Chef Mickey’s is about as classic a Walt Disney World character buffet as they come.
Located on the fourth floor of Disney’s Contemporary Resort and in the shadows of arriving and departing Monorail trains, Chef Mickey’s is a character buffet featuring the Fab Five — Mickey, Minnie, Pluto, Goofy, and Donald — in their finest chef attire.
The open, raucous space is dominated by sparse design and seemingly endless food choices, making it a great place for many families. No need to shush the kids when they devolve into squeals of delight with Minnie coming around the corner. No worries about finding something for everyone to eat. Just grab a plate, fill up, and get some character love.
But the food quality here hasn’t been great in the past, and while it’s certainly passable, for THAT price you expect something that’s good, at least, not something that’s mediocre. Still, Chef Mickey’s draws a crowd — you’ll definitely want to snag an Advance Dining Reservation if you want to eat here — and it’s all about that Fab Five meet and greet life.
I ventured to Chef Mickey’s with my family for brunch to see if the food is showing any signs of improvement (and to peep the Fab Five in their chef-y finest!).
Like its food, Chef Mickey’s isn’t winning any awards for its decor or atmosphere, unfortunately. Because it’s located in Disney’s Contemporary Resort, it continues to embrace the late-twentieth century design of the Resort — and that means it honestly feels a bit dated.
In 2018, the restaurant moved to a temporary location in the Resort’s convention center for maintenance; but only the kitchen underwent some work, so even that recent closure didn’t result in a refreshed dining space. Its contemporary design is circa the 1990s (it opened as Chef Mickey’s in 1995), but while “contemporary” should mean the style evolves with the times, that… hasn’t happened here.
The buffet itself is a mix of metals, glass, and colorful backlit panels.
The main seating area of the restaurant is in the big open space surrounding the buffet, and that space is…pretty loud. It’s essentially a massive lobby that magnifies every sound. If that doesn’t appeal to you, consider requesting seating in one of the spaces adjacent to the main dining room. These are much quieter, relatively speaking, but they also have some drawbacks.
Though these spaces are quieter, they’re also further from the buffet — and potentially darker for those character photos.
Still, these rooms are potentially better for your group if you prefer (or require) a quieter space and less stimulation.
Table settings are simple, with silverware wrapped in blue napkins, the drink menu, and a seasoning caddy.
The caddy is cute, though. We’d totally use one of these at home. 😉
The salt and pepper shakers are a lot of fun. They’re displayed like this. Pepper pants! Salty shoes! Sort of strange to shake seasoning from Mickey’s pants, but we’re here for it.
They come apart like this, though, so they’re good for a laugh or two. (Guaranteed your kids will ask to help season your food which, if yours are like mine, you’re taking a risk.)
The drink menu features some typical cocktails (think Magical Star Cocktail, Blue “Glow”-tini, Bahama Mama) and sangria. Nothing to write home about, but if you’re on the Disney Dining Plan, an alcoholic beverage is included for diners over 21. (There’s a Sparkling No-jito, too.)
At the buffet, you’ll find the small plates, bowls, and large plates you need — plus additional silverware. These bowls are for the all-you-can-eat ice cream taps!
We’re into those divided plates, we gotta say. They’re great for kids who might really like that separation. But if you’re sampling a bunch of flavors, you might want to use those, too. Keep my Mongolian Beef far away from my Baked Salmon, tyvm.
Since I dined here for brunch, I had a wide selection of items from which to choose. At many Disney buffets, you’ll find the same items on both sides of the buffet, so it doesn’t matter which side to head to. But here, during brunch, you’ll find breakfast items on one side of the buffet, and lunch items on the other.
And it all begins with carbs. Lots and lots of carbs. Check out this super cute Chef Mickey’s dough art to show you where the bread is!
Plain Bagels are ready for ya! You’ll find plenty of cream cheese options (and butter) on the buffet, too.
Croissants and Cinnamon Rolls are available, too. And there’s a toaster should you want to heat up any of your breads.
There are Glazed Donut Holes on the dessert buffet, which, even with everything else to eat, are hard to resist.
The Assorted Pastries section over by the dessert buffet is packed with breakfast staples.
Apple Cinnamon Muffins are sweet and breakfasty.
But Blueberry Muffins might be an even better selection for the kiddos. And the grown-ups. I mean, check out those sugar crystals. If they don’t scream “I’m going to Park ’til I drop after this — sugar me up!” I don’t know what does.
Simple Danishes are available alongside Chocolate Croissants.
And Cherry Turnovers are ready to go.
Cinnamon Rolls at Chef Mickey’s aren’t glazed as per usual; they’re doused in caramel sauce. We don’t hate this approach. 😉 Back in the day, these used to be called “sticky mickeys!”
These are pretty decent, but not so great that you should forego other eats for them.
There’s Fresh Fruit to accompany your breakfast, including pineapple, cantaloupe, honeydew, and watermelon. Strawberry Yogurt and Greek Yogurt are available, too.
The mini Mickey Waffle situation is super fun here. There are loads of toppings and a photo opp. Just you wait.
Mixed in with the typical Mickey Waffles are mini Minnie Waffles! So fun!
Sauces include Caramel, Chocolate, and Strawberry or Cherry.
There’s Maple Syrup, too, for the breakfast purists.
But if you wanna get funky, check out this spread!
Whipped Cream awaits…
…Cherries add a bright pop of color…
…Candy-Coated Chocolates (not branded M&Ms, but you get the drift) are a fun addition…
…and Gummy Bears and Chocolate Gems add even more sugar and color!
But we’re not done yet! There are also Sprinkles, Nerds, and more! And no: this is not an ice cream sundae bar; it’s all for the Mickey (and Minnie) Waffles! (Though the ice cream is right around the corner, so we won’t judge if you use it on that. Or, even better, add ice cream to your Mickey waffle and then go for the toppings!)
And here’s why: a #MyMickeyWaffle photo opp, complete with a frame and a hashtag so not only can you share your waffle with the world, you can also see what the world has done to its waffles. It’s social media…for Mickey Waffles. Yes, the end of civilization is nigh (but in the meantime at least we’ve got waffles).
Phew! Now that you’ve got that Waffle snap, we can move on. To pancakes! 😉
And there are plenty of breakfast staples to be had — including a few options for eggs.
Turkey Sausage is available. (Double check on the casing if you’re not eating pork or beef.)
And French Toast Sticks are a great addition. Simple, easy, and kid-friendly.
Standard Scrambled Eggs are, evidently, a very popular choice… and who doesn’t love an excuse to eat Tater Tots for breakfast? These were nice and crispy.
Pork Sausage is also available.
And fairly crispy Bacon was available, too. (This ran out early in our meal, but it was replenished pretty quickly.)
Western Eggs and Cheese & Bacon Eggs are available for a little twist on the classic.
Cheesy Potatoes and an Egg White Scramble provide some balance between heavy and light. We recommend some of each! 😉 The Cheesy Potatoes are a classic Chef Mickey’s choice.
Breakfast Potatoes with peppers are available, too. This is as close as you’ll get to basic breakfast potatoes, so note that if you are peppers-averse, you might be better off with the tater tots. (They’re all vessels for ketchup, so we’re okay with that!)
Biscuits and Gravy bring a little southern style to the buffet.
There’s a carving station for all times of the day at Chef Mickey’s. For brunch, we saw Carved Ham.
And there was (sadly quite dry) Carved Turkey, too. Those legs look pretty good, though!
There are two preparations of Salmon on the buffet. This is lox-style and comes with traditional accompaniments like capers and onions.
There are also Cream Cheeses — red pepper, dill, and classic — and two Jellies.
Cold offerings include Boiled Eggs, Quinoa Salad, and Citrus Salad. (You can peep some fresh Grapes and Pineapple, too!)
And there’s a salad bar at brunch that includes plenty of standard options.
Mixed Greens, Red Onions, and Black Olives stand at the ready for a healthy buffet option.
Dressings, Grape Tomatoes, and chopped Egg are available.
For seafood fans, Poached Shrimp with Cocktail Sauce and Lemon Wedges are a straightforward choice.
Brunch includes several items that are distinctly not breakfast foods. Sesame Ginger Tofu is a healthy plant-based offering with a lunch/dinner feel.
Cornbread and Green Beans (crisp and unsoggy!).
Other veggie options include Asparagus and some really excellent Street Corn. These are interesting buffet options. Neither is amazing, but they do offer some variety.
Cheese Tortellini Marinara is a pasta staple, and it was awesome.
And more shrimp! This time it’s combined with Grits.
There’s White Rice on hand if you need a good starch to serve as a base (or if you’ve got a picky eater!).
The second salmon preparation is Baked with a layer of herby breadcrumbs. This is not the best salmon you’ve ever had, but it’s nice to have a second fish option (even if it’s the same species of fish…).
Chef Mickey’s also serving up Mongolian Beef. We spotted this on the 1900 Park Fare buffet recently (see the review here!), too, so it’s not super-creative, but it is popular.
There’s a kids’ buffet section at Chef Mickey’s as well, and anyone of any age is welcome to select from these items. And since there are Chicken Tenders, you’ll definitely want to hit this up.
There’s a simple Corn presentation, too. If you’re a fan of corn straight out of a can, you’ll recognize this.
And more Tater Tots! Frankly, we’re cool with this because we love a good tot.
Macaroni and Cheese made with cavatappi pasta was really cheesy and tasty on our visit.
And to finish off any of the buffet items you select, there’s Whipped Butter, Ketchup, Honey Mustard, and BBQ Sauce.
If you dine at Chef Mickey’s for brunch or dinner, the mouse churns out several dessert options.
Simple items include Chocolate Chip Cookies. Lots and lots of chocolate chip cookies.
There are also Rice Krispie Treats. We’re not saying you must go over to the waffle station for some chocolate sauce for these babies, but we’re also not saying it’s a bad idea.
The Magic Bar Blondies combine all the great flavors of magic bars (think coconut, butterscotch, and chocolate chips) in a blonde preparation that tops off the bar with a butterscotch-y frosting and a couple dollops of thick chocolate ganache. These were SO SO good.
Another fun option: Cookie Dough Cannolis! Before you ask: yes, these are as amazing as they sound. Yes, you should get one. For each hand. And a couple for later. Seriously, seriously delicious for you edible cookie dough fans!
Mango Panna Cotta has a traditional panna cotta jiggle. We’re not fans of “milk jello,” but the flavor combo of mango and tart berries is a good one.
Mixed Berry Cake is a thin layer of fruity sponge cake and a thick berry mousse on top. This was sort of similar in texture to the panna cotta, so not our favorite.
But chocolate-frosted Brownies are always a good idea. Sometimes it’s the simple things in life.
Mickey Domes are a combo of Oreo and chocolate mousse. These aren’t done amazingly well; you can see the domes are essentially separate from the Oreos entirely. But the flavor and textures are fine.
The real stars of the Chef Mickey’s show is the characters who circulate through the restaurant and stop to chat (and pose!) with their fans.
Mickey looks great in his chef’s outfit, including a hat, scarf, jacket, and apron.
Donald is smart in his chef’s coat and scarf, too.
Goofy’s rocking some orange and light blue…
…and he’s always ready with his signature pose. With ears like those, who could blame him?
Minnie Mouse is delighted we came. We’re delighted to see you, too, Min!
And finally, Pluto can’t contain his excitement!
If you look closely, you’ll see Pluto’s dog tag is even customized for the restaurant!
Frying pans! Who knew?!
Nosh or Not?
Grab a plate at Chef Mickey’s if:
- You want that classic Disney World experience of dining with the Fab Five in an original Resort.
- You like the food served at Chef Mickey’s, and the variety means everyone in your group will find something to eat.
- You’ve always wanted to dine in the shadow of the Monorail, and you like the idea of knocking out a character meal at the same time.
Glide on to the next character meal if:
- Characters are fun and all, but you need some reliably excellent food, too.
- You don’t care for buffet dining.
- The atmosphere of the Contemporary really isn’t your thing.
- The noise and craziness of Chef Mickey’s isn’t something your family can — or wants to — handle
Chef Mickey’s is a quintessential Walt Disney World experience, and as such, it’s a compelling meal. Meeting the Fab Five in their chef gear is really fun, and if your kids are one-and-done meeting them, you might get the added bonus of not having to wait to see them elsewhere. And really, the characters are the thing here. You’re not booking Chef Mickey’s for the food or the decor; it’s all about Chef Mickey and his pals. But the location is also relatively convenient, so if you’re looking for a character meal in proximity to Magic Kingdom or if you’re staying at the Contemporary or another Monorail resort, it might make a lot of sense for you to dine here.
But you’ll need to manage your expectations if you prefer finer — or quieter — dining experiences because this is not that. Still, it’s fun, it’s rowdy, it’s quintessential Disney, and you’ve probably got to try it at least once. Late breakfast is a great time to go (think 10:45 – 11AM arrival time) because you’ll get the breakfast favorites (and pricing) but also have access to brunch items when they come out around 11:15. And eating a late breakfast that flows into lunch might mean you can skip that mid-day meal and save a little money (or DDP credits!) by grabbing only two meals that day rather than three.
But whatever time you dine, Chef Mickey will be there for you, wearing his chef whites and stirring the pot of fun in the dining room.