Welcome to Day 23 of 100 Days of Disney here on The Purple Pumpkin Blog! Be sure to check out all of the other posts in this series, and if you would like to share your own Disney blog posts or pictures, make sure you check out the #100DaysOfDisney Link Party!
Today I’m talking about Character Dining, which essentially means as you eat your meal, Disney characters (who, depends on which restaurant you’re at!) walk around the tables to say hi, have a photograph with you and sign your autograph book. They’re a lot of fun for children and adults alike, and we love Character Dining at Walt Disney World!
We have several Character Dining ADRs booked for our Dine Around Disney 2014 trip, and we’re really looking forward to all of them! Here are photographs from the ones we have been to on our 2011 and 2013 visits…
The Crystal Palace – Lunch
The characters that you meet at The Crystal Palace, which is in Magic Kingdom are – Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Eeyore and Piglet. It is a buffet meal (they do a character breakfast, lunch and dinner), so you can eat as much (or as little as you like!) The characters walk around the tables, and in theory you should meet all of them as they work the room!
We went for lunch, and you can read all about our experience at The Crystal Palace in my Back to the Magic 2013 Trip Report.
Tusker House – Breakfast
Tusker House is at Animal Kingdom, and we loved it so much in 2011, that we booked to go back in 2013 for breakfast! In 2014, we are booked for lunch which is also a Character Dining experience. It’s called Donald’s Dining Safari, but Mr. Duck himself doesn’t walk around the tables – you meet him out front first where you can have your photograph taken with him (but not his autograph). Cast Members come to your table during your meal to sell you said photograph – but you can ask for one to be taken with your own camera, so don’t feel obliged! Just remember to hand over your camera when you’re lining up to meet Donald Duck.
The buffet area is huge and spacious, and there are separate dining rooms – we have sat in the same room on both occasions. Keep an eye out for the characters when they enter your room so you can time when you go up to the buffet! The characters that do walk around the tables are Mickey Mouse, Goofy and Daisy Duck. Goofy is a crazy loon and takes the children (and adults!) on a musical conga line! Read about our 2013 visit to Tusker House here.
Chef Mickey’s – Breakfast
You can have a character breakfast and dinner at Chef Mickey’s which is at the Contemporary Resort. It’s a popular one, but I managed to get a reservation just a few weeks before we flew out! You’ll get to meet Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy and Pluto! Again, it’s a buffet, and we went to Chef Mickey’s for breakfast, and have it booked again for this summer too, can’t wait! It’s a great breakfast buffet (I believe dinner is also a buffet) and there is so much choice, make sure you leave room for it all!!
Tusker House – Breakfast
Our first foray into character dining at Walt Disney World was at Tusker House, Animal Kingdom for breakfast – we really loved it! The food was lush and the character interaction was great as well – I don’t care if you’re an adult, you can’t fail to not be a kid again when you meet the characters!!
For 2014 we have got the following Character Dining reservations…all for breakfast! Exact characters are subject to change, but this is what I managed to find online…
- The Crystal Palace, Magic Kingdom – Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Eeyore + Piglet
- Cape May Cafe, Beach Club – Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Goofy, Donald Duck and sometimes Chip ‘n’ Dale
- Chef Mickey’s, Contemporary Resort – Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy + Pluto
- Akershus Royal Banquet, Norway Pavilion, Epcot World Showcase – Belle, Snow White, Cinderella, Princess Aurora, Ariel + Mary Poppins
- Cinderella’s Royal Table, Magic Kingdom – Cinderella, Ariel, Belle, Snow White, Princess Aurora
- 1900s Park Fare, Grand Floridian Resort -Alice, Mary Poppins, Mad Hatter, Winnie the Pooh, Tigger
Character Dining Tips
- Character dining at Walt Disney World is popular, so you will have to book an Advance Dining Reservation (ADR) to ensure you get a table. You can do this 180 days before you travel on the Disney website.
- Character dining is a noisy affair – so go there expecting hustle and bustle and lots of excitable children!
- Have patience – the servers have always told us that the characters come to every table, so you will be seen…if you haven’t seen a particular character at your table, ask a server who will be able to find out for you.
- If you see characters in the area that you are sat, hold off going to the buffet until they have visited you!
- Seat children on the ends of the table so that they can get to the characters easily.
- Have you camera ready to take photographic memories, characters in our experience are always very happy to pose and have a few photographs taken with everyone.
- Have your autograph book open (on the page you want signed) and a pen at the ready for those precious signatures!
- I know that young children are excited to meet their favourite characters, but if you see them running towards another table, guide them back…it’s not fair on others, they’ll be with you very soon!
- Similarly, whilst characters are happy to have photographs taken, don’t hog their time – they have lots of other excited families to see!
- Your children may be scared of the characters – they are huge compared to them! If they’re shy or scared, the characters (in my experience) are good, and will crouch to their level, but don’t force them if they don’t want to.
- If you do not have children, don’t feel that you can’t go to a character dining experience! Hubs and I have had our fair share of character hugs!!
Have you dined with the characters at a Disney restaurant? Let me know your experience!
Day 23 of #100DaysOfDisney is done – 77 to go!
Come back tomorrow for another Disney related blog post!
Posts in the #100DaysOfDisney Series…
Disney Make It Monday | Tasty Tuesday | Wednesday Around The World | Theme Park Thursday | Disney Fashion Friday & Disney Merchandise | Saturday Night at the Disney Movies | Disney Sunday Sounds