plan a great Disney World vacation, like our Best Breakfast At Disney World article!