There are many reasons you might consider enjoying a character breakfast, lunch, or dinner during your next trip to Disney. I mean, they are carefree and fun. They are a nice respite from the hustle and bustle of “themepark life” — which is to say there are two important things: seats and air — and, aside from feeding your hungry family, character meals kill two birds with one stone: you don’t have to stand in line so your kids get to see their favorite characters. Instead, Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Belle, Cinderella and more come to your table and you can get photos with them or autograph books signed.
Here are the top 10 character meals at the Walt Disney World Resort:
1. Cinderella’s Royal Table
Many Disney fans have set up reminders on their smartphones so they make their reservations ASAP for Cinderella’s Royal Table, up to 180 days in advance of their visit. For adults and children alike, the prospect of dining inside of Cinderella’s castle is a dream come true, which is why it is booked solid most days. It’s pricey but includes a photo package. You see Cinderella at the entrance, snap your picture with her (it’s included in the package) and then other princesses visit your table. Details about pricing and menus is here.
2. Chef Mickey’s
One of the most coveted character meals at Disneyworld, Chef Mickey’s offers a buffet plus the chance to spend some time with Mickey, Minnie Mouse, Donald, Goofy and Pluto (although characters may vary). It’s a great place to celebrate a birthday, since there’s a special song. It’s located inside the Contemporary Resort and offers breakfast, lunch and dinner. Find out more details here.
3. Crystal Palace
Find Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Eeyore, and Piglet at this very popular buffet located inside Magic Kingdom. There’s a wide selection of food to please big and tiny appetites and, if you’re celebrating a birthday, make sure to tell your server and join in the parade. For pricing and more information, click here.
4. Cape May Cafe
Cape May Cafe offers a breakfast buffet inside the Beach Club hotel and is quieter than other character meals. Crayons on the table will keep your kids entertained while they draw on white-paper tablecloths. Try the hearty omelets, Mickey waffles, breakfast pizza, fruit, oatmeal and other goodies while you meet characters such as Goofy, Donald Duck and Minnie Mouse, who sign autographs and take photos while dressed for the beach. Find out more here.
5. 1900 Park Fare
Do you want to dine with Cinderella and Prince Charming? “Cinderella’s Happily Ever After Dinner” at 1900 Park Fare in Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa offers that and more. Guests of all ages can partake in a prime rib dinner buffet while meeting Cinderella and her friends, while during breakfast a different character experience is offered, currently with Mary Poppins, Alice in Wonderland, Tigger, and Winnie the Pooh. Click for details.
6. Hollywood & Vine
Have a Disney Junior fan in the house? Then this is the character meal for you! Currently, June from Disney’s Little Einsteins, Jake the Neverland Pirate, Handy Manny, and Special Agent Oso host two fun-filled, musical meals during breakfast and lunch at Hollywood & Vine, located inside Disney Hollywood Studios. More information about Hollywood & Vine here.
7. The Garden Grill
Also located inside Epcot, The Garden Grill offers traditional American dishes during a dinner hosted by Chip & Dale. Mickey Mouse also makes an appearance, dressed up in farmer’s clothes. Each table enjoys an ever-changing view of Living with the Land at this slowly rotating restaurant. See such scenes as a rainforest, farmhouse, thunderstorm, sandstorm and prairie as you feast on all-you-care-to-enjoy, family-style fare. Find more information here.
8. Akerhaus Restaurant In The Norway Pavillon
If Disney princesses bring magic into your daughter’s life then this restaurant — located inside the Norway pavillion at Epcot — is a great option. Dine in a medieval castle while Disney Princesses such as Snow White, Belle, Princess Aurora, Ariel, and Elsa (yup, that Elsa) come to your table and pose for pictures. That said, characters vary, so make sure to call ahead to confirm in case there is one princess that your daughter MUST see. For more details on Akershus, click here.
Ohana serves breakfast family-style inside the Polynesian hotel while allowing you to spend time with Lilo, Stitch, Mickey Mouse and other beloved characters. The juice is delicious, but make sure Stitch doesn’t get close to it. Breakfast selections include scrambled eggs, island-style fried potatoes, Hawaiian pork sausages, smoked bacon and a variety of fresh fruits and breads (the pineapple bread is a personal favorite), but you can ask for cereal and gluten-free options. Find out more about ‘Ohana here.
10. Tusker House
For breakfast and lunch character dining inside of Animal Kingdom, make sure to give this African-themed restaurant a try. The buffet has plenty of salads, breads and main dishes, plus a special station for younger guests. More details on Tusker House, here.
Oh, and remember to make reservations! Dining reservations can be made up to 180 days in advance, either by calling (407) 939-7211 or click here.