I recently wrote about where you can meet the characters at Walt Disney World, and one of our favourite ways to do that is with character dining. Mainly because you get to enjoy a great family meal together, are out of the blazing hot Florida sunshine, and have the characters come to you!
We LOVED character dining, the food is usually a buffet, which you can enjoy all you care to eat, and we always meet all of the characters that are due out on the restaurant floor. Having done the majority of the Disney character dining locations now, I am itching for Disney to start switching other characters in. I wish they would do a Toy Story or a Star Wars one at Hollywood Studios, or some of the other characters like Rafiki, Baloo, and King Louie at Animal Kingdom!
Here are my Disney character dining tips that I’ve learned from several trips to Walt Disney World, I hope you find them useful!
Disney Character Dining Tips
- Book an Advance Dining Reservation (ADR) – character dining at Walt Disney World is popular, so you will have to book an ADR to ensure you get a table. You can do this 180 days before you travel on the Disney website.
- Expect a noisy restaurant – character dining is exciting for children, so there is going to be excitable children, and lots of hustle and bustle. If you want a quiet meal, character dining is not for you!
- 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.
- Wait to head to the buffet – if you see characters in the area that you are sat, hold off going up for food until they have visited you, as you will have to wait longer for them to go around again.
- Seat children on the ends of the table – so that they can get to the characters easily for hugs and photographs.
- 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.
- Take a selfie with the characters – this was my new “thing” on our 2014 trip. All the characters were happy to oblige and some have fun with it too!
- Have your autograph book open – on the page you want signed, and a pen at the ready for those precious signatures!
- Wait your turn – 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!
- Don’t be a character hog – 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.
- It’s not just for kids – 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!!
CHARACTER DINING RESTAURANTS
- 1900s Park Fayre, Grand Floridian Resort & Spa (B, D)*
Mary Poppins, Alice in Wonderland, The Mad Hatter, Tigger, Winnie the Pooh at the Supercalifragilistic Breakfast
Cinderella, Prince Charming, Lady Tremaine, Ugly Sisters at Cinderella’s Happily Ever After Dinner
- Akershus Royal Banquet Hall – Princess Storybook Dining, Norway Pavilion, Epcot World Showcase (B, L, D)
Snow White, Cinderella, Belle, Princess Aurora, Ariel, Mary Poppins
Read our trip report (2014) about Akershus Royal Banquet Hall
- Cape May Cafe – Minnie’s Beach Bash Breakfast, Disney’s Beach Club Resort (B)*
Goofy, Minnie & Donald in beach gear
Read our trip report about Cape May Cafe
- Chef Mickey’s – Chef Mickey’s Fun Time Buffet, Disney’s Contemporary Resort (B, BR, D)*
Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Donald & Pluto in chef gear
Read our trip report (2014) about Chef Mickey’s and in 2013
- Cinderella’s Royal Table – Fairytale Dining, Magic Kingdom (B, L, D)
Cinderella, Snow White, Jasmine, Aurora, Ariel
Read our trip report (2014) about Cinderella’s Royal Table
- The Crystal Palace – A Buffet with Character, Magic Kingdom (B, L, D)
Pooh, Piglet, Tigger, Eeyore
Read our trip report (2014 – breakfast) about The Crystal Palace, and lunch in 2013.
- The Garden Grill – Chip ‘n’ Dale Harvest Feast, Epcot Future World (B, L, D)
Chip ‘n’ Dale, Mickey, Pluto
- Hollywood & Vine, Hollywood Studios
Doc McStuffins, Sofia the First, Jake and the Never Land Pirates at Disney Junior Play ‘n’ Dine (B)*
Minnie, Mickey, Donald, Daisy, Goofy in seasonal outfits at Minnie’s Seasonal Dining (L, D)
- ‘Ohana, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort (B)
Lilo, Stitch, Mickey, Pluto at ‘Ohana’s best Friends Breakfast (B)
Read our trip report (2014) about ‘Ohana
- Tusker House, Animal Kingdom (B, L, D)*
Donald, Daisy, Goofy, Minnie in safari gear at Donald’s Dining Safari
Read our trip report (2014 – lunch) about Tusker House, and breakfast in 2013 and 2011 – Tusker House is our family favourite!
- Mickey’s Backyard BBQ, Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground (DS)
Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Chip ‘n’ Dale
- Trattoria al Forno, Disneys’ BoardWalk (B)
Rapunzel & Flynn Rider, and Ariel & Prince Eric at the Bon Voyage Breakfast
B = Breakfast, BR = Brunch, L = Lunch, D = Dinner, DS = Dinner Show, *= Buffet
Thanks for reading Day 42 of 100 Days of Disney 2015! 58 to go! Come back tomorrow for another Disney post!
Posts in the 100 Days of Disney Series:
Disney Crafts | Disney Printables | Disney Dining | Disney Vacation Planning | Around Walt Disney World | Disney Resorts | Disney Photography | Disney Theme Parks | Disney Rides + Attractions | Disney Shows + Parades | Disney Fashion | Disney Merchandise | Disney Movies | Disney Songs
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