If we have had the chance to talk about Walt Disney World for very long then you already know I am a huge fan of Character Dinings. My favorite activity at Walt Disney World is to have a meal with some great Disney characters. These experiences are not only fun and enjoyable for the whole family, but I do think there are several benefits to booking a Character Dining (or two or three) on your next trip.
The first advantage of Character Dinings is the experience of seeing multiple characters in a short amount of time. At some dining locations, you can mix and mingle with as many as five characters or more during a one hour meal time. If you would try to see these many characters inside the parks you will spend more than two hours waiting in line not to mention maneuvering around the crowds to get to the different character meet and greets. At Character Dinings all the characters will stop by your table for a visit, photos, and autograph signings.
Another benefit Character Dinings offer, as well as any Advanced Dining Reservation, is the satisfaction and relief of having a plan and time in place for a meal. Mealtime at Disney’s Quick Service and Table Service restaurants can become a little less than magical as you forage for food for your family along with everyone else who has the same idea. Without a reservation, you can waste a lot of time waiting in line as well as trying to find a place for your family to sit. Having a reservation at a Character Dining location removes the debate of “what’s for dinner” and provides a set time and location for your family to enjoy.
Check out this list of some of my favorite Character Dinings at Walt Disney World:
Chef Mickey at Disney’s Contemporary Resort
Chef Mickey is the “classic” Character Dining and my all-time favorite. At this buffet restaurant, you will see the “Fab Five” – Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, and Pluto. This reservation is a great location to kickoff your vacation on arrival night. Chef Mickey is located inside the Contemporary Resort so no park ticket is needed to secure a reservation here. Reservations are available for Breakfast, Brunch, and Dinner.
Cinderella’s Royal Table at Magic Kingdom
For princess loving fans (little and big) this is the crème de la crème of character dinings. Your dining experience will begin with a greeting by Cinderella in the Grand Hall before you ascend the staircase to the regal banquet hall above. Whether you choose a breakfast, lunch, or dinner reservation you will be greeted by a variety of classic Disney Princesses. Although appearances are subject to change you will often see Aurora, Snow White, and Ariel. Jasmine and Belle have also been known to make appearances. This dining experience does require two table service credits for those on Dining Plans.
Topolino’s Terrace – Flavors of the Riviera
Walt Disney World’s newest character dining is Topolino’s Terrace and is perched on the rooftop of the new Riviera Resort. This restaurant offers “Breakfast a la Art with Mickey & Friends.” The prixe fixe character dining offers breakfast with the Fab Four all decked out in their finest artistic attire. Families will love seeing Painter Mickey, poet Minnie, sculptor Donald, and dancer Daisy complete with her very own tutu. Like Chef Mickey, no park ticket is needed to enjoy this fun dining experience.
Tusker House at Animal Kingdom Park
Tusker House is great location to see some of the classic characters in a little more laid back setting. Mickey, Donald, Daisy, and Goofy are all dressed up in their best safari attire. This buffet offers a wide variety of selections including food items with an African flare as well as the choices that will appeal to the pickier eater including Mickey waffles, mac ‘n cheese, and roasted chicken. Seating is available for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Hollywood & Vine’s Disney Junior Play ‘n Dine at Hollywood Studios
Don’t miss this breakfast Character Dining opportunity if you have a Disney Junior fan in your family. This location is the only opportunity to dine with Disney Junior Characters. Your little one will be thrilled to see Fancy Nancy, Doc McStuffins, Vampirina, and Roadster Racer Goofy. For lunch and dinner reservations this location changes to Minnie’s Seasonal Dining where you will be greeted by Mickey & Minnie, Donald & Daisy, and Goofy are all sporting their finest seasonal outfits (including cute Halloween costumes in the fall).
Character Dinings open 180 days in advance of your vacation start date for reservations.
Whether you want a trip full of character dining experiences or want to through in just one or two opportunities to rub elbows with Mickey or Cinderella, Character Dinings will add a little magic to your next Walt Disney World vacation.