Filling Your Plate with Fun! – Character Dining at Walt Disney World!
Disney knows that spending the day hustling around their amazing parks and resorts can certainly build up an appetite! For those who have a rumbly in their tumbly but don’t want to miss a minute of fun, Character Dining experiences can be the perfect way to delight both your heart and taste buds!
Disney’s character dining experiences are a great way to get a delicious meal, meet some favorite friends, and keep the magic flowing! The interactions found at these locations are often incredibly enjoyable and unique, and while the appearances are always subject to change, you’ll be sure to find yourself smiling ear-to-ear as you rub shoulders with some beloved Disney characters!
There are many different locations, types of cuisine, and meal styles to choose from, and each of the four Walt Disney World theme parks offers at least one character-filled dining experience. Character meals can also be found at several of the resorts on-site. With so many options to choose from, it can be hard to decide on which character dining experience will be best for your family, so let’s take a look at some of the current offerings!
One of the most popular character dining experiences at Walt Disney World is Cinderella’s Royal Table.
Guests of this restaurant in the Magic Kingdom make their way up to the banquet hall inside Cinderella Castle, for a meal that is truly enchanting! Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are all offered, and Cinderella and some of her princess pals are on-hand to greet guests as they dine.
Reservations for this location are typically very high in demand, and as such, Disney requires that reservations must be paid for in full at the time of booking. Guests using the dining plan should also be aware that this location requires two table-service dining credits per guest!
If you’re looking for another opportunity to dine with royalty, Akershus Royal Banquet Hall is another great restaurant to consider.
Located in the Norway pavilion in Epcot’s World Showcase, guests visiting here for breakfast, lunch, and dinner will find themselves face to face with not only some of their favorite Disney princesses but also with a menu full of tasty Scandinavian-inspired dishes! While comparable to Cinderella’s Royal Table, this regal character meal also only requires one table-service credit for those who are on the Disney Dining Plan, making it a great alternative to consider!
Epcot’s other character dining location is the Garden Grill restaurant, which is found in Future World, in the Land pavilion. Chip n’ Dale are the gracious hosts of a harvest feast, and as you rotate through a variety of the agricultural scenes displayed in the Living with the Land ride, you’ll be able to enjoy an all-you-care-to-eat breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Meals here are served family-style, with a mix of sustainable ingredients grown right in the pavilion’s facilities, as well as traditional favorite comfort foods such as Mickey waffles, turkey and stuffing, macaroni and cheese, and a delicious berry shortcake!
For little ones who can’t get enough of the Disney Junior characters, you’ll definitely want to visit the Disney Junior Play ‘n’ Dine buffet breakfast at Hollywood & Vine, located in Disney’s Hollywood Studios! Kiddos are sure to love the fun interactions with characters such as Doc McStuffins, Sofia the First, and Vampirina, and how can you go wrong with Mickey waffles?! Hollywood & Vine is also home to some seasonal meals with Minnie Mouse in the starring role! Guests visiting during select dates can celebrate with Minnie and some of her famous friends from Hollywood, all while enjoying a buffet loaded with menu options such as carved meats, salads, seafood, house-made desserts, and more!
The resorts across Walt Disney World can also be great spots to check out a character dining experience during your vacation, and there are many to choose from!
At Disney’s Contemporary Resort you’ll find Chef Mickey and his pals cooking up both food and fun for guests to enjoy!
This is definitely a popular spot, so making Advance Dining Reservation is definitely recommended! Chef Mickey’s Fun Time Buffet features an expansive spread of family-friendly options for breakfast, brunch, and dinner. Offerings here include a vast variety of scrumptious favorites such as Mickey waffles with lots of topping options, carved meats and sides, pastas, charcuterie, and lots of sweet treats including a make-your-own ice cream sundae station!
Across the Seven Seas Lagoon from the Magic Kingdom, Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows is where you’ll find the Best Friends Breakfast featuring Lilo and Stitch, plus a few more Disney friends at ‘Ohana!
This family-style feast is full of island-inspired goodies to enjoy, such as Hawaiian pork sausages, ham topped with pineapple compote, fried potatoes, and much more. Lilo and Stitch are also joined by a few more of their Disney pals, and are happy to sign autographs and pose for pictures while guests stuff themselves silly!
Disney’s Wilderness Lodge is home to one of the newest character dining experiences, as Artist Point restaurant has been transformed for the enchanting Storybook Dining with Snow White.
Snow White, Dopey, Grumpy, and even The Queen are on-hand to greet guests as they dine on a feast fit for royalty!
With menu selections such as Brother’s Grimm Roasted Chicken, Hunter’s Pie, and even a ‘Poison’ Apple for dessert, guests are sure to find themselves fully immersed in the meal’s theme!
Minnie and some of her pals will be sure to get the party started, as they host the Beach Bash Breakfast at Cape May Café, located in Disney’s Beach Club Resort! Diners can enjoy a buffet full of breakfast favorites such as Mickey waffles, scrambled eggs, seasoned potatoes, and more as they snap pictures and snag autographs with the characters all dressed in their best beachside outfits!
Over at Disney’s Boardwalk Villas, guests can start their day with fairytale fun at the Bon Voyage Adventure Breakfast at the Trattoria al Forno restaurant! Princesses Rapunzel and Ariel, as well as Prince Eric and Flynn Rider delight diners with stories of their escapades and, will happily strike a pose for photos (be sure to capture the smolder!)
The menu here offers selections such as Tangled Eggs, Tower of Pancakes, Ursula’s Cauldron, and King Triton’s Shipwreck al Forno, with many dishes having a Mediterranean twist on traditional breakfast favorites.
While there are a plethora of meals to choose from, there are a few that that stand out in my personal opinion! The next locations are my top three personal favorite character dining experiences!
My Top Three:
- TUSKER HOUSE:
There are so many character meals that I love, but I have to say my number one, personal favorite is Donald’s Safari Breakfast, held at Tusker House at Disney’s Animal Kingdom park. Here you will typically find Donald and Daisy Duck, Mickey, Goofy, and Pluto, all decked out in their safari gear, ready for some great food to fuel their safari adventures!
While breakfast is my personal favorite time to visit, Tusker House also features lunch and dinner, and their expansive buffet is full of mouth-watering menu items. There are some well-known American dishes, as well as some that are African-inspired, offering guests a chance to please their palettes with a variety of flavors. Specialty dishes often available throughout the day include beef bobotie, peri peri whole salmon, and a variety of curries.
- THE CRYSTAL PALACE:
Another one of my personal favorite character dining locations is the Buffet with Characters at the Crystal Palace, found at the edge of Main Street USA in the Magic Kingdom! A visit to this restaurant gives guests a chance to rub elbows with the gang from the Hundred Acre Wood. You’ll find Winnie the Pooh, Eeyore, Piglet, and Tigger, who all make their way around the restaurant to interact with diners as they enjoy their meals.
The characters can be found here during all three meal times (breakfast, lunch, and dinner), but again, breakfast is the winner in my book (be sure to try to Pooh’s puffed French toast if it is available!) The breakfast lasagna is also popular amongst my family! Lunch and dinner offerings include roasted carved meats, pastas, soups, salads, seafood selections, and lots of sweet treats for dessert!
- 1900 PARK FARE:
Rounding out my top three is the character dining experiences held at 1900 Park Fare, which is located within Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort! This restaurant is home to two different meals which feature different groupings of Disney characters for guests to meet!
I’m sure it will be no surprise, that my favorite meal here is breakfast (you can see a running theme I’m sure!) It’s true, I am definitely partial to a great breakfast buffet, but beyond that, this breakfast experience is home to my all-time favorite Disney character – Mary Poppins!
The Supercalifragilistic Breakfast is sure to keep a smile on your face as you fill your tummy! The Mad Hatter is full of fun antics, and you’re sure to have a jolly holiday with Mary Poppins around! Alice visits from Wonderland, and Winne the Pooh and Tigger have been known to make appearances here as well.
Dinner time finds 1900 Park Fare filled with another group of iconic characters, for Cinderella’s Happily Ever After Dinner buffet! Visitors here will find themselves guests of honor at a feast held by Cinderella and Prince Charming, and also have the chance to meet Lady Tremaine, as well as Cinderella’s horrible (but hilarious) stepsisters Drizella and Anastasia!
The buffet at 1900 Park Fare doesn’t skimp on the selections they offer, and there are a lot of delicious dishes for guests to enjoy! You can start off with a sampling of a number of salads, and then make your way through such yummy offerings as prime rib, pastas, stir fry, seafood, and of course, a great selection of desserts! Be sure to try the Floridian Strawberry Soup – it’s their specialty!
When it comes to sharing a meal with friends, I say the more, the merrier, and if it includes some of my favorite Disney characters, that makes the experience even more magical! With so many fun and festive feasting opportunities to choose from, you’re sure to have a smile on your face and a satisfied appetite too!