There’s simply no better way to kill two birds with one stone at Disney. You enjoy a hearty meal — oftentimes, it’s all-you-care-to-enjoy — and you get to interact with your favorite characters. Best of all — they come to you! There’s no waiting in line for hours to see them.
But you may think that a character dining experience isn’t for you if you don’t have kids in your party, or if your kiddos are as tall as you now. Or maybe you fear that the excitement and stimulation — not to mention all those trips back and forth to the buffet — will leave you and your toddler exhausted before you even get to the Parks.
Well, I happen to think that there’s a character dining experience just right for you, regardless of who makes up your unique party. So today, let’s look at a few tips that I’ve put together from countless Character Dining Meals — courtesy of the DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining 2017!
And if you like what you see here, there are a lot more where these came from! To see all of our advice for choosing just the right Character Dining Experience, pick up your copy of the Guide today!
Character Dining With a Toddler: ‘Ohana Best Friends Breakfast
You’ve decided that the time is right for your pre-schooler to enjoy breakfast with Character Appeal for the first time. Now, how in the World do you choose the meal that’s right for you?
Well, one thing to keep in mind is that most of the character dining experiences offer a buffet spread. This is great news when it comes to value. But juggling trips to the buffet, photo ops with characters, and a toddler who is stimulated to the max can be a challenge. So one of my favorite tips is to enjoy character dining that offers a sit-down…and stay down…meal. And one of the best is the Best Friends Breakfast at ‘Ohana at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort.
To begin, well. Mickey in a Hawaiian Shirt. Best.
But then, you have platters of Pastry and Bread, Fresh Fruit, and a Bountiful Breakfast Skillet brought to your table! And it’s as much as you want. And you don’t have to get up a SINGLE time to get any of it!
Friendly servers also roam the dining area with Mickey Waffles! And you can ask for seconds. And thirds.
They even have Stitch waffles for the younger set.
Mickey, Lilo, and Stitch share relaxed times with you and pose for lots of pictures. And there’s no end to the smiles during the Coconut Races. It’s one of my favorite ways to kick off a Disney Day!
Character Dining For Grownups: Garden Grill
You may have witnessed the — shall we say, exuberant — spirit that pervades Chef Mickey’s at breakfast and dinner time. This character dining experience at Disney’s Contemporary is one of the Resort’s most popular and can be viewed from above as you whirl by on the Monorail. It can get downright raucous with excited children and loud music and the inevitable napkin twirling.
And that’s totally fine, if you’re up for it. But if you aren’t, you may leave with a splitting headache.
If you’re an adults-only group, there’s probably a good chance you’d prefer to keep it on the quiet side. You know what? You can still enjoy character dining and all the great photo ops. And Garden Grill in Epcot’s Future World is a great spot for it.
Garden Grill is located in The Land building. And while the character dining is super fun, the restaurant has another unique attribute: it revolves!
Not at supersonic speed, of course. You won’t be getting motion sickness while you dine. But you will enjoy an ever-changing view of the Living with the Land attraction as you enjoy your dinner. And in between the changing tableaus, expect a few fun visitors!
As for eats, there isn’t a lot of traipsing about, as the Garden Grill is a family style meal. You’ll enjoy Chip ‘n’ Dale’s Harvest Feast, an all-you-care-to-enjoy meal of fresh baked Rolls with Butter, a Garden Salad, and a Trio of Entrees and Sides.
And the Short Cake is a deliciously sweet ending to your meal.
Ready to book your Advance Dining Reservation yet? I am. 🙂
Character Dining with Teenagers: Crystal Palace
You blinked…and they grew up. You could swear that you had little ones just a second ago, and now, there are teenagers standing in their place.
And teenagers are awesome! Right? Well, I mean, most of the time. 😉 But even the most bored teen can remember Disney magic under the right circumstances.
If you’re looking to recapture some kid-at-heart fun with your bigger kiddos, a character meal might be just the thing. And I think the cuddly, lovable characters at Crystal Palace may be just the thing you’re looking for.
Not only will your kids enjoy seeing familiar faces from their childhood story times, but the setting is just as enchanting as the company. After all, this is the Crystal Palace! We’ve all looked at this spot with wonder since we were little. Right?
Now let’s hear from all of you! What are your favorite tips and tricks for ordering things “off the menu” at Disney? Leave a comment with your favorite things!