Where to Meet Characters Outside of the Walt Disney World Parks

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Many things separate the Disney Parks from other theme parks, but one in particular is its characters. Guests don’t come to Walt Disney World just for Pirates of the Caribbean and Space Mountain, but also for a chance to meet Mickey Mouse, a Disney Princess, or even their favorite villain! These days, characters meets are more popular than ever; and the good news is a park ticket isn’t always required for a magical encounter with a character. Here’s a look at my recommendations for where to meet characters outside of the Disney Parks.

Disney Resort Character Meals

Character meals are one of the most popular activities at Disney World. Instead of waiting in line for one character, guests have the ability to enjoy a meal in a special setting while a variety of characters come to them! While the parks are home to a number of character meals, the Disney World resorts feature a variety of meals that anyone can enjoy and without a park ticket.

1900 Park Fare

This Grand Floridian Resort restaurant is a buffet offering two different character meals with two different casts of characters. Personally, I don’t think the buffet is worth the price, but the characters make it up for it. The Supercalifragilistic Breakfast features a charming assortment of characters, such as Alice, the Mad Hatter, Mary Poppins, Winnie the Pooh, and Tigger. Cinderella’s Happily Ever After Dinner offers those fairytale moments due to the presence of Cinderella and Prince Charming. But hilarious antics and interactions are in abundance as well, courtesy of Lady Tremaine, Drizella, and Anastasia. It may sound cliché, but 1900 Park Fare truly offers something for everyone.

Bon Voyage
Bon Voyage Adventure Breakfast (Photo courtesy of Disney)

Bon Voyage Adventure at Trattoria al Forno

Located on the BoardWalk, Trattoria al Forno is home to Disney World’s newest character breakfast, which has proven to be incredibly popular. Guests meet with Rapunzel and Flynn Rider and Ariel and Eric while enjoying a menu themed around these characters. Trust me, you will want to take just as many photos of your food as you will these Disney couples.

Cape May Café

Often overlooked, Cape May Café at the Beach Club Resort offers Minnie’s Beach Bash Breakfast. I love this resort, and Cape May Café, but the real draw is getting to meet Minnie Mouse and the gang in their swimsuits and beach wear!

 

Chef Mickey

Chef Mickey’s

The Contemporary Resort’s Chef Mickey’s is one of the most popular character meals at Walt Disney World and for good reason. Chef Mickey’s is a delicious buffet where the Fab Five meet guests for breakfast, brunch, and dinner. Oh, and this magic all happens with the Monorail zipping overhead. Does it get more Disney than that?

‘Ohana

Another fan favorite, the Polynesian Resort’s ‘Ohana restaurant is home to the Best Friends Breakfast Featuring Lilo and Stitch. In addition to visits from, obviously, Lilo and Stitch, a few other character friends drop by to say aloha too. This character meal unique is that it’s not a buffet. Instead, ‘Ohana offers an all-you-can-eat family-style breakfast served up fresh with a Polynesian flare.

Mickey’s Backyard BBQ

One of the best ways to meet characters without stepping into a park is at Mickey’s Backyard BBQ at the Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground. Guests chow down on chicken, hot dogs, ribs, burgers, and more at an outdoor pavilion where a live band plays country tunes and guests, and characters, can dance! Speaking of characters, Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Chip n’ Dale, and Goofy are usually in attendance.

Disney World Resorts

On certain holidays, characters often visit the Disney World resorts to meet and greet with guests! The best part? They usually appear in holiday-themed outfits you may not see anywhere else. Knowing just when and where can be tricky, but on an actual holiday is your best bet and the resorts may provide more specific information.

Disney Springs

Santa Claus may not be Disney Character, but the holidays and Disney World are both known for magic, so I think you can let this pass, right? For the past few years, Santa Claus has been meeting guests at Disney Springs during the holiday season. The meet and greet even has a virtual queue, meaning there’s no physical line, only a return time. So forget the mall. Plan to tell Santa your Christmas list at Disney Springs!

The second level of the Disney Springs Coca-Cola Store is home to another non-Disney Character, the Coca-Cola Polar Bear! He’s an impressive seven feet high, but all sweetness and personality and one of my favorite characters to meet at Walt Disney World. When standing in line, be sure to look down!

There is no cost to meet the Coca-Cola Polar Bear, but there is a charge to purchase your official photos. Fortunately, the photographers are always happy to take a photo with your phone or camera for free.

Special events at Disney Springs can also provide opportunities to meet characters outside of the parks. For instance, Minnie Mouse made appearances in her polka dot styles for #RocktheDots in Town Center on January 21.

If you’re visiting on a budget and in search of a little Disney magic outside the parks, or if meeting characters is one of your vacation priorities, know that there are many ways to meet your favorites without ever needing a park ticket.

Savannah Sanders

Savannah has been visiting Disney World since she was a year old and has gone back almost every year since. In the real world, she teaches high school history and government and enjoys writing about all things Disney. Savannah can be reached on Twitter @DisneyParkSavvy.

5 thoughts on “Where to Meet Characters Outside of the Walt Disney World Parks

  • January 23, 2018 at 2:54 pm
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    I don’t know if it’s done anymore, but I’ve happened upon characters like Peter Oan at the boat dock at the Contemporary. Usually later in the day.

  • January 23, 2018 at 6:38 pm
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    There are at least four more character meals outside of the park. These are not at official Disney hotels so they do not accept the Disney Dining Plan but they are on Disney property:

    Lakeview restaurant at Wyndham Garden (Disney Springs) has a character breakfast on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays from 7:30 to 10:30AM.

    The Letterpress restaurant at Hilton Orlando Vuena Vista Palace (Disney Springs) has a character breakfast on Sundays with characters appearing from 8:30AM to 11:30am.

    Covington Mill at Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista – Disney Springs® Area: “On Sundays, take the kids to our Disney Character Breakfast – hosted from 8:30 am to 11:00 am – a great opportunity to get autographs and take pictures with your favorite Disney friends!”

    Garden Grove at the Walt Disney World Swan Resort,”Each night at dinner—as well as during Good Morning Character Breakfast events on Saturdays and Sundays—a duo of Disney Characters will pop in, giving you the chance to introduce yourself for the first time or get reacquainted with a longtime pal.”

  • January 24, 2018 at 6:30 am
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    Don’t forget “Good Morning Breakfast with Goofy and His Pals” at Ravello, Four Seasons.
    Best value character meal ever! Excellent food and service. We had several great interactions (and PhotoPass pictures) with Goofy, Mickey and Minnie during our last visit there as they circulated unhurriedly through the restaurant.
    Strangely, this dining experience definitely shows on the WDW “book dining” options page, but clicking on the calendar for available dates, they are all greyed-out.
    Have queried this with CMs when last at WDW and also with DVC but not got an explanation!!
    However, email reply in last few days from Four Seasons confirms this IS available (although only on set dates). Definitely, worth investigating. We definitely plan to go back again in April.
    Check the Four Seasons website and also the excellent review here on TP blog from soon after this opened in 2014. A review of the Four Seasons Character Breakfast” A real hidden gem!!
    And NO, I’m not a Four Seasons employee, just a great fan of this event…. even took some CMs once as our guests and they couldn’t over how good it was!!

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