We are back with some of our very best kept Disney Dining Secrets. And we want to share them with you!
Planning what you’re going to eat and drink at Walt Disney World is no small undertaking. To begin, there are tons of choices. But what if you could make your meal a real multitasker? Say, you could enjoy some terrific eats, and get that shiny new autograph book filled with the names of all of your Disney favorites? Yep, we’re talking Character Meals.
You may think that the character meal experience isn’t for you. But we invite you to take a closer look at these special meals and see for yourself if a Character meal could be right for you.
And if you like what you see here, be sure to check out the 2020 DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining, where we talk character meals and LOTS more!
Are Character Meals One-Size-Fits-All? Why Should I Book One?
You may think that if you’re an adult, single, or have older kids, there’s really no reason to engage in that Disney Rite of Passage, the Character Meal. But we think there’s a place for everyone at the character table, and here’s why.
It’s Cool In There, People. I’m not talking, like, rad. I mean literally, it’s cool. Like, air-conditioned. And in our opinion, waiting for characters with the a/c cranked up while noshing on delicious food WAY beats standing out in the hot sun any day.
And the FOOD. Did we mention the food? While some spots aren’t necessarily awesome, others offer cult favorites that we’d gladly pay for, with or without characters. That Cinnamon Bun Bake from Garden Grill? Always a yes.
There’s Something for Everyone. The other cool thing is that you have a bevy of service choices to fit everyone’s preference. If you love to indulge in a breakfast buffet, then check out Chef Mickey’s, Crystal Palace, Hollywood and Vine’s Play n’ Dine, or Tusker House.
The characters come to you — and so do the eats! But then, the Characters. Who do you want to see? Mickey and Minnie? There are breakfasts for that! What about Pooh and the Gang? No problem. How about a few Princesses? No worries — they’re all there!
And there’s more to it than just eating and hanging out with characters. Having the characters come to you means that you’ll get some great pictures without having to wait in multiple lines. And anything that results in less line waiting is a WIN in my book.
What are the Cons to Booking A Character Meal?
While we would pretty much always recommend booking at least one character meal on your Disney trip, there are a few reasons why they might not be the best fit for your family.
They’re Pricey! Yep, those characters will cost you. While there are some character meals that aren’t over the top on cost, many of the lunch and dinner options will cost you more than other comparable meals. (Though, if you’re on the Disney Dining Plan, most character meals are still one credit and end up being a great deal on the DDP.)
If you’re looking to save on character meal costs, go for breakfast over lunch or dinner; and choose the meals that don’t feature Mickey Mouse or the Princesses.
Buffets are gross. Yep, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: buffets can really get icky (so many people all touching the same food!), and a LOT of character meals are buffets. So while there are many character meals that offer amazing eats, some of the buffet meals don’t have a lot to recommend them.
Figure out whether your kid is terrified of characters. A big ol’ con to character meals is when said characters terrify the daylights out of your kid(s). Some kiddos just can’t handle giant, furry mice and tigers and bears and chipmunks. It’s cool; I get it. And remember, just because your kid was chill with the characters last year doesn’t mean that some weird irrational fear hasn’t kicked in this year.
So have your kid watch some videos online of character meals before you go and see if they think they’ll be OK with the whole giant mouse thing before you plunk down a ton of dough just for junior to freak out over and over again all through breakfast. If we’re going through an “I’m so scared of everything” phase, it might make sense to wait until next time.
And take a look at our video below for our picks for Disney World’s Best and Worst character meals!
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Are you pro or con character meals? Let us know in the comments below!