One of the best things about Walt Disney World is meeting the characters, so it makes sense to head to the best Disney World Character Dining restaurants on offer whilst you are vacationing in Orlando.
What is Character Dining?
Character dining is a restaurant option available at the Disney parks or resorts, where you’re joined by Disney characters whilst you eat a meal. The characters will move around the restaurant at certain times of your meals and you will have an opportunity to interact and take a photo with your favourite characters.
However, they do not sit with you whilst you eat and you will only meet a handful of characters, which characters are dependent on which restaurant you attend.
What are the pros and cons of Character Dining?
Obviously, the biggest pro to character dining is being able to meet your favourite characters without having to queue in the hot sun. Generally speaking, you will get more interaction from the characters during these dining times compared to meeting characters around the park. The restaurants are also often themed well and are catered to families, making them ideal choices for families. This is also a great time to get your autograph books signed, with diners often meeting between 3-5 characters.
However, expect to pay more for Character Dining than other restaurants in Disney World of a similar standard and don’t expect to be eating the best food in Orlando. The food isn’t bad but it isn’t the best food available at Disney restaurants either.
The best Character Dining at Disney World
Below is a break down of each of the Character Dining options in the Disney parks and resorts, helping you choose which restaurant is the right choice for you.
Trattoria al Forno Bon Voyage Character Breakfast
Why choose: This place is known for it’s food and for good reason; this restaurant offers some of the best food of all the character dining experiences.
Location: Disney’s Boardwalk
Price: Adult breakfast entrees are $45 whilst a Childs is $39
Who will you meet: Rapunzel, Flynn Rider, Ariel and Prince Erik – expect to see Rapunzel dancing and playing hide and seek with some of the children.
Menu: The Character experience is only available during breakfast – expect a tasty bread and pastries selection for everyone whilst adults can choose from a variety of breakfast dishes including a breakfast Calzone, Royale Breakfast or a Tower of Pancakes.
Why choose: This is a classic and filling buffet option serving breakfast, brunch and dinner for all the family. Because it’s location is so close to Magic Kingdom, it is a great place to have breakfast before heading into the parks.
Location: Contemporary Resort; a monorail ride away from Magic Kingdom
Price: $50 for adults and $33 for children (breakfast) with lunch and dinner costing $60 for adults and $39 for children.
Who will you meet: Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy and Pluto. Expect to see a dancing group of characters waving towels around to celebrate.
Menu: Expect all the breakfast favourites along with a create-your-own waffle section and lots of sweet treats. For lunch and dinner, choose from a variety of food including Chef’s carving station, buttered chicken, pot stickers, seafood paella, pot roast and Salmon.
Akershus Royal Banquet Hall
Why choose: This is one of the best princess dining experiences in Disney World; it is less expensive than other princess dining options, takes one dining credit if you are on the Disney dining plan and has a buffet station with plenty of healthy options. It is less popular than other options, meaning children get to spend more time with their favourite characters.
Location: Norway Pavilion in Epcot
Price: All-you-care-to-enjoy breakfast; $53 for adults, $34 for children. Lunch and dinner entrees; $63 for adult, $41 for children.
Who will you meet: Princesses appear on a rotating schedule but you may get to meet Snow White, Jasmine, Belle, Cinderella, Ariel, Princess Aurora and/or Mary Poppins.
Menu: This is a buffet dining restaurant with a range of food available; perfect for fussier eaters. You can also try some Norwegian dishes during the lunch and dinner times whilst American breakfast favourites are served family-style at breakfast.
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Minnie’s Beach Bash at Cape May Cafe
Why choose: This is a wonderful character dining option for those that love the traditional characters. Because of the beach vibe atmosphere, it is a relaxed, fun dining option plus the food is tasty and characters spend more time with children here than other locations.
Location: Cape May Cafe at Disney’s Beach Club Villa
Price: Breakfast costs $42 for adults and $27 for children whilst the Seafood buffet dinner costs $55 for adults and $33 for children.
Who will you meet: Minnie, Donald, Goody and occasionally, Chip & Dale
Menu: The usual breakfast favourites are available here along with a selection of cheeses whilst dinner offers a variety fo seafood and a carving station
Cinderella’s Royal Table
Why choose: Dine inside the magical Disney castle, complete with wands and swords. The reason this restaurant is so popular is because of its location, inside an exclusive banquet hall in Cinderella’s Castle.
Location: Magic Kingdom
Price: This is the most expensive character dining experience, with breakfasts costing $62 for an adult and $37 for children whilst lunch and dinner costs $75 for adults and $45 for children.
Who will you meet: Cinderella, Snow White, Aurora, Ariel and Jasmine
Menu: Breakfast includes pastries and a choice from a variety of entree dishes, including caramel apple-stuffed French toast, Shrimp and Grits and a traditional breakfast. Lunch and dinner entrees include Pork Rib, Beef Tenderloin and some creative desserts. This is one restaurant you will get better value at if you head for lunch or dinner.
Why choose: This restaurant is a great choice because of it’s delicious food and fantastic theming and atmosphere. Characters appear in their safari gear and you are immersed into a bustling marketplace.
Location: Animal Kingdom
Price: Donald’s Dining Safari buffet option $55 per adult, $36 per child (both lunch and dinner) whilst the breakfast buffet is $42 per adult, $27 per child.
Who will you meet: Mickey, Donald, Daisy and Goofy
Menu: The restaurant is great for fussy eaters, with both traditional theme park food alongside African lunch and dinner options such as Peri Peri Whole Salmon, Tabouli and Hummus and curries.
‘Ohana Character Dining
Why choose: Visit this tropical paradise for a Hawaiian vibe whilst you eat. This is the place to go for breakfast to meet the characters, eat some high-quality food and enjoy the fantastic customer service.
Location: Disney’s Polynesian Resort
Price: All-you-care-to-enjoy breakfast costs $42 for adults, $27 for children
Who will you meet: Lilo & Stitch
Menu: Breakfast includes Mickey & Stitch waffles, eggs, bacon, Hawaiian bread and fruits, all served family-style – it is worth noting that only the breakfast menu offers character dining. If you have special dietary needs, just let your server know and they can customise the menu for you.
Story Book Dining at Artist Point
Why choose: Dine in an enchanted forest with glowing lights and tree-shaped serving platters – great for families and date nights.
Location: Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
Price: Entrees cost $60 for adults and $39 for children
Who will you meet: Snow White and a few of her dwarfs
Menu: This restaurant is a dinner-only menu but some sophisticated dishes are on offer including tender beef, pork shank and prime rib.
1900 Park Fare
Why choose: This is a character dining with a difference! With a mixture of different characters and themed meals, the afternoon tea option is a fun, interactive experience for older children and adults, with cupcake decorating and crafts with Alice and the Mad Hatter.
Location: Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
Price: $45 per adult, £29 for children (breakfast) and $60 per adult and $39 for children for dinner
Who will you meet: Mary Poppins, the Mad Hatter, Alice, Pooh and Tigger.
Menu: For breakfast, expect a Supercalifragilistic buffet with ham, omelet and Mickey waffles, whilst tea offers light sandwiches, chicken nuggets and sweet treats.
Hollywood and Vine
Why choose: With special themed meals and appearances from Disney Junior stars, this is a great place for young children who are Disney Junior fans.
Location: Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Price: $42 for adults and $27 for children (breakfast entrees) or $55 for adult entrees and $36 for child entrees at lunch and dinner.
Who will you meet: Doc McStuffins, Sofia the first and Vampirina are around at breakfast and lunch whilst Minnie Mouse and friends host themed dinner parties throughout the year.
Menu: Breakfast options are more limiting than other dining choices; with pastries, waffles, pancakes, breakfast meats and omelette stations being the main part of this menu. However, more seafood dishes are available during lunch and dinner; such as the Crab Claws and Peel-n-eat Shrimp.
Why choose: This fairly new resort is a stunning place to experience a Disney Character breakfast located in the picturesque rooftop restaurant.
Location: Disney’s Riviera Resort
Price: Adult breakfast entrees cost $42 whilst children entrees cost $27
Who will you meet: Mickey, Minnie, Daisy and Donald in their artistic wear.
Menu: The menu is a unique experience for a Disney Character dining option, with a range of flavours available; such as Sour Cream Waffles with roasted apple, Pancetta Quiche and Spiced Sausage Hash. Make sure to visit for breakfast in order to meet the characters.
Why choose: Located at the end of Mainstreet USA, this is a simple American cafeteria-style restaurant with some rare characters making an appearance.
Location: Magic Kingdom
Price: Breakfasts at Crystal Palace costs $42 for adults, $27 for children whilst lunch and dinner cost $55 for adults and $36 for children.
Who will you meet: The characters are the biggest reason people visit Crystal Palace, with rare characters such as Winnie The Pooh and Tigger but also the only dining experience where you will see Piglet and Eeyore.
Menu: The food here is nothing to write home about but it is worth the experience because of the cute and loveable characters. For breakfast, expect a selection of pancakes, waffles, pastries, breakfast meats and cereals as well as an omelette and scrambled egg station. Lunch and dinner offers salads, seafood and roasted carved meats.
And these are the best Walt Disney World Character dining options – which is your favourite?! Let us know in the comments below.