We’ve been very fortunate to visit Disney during the ‘free dining’ promotion each of the three times we’ve been there. Because of this, we’ve been able to partake in several Character Dining experiences. The best part, for mom and dad anyway, was simply leaving a tip while the bills we were handed all exceeded $100 (usually $150+). Some would say taking the time out (usually 90 minutes+) to dine with characters isn’t worth your Disney hours but I have to disagree. Because I have three kidos who all have ‘getting (fill in the blank)’s signature’ we’d be spending HOURS all over the world, standing in lines, attempting to accomplish this without knocking out several in one shot via character meals. Plus, it’s always extra special when that favorite princess spends a few minutes sharing secrets with your little princess over breakfast and you get to capture those special moments on film. 🙂
So… our personal favorites (for kidos 8 and under) are!!!
#1- Princess Storybook Breakfast at Akershus in Epcot
We prefer this location for a princess meal over Cinderella’s Royal Table in Magic Kingdom for several reasons. First, it is MUCH easier to get a reservation. Cinderella’s Royal Table is one of (if not the) hottest tickets in Disney. People attempt to get a reservation at the 180 day mark and still can’t get one. I’ve not even tried. Second, I’ve not heard great things about the food there and while I’m not sure if it was actually ‘bad’ or if it was just not worth the price tag (I can’t say either way because we’ve not eaten there) people have been left unimpressed. Third, should you choose to eat there with your dining plan it uses TWO of your ‘table serve’ credits. Now, if due to arrival/departure times you have an extra meal to give that wouldn’t affect you but for us, using two for one meal isn’t doable. Fourth, Akershus is an ‘all you care to eat’ meal but they bring it to your table which I love. You can go to the buffet for fresh fruit and pastries but they bring the eggs, sausage, etc right to your table on a platter. Finally, it seems there are more characters to go around. Every time we’ve dined at Akershus we’ve had 5 princesses each of which spent about 3 minutes at our table. I think that’s amazing considering my girls would want the opportunity to greet each of them during our trip anyway so we see all of them at once rather than standing in multiple lines.
I recommend the breakfast here because it is in Norway so the food is Norwegian. If that’s not an issue for your crowd they also have the Princess Storybook lunch but for us, breakfast is where it’s at!
#2- Disney Jr. Play and Dine at Hollywood & Vine in Hollywood Studios
Now, don’t be fooled by the empty restaurant. It was quite early and this was a mere two months before Sofia the First and Doc McStuffins started appearing at this very meal! I’m fairly certain this is quite the hot ticket right now.
This is an all you can eat buffet and we’ve always had breakfast here, but characters also appear at lunch. The food is nothing to write home about but you can’t really mess up breakfast so we keep going back. It’s nice too because if you get a breakfast reservation, you start the day with a full belly which usually means happy kids for a good while. 🙂
#3 Donald’s Safari Breakfast at Tusker House in Animal Kingdom
This is another one I highly recommend booking for breakfast because it is in Africa and therefore serves African food but during breakfast it’s pretty basic. This one is fun because it features all of the classic characters. We had Mickey, Minnie, Daisy, and Goofy all come to our table and we greeted Donald on our way in. This is the only one I’m not necessarily heartbroken if I can’t get a reservation for because you can almost always greet all of these characters at the Epcot Character Spot and still greet several characters only waiting in one line. My kids did love this one, especially the ‘parade’ led by Goofy.
Well, those are our favorites! I’ve also heard great things about the Crystal Palace (Magic Kingdom), Chef Mickey’s (Contemporary) , Ohana (Polynesian), and 1900 Park Fare (Grand Floridian). It really comes down to your crew and what you like! You really can’t go wrong at Disney! 🙂
What are your favorite character meals?