During one of our recent trips to Walt Disney World, we were able to check out Chef Mickey’s for breakfast. Chef Mickey’s is a character buffet dining experience at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, serving breakfast and dinner Monday through Saturday, and serving brunch and dinner on Sunday. Reservations are hard to get at this popular restaurant that features Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy and Pluto – all in their Chef’s best. We, of course, wanted to report for you guys, so here is our review!
Our Chef Mickey’s Review
We got the chance to eat at breakfast Chef Mickey’s during our Walt Disney World vacation in December 2018. Our reservation for Chef Mickey’s was for 7:40 am. We made reservations at time specifically so we could eat and then go right over to Magic Kingdom – one of our favorite tips is the pre-park opening ADR. Whether for FastPasses or Dining, making reservations at Walt Disney World is key – they allow you to experience the attractions or dining that you want at the time that makes the most sense for your specific touring plan. As I stated above, we wanted some time in the Magic Kingdom first thing in the morning. Having reservations this early allowed us to accomplish that goal.
As we were not staying at one of the Monorail Resorts (Disney’s Polynesian Resort, Disney’s Contemporary Resort, or Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa) during this trip, we decided to drive to breakfast. When dining at one of the Monorail Resorts, guests are allowed to park in the lot for three hours. Disney frowns upon guests parking and leaving their car at the resort all day, as these spots are designated for guests either staying at the resort or have a current dining reservation. We did not spend more than 1.5 hours at Magic Kingdom (because it was pouring that day), so we easily stayed in the three-hour parking allotted time frame.
If You Would Like To Listen To This Review Instead
If you would rather listen to this review or if you would like to listen to it and also read it (we always recommend such things) then you can listen to this review directly below.
Checking In At Chef Mickey’s
When we arrived to Chef Mickey’s that morning, there was quite a long line to check in. After about 10 minutes, we were greeted by, and checked in with, the hostess. After checking in, we moved into a waiting area that has a few benches to sit at. There is also a Disney PhotoPass+ photographer available that will take your family photos with a Chef Mickey’s statue. Basically, it’s something to do while you wait, and prepare yourself for the sensory overload that is the Chef Mickey’s experience. The line to take photos moved pretty quickly and I think we waited about 20 minutes before we were seated.
Once we were inside, Chef Mickeys felt very busy and it was loud – both in sound and in colors – like I said, sensory overload (especially for young children). The décor is very cartoonish, there were characters everywhere, and it felt very 1990’s. What’s funny is when you walk into Disney’s Contemporary Resort where Chef Mickey’s is located, it’s this big open-air area and you can see the monorail going through the resort. But once you get into Chef Mickey’s itself, it actually felt very cramped, the tales felt very close together, with low ceilings. We expected it to be loud, as most character meals are, but it sounded very echoey. It feels like this Disney restaurant needs an update for sure, but overall wasn’t bad.
The dining area of Chef Mickey’s is separated into three sections – the section to the left was open air so you could see up to the rest of Disney’s Contemporary Resort ; the section directly in front of where you walk in is also fairly open-air, and also overlooks Bay Lake; and the section to the right is not open-air like the left side, but instead has a ceiling overhead. The right side of the restaurant is closest to the main buffet area and has the most seating. We were seated in the right-hand section. Maybe that is why we felt a bit cramped and it sounded a bit louder – it was more enclosed than the rest of the restaurant, had the most guests seated, and also had the traffic of other guests going to the buffet.
As far as the breakfast buffet is concerned, it was your typical Disney breakfast buffet – yogurt, fruit, bagels, pastries, eggs, bacon, hash browns, hash brown casserole, pancakes, and of course, Mickey waffles. It wasn’t the best breakfast food we’ve ever had, but it wasn’t bad. The hash brown casserole was really good, though!
The breakfast buffet at Chef Mickey’s was set up so that there were two sides to it so people could move through on both sides. There is also a section with toppings for your waffles with ice cream, whipped cream, and sprinkles. That area seemed to be backed up most of the time because most parents were letting their kids put their own toppings on and it was just taking quite a long time.
The breakfast buffet was also laid out a bit oddly. The counter would all of a sudden dip to a lower height and Jared, who’s 6’3”, had to basically squat to get his food. They do this, I believe, to allow children to get their own food, however, for us it just felt weird.
Food quality wise, Chef Mickey’s wasn’t nearly as good as Boma or ‘Ohana. It’s not that it was terrible, just not the same quality. The offerings were very similar in variety as ‘Ohana, they just weren’t prepared as well. Even the waffles were hard – and Disney generally does their waffles extremely well. For those not looking to totally indulge in the unhealthy side of breakfast, they did have some healthy choices, such as fresh fruit, yogurt, smoked salmon, and a tofu scramble with spinach. My mom was with us and she was happy with the variety of healthier options. And of course, a selection of coffee and juices are included, as well.
The Chef Characters
Now when we first sat down, Jared and my mom went to go get food and I stayed with our daughter, which was good, because right away, there was Chef Mickey’s pal, Chef Donald Duck greeting us at our table. And our daughter could not have cared less. I tried to get her to look at him, or give him a hug, or at least touch his beak and she just didn’t care. Chef Donald must have realized she wasn’t into him, so he was just kind of like, “Okay, just take a picture,” and then he was gone. He really didn’t try to coax her to interact with him or anything. Most of the time Disney characters are good at reading the crowd and determining who is into interacting with them or not.
This time, Donald probably figured that this little girl was just not wanting the interaction and that he had a ton more people to see, so he might as well move on. Which was fine. After that, the other chef characters came around pretty quickly. And I will say at Chef Mickey’s, the chef characters seemed very organized. We’ve been to other character meals and sometimes it can be 10 or 15 minutes between character meetings, but at Chef Mickey’s it was boom, boom, boom! One right after the other, which is a good thing if you have that coveted early morning ADR and want to get into the park as soon as you can
There was also a ton of management on the floor. I’ve never seen that many managers out at the same time at a Disney restaurant. I don’t know if there were issues or if it is always like that, but they were seating people in the different sections and then it looked like a character would follow into that section. And once Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Pluto, and Goofy go through their rotation, then that’s it. You typically will only get to see each character once; they don’t come back through your section for a while as the restaurant is so big and it takes time to get through all of the tables.
As for interaction with chef characters, it was good, not great. The best character interaction we’ve had at breakfast has been at ‘Ohana where we got to meet Lilo and Stitch. We’ve done breakfast there like two or three times, and it’s pretty consistent. At Chef Mickey’s they were fine, but they just came through very quickly and it felt very rushed. For our daughter, it wasn’t a big deal because she wasn’t really all that into them. She would kind of say “Hi” and touch their noses, but then she would want to sit back down again. I was having to get her back up just so we could get a picture. So, for us, it was fine. But just imagine being a six or seven-year old kid wanting to interact a little more. They have got to be disappointed that they don’t get as much time with them. Now, to be fair, maybe this was just an off day as I have heard great things about how the characters interact with guests here, but today, they just seemed rushed.
One thing I did find odd was I saw this little girl go run up to Chef Minnie Mouse and hug her (probably the character she is in love with) – which you see all the time – and Chef Minnie just put her hands up in the air and a Cast Member came over and basically had the parents pull the kid away. It was not very Disney-like. I’ve just never seen that happen before and would have given a bad rating if I were that child’s parent. I don’t think the kid was upset because she was pretty young, and I don’t think she understood what was going on, but it was just weird.
So as far as character meeting, for us, it was fine because our daughter wasn’t into it, but I think Chef Mickey’s pals should have spent a little more time at each table to make it a better experience for the other kids, since they love all of them.
As far as the service, it was a buffet, so our server was responsible for clearing our plates and getting us more drinks if we needed them. Our server was good as our empty plates were cleared and our drinks refilled without us asking. The line for the breakfast buffet was fine – it moved pretty quickly. Like I said, Chef Mickey’s was kind of loud, but that’s expected at character meals at Disney World. I think the loudest one we’ve been to was Tusker House at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and the quietest was probably The Crystal Palace inside Disney’s Magic Kingdom.
Okay, So What is the Price for Chef Mickey’s?
As you can imagine, with the location and with the characters that you get to meet, this is one of the more expensive buffet meals at Disney. At the time we dined, Chef Mickey’s was $42 per adult and $25 for kids 3 to 9. Prices have since been raised to $49 per adult and $29 for kids 3 to 9. Chef Mickey’s accepts Annual Passholder, Disney Vacation Club, and Tables in Wonderland discounts.
How Would We Rank Our Chef Mickey’s Experience?
On a scale of 1 to 10, I would give Chef Mickey’s a 6.5. The characters really needed to slow down and take more time at each table and love on the kids more. The food could also be better quality. Most people go to Chef Mickey’s to meet the characters, and not savor the food, but that’s no reason to skimp on quality, especially since you have someplace like ‘Ohana which does both very well.
If we had to rank Chef Mickey’s with some other character breakfasts we’ve done at Walt Disney World, like ‘Ohana and Tusker House, then this would be our least favorite. The food wasn’t great and the interaction at Chef Mickey’s was just okay. Now, if the food had been fantastic and the interaction had just been okay, or vice versa, then we might feel differently. But there was nothing that really stood out at Chef Mickey’s. It was just average. To give you a perspective, we’d give Tusker House and ‘Ohana an 8 and 9 out of 10. Food and interactions were great at both of these breakfast experiences.
What Could Disney Do To Improve Chef Mickey’s Score?
Obviously, Disney could make the character interactions longer, improve the quality of the food, and change the layout of the restaurant so it doesn’t feel so outdated and cramped. I know that this pretty much encompasses everything about the experience, but they are all in need of updating, and making these updates would help Chef Mickey’s improve their score with us in the future.
Would We Go Back to Chef Mickey’s or Recommend It To A Friend?
I don’t see us doing Chef Mickey’s again anytime soon, mostly because our daughter is no longer 3 and we would need to pay for her. She really doesn’t eat very much and the thought of having to pay $29 for her to eat next to nothing just makes me cringe. So maybe when she’s a little older and eats more and can appreciate the Fab 5 more, then we can look into doing Chef Mickey’s character breakfast again. When we do it again, you can expect a follow-up review!
Now, would we recommend making reservations to Chef Mickey’s? Well, if you are wanting to meet the Fab 5 in one single setting, and be close to the Magic Kingdom, then I would say it should definitely be considered. If you want to accomplish 2 things (breakfast and meet and greets) at one time, this would be a good option. However, if you are looking for quality food and extensive character interaction, you may want to consider another character breakfast option within Walt Disney World.
This recommendation is for breakfast only. We have yet to have dinner here, and really can’t wait to try, as the menu looks good and includes items such as a charcuterie board, carving station, salmon, pot roast, mashed potatoes, and vegetables.