New DFB Video: Best and Worst Character Meals in Walt Disney World

It’s time for another DFB Video!

Ah, Character Meals. Do you love ‘em or hate ‘em? We’re big fans of the experience, actually! They’re a great way to see lots of characters, and enjoy some pretty decent food without too much running around.

Ewok Chip and Dale

But we get that not every character meal is the best fit for everyone. So in today’s DFB Video, we’re exploring the Best — and Worst — Character Meals in Walt Disney World.

What makes a character meal good, and what makes one not so great in our opinion? Check out our Best and Worst Character Meal in Walt Disney World Video below to get the scoop!

And hey, while you’re here anyway, how about taking a moment to subscribe to the DFB YouTube Channel? That way, you’ll always be the first to see our latest tips and suggestions for enjoying your Best. Disney. Day. Ever!

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But now, I really want to hear from you! Which character meals get your votes for best and worst? Leave a comment and share with us below!

Comments

  1. Michelle says

    I’ve heard so many great things about Garden Grill. My husband and I are ALL about character meals, and funny, interactive characters! I have to say, though, that I was really disappointed in our interactions. It was awkward, at best. We didn’t get that light-hearted, “ornery” interactions with Chip and Dale that we had heard about. Just kind of an awkward wave, and walked away. Maybe it’s because it was just my husband and myself, as we don’t have any kids? Are we in the minority with this experience?

  2. Alex says

    I am totally with you when it comes to 1900 Park Fare. It took ages for the characters to come around and Mary Poppins was such a poor interaction. I would add Hollywood&Vine to the poor list. I loved the character interaction there, but the food is, well, not worth the money.

    Garden Grill would be my number 1. I love this place.

  3. Bonnie says

    I agree!!!! Our favorite family character breakfast is also O’hana the food is great especially the specialty bread and juice, plus Stitch is a family favorite. Our least favorite is also 1900 for the same reasons, blah atmospher and least successful service and food experience. We also live the food a Chef Mickey, but it does seem like we wait awfully long for a table even after our reservation time has passed. Mickey’s Backyard BBQ is so much fun with added entertainment, and great food with included adult beverage selections! Any character breakfast is great for one on one time with characters.

  4. Rebecca B says

    We kind of thought, being all adults, that we wouldn’t do a lot of character stuff on our last trip. However, we discovered we really liked the character breakfasts. We got the fun character photos and we did Garden Grill and Ohana, so we didn’t have to get up and go to a buffet or anything. The food at both was really good and it was really relaxing. We all really enjoyed it and I got great pics of my mom and husband with Mickey dressed in his hawaiian outfit and his farmer outfit.

    I kind of agree about 1900 Park Fair (we haven’t done it in years because of the experience), however the characters are amazing. As a kid, nothing beat meeting Mary Poppins, so I wouldn’t totally count it out forever.

  5. Susan says

    Michelle, yes, the characters very often just wave and walk by if there are no children, unless you make it clear that you want them to come over. If you ask them to pose for a picture, that might get you more interaction in the future. At least it gets them over to your table!

    I totally agree about Crystal Palace. After two or three bad experiences in a row, I have sworn it off in the future. Or at least until I have grandchildren. I may be in the minority (though I’m not sure I am), but I have also sworn off Chef Mickey’s. It’s too frenetic and the food and service is not what it once was. Our meal there last spring will likely be our last. :(

    DFB, just wanted to tell you that I’ve just started watching your videos in the past month or so and they are great! Thanks for sharing all your great thoughts on our favorites and not-so-favorites!

  6. Jill says

    I agree on your top 2…ohana and garden grill were both amazing for breakfast and will now be on our list every trip!! :)

  7. Kellen says

    Agree with the assessment 100%. 1900 Park Fair was a terrible experience. Food was not good, service was not good. and we waited for the unique characters and never saw them. The step sisters were very interested in a table of young men near us and then left to go far far away. Will never go back to try again.

  8. Humberto says

    I disagree with Crystal Palace. I have gone twice and I love it, the food is great and the rotations are great. We are planning to go again in out next trip to Disney.
    For me the best character meal is Royal Table at the Cinderella Castle. The food is great, tough is too expensive. My children love princess, and taking there is away to avoid long lines.

  9. Brandy says

    So glad I’m not the only one who dislikes 1900 and CP! Those have always ranked at the bottom of our character meals! 1900 Park Fare has the most underwhelming locale, especially being in the GF, and the food is just ok. CP has a gorgeous locale but wasn’t thrilled with characters or food. ‘Ohana is always our going home meal so it holds a special spot in my heart. We LOVE CRT because the 1) location, 2)princesses, 3) and we’ve always liked the food – breakfast and dinner. Tusker House is our 2nd fave for food and characters! 211 days til we do it all again!

  10. Julie says

    I agree with you on 1900 Park Fare. It was by far our least favorite meal on our last trip. For the price, the food was way below average. We loved the character interaction, but it wasn’t enough for us to want to go back.

  11. Kate says

    I loved the video and your list, but I was surprised that Tusker House didn’t make the cut. That was one of our favorite character meals by far. The food was fantastic and the character interaction was so amazing. We just missed Mickey as we came in and the staff made a point to get us a special meet and greet right before we left. We were just blown away by the whole experience and it changed my husband from a sceptic about the character meals to a believer.

  12. Faith says

    Disagree on Crystal Palace! My husband and I (no kids) make CP our first meal of each trip. We enjoy the atmosphere, the characters have always been great & sometimes quite funny (though admittedly it *does* take forever for them all to come around) and we’ve both enjoyed the food a lot. I’m a vegetarian and he’s a meat eater, and we both find plenty to enjoy.

    Tusker House was also surprisingly fantastic on our last trip. We didn’t realize it had become a character dining experience until we arrived, but the staff was excellent in making sure we were visited by all the characters even though we were there for the last seating.

    Chef Mickey’s, on the other hand, was a disaster. We decided to change it up and do Chef Mickey’s instead of CP on one trip, and while we saw all the characters & it was entertaining, the price point + the dismal food selection (almost nothing for a vegetarian, too) + frenetic energy of the place left us wishing we’d gone to Crystal Palace instead. We felt squished next to the people around us, something we’ve never felt at CP.

    Cinderella’s Royal Table was great to have done once, but I doubt we’ll do it again. Definitely worth experiencing at least once, however!

  13. Stephanie says

    My mother and I absolutely loved the Garden Grill!!! Number one for us. The food was awesome, as well as the wait staff and characters.
    I totally agree about 1900 Park Faire. Had bad experiences too. The last time I went there, they could not find our reservation even with our confirmation. They kept insisting we made it at another resturant even though our confirmation said we made it there. Then they made us wait forever and basically forgot we were there. When we did get in, wait staff was rude, rude, rude!!! We are seasoned Disney goers and this place has messed up more than once.

  14. Candi says

    I disagree last August we went to 1900 Park Fare we had an amazing time such wonderful service. The characters were very interactive my son loved every minute of it. The head chef came over and talked to us for about 20 minutes. From upon entering the restaurant, every valet attendant and we didn’t have valet parking , waiter, bathroom attendant everyone was super sweet sorry you all had bad experiences but mine was fabulous!!!!! I love Chef Mickeys as well but can’t wait to try Ohana!!!!

  15. Carrie says

    We were nervous about our reservation at 1900 Park because we had heard so many people didn’t enjoy it. We had a great time! The food was good (my husbands favorite actually) and the character interactions were some of our favorites!
    Our experience at Tusker House was probably one of our least favorites as the characters were very rushed with their interactions. The parade was fun though.
    But still we had a great time overall at the character meals because hey we are at Disney World!!

  16. JB says

    I loved garden grill so much when we went probably 5 years ago. Awesome food, great service, and characters. I then recommended it to everyone! In the last 3 years, I have had 3 sets of friends complain of poor service, and nothing ruins a Disney moment like a below average server. Sadly, we then experienced this for ourselves. Poor service, she really wasn’t in to it. And went long periods of time before checking on our table so we actually ran out of our favorite foods. This is the one and only time I have ever complained at Disney. This restaurant did not make our cut for our next trip and that breaks my heart.

  17. Jason says

    Joey’s video reviews are great! I don’t see Joey listed under “staff and regular contributors.” Is he an irregular contributor? Did you just grab him up off the street?

  18. Lisa P says

    We did see a lot of characters for breakfast and dinner at 1900 Park Fare and we prefer those meals that have characters who are ‘real people’ as opposed to those in costume, because they talk (I’m sure there’s a term for this). That said, the food was better than CP, but if they could just change the venue to a place that’s less claustrophobic, they’d have a winner in my book.

  19. Chris Yeoh says

    We had lunch at Tusker House last week and it was awesome. Enjoyed the delicious food, lots of menu choices, and Mickey, Donald, Daisy & Goofy came by the tables about 3 times during our dining experience. They were so fun! Took lots of pictures!

  20. Essie says

    I have to do CP EVERY trip for their puffy French Toast! We go without kids and always enjoy lots of interaction with the cuddly characters! We did dinner at 1900 Park Fare for the first time on our last trip and the characters were so much fun, I can’t even remember the food!

  21. Heather says

    We’re doing 1900PF for the first time on our trip in late February, and I’m a little discouraged by the negative reviews. Cinderella was my FAVORITE story growing up and I’ve been dying to meet the Tremaines (oh and I guess my kids are looking forward to it too LOL)! We’ll be there at dinner on a Sunday evening… Is any particular time better/worse for character interaction? Like, would a later seating be better? Hoping more of the families with small children might be on their way out by then (or back at the parks). My kids are 10 and 15. Enjoyed the video!

  22. B Wayne says

    Your comments about the worst are spot on. Food and service at 1900 are mediocre at best. Same with Crystal Palace. For the money, I at least expect decent food. I realize I’m paying extra for the character experience, but… I generally recommend against the two when people ask.

  23. Tammi says

    Oh, now I’m worried about my upcoming Crystal Palace lunch. I haven’t been there for years, but I don’t remember it being too bad. It was slow though. We eat at Garden Grill at least every other trip (and we go at least once a year). We also eat at Tusker House almost every trip. We’ve done O’Hana twice and loved it. We’ve done 1900 Park Fair, the characters were good, but nothing else very memorable. We have done every character meal at WDW and my least favorite is Hollywood and Vine breakfast and lunch. The new dinner experience was pretty good though.

  24. Heather says

    I completely disagree about the Crystal Palace. I go there for breakfast on every trip. They have this one thing called Pooh’s breakfast lasagna in the dessert section that is like an amazing breakfast bread pudding. Their puffed french toast is also amazing. While I might have never seen the characters more than once they always make it to my table and even after they do the parade they make it to every person.

  25. Amy says

    We loved Garden Grille (Nov. 2016). It was three adults and a 12 year old. We had really good food, great service, and awesome character interactions. Chip and Dale gave us the suggestion of wrapping the tater tot in bacon and then dipping that in the hazelnut sauce……..Amazing!!!

  26. Gia says

    We just ate at Garden Grill for dinner last week and it was awful! Our server took 15 minutes to come to our table for our drink order. Then she joked with us that she got “lost”. The food was cold, salad soggy, rolls were hard, sausage was rubbery, and the mystery meat tasted weird and so on. We really love (loved) Garden Grill because of the characters and that’s the real reason we always visit. But that did not go well either! The character escort yelled at Mickey – yes yelled because he took a selfie with our group. No one should yell at Mickey, especially in front of guests!!

  27. Bob D. says

    We had a horrible breakfast experience last month at CP. The servers were miserable and grumpy. Plus, their uniforms were in desperate need of cleaning. This does not fit the ambience of the restaurant and the experience. Yeah, the characters are nice, but the breakfast was nothing to write home about.

    What really bothers me the most about Character meals is how ‘WE” (the patrons) have ALLOWED so many characters to be held for ransom to a degree. Think about it for a minute…

    The characters were always a free feature and standard for roaming around the parks. Were they lines, yes, but we all survived. remember the days of the circus tent in Storybook Land with the 3 lines to see characters. It was air conditioned and for each line you could get photos with 3 different characters. By the end of the 3 rooms, you saw 9 characters and that wasn’t including Mickey and Minnie at their respective houses right next door.

    The characters were at select character meals, which were mostly buffets. They were pricey, but at least you had all you can eat and the food was pretty good. Now, most character meals are more money and “plated meals”… and no one has a problem with this? Disney is taking characters away from the park and placing them in “paid” areas!!! What happens to folks who can’t afford $34.99 for BREAKFAST! They don’t get to see certain characters? If they are serving LESS food, the price should reflect that. Instead, they RAISE the price( as well as the admission)?!

    I don’t get it.
    BTW… I am BIG Dis fan and always will be. I am also a hospitality and marketing specialist. I am all for capitalism, but this is getting out of hand.

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