Chef Mickey’s Fun Time Brunch

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(Photo by Julia Mascardo)
(Photo by Julia Mascardo)

Although I’ve eaten at Chef Mickey’s at Disney’s Contemporary Hotel for breakfast and dinner, neither my husband nor daughter have had the experience. Most Disney meals tend to be last-minute impulses for us, and Chef Mickey’s is often a difficult one to secure at the last minute. So when I heard that they were going to start brunch, and I was able to get a reservation for the first day, I was delighted to give it a try.

The official name is Chef Mickey’s Fun Time Brunch Buffet, and the price is the same as breakfast at $37.99 for adults and $19.99 for children ages 3 to 9 (plus taxes and gratuity), with Tables in Wonderland discounts available. This price includes your choice of a non-alcoholic beverage.

How does the menu stack up? Well, here are the breakfast menu and the brunch menu side by side.

Chef Mickey's brunch menu. (Photo by Julia Mascardo)
Chef Mickey’s brunch menu. (Photo by Julia Mascardo)
Chef Mickey's breakfast menu. (Photo by Julia Mascardo)
Chef Mickey’s breakfast menu. (Photo by Julia Mascardo)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Overall, on a quick walk of the buffet, it was obvious that they were still working out some of the logistics about switching breakfast to brunch. Oatmeal was replaced by chicken and rice soup, but the toppings for the oatmeal were still out next to the soup pot. Some items on the buffet were not labeled (or labeled as “quinoa salad” without any idea what was in it aside from quinoa), which I am certain makes more work for the chefs behind each station to explain exactly what some dishes are.

The cold station features mostly prepared salads, peel and eat shrimp, and smoked fish. (Photo by Julia Mascardo)
The cold station features mostly prepared salads, peel and eat shrimp, and smoked fish. (Photo by Julia Mascardo)

At a quick glance, my first thought was that you better like salted meats, mayonnaise, eggs, or cheese if you’re going to eat at this meal. To me, having bacon, kielbasa, corned beef hash, and carved ham all side by side was too much of a good thing. Having broccoli salad, waldorf salad, and Caesar salad all swimming in creamy dressing seemed redundant. Offering a ham and cheese frittata next to an Italian sausage frittata which was not far from scrambled eggs and hard boiled eggs means a lot of eggs. For cheese, you had cheddar, mozzarella, cheesy potatoes, macaroni and cheese, and cheese blintzes. There were a few other offerings, such as a red quinoa salad, an etouffee that was moderately spicy, a tofu scramble with spinach (which was a bit bland), mango BBQ pork ribs, and a baked salmon with mango chutney, but there were no poultry offerings other than chicken nuggets on the kid’s buffet (or the soup) and no beef (aside from the corned beef hash). There also weren’t many options for vegetables outside of the prepared salads: broccoli with cheese sauce on the side was pretty much all you would find.

Most picky eaters won't have a problem with the kid's buffet food. (Photo by Julia Mascardo)
Most picky eaters won’t have a problem with the kid’s buffet food. (Photo by Julia Mascardo)

That said, if you like desserts, you could make a meal out of them. The real trick is to figure out what desserts are what. Having labels on the desserts would be incredibly useful. As I don’t eat mango, I had to avoid a few interesting-looking desserts because they weren’t labeled. While I could have asked, I do realize that most guests won’t ask. A few labels on the trays would have solved that problem.

Overall, there are a few dishes that always get mentioned as favorites, and those do make an appearance at brunch. The cheesy potatoes, Oreo bon bons, and Mickey waffles are all on the buffet, and are must-try dishes in my view. My daughter also loved the macaroni and cheese, which had Mickey-shaped pasta instead of regular macaroni.

Breakfast foods, such as a couple of frittatas, are a good portion of the brunch offerings as well. (Photo by Julia Mascardo)
Breakfast foods, such as a couple of frittatas, are a good portion of the brunch offerings as well. (Photo by Julia Mascardo)

Off the record, one cast member mentioned that a typical breakfast seating at Chef Mickey’s feeds around 1300 people, and that adding brunch will bring the daytime total to 2000. Even though this was the first day of service, crowds were steady from the time we arrived until we left, with each table being turned over as quickly as possible. I would like to give a shout-out here to the serving staff who did a fantastic job of being attentive throughout the meal.

Kudos also goes to the character attendants who made sure that every table got to see every character, even if it meant tracking them down for a quick appearance if you had stepped away when the characters arrived. While we did get to see everyone (Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Donald, and Pluto in their chef or cooking attire), we had been spoiled last month with the playfulness we saw at the Jedi Mickey dinner.

There is a small selection of more lunch-type hot dishes as well. (Photo by Julia Mascardo)
There is a small selection of more lunch-type hot dishes as well. (Photo by Julia Mascardo)

For any character meal, you are either paying for the food or for the experience. Neither of these were bad at Chef Mickey’s, but neither was exceptional. The food is something to snack on while you’re waiting for a stream of characters to pop by one at a time for a hug, a quick picture, and an autograph. (And yes, I do understand they need to get back to the Magic Kingdom and changed for the 3:00 parade.)

When I was posting my experience in real-time on Twitter, I did get asked if I would do it again. For most people, if you meet the characters at this meet and greet, it will save you time in the parks waiting at character meet and greet lines. In that respect, this is a great value. For those of us with nostalgia of the early days of the Magic Kingdom, eating at the Contemporary with the monorail traveling by has its own awe-inspiring magic. If you already have reservations for breakfast, I would not recommend changing them for brunch. There is nothing to be gained from the brunch seating in terms of food. Because fewer people may be willing to interrupt their day to go to the Contemporary for brunch, this may become a viable alternative if you want to have the Chef Mickey’s experience but can’t get in for breakfast or dinner.

You can make a meal of desserts--no judgments if that's your choice. (Photo by Julia Mascardo)
You can make a meal of desserts–no judgments if that’s your choice. (Photo by Julia Mascardo)

So, would I do it again? It wouldn’t be my first choice, no. I prefer the character interaction and food at Ravello for breakfast or at Garden Grill for dinner. I also prefer the buffet at The Wave for breakfast more than the food offerings at Chef Mickey’s. That said, Chef Mickey’s is a tradition for many people, and offering additional seating times, whether they call it breakfast or brunch, will help some people make a dream come true. Also, menus can change over time, so if the brunch continues in the future, perhaps they will find a better balance of foods in the future. As long as they don’t get rid of Mickey waffles, Oreo bon bons, and cheesy potatoes, I’ll always find something to eat at Chef Mickey’s.

Julia Mascardo

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

9 thoughts on “Chef Mickey’s Fun Time Brunch

  • June 5, 2015 at 10:18 am
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    I hope the brunch itself is fabulous, but that name is TERRIBLE! lol

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    • June 5, 2015 at 11:59 am
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      Haha…yeah it sounds like something you’d see at Tokyo Disneyland 🙂

      Reply
      • June 5, 2015 at 2:00 pm
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        Yeah, when I saw the name, my first thought was that adding brunch was a last-minute decision and so they just needed some name to go in there. It’s fun. It takes time. It’s a brunch. I know, Fun Time Brunch! The name practically writes itself! *cringe*

        Reply
  • June 5, 2015 at 1:05 pm
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    I have this booked in September for myself and my parents but now I’m wondering if we shouldn’t cancel…. Maybe it’ll get better when its not brand new? What do you think Julia?

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    • June 5, 2015 at 2:04 pm
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      I am certain that the menu will go through some changes as Disney gets feedback from people dining there. I’m certain that they can do better with the menu, and I’m certain that people will let them know that. Because there was so little time between when brunch was announced and the opening weekend, it does feel like brunch is just thrown together at the end.

      I’d keep the reservation, and then look for what people are saying about the menu in mid-late August. If it still sounds like it is meh (or, heaven forbid, has gotten worse!), then it will be a case of either keeping it for the character experience or ditching it for a better meal that probably won’t have character interaction. I’m a huge fan of the breakfast buffet at The Wave, and the breakfast and lunch I’ve had at Grand Floridian Cafe have also been good, however none of those are character meals.

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      • June 5, 2015 at 2:51 pm
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        I understand the need to get new information up on the site quickly, but I also think it is a little unfair to write a review of something on the first day. As you said, it takes time to work out the kinks. I’d rather see a quick overview on Day 1, and see a thorough review happen a few weeks later.

        Having said all that, I’ve never had what I would consider ‘good food’ at a character buffet – I don’t care when or where it happens. I realized a long time ago that I have to choose between either the characters or quality food.

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        • June 5, 2015 at 3:10 pm
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          I can agree with that for a soft opening of a new restaurant–first day jitters can make even the best restaurant a disaster. For this one, because it isn’t a new restaurant, but just an extension of a meal that has been offered for years, I figured it was worth trying out. While the servers looked a bit tired with the extra hours that they are working, there were no opening day disasters with the restaurant experience. As menus offerings change seasonally throughout Walt Disney World, whether this restaurant was open for brunch for one week or one month, I doubt there will be a lot of variation in the food until the following season.

          I actually like the food at Tusker House, which is a character buffet. But by far, the best character buffet I’ve been to is the breakfast buffet at Ravello. It is the one place where I guarantee that you don’t have to choose between character interaction and quality food. I would eat there every week if my budget (or waistline!) could afford it!
          http://blog.touringplans.com/2014/09/15/menu-monday-review-four-seasons-ravello-character-breakfast/

          Reply
          • June 5, 2015 at 4:18 pm
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            Oh, yeah… at the new four seasons. Didn’t realize there was a character breakfast there. Definitely on my radar now!

  • June 7, 2015 at 9:28 am
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    I just think that Chef Mickey has completely lost its luster. when we were there in April I was so disappointed in everything from the food to the now hastily written hand signs (that replace the neatly typed cards)that label the food. Even that small detail shows a rush and lack of caring. Characters were still great but you pay a lot of money to have a nice meal and it simply isn’t the cash here anymore.

    Reply

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