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    Walt Disney World Character Dining

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Character Meals at Walt Disney World

Character dining is an iconic part of a Walt Disney World vacation. You get to enjoy a meal while in the company of Disney characters. How fun is that!

Dining with characters currently looks a bit different than it did pre-pandemic. The meals that had been served buffet-style are now served family-style or are menu-based. And where characters previously stopped at every table, now they adhere to social distancing protocols and walk through the restaurant at a distance. Though things have changed, character dining is still popular, particularly for families with young children.

Due to the popularity of character dining, reservations a near imperative. Reservations can currently be made up to 60 days in advance, which you can do on the Walt Disney World website. As with all table service meals, to book a character meal, you must provide Disney with a credit card number. Your card will be charged $10 per person if you no-show or cancel your reservation less than 24 hours in advance; you may, however, reschedule with no penalty.

The Pros and Cons of Character Dining

There are several definite advantages to taking the time for a character meal. If you or your children are intent on meeting the characters and you were planning on a sit down meal, you can optimize your time by killing these two proverbial birds with one stone (we at Touring Plans do not condone bird stoning).

Some character meals (listed below) take place in unique settings and a few have rarely seen characters or common characters in unusual costumes. The real advantage however, is the joy of seeing a child excited about their favorite character and the joy of an adult who didn’t have to wait in a long line have that experience.

There may also be a few disadvantages to character dining. For one, they are not cheap. All of the character meals are fixed-price, with adult prices range from about $35-65, plus tip. While there are more expensive meals at Disney World, character dining is not the way to go if you are on a strict budget. Another disadvantage is the time commitment involved in character meals. If you have a lot to see, taking at least an hour out of your park touring for a meal may not be ideal.

One thing you should be aware of is that the food quality may not be what would expect for the price. A few offerings are quite good, but most are subpar for the cost. You’re paying for access to the characters more than the food.

The Character Meals of Walt Disney World

Below you will find lots of information about character dining at Disney World including location, menu offerings, characters present, and our opinions of the experience.

Magic Kingdom

Cinderella’s Royal Table

Location: Inside Cinderella Castle

Characters:

  • Cinderella waves from the entrance area
  • Prince Charming or the Fairy Godmother may join her

Please note that characters may change based on availability.

Meals Available:

Lunch; Dinner

For pricing, please refer to our dining and menu page

Atmosphere

The dining room is accessed via a spiral staircase which opens into a vaulted dining area festooned with flags of imaginary royal nations and lit with ornate chandeliers and sconces. The restaurant itself is small small compared with other Disney World dining rooms. Stained-glass windows overlook Fantasyland. The overall impression definitely gives you the feeling of eating in a castle (well, at least a fake castle).

Food

Lunch and dinner prices include an appetizer, entree, and dessert. Both feature adult entrée options of chickpea panisse, beef tenderloin, roast chicken, or a seasonal fish.

Miscellaneous Bits of Goodness

Children are addressed as “prince” or “princess” and are provide with souvenir wands or swords and plastic “wishing stars.” There is much hokey fanfare, as there should be.

Epcot

Chip 'n Dale's Harvest Feast Dinner at The Garden Grill

Location: The Garden Grill Restaurant in the Land Pavilion.

Characters:

  • Chip
  • Dale
  • Mickey Mouse
  • Pluto

Please note that characters may change based on availability.

Meals Available:

Lunch; Dinner

For pricing, please refer to our dining and menu page

Atmosphere

With the popular Soarin' attraction nearby, The Garden Grill stays busy, even though the concept and the dining room are getting a little frayed around the edges. You step on a slowly revolving floor to make your way to tables that revolve above scenes from Living with the Land, the pavilion's ride-through attraction. If service is prompt, about the time you finish a meal you've revolved around once, past scenes of a desert, a rain forest, and a farm, along with a few mural-painted walls in between.

Food

We have been pleasantly surprised by the food at The Garden Grill. It isn't spectacular, but it is obviously fresh--some grown in The Land pavilion--and well seasoned. The food is all served family style, and refills are available. The items are simple, home-style dishes such as beef loin, turkey breast, and smashed potatoes.

Miscellaneous Bits of Goodness

One question that we've just had to ask during the meal was how the wait staff finds the tables. You see, while the tables are on the rotating floor, the kitchen is not. So every time a server comes out of the kitchen, the tables are in a slightly different spot (relative to the kitchen). The answer is basically “you get used to it,” which is much less interesting than the system of hidden codes and secret signals that we had devised in our heads.

Disney's Hollywood Studios

Hollywood & Vine

Location: Hollywood & Vine Restaurant near Echo Lake. Next door to the 50's Prime Time Cafe.

Characters:

  • Minnie Mouse (wearing seasonal attire)

Meals Available:

Lunch, Dinner

For pricing, please refer to our dining and menu page

Atmosphere

The restaurant is a large Art Deco-style cafeteria with tile floors and lots of chrome and huge wall murals with vintage scenes of old Hollywood and other California landmarks. It is apparently meant to resemble a diner, but the theme falls well short. The room is way too big and open to look like a real diner, and there are many chain restaurants that go for the same look, which is a little more what Hollywood and Vine ended up looking like.

Food

Lunch and dinner include a family-style salad, plus a menu-based choice of entrée and dessert. Entrée options include prime rib, salmon, osso bucco, mac & cheese topped with shrimp, carved turkey, or hearty pan-roasted mushrooms.

Disney Resort Character Dining

Many of the Deluxe Disney Resorts feature character meals. Although travel time from your location to the venue may increase compared to the ease of in-park dining, some of these meals are excellent. Of course, if you happen to be staying at one of these resorts, the convenience is unbeatable.

You will not find any character dining opportunities at Moderate, Value, or DVC only properties (such as Old Key West). In fact, not even all of the Deluxe Resorts have a character meal, such as Wilderness Lodge, Animal Kingdom Lodge, or the Boardwalk Inn. To help separate the resorts that do, we've split them up by location.

Magic Kingdom Area Resorts

Chef Mickey's

Location: Disney's Contemporary Resort, on the concourse level.

Characters:

  • Mickey Mouse
  • Minnie Mouse
  • Donald Duck
  • Goofy
  • Pluto

Please note that characters may change based on availability.

Meals Available:

Breakfast

For pricing, please refer to our dining and menu page

Atmosphere

Chef Mickey’s is very loud, and we don’t mean noisy restaurant loud. It’s as if one hundred children just saw Mickey Mouse and screamed inside a cavernous, echo-prone space...oh wait, that’s exactly what it is.

Overall, the restaurant space is nice, but nothing special. There are quite a few seating areas spaced around a large buffet area and if you get lucky you may be in a smaller, more out-of-the-way room. Otherwise you will be passed by many, many people on their way to the buffet (or bathroom, or about to tackle Goofy).

Food

Food is now served family-style – you’ll be presented with platters of fruit, pastries, and hot dishes such as scrambled eggs, Mickey Mouse waffles, breakfast meats, French toast sticks, and warm potatoes. Feel free to ask for more of any dish; it’s an all-you-care-to-eat experience.

Last updated on November 20, 2020

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