Menu Monday: A Review of the Four Seasons Ravello Character Breakfast

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Where we live in Central Florida, we are able to drive by a view of the Four Seasons several times a week. When we heard that they offer a character breakfast, it seemed like a great way to take a look at the resort and enjoy a meal without feeling like people going to the resort to snoop around and gawk.

The Four Seasons offers Good Morning Breakfast with Goofy and His Pals at Ravello. Before I go any further, I want to point out that I have a four-year-old who is a big fan of characters and an even bigger fan of breakfast. Thus, unless Ravello completely missed the mark, this would be an easy sell. I, on the other hand, am not a big breakfast eater and get a little shy around characters, so I’d be harder to impress. My husband is middle-of-the-road in terms of love of breakfast and characters, but as long as the coffee is good, he will be content. Long story short, all three of us left thinking this was the best character meal we have ever had and possibly the best breakfast as well. We made reservations through OpenTable from the Four Seasons web site and had plenty of availability even at the last minute, even though this is probably the smallest character buffet on property.

ravello bfast

Although we can see the Four Seasons building not too far from our house, figuring out how to get there was not so obvious. The entrance is the same entrance for the Golden Oak development, and the signs for Golden Oak are much more prominent. When you get to the guardhouse, the attendant will be able to tell you how to get to the Four Seasons. It isn’t difficult, but driving past all of those beautiful mansions, we certainly felt like we should have brought a nicer car than our Cube to drive through that kind of neighborhood!

Once you pass by the myriad houses for Golden Oak, it isn’t difficult at all to find the Four Seasons. Because we are somewhat familiar with the reputation of the Four Seasons, we weren’t surprised at all to learn that there is only valet parking—no self parking exists. Valet parking is a mere $5, and is validated at the restaurant. Still, it is appropriate to bring cash to tip the valet when you get your vehicle back, so plan ahead.

Walking in the Four Seasons lobby is a jaw-dropping experience. We took it all in as we walked down to Ravello. When you approach, you pass by the Ravello Bar. As I didn’t see any other signs for the Four Seasons Ravello restaurant, we walked in and followed the sounds and smells of breakfast foods down some stairs to the check-in desk. The other option is to go past the bar and take the elevator down to the first floor. I actually preferred taking the stairs because you got to see a great overview of the buffet as you walk in.

Ravello pastries
Ravello offers pastries for every taste — sugar-free options are available upon request. (Photo by Julia Mascardo.)

We checked in and were given an option for seating inside or outside. Even though it is still summer, we opted to sit outside because it was so early (8:15 AM reservation), and that was an amazing choice. For the first half of our meal, we were the only people on the patio, which overlooks a lake and some beautiful fountains. That meant it was quiet, tranquil, and the epitome of luxury. Have no fear, the characters will still come out to see you!

Ravello's patio view
The view from Ravello’s patio area is stunning. (Photo by Julia Mascardo)

Richard, our server, took our drink order and offered us freshly squeezed orange juice. My husband got his coffee, I got a press pot of English breakfast tea (both included in the price), our daughter got her milk and a glass of water instead of juice, and we just sat for a moment to take it all in. We then headed inside for our first of several trips to the buffet.

 

Ah, the buffet…where do I begin? If it is served for breakfast, you will find it on this buffet. Because the restaurant is small, food is frequently refreshed, so nothing felt stale. (According to the web site, Ravello seats 118 inside the restaurant and 114 outside, and the restaurant was only half full inside and practically empty outside.)

At the hostess stand, you can order specialty juices from the juice bar including Green (spinach, green apple, Meyer lemon), Vitamin C (carrot, beet, ginger, orange), Power Juice (blueberry, red cabbage, cucumber, apple), Workout Juice (beets, orange, carrot, ginger), or Antioxidant (blackberry, carrot, broccoli, apple, tomato). Truthfully, you have a choice of apple juice, orange juice, grapefruit juice, cranberry juice, milk, coffee, tea, soda, and house-made non-alcoholic limoncello, so I don’t think adding a juice bar drink would be worth it unless there’s a blend there that you can’t live without. If you wanted a breakfast cocktail (Mimosa, Bloody Mary, and so on), you could likely have ordered those as well, although we were more than satisfied with the selection of non-alcoholic beverages.

The next station is pastries. The selection includes mini doughnuts, fruit and rasin twists, mini muffins, plain and chocolate croissants, fruit pastries, and my new favorite pastry indulgence, nutella-filled bomboloni.

Next you have an assortment of fresh fruit (including an amazing bananas in coconut cream dish), house-made muesli (served with Florida tupelo honey), yogurt parfaits with house-made granola, Greek yogurt with toppings, local cheeses (set up as small cheese plates with fruits and nuts), Ravello-cured meats (salami, prosciutto, and mortadella), lox and bagels with all the fixings, and steel-cut oatmeal with toppings.

 

Ravello meats and cheeses
The selection of meat and cheeses goes beyond typical buffet fare. (Photo by Julia Mascardo)

 

Moving farther around, there is an omelet station that has almost anything you can put with eggs and serves eggs any way you can think to make them. The omelet station is also where you can get freshly made waffles. The day we went, they also had a house specialty of s’mores pancakes (pancakes topped with chocolate and marshmallows, lightly toasted in the pizza oven).

 

Ravello omelet station
Ravello offers an exceptionally diverse omelet station. (Photo by Julia Mascardo)

That brought us over to the hot offerings – chicken sausage, pork sausage, applewood-smoked bacon, English beans with chicken and pork sausage, scrambled eggs, breakfast potatoes, and pancakes were all available. Beyond that was the bread station, with a half dozen different types of bread and an assortment of toppings including jams and jellies.

Breads at Ravello
Even the bread selection at Ravello has its own artistry. (Photo by Julia Mascardo)

Finishing out the restaurant was a kid’s buffet with scrambled eggs with cheese, breakfast potatoes (without the peppers and onions found in the adult version), peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (kept separate from the other offerings for those with nut allergies), and cereals (including Cheerios, which is a huge plus for any parents of small kids). And finally, there is the selection of self-serve juices (including that amazingly sweet house-made limoncello).

I’ll spare you a bite-by-bite description of the amazing decadence and just say that the food was incredible. If I had to find something to complain about, it was that everything was so good, I would have needed a week there to really get my fill of everything.

Food needs satisfied, we now had plenty of time to enjoy the characters. Goofy, Mickey, and Minnie are in attendance, all dressed up in spiffy resort wear appropriate for the Four Seasons. (Make sure to check out the Pluto logo on Mickey’s sweater vest!) With the restaurant being so small, the characters made it around several times. We got to see everyone four times, thrilling my daughter to no end, and they took quite a bit of time with her for some personal interaction.

Minnie at Ravello
Character interaction at Ravello’s breakfast is as high-quality as the food. (Photo by Julia Mascardo.)

Another nice touch is that they have photographers on hand to take PhotoPass shots of the interaction with the characters. You are given a special PhotoPass card at the first character meeting, and that is left on the table for the meal to add photos. These photos are provided as free downloads. They photographers only come around for the first time you see each character, but if desired, you could request the photographer to come back another time. We also received an autograph card, as we did not bring our own autograph book.

Like other character restaurants, they have the brief interludes of napkin swinging and hand clapping fun approximately every half hour. Although these were a lot of fun, they were also very brief, so if you’re looking to enjoy a meal without the feel of a kid’s party, they weren’t very distracting.

I can’t write a review of this restaurant without mentioning the staff. Our server, Richard, was exceptional, providing the right balance of enjoyable conversation and attention to detail without being too overbearing or always present. The staff to guest ratio was exceptionally high, meaning that someone was always around to hold open doors, ask if there was anything else we needed, assist in carrying plates of food, and so on. There is a reason why the Four Seasons brand has such a quality reputation, and the service has spoiled me for dining or staying anywhere else ever again.

Unlike some other meals we’ve been to lately, we never felt rushed with this meal, and I don’t think it is just because the restaurant was lightly populated. The dress code on the web site for Ravello is listed as “smart casual”, so we dressed up a bit more than we typically would for a Disney meal, but we saw people wearing just about everything, from a woman in a swimsuit with a stylish cover-up to jeans and t-shirts to khakis and polo shirts. Even though we felt a bit intimidated driving in, we never felt out of place or awkward during our visit. And by far the nicest surprise was the price. Before tip, the price for two adults and one child (age 4) came to $100. To put it in perspective, the same meal at Chef Mickey’s would have been only about $10 less in all for less selection of food, lower quality of food, less character interaction, and a less “wow factor” of the meal experience.

This may currently be Disney’s best-kept secret, but I think once word gets out, this is going to be one of the more difficult meals to get on property. I don’t use the word “exceptional” to describe meals often, especially character buffets, but with every facet of the dining experience, Ravello fully fits my criteria for an exceptional meal.

 

UPDATE: I just talked with the Four Seasons, and have a few updates.

First, Disney Dining Plans (including Tables in Wonderland) are not accepted at this time, nor are Disney gift cards or rewards cards.

Children age TWO and under are free — so if you have a three-year-old, you will be paying the child price of $18.

While Ravello is open for an ala carte breakfast every day, the character breakfast is currently only available on Thursdays and Saturdays. (Although previous press releases has said Tuesdays during school breaks, I wasn’t able to confirm if that would be back later this fall and winter.) On other days, an a la carte breakfast at Ravello is served upstairs in the Ravello lounge if you are not interested in the buffet or character experience.

Jams and Jellies at Ravello
Little touches like a wide selection of spreads for bread add a little something special to an impressive meal. (Photo by Julia Mascardo.)

Julia Mascardo

Freelance writer and editor, living the dream in Central Florida with my husband, cats, and spirited nine-year-old daughter.

34 thoughts on “Menu Monday: A Review of the Four Seasons Ravello Character Breakfast

  • September 15, 2014 at 8:30 am
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    Great review. This would be great to attend on our no day at the park. I like the fact that they offer a breakfast meet other than pork. Could you please tell me how loud the noise was inside and outside the restaurant. Our son has an auditory processing disorder and does not enjoy character dining because of the noise and having a difficult time understanding a basic conversation at the table. Thank you.

    Reply
    • September 15, 2014 at 9:00 am
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      Hi Jennie,

      Because the inside of the restaurant has tile floors and high ceilings, it is about as noisy as a typical character restaurant, even though there are fewer people. Sitting outside was incredibly quiet. When we arrived for an 8:15 reservation, we were asked if we wanted to sit inside or out, and because the weather was so nice, we opted to sit outside. We were the only people out there for half our meal. Even when other families started to be seated outside, the way the patio is designed, it is much quieter than inside. I’d highly recommend outside seating for anyone because it was so relaxing and peaceful, but especially for your son!

      Reply
  • September 15, 2014 at 8:37 am
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    What a wonderful review! Thanks for all the delicious details. It sounds like a wonderful experience. (I should never read buffet reviews on an empty stomach. 🙁 I am sooo hungry!)

    Reply
    • September 15, 2014 at 9:01 am
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      Hi DisneyDad,

      Yeah, I’m doing my best not to look back at the pictures for this one until after I’ve eaten breakfast today! Of course it doesn’t help that I could be there in about 5-10 minutes….and I’m sure I could probably get a walk-up…..*cringe*

      Reply
  • September 15, 2014 at 9:12 am
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    Sounds pretty great! What was the break-down of the cost (i.e. how much per adult and child)? And how about kids under 3, are they free? Thanks for the great review, we wouldn’t have considered it otherwise!

    Reply
    • September 15, 2014 at 9:28 am
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      Hi Christie,

      Adults are $38 and children are $18. My guess is that under 3 is free, as they seem to have the same age breakdown as DIsney restaurants (so children would be ages 3-9). I’m dropping them a note now to verify with them and will let you know when I hear back.

      Reply
  • September 15, 2014 at 9:45 am
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    This sounds like a great option. We generally stay onsite without a car (usually in the Boardwalk). I’m not entirely sure where this is located, but I’m assuming it would be a fairly short cab ride?

    Reply
    • September 15, 2014 at 9:54 am
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      Hi Terri,

      It’s about a 10 minute drive from the Boardwalk — just head down Bonnet Creek Parkway past Port Orleans until you come to the entrance for Golden Oak. The Four Seasons is actually at the back of the Golden Oak community, so it can be easy to miss that the sign for Golden Oak also has a smaller sign advertising the Four Seasons. Once you pass the guardhouse and into Golden Oak, stay on the main road (Dream Tree Boulevard) until you run right into the Four Seasons). Oh, and drive slow through there so you can take a look at the amazing houses as you go by. Certainly something to dream about! 😉

      Reply
      • September 17, 2014 at 1:51 pm
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        I saw the note about transportation from Boardwalk. Does Disney transportation to downtown Disney drop you nearby? Or does a person really need a cab or car to get there? We’re heading to Disney this spring with a 2 and 4 year old (and no car; staying on Disney property). They both should really be in carseats–not sure how cabs work in this regard, but would love to make it here! Thanks for great information every day!!

        Reply
        • September 19, 2014 at 10:08 am
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          Hi Erica,

          I’ve seen Four Seasons busses going in and out of the entrance to the area, but I don’t know if you are required to have a room key to use those busses or where they pick up. (These aren’t your typical transportation busses — they’re motor coaches on line with the quality of Magical Express.) The best way to get there would be to take a cab. I did a bit of digging, and according to the 2014 Florida Statutes, Title XXIII, chapter 316:
          The child restraint requirements imposed by this section do not apply to a chauffeur-driven taxi….if the operator and the motor vehicle are hired and used for the transportation of persons for compensation.

          It then goes on to say that it is the responsibility of the parent/guardian to comply with child restraint requirements, but there are all sorts of exceptions listed in there as well.

          I know that it isn’t my first preference to take a young child in a taxi without having a carseat, but I know that I see a lot of people using taxis without them. At 2 and 4, I’d personally be much more fine with that than, say 3 months. (After all, way back when I was young, it wasn’t uncommon to use a seat belt for those ages — assuming your car had seat belts!) The best bet is to contact Mears (Disney’s official taxi company) to see if they have car seats available if you’re concerned about that, however.

          Reply
          • September 19, 2014 at 1:45 pm
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            Thanks so much! Sorry for the duplicate comments (user error!!) Super helpful, as always 🙂

  • September 15, 2014 at 10:30 am
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    Thanks for the review. I’ve been waiting for reviews of the Four Seasons restaurants to pop up…especially eager to hear about Capa.

    Reply
    • September 15, 2014 at 10:45 am
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      Capa’s opening date is October 20 (according to the web site). It should be amazing!

      Reply
  • September 15, 2014 at 10:42 am
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    It looks great! I was wondering if they accept Disney gift cards as another alternative for payment?

    Reply
    • September 15, 2014 at 10:47 am
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      Because the restaurant is operated by the Four Seasons, I don’t believe they accept Disney gift cards, payment by MagicBand, Disney Dining Plan, Tables in Wonderland, or Disney rewards cards.

      Reply
      • September 16, 2014 at 6:51 am
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        Oh bummer! I just saw your update as well. Do you think that it would be a possibility in the future? or no?

        Reply
        • September 19, 2014 at 10:09 am
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          I don’t expect that they will accommodate Disney dining plans in the future, but one can hope, right? 🙂

          Reply
  • September 15, 2014 at 11:25 am
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    We’ll be there in December, and this sounds amazing… but it’s not on the dining plan, is it? (*fingers crossed*)

    Reply
    • September 15, 2014 at 11:32 am
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      Alas, not on the dining plan. But still worth every penny, in my view!

      Reply
  • September 15, 2014 at 11:48 am
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    This does sound like a hidden gem! Are there characters at breakfast every morning, or just certain mornings?

    Reply
    • September 15, 2014 at 4:34 pm
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      Thursday & Saturday only. And Tuesday during school breaks.

      Reply
      • September 15, 2014 at 5:01 pm
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        Thanks Berry. You are correct about the Thursday and Saturday only for the Character Breakfast. (An a la carte breakfast is served at Ravello for other days and is served in the Ravello lounge upstairs on Character Buffet days.) I wasn’t able to confirm with them what dates, if any, in the future will be included in the Tuesday dates. Off the record, one of the staff at the Four Seasons said that things have been a little delayed to make sure that the food and beverage experience at the Four Seasons is at the highest standards. This is why Capa and Plancha are opening later that expected (with Capa not opening until late October!).

        Reply
  • September 15, 2014 at 5:02 pm
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    I’ve updated the article to reflect some answers to the questions raised here. Thank you all so much for your interest on this. I think I can certainly justify another review trip to the Four Seasons sometime in the future. 😉

    Reply
    • September 16, 2014 at 10:25 am
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      Thanks for the updates! We’re going to check it.

      Reply
  • September 15, 2014 at 8:07 pm
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    What about Brunch? On another website it seems to just be breakfast..and not ‘brunch’.
    For me a brunch includes things like crab legs, peel to eat shrimp,Smoked Salmon,Mimosas and bloody marys in addition to the normal breakfast food?
    Is there a place that does that on property?

    Reply
    • September 15, 2014 at 8:19 pm
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      Smoked salmon is available, along with cheese plates, and antipasto-style cured meats, but not seafood. (Florida is currently not in shrimp season for anything other than rock shrimp, which is not a peel-and-eat variety, and stone crabs — the only kind of crabs from Florida that would have crab legs suitable for a buffet — are also not in season currently. Any place that serves that kind of food right now either has it shipped in from somewhere else or uses frozen foods.)

      For alcoholic beverages, the lounge part of the restaurant, located on the upper level, is open and would be able to provide potent potables such as Mimosas, Bloody Marys, and so on.

      Reply
  • September 15, 2014 at 9:01 pm
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    When your making a reservation online on open table , is there a special place to go for the character buffet or just book through the ravello reserve table link and pick the saturday i want and morning time of course. Just want to make sure. sounds like a nice thing to try outside of the park for a relaxing morning!

    Reply
    • September 15, 2014 at 9:16 pm
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      Just book the Ravello reservation time on a day with a character breakfast (Thursday or Saturday). According to the lovely lady I spoke with today, if you don’t want to do the character breakfast, you have the option to eat upstairs in the Ravello lounge from the a la carte menu, but it is assumed that everyone who is making a reservation on days with a character breakfast will want to enjoy that experience.

      As an aside, I’ve only used Open Table a couple times in the past, but I was delighted at how easy the system is to use. It was even simple for me to change reservation times when I needed to push our reservation a week earlier. I also got a call the night before our reservation from the Four Seasons just to confirm we’d be there, which was a nice touch.

      Reply
  • September 17, 2014 at 1:50 pm
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    I saw the note about transportation from Boardwalk. Does Disney transportation to downtown Disney drop you nearby? Or does a person really need a cab or car to get there? We’re heading to Disney this spring with a 2 and 4 year old (and no car; staying on Disney property). They both should really be in carseats–not sure how cabs work in this regard, but would love to make it here! Thanks for great information every day!!

    Reply
    • September 19, 2014 at 10:10 am
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      Wrote this above, but just making sure that you find it here as well. 🙂

      Hi Erica,
      I’ve seen Four Seasons busses going in and out of the entrance to the area, but I don’t know if you are required to have a room key to use those busses or where they pick up. (These aren’t your typical transportation busses — they’re motor coaches on line with the quality of Magical Express.) The best way to get there would be to take a cab. I did a bit of digging, and according to the 2014 Florida Statutes, Title XXIII, chapter 316:
      The child restraint requirements imposed by this section do not apply to a chauffeur-driven taxi….if the operator and the motor vehicle are hired and used for the transportation of persons for compensation.
      It then goes on to say that it is the responsibility of the parent/guardian to comply with child restraint requirements, but there are all sorts of exceptions listed in there as well.
      I know that it isn’t my first preference to take a young child in a taxi without having a carseat, but I know that I see a lot of people using taxis without them. At 2 and 4, I’d personally be much more fine with that than, say 3 months. (After all, way back when I was young, it wasn’t uncommon to use a seat belt for those ages — assuming your car had seat belts!) The best bet is to contact Mears (Disney’s official taxi company) to see if they have car seats available if you’re concerned about that, however.

      Reply
  • September 18, 2014 at 12:28 pm
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    Thank you for the review on Ravello! After reading your review I went and made a reservation through open table for my up coming trip in November. I can not wait to try this place.

    Reply
    • September 19, 2014 at 10:10 am
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      Fantastic! Hope you enjoy it, Mike!

      Reply
      • September 25, 2014 at 11:27 am
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        Just saw that Disney now offers you the ability to book Ravello through the WDW webpage. I was kind of disappointed because once word gets out about this place and the ease of booking on WDW. It will probably turn into another hard to get character breakfast ADR! Thanks again for the great review of this character breakfast!

        Reply
  • September 24, 2014 at 7:34 am
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    Oh thank you thank you THANK YOU for this awesome and exacting review! We just booked 2 character breakfasts (I’ll cancel one once my fastpasses are sorted) and a rooftop dinner our last night. So excited!

    Reply

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