The FAB FIVE. All-you-care-to-enjoy EATS. Literally just steps away from the Magic Kingdom.
You guessed it… we’re talking about Chef Mickey’s at Disney’s Contemporary Resort!
A visit to Chef Mickey’s is practically a rite of passage for first-time Disney World guests, and many families find themselves making a Disney vacation tradition out of it. But today, we’re not just talking about our latest visit to review breakfast or dinner at this Character Meal. Instead, we’re sharing YOUR stories at this super popular dining spot.
Because even with all the awesome ingredients in place for a practically perfect Character Meal, sometimes things aren’t so practically perfect at Chef Mickey’s. Our readers shared their experiences (and even some of their struggles or “Fails”) with us on Facebook so together we can help all of you considering your first — or next — meal at Chef Mickey’s.
So strap on your big chef’s hat and settle in, friends!
Because someone very special (and his best friends) wants to say, “Hiya, pal” at Chef Mickey’s!
Dining with Character
You know ’em. You love ’em. You can’t get enough of ’em… It’s THE FAB FIVE!
These five characters are THE reason why Chef Mickey’s is a must-do for so many. As one reader shares: “Honestly Chef Mickey’s isn’t the best place to eat, but it’s an icon and should be on everyone’s Disney Bucket list.”
You see, while there are several other Character Meals where you can meet several of these friendly faces, Chef Mickey’s is the ONLY ONE with this fabulously famous combo. And they are kinduva BIG DEAL.
This is classic Disney, straight off the postcard. And their presence truly is a special thing. It’s also the reason getting an Advance Dining Reservation here can be TRICKY. While we’ll share a few tips for that in a bit, if you’re unable to land a reservation — or, if after reading this, you decide maybe Chef Mickey’s is not the best choice for your group — bear in mind that there ARE other options for dining with Mickey and more Disney pals… .
Sure, Mickey’s NAME is in Chef Mickey’s, and it’s easily the best-known Character Meal featuring the Main Mouse. But did you know he is also one of the characters at EPCOT’s Garden Grill, where he appears with Pluto and Chip ‘n Dale?
It’s worth noting that Minnie’s Seasonal Dine is where we’ve noticed the most frequent variance of characters. On our most recent visits, Mickey and Minnie have been joined by Goofy and Pluto.
But we’ve also met Donald and Daisy here at times (instead of Pluto). And though she may not “officially” be in the Fab Five, don’t let Daisy hear anyone say that she’s NOT FAB.
Who are we kidding?! It doesn’t get any more FAB than Daisy in her dazzling duds! (And ICYMI, Daisy is officially a part of something called The Fab 50 as part of the celebration of Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary. As the Cheshire Cat — who also made the cut — might say, “We’re all FAB here…“)
On our last visit, he was joined by Goofy, Daisy, and Donald (who would very much like to remind you that he gets top billing here)!
So, you see, even if these meals are less well-known, that doesn’t mean they’re not great, by any stretch.
And, in fact, some of the other options may be even better for your particular group. Let’s chat a little more… .
What’s Cookin’ at Chef Mickey’s
Traditional Buffet — Returning March 1, 2023
If you’ve previously visited Chef Mickey’s, you may be familiar with it as a full buffet. In fact, buffet service will return to the restaurant on March 1, 2023.
On the buffet, selections were pretty standard, and for dinner they included — but were not limited to — soups and salads, a meat-carving station, pasta dishes (like Mickey-shaped Cheese Ravioli), plenty o’ sides like scalloped potatoes, Chef Mickey’s Mac and Cheese, and more for the little ones.
A highlight was the Ice Cream Sundae Bar for dessert.
Honestly, it never received the best reviews with regards to food — from both yours truly and DFB readers. Here are a few examples:
“My feeling is, at least for breakfast, we go for the characters. The food is a buffet… don’t go expecting an excellent meal. Having said that, the last time we went was better than previous times.”
“I think there are WAY better buffets and restaurants than Chef Mickey’s. Food is not really great and it’s always so busy so service is never the greatest. And for the price, you should expect the food to be great.”
That said, we also received several reader comments from those who quite enjoyed the buffet:
“We loved dinner there both times we went! We hope it goes back to a buffet eventually. It was great for people who aren’t ‘foodies.’”
“Went in June 2021. Everything went well. Our waiter was excellent. We prefer the buffet food better but it was still worth the price to be served and have characters go by. Still a magical experience for us. Prolly wouldn’t go back unless it’s a buffet again.”
“I loved going when they did the switch from breakfast to lunch and you could eat a little of everything…” (P.S. We LOVE that Buffet PRO TIP!)
One reader’s regret was: “Not being able to enjoy all their food! 🤷♀️ There’s too much to choose from. I love Chef Mickey!”
Like any great cook, though, Chef Mickey is nothing if not adaptable. So, when he understood that buffet service would be suspended around Disney World for a while, he whipped up an all-you-care-to-enjoy Family Feast, featuring a family-style experience (served tableside) for both breakfast and dinner! [EDITOR’S UPDATE: This style of service will be available through February 28th, 2023.]
For breakfast, that means an assortment of breads and pastries followed by fruit and a yogurt parfait, then a platter of Scrambled Eggs, Chicken Sausage, Slow-roasted Beef Brisket, Mickey Waffles, Pork Sausage Links, and Smoked Bacon.
Breakfast also includes guests’ choice of a Chef Mickey Signature Selection of a Loaded Potato-Cheese Casserole, Banana Bread French Toast, or a “Celebration” Mickey Pancake. (The cost is $42 per adult and $27 per child ages 3-9.)
P.S. Don’t miss the Loaded Potato-Cheese Casserole!
Dinner includes a bread basket, a First Course of a trio of salads, a trio of Plated Signature Item (like Potato Gnocchi, Roasted Garlic Potato Gratin, and Plant-Based Faro Wheat Fried Rice) and a selection of Proteins (we’re talking Prime Rib, Traditional Roast Breast of Turkey, and Salmon) with veggies.
The hearty fare is all followed with family-style desserts.
(The cost is $55 per adult and $36 per child ages 3-9.)
Here at the DFB, we do find the food better now (over the buffet). As a reader shared: “We went June 29 this year- loved the family style eating! Dinner was great!”
But we’re still more inclined to recommend Garden Grill, Tusker House, and Topolino’s Terrace — not only for the food, but we find them to offer better experiences overall. And our readers had plenty of their own recommendations to share, too!
“My opinion is the food is better at Minnie’s Seasonal Dine at Hollywood Studios or Donald’s breakfast safari at Animal Kingdom with mainly all the same characters.”
“We will always send folks to Tusker House or Garden Grill, because both of those experiences were outstanding …over Chef Mickey based on our experience.”
“We’d rather hit Tusker House or Garden Grill for breakfast, or 1900 Park Fare for dinner or breakfast! All great.”
“Never been to Chef Mickey’s. I have to tell all of you that the character breakfast at Topolino’s is worth every single penny.”
Of course, beyond the food and characters, there are always things to consider about the setting itself of your chosen restaurant. And we’re going to discuss a very specific point about Chef Mickey’s next.
“Clap Our Hands and Stomp Our Feet!”
There was one thing that didn’t really come up much in our most recent conversation about Chef Mickey’s on Facebook. But because it’s typically a common topic when it comes to Chef Mickey’s, we feel the need to mention it: the NOISE LEVEL.
For starters, the restaurant is tucked in a cavernous location.
It’s also a hoppin’ area in general, right next to Contempo Café and within view of the Monorail zooming in and out — which also happens to be part of the fun! And it’s a VERY popular spot for the kiddos. (Enough said.)
PLUS you are LITERALLY INSTRUCTED TO MAKE NOISE in the restaurant’s theme song that plays several times throughout your visit, with these lyrics: “We’ll clap our hands and stomp our feet!” You can hear the song in this video to get a better idea:
Minnie has got some moves! ☺️ pic.twitter.com/uovwqB84l1
— Disney Food Blog (@DisneyFoodBlog) May 16, 2021
We’re at Chef Mickey’s for dinner tonight! pic.twitter.com/jzDTtV2QAu
— Disney Food Blog (@DisneyFoodBlog) May 16, 2021
Okay! We’ve walked you through some potential concerns, but all in all, Chef Mickey’s still seems like a great fit for you. Great! So, what’s next?
Snagging a Reservation
Chef Mickey’s ranks up there close to Cinderella’s Royal Table and Be Our Guest Restaurant in being a hard-to-get Advance Dining Reservation. As a reader shares, they had no struggles “at the restaurant really, just actually getting a reservation to it. It’s been great every time.”
Obviously, the usual advice applies: BE READY 60 days out from when you want to dine for your best chance. Be logged into My Disney Experience by 6AM EST (and we even recommend a bit earlier, as rezzies can open as early as 5:45AM).
That’s right! Set that alarm! “Struggle: waking up early enough to make the reservation (I can wake up early for a park day no problem!)” (For the record, we hear you on that park day!)
But even that’s no guarantee. Fortunately, not only have we been fortunate to find openings at very popular restaurants by continually checking availability on My Disney Experience closer to when we’d like to dine. (And you can even try odd hours, like late-night or WAY early morning.)
Magical Moments at Chef Mickey’s
As always, in addition to some of the less-than-magical-moments, plenty of readers had great things to say about their time at Chef Mickey’s, and we’d be remiss if we didn’t share these, as well!
When asked about their struggles, this reader said: “Absolutely none. Our experience was amazing both times!”
We also love this story: “We took our son there in his first visit to see how he handled characters. His face when he saw Donald Duck for the first time still brings tears to my eyes.” (See, Donald? You REALLY ARE “Number 1!”)
This reader has “Nothing to complain about. We’ve been 3 times – all when the kids were younger, so it’s been a few years now. Good memories!”
And THAT’S exactly what we hope this information helps you to gain: good and magical memories of your Disney vacation, no matter where you dine! If we can help you, you know where to find us — right here! And if you’d like to join in the chats to share your stories with others, consider this your invitation to join us over on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter!
As the Chef of the house would say, we’ll “See Ya Real Soon!” In the meantime, check out our DFB YouTube Video to hear more about Character Dining and the kinds of meals EVERYONE should eat in Disney World!
Are you a fan of Chef Mickey’s? Please let us know with a comment!