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Best Character Dining at Disney World | Ranked

Looking for the best character meals at Walt Disney World? Meeting the Disney characters while eating a meal is definitely one of the highlights of any trip to Walt Disney World and something all guests should experience.

Disney World character meals The Beast Be Our Guest

In this post, we are going to share with you all the best character meals at Walt Disney World including breakfast, lunch and dinner, and rank them from best to worst.

We will share with you the prices, the best times to do character dining, where to find all the characters, transportation, and what to order at each restaurant.

Even though they are sometimes criticized, going to a character meal at Disney is like a rite of passage. They may not be the best meals you will have on your trip, but there is something magical about them and our vacation doesn’t feel complete until we go.

That doesn’t mean character dining is perfect. There are big jumps in the quality of the food between some restaurants and they all have vastly different lineups of characters available to meet.

Mickey Mouse character Garden Grill

Over the years we’ve visited each character dining restaurant multiple times, so we’ve had a lot of time to put together this list which will help you know which ones are worth it and which ones you should probably skip.

You have the right idea by planning everything out before your trip. Many of the character dining locations are extremely popular with guests and are booked up months ahead of time. That’s why you need to do your research now so you are prepared.

We’re sure our list of favorites will change with time as Disney is constantly making changes to the characters and food, as well as opening new restaurants with characters. This is our current ranking as we are writing this in 2024, but we will continue to update it whenever changes to the experiences are made.

You definitely are not going to want a this type of experience for every meal and you are going to also need a more comprehensive list of all the best places to eat during your stay. Make sure to check out our rankings of the Best Restaurants at Disney World for the ultimate restaurant rankings guide.

Also, don’t forget to sign up for our FREE Weekly E-Mail Newsletter. There we bring you the latest updates to all the restaurants, parks, as well as vacation planning tips. You can sign up here: Join our E-Mail Newsletter!

How Does Disney Character Dining Work?

Belle character meet at Akershus character meal

Character Dining is a popular term used to reference table-service sit-down meals that allow guests to dine with Disney World characters! These can be for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and they also can be found both inside a Disney World Park or inside a Disney World Resort. 

While the characters don’t physically sit down and eat a meal with you, they typically will make their way over to your table in a rotational way generally once per character over the course of your meal. 

They will do things such as sign autographs, take pictures, and have a few minutes to generally spend with your family or travel party. 

Every Disney Character Meal can slightly differ in terms of what is offered, which characters participate in, and how the actual interactions with the characters work. But they generally all have the same principle, and that’s for guests to be able to interact with popular Disney Characters without needing to get in line with the Disney Theme Parks. 

And in some cases, you are able to meet characters inside the restaurants that you won’t see in the actual Disney Parks, or at the very least, in their same outfits. 

Many of the character meals are buffet-style offerings, but some of them offer more traditional a la carte-style offerings as well for those who aren’t into buffets.

List of Character Meals at Disney World

Entrance to Cinderella's Royal Table

There are 16 total character meals at Walt Disney World, and they all have a different combination of characters:

Here is a full list of the Disney World Character Meals and which character meals are offered at that location: 

  • Animal Kingdom
    • Tusker House – Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
  • EPCOT
    • Akershus Royal Banquet Hall – Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner 
    • Garden Grill – Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
  • Hollywood Studios
    • Hollywood & Vine – Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
  • Magic Kingdom
    • Be Our Guest – Lunch and Dinner
    • Cinderella’s Royal Table – Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner 
    • Crystal Palace – Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
  • Outside of the Parks
    • Cape May Cafe – Breakfast with characters, Dinner without characters
    • Chef Mickey’s – Breakfast and Dinner
    • Garden Grove* – Breakfast only
    • ‘Ohana – Breakfast with characters, Dinner without characters
    • Ravello – Breakfast with characters, Dinner without characters
    • Story Book Dining – Dinner only 
    • Topolino’s Terrace – Breakfast only 
    • Trattoria al Forno* – Breakfast only
    • 1900 Park Fare Breakfast, Afternoon Tea Party, and Dinner

*These locations are open for breakfast, but the characters have NOT returned yet.

Are Character Meals Back to Normal Now?

little girl getting autograph from Piglet at Crystal Palace

Character Meals were one of the things that were hit hardest during the parks’ closure in 2020 with them taking a long period of time to fully get back to normal. 

When they did come back there were many changes made to implement procedural changes so everyone would feel safe with physical distancing measures in place. While most things have gone back to normal, there are some changes…

Some Character Meals Are Not Open

While most Character Meals are back there are a few that have not returned the same as they were prior to the park closures. 

For example, Garden Grove inside the Swan Resort and Trattoria al Forno at the BoardWalk Resort previously offered Character Breakfasts, but sadly they have not come back with characters but they do still offer breakfast.

Thankfully, 1900 Park Fare inside the Grand Floridian Resort is reopening starting April 10, 2024.

Can You Hug the Characters and Get Autographs?

Thankfully YES! Guests visiting any of the Character Breakfasts can once again hug the characters and they will also sign autographs just like they have always done.

Full List of Characters that You Can Have Meal with at Disney World

Ziggy with Donald Duck at Topolino's Riviera Resort

There is a fairly lengthy list of characters that you can currently have a meal with throughout Disney World, and each restaurant has a different lineup.

Here is the full list of characters that you can enjoy a meal with any one of the various Walt Disney World character meals:

Classic Characters

  • Aladdin – 1900 Park Fare
  • Chip and Dale – Garden Grill
  • Daisy Duck –  Topolino’s Terrace, Cape May Cafe, Tusker House
  • Donald Duck – Chef Mickey’s, Topolino’s Terrace, Cape May Cafe, Tusker House
  • Dopey – Story Book Dining
  • Eeyore – Crystal Palace
  • Evil Queen – Story Book Dining
  • Goofy – Chef Mickey’s, Cape May Cafe, Tusker House, Hollywood and Vine (Lunch and Dinner) 
  • Grumpy – Story Book Dining
  • Lilo and Stitch – ‘Ohana
  • Mickey Mouse – Chef Mickey’s, Garden Grill, Topolino’s Terrace, Tusker House, ‘Ohana, Hollywood and Vine (Lunch and Dinner)
  • Minnie Mouse – Chef Mickey’s, Topolino’s Terrace, Hollywood and Vine (Lunch and Dinner) 
  • Piglet – Crystal Palace
  • Pluto – Chef Mickey’s, Garden Grill, ‘Ohana, Hollywood and Vine (Lunch and Dinner) 
  • Tigger – Crystal Palace
  • Winnie the Pooh – Crystal Palace

Princesses

  • Ariel – Akershus Royal Banquet Hall, Cinderella’s Royal Table
  • Aurora – Akershus Royal Banquet Hall, Cinderella’s Royal Table
  • Belle – Akershus Royal Banquet Hall, Cinderella’s Royal Table
  • Cinderella – Akershus Royal Banquet Hall, Cinderella’s Royal Table, 1900 Park Fare
  • Jasmine – Akershus Royal Banquet Hall, Cinderella’s Royal Table
  • Mary Poppins – Akershus Royal Banquet Hall
  • Mirabel – 1900 Park Fare
  • Snow White – Akershus Royal Banquet Hall, Cinderella’s Royal Table, Story Book Dining
  • Tiana – Akershus Royal Banquet Hall, 1900 Park Fare

Additional Characters

  • Disney Junior Characters Doc McStuffins, Fancy Nancy, Roadster Racer Goofy, Vampirina – Hollywood and Vine (Breakfast Only)

Currently Unavailable Characters

  • Flynn Rider, Prince Eric, Rapunzel – Trattoria al Forno

Disney World Character Dining Cost

Queen character meet at Story Book Dining at Artist Point

Dining at Walt Disney World is NEVER cheap, but when it comes to character dining, you can really expect to open up your wallet!

In fact, most of the time, the price of character meals are on par with the signature restaurants in Walt Disney World. The reason is you’re paying for a meal AND a character interaction, which is essentially an experiential meal. 

If you’re looking to save a little bit of money, you’ll be better off visiting one of the character breakfasts instead of dinner, as they tend to be a few dollars cheaper.

A character meal will run you anywhere between $47 and $84 for adults and between $30 and $49 for children between the ages of 3-9. 

These are base prices and do NOT include additional taxes or tips that you’ll incur, so make sure you factor in all of these costs into your budget.

In addition to dinner being more expensive, you’ll also notice the meals involving the princesses are even more expensive. In fact, the most expensive character meal is Cinderella’s Royal Table for dinner! 

Most of the offerings for character meals are breakfasts with most of them offering all-you-can-eat food, whether it’s family-style or buffet. Those that aren’t all-you-can-eat will typically be some kind of prefixed meal, allowing you to choose one of the different options on the fixed menu.

Our Ranking Factors

Story Book Dining at Artist Point interior

When it comes to ranking the various different character meals, there are a number of factors to consider. Some of the options ONLY offer breakfast, and one of them only offers dinner. 

Also, we might slightly prefer one of the meals over the others, so you might see a little bit of a difference between our rankings here AND our ranking of the Disney World character breakfasts.

If we prefer one meal over the other, we will be sure to mention that. We will rank them based on ‘the best meal’, meaning that if we LOVE the breakfast but the dinner is just OK, we will rank it for breakfast. But we will make sure you know all of the details underneath our rankings for each spot. 

It’s important to keep in mind every one could feel slightly differently about these options based on personal preferences, nostalgia, and individual quality/service at a particular time when you visited. 

These are very subjective and are strictly based on our numerous visits to these spots in addition to our close friends and family. 

Our main criteria when ranking these options focus on:

  • Quality of the Food 
  • Price to Quality Ratio 
  • Portion Sizes 
  • Overall Restaurant Experience and Theme
  • Any Additional Disney Magic 
  • Characters Offered
  • Interactions WITH the Characters 

Fairly straightforward criteria, and we look forward to hearing all about your favorites in the comments below. Without any more waiting, let’s get into our favorite character meals in Walt Disney World!

Best Character Meals at Disney World Ranked

We will count our way down to number 1 while starting with number 13 since there are technically 12 open character meals throughout the Walt Disney World Resort. Let’s start with the last place…

13. ‘Ohana

Lilo and Stitch at Ohana Breakfast
  • Location: Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort
  • Meals: Breakfast 
  • Characters: Lilo, Mickey, Pluto, Stitch
  • Cost: $49 per adult, $30 per child (ages 3-9) 
  • Cuisine: Traditional American Breakfast
  • Buffet: No, family-style 
  • Disney Dining Plan: Yes, 1 Table Service credit

At 13th and the bottom of our list of favorite character dining options in Walt Disney World is ‘Ohana. While we don’t technically “not like it”, it’s just our least favorite. Why? Well first off, it’s only a character meal for breakfast, and it’s very difficult to get in which we can’t figure out why. 

Their breakfast is similar to their dinner and it’s served in all-you-can-eat skillets that are brought to the table, which we do like. Everything has a Hawaiian-style feel to it, including a lot of pineapples in virtually everything. 

However, the food here is just OK and isn’t enough to get excited about. 

We tend to not like everything sweet, and we find the meals at ‘Ohana have sweetness in virtually everything, which is a bit overkill for breakfast.

It’s the only place in Walt Disney World where you can meet both Lilo and Stitch which is quite nice. And its convenient location next to Magic Kingdom gives an alternative option for guests going to the park that day if they can’t get into one of the Magic Kingdom character meals.

We like ‘Ohana, we just don’t love it. 

PROS:

  • Very reasonably priced and among the lowest of options 
  • If going to Magic Kingdom it’s a nice alternative
  • We love the ability to meet Lilo and Stitch and Hawaiian Mickey
  • The theming and adorable Hawaiian attire is fun and unique
  • Family-style food which means it’s fresher

CONS:

  • Food is simply ‘OK’ and nothing to get excited about
  • If you’re not going to Magic Kingdom, it’s difficult to get here
  • Very difficult to get reservations for

What to Get: 

Anytime we’re at the Polynesian Resort or the Animal Kingdom Lodge Resort, we have to always get the famous POG juice, which is found here at ‘Ohana. This tasty passion-orange-guava juice is delicious and the ideal complement to your breakfast. We also really like the pineapple-coconut breakfast bread. 

‘Ohana Breakfast Menu

12. Ravello

Four Seasons Orlando Disney World character breakfast
  • Location: Four Seasons Resort Orlando
  • Meals: Breakfast
  • Characters: Goofy, Mickey, Minnie
  • Cost: $52 per adult, $32 per child (ages 3-9) 
  • Cuisine: Traditional American Breakfast
  • Buffet: No it’s a prix-fixe menu 
  • Disney Dining Plan: No

At 12th on our list is Ravello, which is found over at the Four Seasons Resort near Magic Kingdom. While it’s technically “not Disney”, it is still found on Walt Disney World property. 

The first issue is that getting here can be a challenge for guests, as you’ll likely need alternative transportation options since Disney transportation won’t bring you here. 

Unfortunately, Ravello’s character meal is only for breakfast and it’s only currently on Thursdays and Saturdays (although they do occasionally have it on Tuesdays as well). Just be sure to check the schedule to make sure it’s still available on the day you want to visit, and you can make reservations right on OpenTable.

While getting here can be difficult, it’s fairly easy with a rideshare service (Uber or Lyft), and even easier if you have a vehicle. That’s where renting a car at Disney World comes in handy.

While it’s not high on our list, Ravello is VERY good. Their quality offerings are up there with the best options on the list, although it is a bit expensive. And not having the ability to utilize the Disney Dining Plan takes it down a few steps for us as well. 

It likely will not appeal to everyone on a Disney trip, but we’d recommend getting to Ravello if you have the circumstances to do so. It could be a pleasant surprise.

PROS:

  • Fairly easy reservations to book on OpenTable
  • Very good food offerings with great menu 
  • Beautiful setting and ambiance 

CONS:

  • Expensive breakfast
  • Only offers character meal for breakfast on certain days of the week
  • Does not accept Disney Dining Plan
  • Limited character interaction and it feels rushed
  • Not easy to get to for most Disney World guests

What to Get: 

Ravello has several really tasty things on the menu! We’d advise getting the ‘Cowboy Frittata’ or the ‘Huevos Rancheros.’ Both are amazing offerings that we keep ordering!

Ravello Breakfast Menu

11. Crystal Palace

character meal at Crystal Palace with Tigger
  • Location: Disney’s Magic Kingdom Park 
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner 
  • Characters: Eeyore, Piglet, Winnie the Pooh, and Tigger 
  • Cost:
    • For Breakfast $48 per adult, $30 per child (ages 3-9)
    • For Lunch and Dinner $61 per adult, $40 per child (3-9) 
  • Cuisine: Traditional American 
  • Buffet: Yes 
  • Disney Dining Plan: Yes, 1 Table Service credit 

Next on our list is Crystal Palace, found inside Disney’s Magic Kingdom. Crystal Palace is a fan favorite with the opportunity to meet Winnie and his Friends! And honestly, it doesn’t get more convenient than being on Main Street U.S.A. at Magic Kingdom! 

It’s also great since guests have the option to have a character meal for breakfast, lunch, or dinner! We love the ambiance and the theming of the Crystal Palace, as its setting and Victorian-style theming are beautiful. 

We also like the fact that you can get early morning reservations here before Magic Kingdom opens up to the public, allowing you to walk down Main Street prior to other guests and get some good photo opportunities. 

slicing roast beef at Crystal Palace

While we enjoy several things about Crystal Palace and find it’s a terrific option for families with small children who love Winnie, the food tends to only be OK. It’s what you’d expect and while there are a few good things on the menu for both breakfast and lunch/dinner, as a whole it doesn’t excite us as some of the other options on our list.

PROS:

  • Early morning ADRs at Magic Kingdom 
  • Eating with Winnie and His Friends 
  • Convenient at Magic Kingdom and right on Main Street U.S.A.
  • We love the staff and the character interactions here 
  • One of the nicest interior-themed character meals 

CONS:

  • Mostly dull and unadventurous menu with no unique offerings 
  • Can be excessively noisy and chaotic 
  • One of the hardest ADRs to get

What to Get: 

For breakfast, our favorites are the cheesy potato casserole and the breakfast frittatas that they offer. For dinner, we like the Carved Prime Rib and the Shrimp Creole. Read our full review of the Crystal Palace here! 

Crystal Palace Breakfast Menu

Crystal Palace Lunch and Dinner Menu

10. Hollywood and Vine

front entrance to Hollywood and Vine
  • Location: Disney’s Hollywood Studios Park 
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner 
  • Characters: Doc McStuffins, Fancy Nancy, Vampirina for Breakfast; Goofy, Mickey, Minnie, Pluto for Dinner 
  • Cost:
    • For Breakfast $47 per adult, $30 per child (ages 3-9) 
    • For Lunch and Dinner $63 per adult, $40 per child (ages 3-9) 
  • Cuisine: Traditional American 
  • Buffet: Yes
  • Disney Dining Plan: Yes, 1 Table Service credit

At 10th on our list of favorite character meals is Hollywood and Vine! It’s the only character meal at Disney’s Hollywood Studios Park, we think it’s a truly underrated spot! We have it ranked higher on our list here, than on our favorite character breakfast list. Why? 

First off, the meal is better for lunch and dinner. The menu offerings and the quality just seem better. Second, the characters are better. For breakfast you’ll get the Disney Junior characters which can be appealing to some guests but likely only to small kids. 

Instead at lunch and dinner, you’ll get 4 of the Fab Five with Goofy, Mickey, Minnie, and Pluto! 

For breakfast even though we don’t love the whole experience there are some tasty offerings including the chicken and waffles and the really good French Toast. For dinner, the roasted pork with the spicy mustard and the macaroni and cheese with shrimp and bacon are SO yummy! 

Goofy in Hollywood and Vine

We like Hollywood and Vine and think it’s a solid option that is both affordable and with fairly good food. Plus it’s easily accessible for guests visiting Hollywood Studios.

PROS:

  • The only character meal in Hollywood Studios
  • Reasonably priced and is one of the cheaper options 
  • Light and vibrant atmosphere
  • Four of the Fab Five are here 
  • Noticeably solid service when we’ve been here 

CONS:

  • Breakfast is underwhelming and with Disney Junior characters 
  • It tends to be very loud in here 
  • Can be challenging to get a reservation

What to Get: 

We enjoy the chicken and waffles and the bananas foster french toast for breakfast. For lunch and dinner, we love the unlimited peel-n-eat shrimp, the beef strip loin with horseradish cream sauce, and the roasted pork. 

Hollywood and Vine Breakfast Menu

Hollywood and Vine Lunch and Dinner Menu

9. Chef Mickey’s

Chef Mickey's Restaurant Disney''s Contemporary Resort
  • Location: Disney’s Contemporary Resort 
  • Meals: Breakfast and Dinner
  • Characters: Donald, Goofy, Mickey, Minnie, and Pluto 
  • Cost:
    • For Breakfast $54 per adult, $34 per child (ages 3-9) 
    • For Dinner $66 per adult, $41 per child (ages 3-9) 
  • Cuisine: Traditional American Breakfast
  • Buffet: Yes 
  • Disney Dining Plan: Yes, 1 Table Service credit 

Coming in at 9th on our list is one of the most popular and iconic character meals in Walt Disney World and that’s Chef Mickey’s.

Open both for breakfast and for dinner, Chef Mickey’s is one of the harder ADRs to get. This is because families love this spot, as it’s conveniently located within walking distance of Disney’s Magic Kingdom Park. 

While we haven’t always been the biggest fans of Chef Mickey’s, especially when it comes to the quality of the food, we do feel it’s gotten better. We enjoy both the breakfast and the dinner here, and think both are at the very least “solid,” though not among the better options when it comes to food. 

What we really love about Chef Mickey’s is that it’s the only Disney World Character Meal that includes all 5 of the Fab Five (Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Donald, and Pluto). Not only that, but they are in their adorable chef’s outfits that you won’t find anywhere else.

Chef Mickey's dining room with tables

The character interactions are fun here, and they even put on a little show for the guests during certain time intervals during the meals. While it’s not amongst our favorite options for character meals, it’s particularly good for families with smaller kids who want to see the Fab Five.

PROS:

  • Convenient location at the Contemporary Resort
  • They serve both breakfast and dinner
  • Opportunity to see all 5 of the Fab Five
  • A delightful vibe for the whole family 

CONS:

  • Very noisy ambiance and a bit chaotic 
  • Food is good but not great 
  • More costly than some of the other options
  • Extremely hard ADR to get 
  • Breakfast and Dinner but no Lunch

What to Get: 

For breakfast we really enjoy the corned beef hash as well as the carving station where you can get both ham and beef brisket. For dinner, we enjoy the tomato and rosemary focaccia as well as the shrimp and grits! 

Chef Mickey’s Breakfast Menu

Chef Mickey’s Dinner Menu

8. Akershus Royal Banquet Hall

dining room at Akershus in EPCOT
  • Location: Disney’s EPCOT Park inside the Norway Pavilion 
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
  • Characters: Princesses. It rotates regularly and not all will appear but Ariel, Aurora, Belle, Cinderella, Snow White, and Tiana 
  • Cost:
    • For Breakfast $55 per adult, $35 per child (ages 3-9) 
    • For Lunch and Dinner $67 per adult, $43 per child (ages 3-9) 
  • Cuisine: Norwegian Influenced Offerings with American Classics 
  • Buffet: No, it’s family-style  
  • Disney Dining Plan: For Breakfast it’s 1 Table Service credit. For Lunch and Dinner it’s 2 Table Service credits 

At 8th on our list is the Akershus Royal Banquet Hall, which is located in the Norway Pavilion inside EPCOT. Akershus is a favorite amongst families with girls, with it being one of the best spots to meet the Disney Princesses. And with that opportunity comes a hefty price! 

We like the fact that it’s one of the few character meals that is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We like the unique offerings here for both the breakfast meal and the lunch/dinner meal. They have some Norwegian influence to them, allowing you to try some of the favorites from their country. 

It’s also incredibly convenient for guests with it being right in the World Showcase in EPCOT, allowing most guests to easily plan to come here on an EPCOT day. 

The other thing we enjoy about Akershus is that it offers family-style meals, instead of the typical buffet. We actually prefer family-style meals, as they were quite common during the reopening of the parks in 2020 and 2021. 

The food always seems fresher and you don’t have to worry about germs! Unfortunately, most of them have gone back to buffet style, and Akershus is one of the remaining family-style meals.

Mickey Mouse waffles at Akershus

While breakfast here is solid, we actually prefer lunch and dinner! Even though it’s more expensive, we think the quality-to-price value is better for lunch and dinner IF you’re paying out of pocket and not using the Disney Dining Plan. 

We were thoroughly impressed with our last dinner here and think it’s a solid EPCOT meal.

PROS:

  • We prefer the family-style all-you-can-eat that is offered here as opposed to buffet-style 
  • Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner 
  • Terrific character interactions with the ability to meet 5 of the princesses 
  • Beautiful theming and authentic Norwegian Castle feel 
  • Convenient location in EPCOT, making it easy to reach 

CONS:

  • Expensive and it costs 2 Table Service dining credits if using the dining plan 
  • Can be very disjointed at check-in and your wait time can be long, even with an ADR
  • Some unique food offerings that might turn pickier eaters off 
  • Can be a bit loud at all times

What to Get: 

For breakfast, we enjoy the Norwegian waffles, which are completely unique to this restaurant! They are tasty and sweet and don’t even require syrup. We also like the potato casserole, so be prepared, it’s very addicting! 

For lunch and dinner, we love the Lefse which comes with that Cardamom-Cinnamon butter! We also love the Norwegian Meatballs they have here. And of course, you have to have some of the corn dog nuggets! 

Akershus Royal Banquet Hall Breakfast Menu

Akershus Royal Banquet Hall Lunch and Dinner Menu

7. Be Our Guest

interior Be Our Guest Restaurant
  • Location: Disney’s Magic Kingdom Park 
  • Meals: Lunch and Dinner
  • Characters: The Beast
  • Cost: $70 per adult and $41 per child (ages 3-9) 
  • Cuisine: French-Inspired Dining 
  • Buffet: No, it’s a prix-fixe menu
  • Disney Dining Plan: Yes, it requires 2 Table Service Credits. 

Coming in at 7th on our list is the popular spot Be Our Guest, which takes place inside the Beast’s Castle. This is one of the only two restaurants on our list that is NOT open for breakfast, and is instead just a lunch and dinner spot.

Be Our Guest is an incredibly well-themed experience with you having the opportunity to actually eat inside the dining room of the castle, with brilliant theming and painting that truly transports you there!

We do miss the days of the quick-service lunch when it first opened since Disney has turned both lunch and dinner into a prix-fixe menu. 

This is not a typical character meal in the sense that you will meet multiple characters or have them come to your table, at Be Our Guest have the opportunity to go up to The Beast and take a picture with him. 

Be Our Guest is one of the most popular restaurants in Walt Disney World so getting ADRs can be challenging. It’s also VERY pricey and is one of the more expensive options on our list.

Lion at entrance to Be Our Guest Restuarant

The food here is good, although it’s not as good as the pricing says it should be. There are a few good standouts but nothing that blows us away. That said, it’s absolutely worth visiting once to experience it, as it’s truly a unique dining experience.

PROS:

  • The theming and the ambiance inside the Castle are terrific with each room uniquely themed 
  • Very different type of experience that will be a true stand-out for Beauty and The Beast lovers 
  • Awesome location inside Magic Kingdom, making it convenient for most to get to 

CONS:

  • An expensive meal that lacks in the quality-to-price ratio 
  • Not open for breakfast
  • Not a traditional character meal and the only character available to meet is The Beast 
  • Very hard to get into the restaurant as ADRs are very difficult
  • Noise can be overwhelming and it can be challenging to speak to those at your table

What to Get: 

The things we’ve enjoyed most on the menu here are the French Onion Soup, the Escargot, and the Dry-Aged Pork Chop! 

Be Our Guest Lunch and Dinner Menu

6. Cinderella’s Royal Table

Cinderella's Royal Table main dining room
  • Location: Disney’s Magic Kingdom Park 
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner 
  • Characters: Princesses. Ariel, Aurora, Cinderella, Jasmine, and Snow White 
  • Cost:
    • For Breakfast $69 per adult, $42 per child (ages 3-9) 
    • For Lunch and Dinner $84 per adult, $49 per child (ages 3-9) 
  • Cuisine: French-Style Breakfast 
  • Buffet: No, it’s a prix-fixe menu
  • Disney Dining Plan: Yes, 2 Table Service credits 

Similar to Be Our Guest, Cinderella’s Royal Table will be one of those “MUST DOs” for your children if they love Cinderella OR they love the Disney Princesses. We think eating inside Cinderella Castle is even more magical than The Beast’s Castle, and something we’d highly recommend. 

They also have a Prix-Fixe menu like Be Our Guest, allowing guests to order an appetizer, entree, and dessert for lunch and dinner. Instead, for breakfast, you choose one entree and they also bring an assortment of pastries for the table. 

One thing to note is that it’s the most expensive character meal in all of Walt Disney World. But while the experience is incredibly expensive and not something often repeatable in our eyes, it’s worth it. 

Having the opportunity to meet Cinderella in her castle as well as 4 of the other Disney Princesses is something that your little ones won’t forget! In fact, it might be the highlight of their vacation!

girls taking photo with Ariel at Cinderella's Royal Table character meal

We slightly prefer dinner if we had to choose between the three meals. I’d say the food here is on par with Be Our Guest. It’s solid with a French-inspired flair, but it isn’t outstanding either. 

You won’t be disappointed with the food quality, but you won’t say it’s the best meal you’ve had on your trip.

PROS:

  • Unparalleled experience and theming at any of the other options
  • Opportunity to meet the different Disney Princesses 
  • Fairly good quality food with nice options for different types of eaters 
  • Easy and convenient location inside Magic Kingdom

CONS:

  • Incredibly expensive 
  • Reservations can be VERY difficult to snag here 
  • Food here is good but certainly not at the price point that they are asking for 
  • Check-in times can be slow and you likely won’t be seated until well after your ADR

What to Get: 

For breakfast our favorite has been the Caramel Apple-stuffed French Toast. For Lunch and Dinner, we like the Chilled Jumbo Shrimp appetizer as well as the Pork Tenderloin and the Grilled Tenderloin of Beef entree. 

Cinderella’s Royal Table Breakfast Menu

Cinderella’s Royal Table Lunch and Dinner Menu

5. Cape May Cafe

Cape May Cafe Minnie Mouse character breakfast
  • Location: Disney’s Beach Club Resort 
  • Meals: Breakfast and Dinner (Not a Character Meal for Dinner) 
  • Characters: Daisy, Donald, Goofy, Minnie
  • Cost:
    • For Breakfast $47 per adult, $30 per child (ages 3-9) 
  • Cuisine: Traditional American Breakfast
  • Buffet: Yes 
  • Disney Dining Plan: Yes, 1 Table Service credit 

Cape May Cafe is open for both breakfast and dinner, but we will only talk about the breakfast since their dinner is NOT currently a character meal.

We thoroughly enjoy the breakfast offerings of Cape May Cafe, which is found inside the Beach Club Resort. You’ll find your typical American-style breakfast buffet offerings, although we do find the quality at the Cape May Cafe is a bit better than some of the other buffet meals. 

The characters you can enjoy a meal with are Daisy, Donald, Goofy, and Minnie! Unfortunately, there is NO Mickey, that’s the only bummer. The price here is very reasonable and it’s one of the more affordable options on our list, making the price-to-quality ratio here very good. 

While Cape May Cafe isn’t inside a theme park, it’s conveniently located only a few minutes walk from World Showcase at EPCOT, as the Beach Club is practically a stone’s throw away from EPCOT.

Bloody Mary cocktail Cape May Cafe

We enjoy the light and airy atmosphere of the Cape May Cafe as you’ll be transported to your favorite beach location and even the characters are in their adorable beach outfits!

PROS:

  • Very good price-to-quality ratio as the food here is very good and the prices very reasonable 
  • Fairly easy to get reservations for
  • Not far from guests visiting EPCOT or for those staying at an EPCOT-area Resort 
  • Adorable beachy theme with the characters in their beach attire 

CONS:

  • Sadly there is no Mickey despite Minnie 
  • Suffers from good at everything great at nothing syndrome as there are no true stand-outs here 
  • We’ve found that food can sit out for a period of time and it isn’t always fresh

What to Get: 

Our personal favorite special item here is the salted caramel beach buns, which are brought out to your table by your server. They are both savory and sweet and SO tasty! Be ready to ask for refills! 

Cape May Cafe Breakfast Menu

4. Story Book Dining at Artist Point

Snow White character meet at Story Book Dining at Artist Point
  • Location: Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort 
  • Meals: Dinner 
  • Characters: Snow White, Evil Queen, Dopey, Grumpy 
  • Cost: $65 per adult, $39 per child (ages 3-9) 
  • Cuisine: Hearty Pacific Northwest Fare 
  • Buffet: No, it’s a prix-fixe menu
  • Disney Dining Plan: Yes, 2 Table Service credits 

One of the newer offerings on our list of character meals in Walt Disney World is Story Booking Dining at Artist Point, which opened at the end of 2018. This Snow White-inspired meal will enchant you with the sound and the sights of storybook fantasy life.

The menu at Story Book Dining is prix-fixe and allows you to pick an appetizer, an entree, and a dessert. 

We love this new addition to the character dining lineup at Walt Disney World as it’s completely new and unique while giving you some of the truly best character interactions! 

You’ll laugh and dance with the dwarfs while being quietly terrorized by the Evil Queen! Don’t worry, small children don’t have to visit the Evil Queen as she can be quite scary sometimes! 

The restaurant does a fantastic job of making it a delightful character meal while also having really good food, which is themed brilliantly.

They take the presentation of the food to the next level, even the awesome mocktails are tasty and look gorgeous. Your kids will love them and they will surely be memorable.

The Queen as summoned you character meet at Story Book Dining at Artist Point

We don’t love how expensive it is, nor the fact that it’s only open for dinner which is a bit frustrating! But we think Story Book Dining is a wonderful addition to the character options and is absolutely worth a visit if you can make it over to the Wilderness Lodge Resort.

PROS:

  • Outstanding experience with one of the best character interactions 
  • Having the opportunity to dine with a villain, which is ONLY found here 
  • Food here is very good, especially for meat lovers 
  • Theming is terrific from the mocktails to the cocktails to the actual restaurant itself 

CONS:

  • Not convenient as getting the Wilderness Lodge Resort can be difficult
  • Only open for dinner 
  • Very expensive and one of the most costly character meals 
  • Food can be a little bit adventurous and might not appeal to plant-based eaters

What to Get: 

We love the Wild Mushroom Bisque appetizer! It’s a carryover from the former Artist Point Restaurant and it’s terrific. We think the Prime Rib Roast and the Pork Shank are both very yummy entrees. 

Story Book Dining at Artist Point with Snow White

3. Tusker House

dining room at Tusker House Animal Kingdom
  • Location: Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
  • Characters: Daisy, Donald, Goofy, and Mickey 
  • Cost:
    • For Breakfast $45 per adult, $30 per child (ages 3-9) 
    • For Lunch and Dinner $62 per adult, $40 per child (ages 3-9)
  • Cuisine: African-inspired Cuisine with American Classics 
  • Buffet: Yes 
  • Disney Dining Plan: Yes, 1 Table Service credit 

Coming in at 3rd on our list is Tusker House! We love it here an it’s the ONLY character meal at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park. Not only is Tusker House our 3rd choice overall, but it’s also our FAVORITE character buffet! 

There are so many things we love about Tusker House, including the fact that it offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner! We equally love all three meals and think they are all unique and terrific! 

While both have clear African-influence we don’t feel as if the flavors and profiles are too far fetched for fussier eaters, so no reason to get worried about the menu choices.

We also love the character interactions here and the fact that you can meet Daisy, Donald, Goofy, and Mickey in their adorable safari outfits! We can’t think of a bad meal we’ve had here, and we can’t say that for some of the restaurants on our list!

POG juice Tusker House

We find the cast here really goes above and beyond and they are so incredibly attentive to making sure you have everything you need, and the food tends to always be fresh at the buffet stations. And we definitely can’t forget they have our favorite juice here, the POG Juice! 

With consistently good food, great service, and reasonable prices, it’s hard to go wrong with Tusker House. We trust that you will find some great things in the buffet stations!

PROS:

  • Offer breakfast, lunch, and dinner
  • The price-to-quality ratio here is excellent and it’s got arguably the best buffet food 
  • Food offerings that are unique to ONLY Tusker House 
  • An easy-to-get location for most guests visiting Walt Disney World 
  • We enjoyed the theming, the character costumes, and the atmosphere of the restaurant 

CONS:

  • Can be challenging to get ADRs 
  • It can get very loud in this restaurant 
  • Some find the food here is too different, although we don’t find that to be the case

What to Get: 

We’d really enjoy the Overnight Oats here for breakfast. For lunch and dinner, we love the different house specialties such as the Tandoori Chicken and the Curry Shrimp. 

Tusker House Breakfast Menu

Tusker House Lunch and Dinner Menu

2. Garden Grill

Chip character at the Garden Grill EPCOT
  • Location: Disney’s EPCOT Park 
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner 
  • Characters: Chip, Dale, Mickey, and Pluto 
  • Cost:
    • For Breakfast $47 per adult, $30 per child (ages 3-9) 
    • For Lunch and Dinner $62 per adult, $40 per child (ages 3-9) 
  • Cuisine: Traditional American-style Cuisine 
  • Buffet: No, food is served family-style  
  • Disney Dining Plan: Yes, 1 Table Service credit 

At number 2 on our list is the ever-popular character meal found in The Land Pavilion inside of EPCOT and that’s Garden Grill!

Not only is Garden Grill a character meal but it’s also an attraction, making it a truly unique experiential character meal! You’ll literally slowly rotate along the perimeter of the attraction ‘Living with the Land’ as you enjoy your meal. 

Garden Grill offers a character meal for breakfast, lunch, and dinner! While we enjoy all of them, we slightly prefer breakfast. It normally is the opposite and we prefer the lunch or dinner options for those that offer multiple meals, but not at the Garden Grill. We just LOVE their breakfast. 

Having the opportunity to eat with Chip and Dale ups the ante even more because it’s the only place currently in Walt Disney World where you can meet them! And not only is the food consistently good at Garden Grill, but the prices are incredibly reasonable!

Pound Cake dessert at the Garden Grill

It has some of the best food and it’s also the cheapest character breakfast in all of Walt Disney World! Say what?!!! 

It’s hard to think of too many reasons NOT to love Garden Grill. The food is great, the prices are incredibly reasonable, and the character interactions are plentiful and terrific! It’s truly a terrific pick no matter what time of day you visit.

PROS:

  • Best combination of price-to-quality ratio out of any restaurant on our list 
  • Only 1 table service credit if using the DDP
  • Offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner with all of them being awesome 
  • Amazing character interactions, including fan favorites Chip and Dale (whom you can’t meet anywhere else) 
  • The food is always fresh here as it’s family-style served on skillets 

CONS:

  • Challenging ADR to get 
  • Can get a little chaotic at check-in leading to unnecessary wait times 
  • Some CAN get a bit motion-sick from the constant rotation of the restaurant

What to Get: 

We are obsessed with the cinnamon breakfast loaf for breakfast! It is amazing! For lunch and dinner we love the creamy mashed potatoes, the macaroni and cheese, and the beef with the chimichurri sauce. 

Garden Grill Breakfast Menu

Garden Grill Lunch and Dinner Menu

1. Topolino’s Terrace

Ziggy and Minnie Mouse at Topolino's Terrace Character Breakfast
  • Location: Disney’s Riviera Resort 
  • Meals: Breakfast and Dinner (Not a Character Meal for Dinner) 
  • Characters: Daisy, Donald, Mickey, Minnie
  • Cost: $49 per adult, $30 per child (ages 3-9) 
  • Cuisine: Italian-Inspired Breakfast 
  • Buffet: No, it’s a prix-fixe menu 
  • Disney Dining Plan: Yes, 1 Table Service credit 

And finally, our absolute favorite character meal in all of Walt Disney World is Topolino’s Terrace! Honestly, Topolino’s never disappoints and their breakfast is not only our favorite character meal but also our favorite breakfast in all of Disney World, it just happens to be a character meal as well! 

So what makes Topolino’s stand out? First, the quality of the food is unparalleled on our list! It’s terrific with ingredients that are fresh, distinctive, and brilliantly presented. The theming of the restaurant is beautiful too, as you’ll get a more upscale experience that will make you feel as if you’re not in Disney. 

It’s the most refined and elegant character experience you’ll have in Walt Disney World, but still perfectly welcoming to kids. 

You have the opportunity to meet Daisy, Donald, Mickey, and Minnie! The characters here put on an adorable little show every 20-30 minutes where they sing and dance around the restaurant in their Riviera-themed costumes. 

And unlike some of the other options on the list, the restaurant just isn’t chaotic and loud. It feels more private and elegant without the chaos you’ll find at some of the character buffets. It’s a more relaxed environment that allows you to fully enjoy your meal without feeling rushed.

Steak with polenta and potatoes at Topolino's Terrace Character Breakfast

The main downside to eating here is that it’s not found inside a Disney World Theme Park, and your best bet is to take either the Disney Skyliner or a Rideshare service such as Uber. You can also take a Disney Bus if you’re coming from another theme park. 

While that’s only a slight knock, it certainly doesn’t bump it down any further! We love mostly everything about Topolino’s Terrace and make sure you get some brilliant rooftop photos after breakfast. And for extra credit, come back to Topolino’s Terrace for dinner, it’s EVEN BETTER!

PROS:

  • By far the highest quality food on our list 
  • Unbeatable setting, theme, and ambiance with great photo ops 
  • Charming character interactions that are completely unique  
  • Remarkably reasonably priced considering the quality 

CONS:

  • We haven’t always had terrific service here from the waiters
  • They ONLY have a character breakfast, no other meals of the day 
  • The portion sizes can be a tad small on some of the entrees if you’re a bigger eater 
  • The location can be hard to reach for some guests

What to Get: 

We’d suggest you get the Wood-fired Butchers Steak! It’s a superb quality cut meat and the blend of ingredients is just tremendous. While we like everything we’ve gotten here, we find that this entree is the best value and most filling entree on the list. 

Topolino’s Terrace Breakfast Menu

Other Character Meals on Hold

There are three additional restaurants that are usually character meals, although they have not had character meals return since the parks reopened in 2020. 2 have reopened without the characters, and one has remained closed altogether.

We will talk about how they were previous to the characters not returning in hopes that soon they will return to normal to give guests additional options for character meals. 

In addition to these two, there is an additional restaurant that has NOT reopened at all yet since the reopening of the park. We will discuss this option as well, based on the previous iteration of how it was prior to the closure.

Bon Voyage Adventure Breakfast at Trattoria al Forno

Prince Charming character at Trattoria al Forno
  • Location: Disney’s Boardwalk
  • Meals: Breakfast
  • Characters: Ariel, Flynn Rider, Prince Eric, Rapunzel
  • Cost: $38 per adult, $22 per child (ages 3-9) 
  • Cuisine: Italian-Inspired Breakfast 
  • Buffet: No, it’s a prix-fixe menu 
  • Disney Dining Plan: Yes, 1 Table Service credit 

This hidden gem of a character breakfast was a wonderful way to meet a couple of Disney Princes and Princesses! Yes, you heard that right, I said PRINCES and PRINCESSES. 

The character interactions here were entertaining and completely distinct from anywhere else! The characters are introduced as they enter the room to bring some liveliness and excitement to kids seeing them for the first time. 

We love the location being on the Disney BoardWalk of the breakfast here as it’s easily accessible for guests who are visiting EPCOT for the day, or that are staying at one of the different EPCOT-area hotels or Disney Skyliner Resorts. The price for breakfast here was typically very reasonable as well! 

makes it easily accessible for families that are visiting EPCOT, or that are staying at an EPCOT-area hotel or at one of the Disney Skyliner Resorts. The prices here are also very reasonable as it was one of the cheapest options out of all the character meals.

Steak and potatoes breakfast Trattoria al Forno

We also love the setting of the restaurant with its more deluxe feel and its luxury vibe. It feels “older,” which I guess can be a good thing for youngsters that are a little bit older. The menu here is also very good giving a number of additional delicious options.

PROS:

  • The special ability to see both princes and princesses 
  • Easy accessibility being on the Disney Skyliner and walking distance to EPCOT
  • One of the easiest ADRs to get 
  • Exceptionally reasonably priced
  • Underrated food with a medley of options available 

CONS:

  • Not currently open with characters 
  • Only was a character breakfast and offered no other character meals 
  • Doesn’t “feel” like a character restaurant and feels older

What to Get: 

We’d suggest getting either the Oak-grilled Steak and Eggs or the Al Forno Eggs. Both menu items are delicious and particularly high quality, considering the price. 

Breakfast at Trattoria al Forno Menu

Garden Grove

Garden Grove restaurant
  • Location: Swan Hotel on the Disney Boardwalk
  • Meals: Breakfast
  • Characters: Chip, Dale, Goofy, and Pluto 
  • Cost: $35 per adult, $22 per child (ages 3-9) 
  • Cuisine: Traditional American Breakfast
  • Buffet: No, it’s a standard la carte breakfast 
  • Disney Dining Plan: No

Another breakfast restaurant that is still currently open, but unfortunately not with characters at this moment in time is Garden Grove which is located inside the Swan Hotel that is on the Disney Boardwalk. While this restaurant is technically at an off-site Disney hotel, it still was a Disney Character Meal. 

We loved this as a character meal, and thought it was incredibly underrated! Literally, no one talked about it, and it was a solid meal with good Disney Characters. Plus this character breakfast was considered the most budget-friendly option on our list! 

Despite the fact that it was a “cheap” meal it did NOT mean that it wasn’t good in quality. Actually, it was quite the opposite and we loved some of the offerings! We also loved that besides Garden Grill, it was the only place where you could meet Chip and Dale! 

The location is somewhat convenient for most guests, considering it’s right on the Disney BoardWalk and an easy walking distance from EPCOT.

PROS:

  • A more comfortable a la carte character option 
  • Not a difficult ADR to reserve 
  • Less chaotic and quieter than the other options 
  • Easy accessibility being on the Disney Skyliner and walking distance to EPCOT
  • One of the most budget-friendly options 

CONS:

  • Not currently open with characters 
  • Character meals were only on Saturdays and Sundays and it was breakfast only
  • The Swan technically isn’t a Disney Resort and is instead operated by Westin 

What to Get: 

We’d advise you to get the French Toast here, it’s TASTY! Coated on a French Baguette with caramelized bananas, it’s a can’t-miss! 

Garden Grove Breakfast Menu

1900 Park Fare (Opening April 10, 2024)

Cinderella character at 1900 Park Fare character meal
  • Location: Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa 
  • Meals: Breakfast, Dinner 
  • Characters: Cinderella, Mirabel, Aladdin (in his Prince Ali look), and Tiana (in her new look for Tiana’s Bayou Adventure) 
  • Cost:
    • For Breakfast $45 per adult, $29 per child (ages 3-9)
    • For Dinner $60 per adult, $39 per child (ages 3-9) 
  • Cuisine: Traditional American Breakfast
  • Buffet: Yes 
  • Disney Dining Plan: Yes, 1 Table Service credit 

(We’ll hold off on ranking the new 1900 Park Fare until it is actually open in April. Until then, we have some info on the new changes and our thoughts on the previous version of the restaurant.)

1900 Park Fare is a solid option for guests that are staying at or near the Magic Kingdom, and unfortunately, it hasn’t come back since the reopening of the parks in 2020. Thankfully, it’s officially reopening on April 10, 2024!

The character lineup has completely changed with the reopening and now you won’t be getting Alice, The Mad Hatter, Mary Poppins, Winnie the Pooh or Tigger anymore. Instead, the new lineup includes Aladdin (in his Prince Ali look), Cinderella, Mirabel and Tiana (in her new look for Tiana’s Bayou Adventure).

Having the opportunity to meet characters from Cinderella for dinner is a nice touch, but don’t like the fact that they reduced the overall number of characters available here from when it closed. We wonder if any of the old characters will eventually be added in the future. 

Although we never thought the quality of the food offerings here was up-to-par with the prices, they do have very varied offerings allowing guests of all different palettes to find something interesting here.

Organ at 1900 Park Fare character meal

Its location next to Magic Kingdom gave guests a nice alternative to Chef Mickey’s, ‘Ohana, and the character meals at Magic Kingdom if you’d already eaten at those places before.

PROS:

  • Terrific character interactions and different characters than other meals 
  • Very good diversity of food choices 
  • Good location for guests visiting Magic Kingdom and an easier ADR to get than the alternatives 

CONS:

  • Not currently open unfortunately 
  • Lunch is not a buffet-style offering, as they previously had the Tea Party here 
  • The ambiance and dining room are very plain with minimal theming 
  • Very expensive considering the offerings 
  • Can be difficult to get to if you’re not staying near Magic Kingdom

What to Get: 

The Smoked Salmon Lox and the Classic Eggs Benedict for Breakfast were popular selections for us and our family on our visits here for breakfast.

For dinner, we enjoyed the Catfish, the Honey-Sriracha Salmon, and the Shrimp Scampi. 

1900 Park Fare Breakfast Menu

1900 Park Fare Dinner Menu

Booking Character Meals

Flynn Rider character Trattoria al Forno

In this section, we will touch on the importance of booking character meals. We will help advise you on the proper things to consider when booking them and important factors when making ADRs for the various different character meals.

When to Schedule Character Meals?

As you can see, character meals are EXPENSIVE! And since they are both costly and fun, we’d advise you to schedule them when you actually have time to enjoy them and fully relax. 

I know, the idea of relaxing around hundreds of people and screaming kids around buffet stations is next to impossible, but you get what I’m saying…

In short, schedule your character meals when you don’t need to be rushed! This can be on both park days and non-park days. 

If you’re going to the parks, plan to visit the character meal that is within the park that day. Don’t schedule your character meals at Disney Parks on days you weren’t planning on already going to a park because then you’ll need to purchase additional park passes unnecessarily. 

Only do the park character meals if you’re already going. The opposite is true as well, don’t waste time going to a resort character dining meal if you’re visiting the Disney Parks on that day.

1900 Park Fare restaurant dining room

You don’t want to spend hours of your day at a character meal that is NOT at a Disney Theme Park if you’re planning on utilizing most of the day at a park. 

We typically love to schedule character meals on both arrival and departure days as we normally don’t make park reservations on those days. While this isn’t always possible, it’s worth considering depending on which restaurant you want to visit.

How Far in Advance Should You Book a Character Meal at Disney World?

One of the most important things that you NEED to keep in mind is this: Character Meals are VERY popular and absolutely vital that you book as soon as possible! 

Booking them early means 60 days in advance for most guests. Even when you try to book them 60 days in advance, you’ll see that many restaurants have already sold out. 

Certain ones such as Chef Mickey’s, Cinderella’s Royal Table, Topolino’s Terrace, and Crystal Palace are VERY hard to secure, and don’t be shocked if you can’t grab an ADR. 

Remember to begin booking at 5:45 a.m. at the 60-day mark prior to your trip. Don’t wait until 6:00 a.m., that’ll make a huge difference.

What If You Can’t Get a Reservation?

Winnie Pooh and Eye-ore topiary Crystal Palace

Okay, so you did everything we suggested and you STILL didn’t grab an ADR. What do you do? Well first off, don’t panic! There are a number of things you can do to make sure you get your dream reservation.

Guests frequently cancel their reservations at the last minute, usually just prior to the 24-hour window as Disney will charge guests $10 per person if they don’t show up to their ADR if they don’t cancel at least 24 hours in advance. 

This means there will be additional reservations that pop up! In fact, we’ve frequently been able to snag last-minute reservations! 

Another thing you can try doing is seeing if the restaurant has a walk-up list through the My Disney Experience app. Several restaurants throughout Walt Disney World allow you to join a walk-up list and get notified when a spot opens up which is super convenient.

You can of course also try the traditional walk-up list and go directly to the restaurant and see if they can squeeze you in. This is absolutely still possible and happens more times than guests realize for restaurants, especially if you have only 2-4 guests in your party. We still frequently do this! 

If you’re still worried, check our Guide to Advance Dining Reservations which shows you how to secure those hard-to-get ADRs. This will absolutely ensure you get your ADR!

What Time is Character Dining at Disney World?

Dale character at Garden Grill EPCOT

The short answer is, it depends on what restaurant it is. For those who are looking to enjoy a character breakfast, you’ll find the character breakfasts “generally” begin around the 7:30 a.m. mark and stop taking new reservations around 10:45 a.m. 

The character meals that are within the Disney Theme Parks tend to start a little bit later, closer to the opening time of the park. 

The character meals that offer lunches will begin transitioning the food from breakfast to lunch generally between 10:45 am and 11:00 am

You can typically start making reservations for dinner at 4:00 pm and take the last reservations until around 9:30 or park closing time, if it’s inside a Disney Theme Park. 

Keep in mind that for those that are open for both lunch AND dinner, the menus are identical so there is no difference whether you come at 2:00 or 5:00 pm.

What to Keep in Mind About Character Breakfasts

breakfast plate at Cape May Cafe

If you want to start your day off with a character breakfast, there are some important things to keep in mind! Here are some of our favorites:

  1. Book your character breakfast as early as possible. Those within Disney Parks tend to be around 8:00 am. Make sure to check the park hours as well, as park hours can change from day to day. Book earlier if you’re visiting a character breakfast at a resort.
  2. Figure out ‘HOW’ you are going to get to your character meal. For instance, if you have an early morning ADR at one of the other Disney World resorts that isn’t within walking distance, you’ll need to pre-plan how you will get there. Disney Transportation likely won’t take you directly there.
  3. If you book a LATER breakfast, the food will be transitioning to lunch generally at around 10:45 a.m. so make sure you have enough time to eat what you want.
  4. A good rule of thumb is to give yourself 90 minutes for your character meal, while it tends to take a little bit less time, it’s important to factor in MORE time. This will help you with planning the rest of your day.
  5. Breakfasts are NOT typically a great use of Disney Dining Credits if you have the Disney Dining Plan, as breakfasts are the cheapest meals of the day. Save it for another meal or at the very least use it on one of the more expensive 1 dining credit breakfasts such as Chef Mickey’s or Akershus.

Character Meals with Princesses

Cinderella at Akershus character meal EPCOT

For those planning on enjoying a character meal with the different Disney Princesses, you’ll have two main options:

  • The first is Akershus Royal Banquet Hall, which is found inside the Norway Pavilion at EPCOT. 
  • The second is Cinderella’s Royal Table, which is found inside Cinderella’s Castle in the Magic Kingdom. 

Akershus is slightly easier to find ADRs for and it’s a tad bit cheaper. At Akershus, you’ll find a rotation combination of Snow White, Cinderella, Belle, Princess Aurora, Ariel, and Tiana for Disney Princesses. 

At Cinderella’s Royal Table, you’ll meet Ariel, Cinderella, Princess Aurora, Snow White, and Jasmine. While they are similar they are slightly different. 

While these are the two main options, we hope there will soon be additional options for guests and families looking to have an opportunity to dine with the different Disney Princesses.

Character Dining Pros and Cons

The Mad Hatter character at 1900 Park Fare

Discussing whether or not to break the bank for a character breakfast can be a difficult decision. There are many pros and cons of character dining within Walt Disney World:

PROS:

  • An entertaining way for the whole family to meet the characters without waiting in long lines at the various Disney Parks. This can save additional time later on! 
  • There are distinctive character interactions that you won’t find at the parks, including some that are exclusive to the restaurants.
  • Running constantly all the time around the Disney Parks can be exhausting especially on long and hot Florida days! A character meal is a great change of pace allowing you to enjoy and get some air conditioning. 

CONS:

  • Park passes in Disney are expensive and if you haven’t been to the parks in a long time and want to maximize your park day, spending 90 minutes at a character restaurant likely isn’t the best use of value or maximizing the amount of attractions you can visit. 
  • You likely won’t find too many of the character meals in our list of favorite restaurants in Walt Disney World. While the food is mostly good and slightly above average, it’s typically not to the standards of some of the better restaurants in Disney World.

Saving Money at Character Meals

box of candy desserts Story Book Dining at Artist Point

If you’re on the fence about whether it’s worth it to do a character meal at Walt Disney World, here is something you CAN consider:

Eat at one of the cheaper character meals at Walt Disney World. It will help you prevent breaking the bank while giving you a good taste of the experience! But which one is the cheapest?

What is the Cheapest Character Meal in Disney World?

The cheapest character meal in Walt Disney World is a tie, it’s between Hollywood & Vine and Garden Grill. Both options are cheaper for breakfast at only $42 per adult. 

The lunches and dinners are slightly more expensive, but still pretty reasonable, and well under the prices of the other character meals you will find.

READ: Best Money-Saving Tips at Disney World

Other Tips for Planning Character Meals

Goofy character at Tusker House

What other things should we consider when planning character meals? Here is a list of some of our other tips you need to be aware of:

  • Don’t schedule too much on the day that you’re having a character meal, as it will stress you out and make you feel more rushed rather than enjoying the experience! Instead, try to get as many autographs and pictures as you can and fill up at the buffet stations!
  • Maximize the other parts of your day. For instance, if you have a character dinner, try to ensure you get to the parks early and get to all of the main attractions you want to visit first. This will prevent you from feeling as if you’re wasting valuable time eating! 
  • Plan your character meals at nearby resorts or locations. For instance, if you’re staying at one of the Monorail Resorts, book one of the character meals at Magic Kingdom or one of the other Monorail Hotels. This will save you time as opposed to attempting to get to a further destination.

Ready to Start Planning Your Disney Vacation?

Mickey Mouse partners statue Magic Kingdom

If you feel overwhelmed planning a Disney vacation, use an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner such as Show You the World Travel. They are experts on every Disney location and can tell you where to stay, what to do, how to save money, and give you personalized service for your most magical vacation ever!

Transportation to Character Meals

Bus stop at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge

A main factor to consider when getting to your character meals is “How am I going to get there?” We’ve been in this predicament too many times attempting to figure out transportation to the Disney Parks before other guests OR getting to the different Disney World Resorts when you’re in a rush. 

Let’s consider the different modes of transportation with Walt Disney World and help you plan the best route for your destination, no matter where you are going for your character meal.

Disney Buses 

It’s very likely that if you’re visiting a Disney Theme Park the Disney Buses are your only option, especially first thing in the morning. With many of the character meals being in Disney Parks, it’s crucial that you can be in line near your bus stop EARLY. 

With Early Theme Park Entry beginning 30 minutes prior to the official park opening, we’d suggest getting in line at your resort anywhere between 75-90 minutes prior to your ADR.

Opt on the side of 90 minutes if you’re staying at a Value Resort with a large number of guests or a Moderate Resort that has several bus stops within the resort loop.

Disney Skyliner

Disney Skyliner over the water at Disney's Art of Animation Resort

If you’re visiting a character breakfast that is on the Disney Skyliner loop, whether it’s at Hollywood Studios, EPCOT, the Riviera Resort, or somewhere on the Disney BoardWalk you generally don’t need to get there as early as the buses. 

While lines can be LONG first thing in the morning, they tend to move on the faster side. 

It’s important to keep in mind that the Disney Skyliner lines only begin about an hour prior to the park opening. So if you need to take the EPCOT line to the Boardwalk or the Riviera Resort and your reservation is for 7:30 a.m. and the Disney Skyliner isn’t quite operating yet, you can be in trouble. 

You’ll probably need to find an alternative solution. Your best option will be either a Minnie Van or a ridesharing service such as Uber.

Walking

If you’re walking to your character meal, you’ll have an ideal situation! If you’re visiting a Disney Park and have an early morning ADR, you’ll normally be allowed to get in line near the tapstiles around 60 minutes prior to the park opening for Early Theme Park Entry

If you’re merely walking to a character meal at your resort or another resort that is close by, just account for the time it’ll take your family to get over there and try to arrive at your ADR a few minutes early. We normally suggest getting there about 15 minutes earlier than your reservation.

Monorail

Walt Disney World Resort Monorail sign entrance Magic Kingdom

If you need to take the Disney Monorail to your character meal, keep in mind that lines can get LONG. So whether you’re going to Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, or another Monorail Resort, I’d recommend waiting at your monorail stop at least 60 minutes prior to your ADR. 

If you need to take the monorail over to the Transportation and Ticket Center to transfer to EPCOT, we’d recommend at least 75 minutes.

Boats

Some Disney Resorts offer Boats to take you to the different theme parks or resorts. If you take one, we’d normally recommend getting in line for the boat at least 60 minutes prior to your ADR, or sometimes even earlier. 

Try to get on the first boat if you have an early morning ADR. Ask the Disney Cast Members at your resort what time the first boat will be picking up guests.

Car

red car in Disney World parking lot

If you’re driving a vehicle and you’re visiting one of the Disney Theme Parks for your character meal, you can begin getting into the parking area around 70 minutes prior to Early Theme Park Entry time. 

I wouldn’t suggest getting there too early as it’s possible you’ll have to wait for the booths to open and could have to circle back around, which can be a major irritation! 

If you’re driving to a Disney World Resort, just plan on getting there 15 minutes prior to your ADR. You’ll need to inform the parking attendant as you drive in that you have a reservation and they’ll likely look it up to confirm prior to allowing you into the parking area. 

We explain all of these details more in our Disney World Parking Guide.

Uber/Lyft

Something that we frequently do these days is utilize one of the ridesharing services such as Uber or Lyft. These services are extremely easy to use and they are PERFECT if you are in a pinch. 

Download one of the apps on your smartphone and connect one of your credit cards. 

We particularly like them if we are visiting another Disney World Resort for a character meal as they’ll take you directly to the resort without needing a roundabout way to get to the resort. And normally the rides are super cheap!

Are Character Meals Worth It?

Cinderella's Royal Table restaurant welcome card

While we aren’t really fans of doing a character meal on every Walt Disney World Vacation, as they can get expensive, we do still love them! So yes, we’d say they are absolutely worth it, especially if you have never done one before.

They are even better if you follow our suggestions and pick the ones that offer the best mix of quality, value, and experience! 

And while the food can sometimes be a little underwhelming, you have to think of the overall bigger picture. For many kids, (and some adults), a character meal could be the highlight of their vacation! I know for myself growing up, they are often the things I still hold dear in my heart. 

If you focus on the overall experience while having fun and letting your guard down, I think it will no doubt be a worthwhile experience! Especially if you go to Topolino’s Terrace, Garden Grill, and Tusker House!

FAQs

Does Disney Still Do the Character Meals?

Yes of course! Disney is still doing character meals and there are 13 different character meals at Walt Disney World right now.

Which is the Best Character Meal in Disney World?

Mickey Mouse greeting a baby at Topolino's Terrace restaurant

In our view, the breakfast at Topolino’s Terrace is the best mix of quality food, value, and just an incredible overall experience.

Which is the Best Character Breakfast?

Once again, we feel that Topolino’s Terrace is the best character breakfast too.

Which Theme Parks Have Character Meals?

All four of the theme parks at Walt Disney World have at least one character meal. EPCOT and Magic Kingdom have MORE than one. Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios each have one.

Are All Character Meals Buffets?

buffet of candy at Chef Mickey's

No, not all character meals at Disney World are buffets. They are mostly buffets, but some of them are family-style and others offer prix-fixe offerings allowing you to pick from a set list.

Which Character Meals Have PhotoPass Photographers?

There are three character restaurants that currently have PhotoPass Photographers and they are: Story Book Dining, Chef Mickey’s, and Cinderella’s Royal Table.

Should You Use Disney Dining Plan Credits on a Character Meal?

Dopey character at Story Book Dining at Artist Point

Just because you are using the Disney Dining Plan, doesn’t mean you should always use your credits at character meals.

I’d suggest using a Disney Dining Plan credit for breakfast ONLY if it’s at Akershus or Chef Mickey’s, both are reasonable values for one dining credit. 

For lunch or dinner, all of the character meals are a good use of dining credits since they are more expensive for dinner.

The only exceptions are when it’s not a 2-credit meal, such as Cinderella’s Royal Table or Akershus for lunch/dinner. In that case it’s almost always better just to pay for your meal outright instead of using dining credits.

Is Be Our Guest a Character Meal?

Yes and no. In our list, we considered it a character meal although it’s not your typical character meal. There won’t be Disney Characters coming up to your table to take pictures or sign autographs. 

At Be Our Guest, you’ll have the opportunity to meet The Beast if you so choose. But there’s typically a wait to meet him, and he’s the only Disney Character at the restaurant.

Where Can I Find the Fab Five?

Donald Duck at Chef Mickey's

The only Disney Character Meal that has all five of the Fab Five is Chef Mickey’s. And that’s a win in our books!

Is Character Dining Coming Back to Trattoria al Forno?

We hope so! Unfortunately, characters have not come back to Trattoria al Forno since the restaurant reopened following Walt Disney World’s closure in 2020. While it’s still open for breakfast, the characters are not there meeting guests.

Which Characters Do You Meet at ‘Ohana Breakfast?

In addition to Stitch and Lilo, you’ll also have the opportunity to meet Pluto and Mickey at ‘Ohana’s breakfast!

Need Help Booking Your Character Meals?

Donald Duck and guest at Cape May Cafe character meal

Booking a Walt Disney World trip is constantly full of moving parts, from booking the different character meal restaurants to theme park reservations to Genie+, where do you begin?! We can’t recommend the opportunity to use a company such as Show You the World Travel to help book your Disney World Vacation. 

They are a team of extremely qualified agents who are equipped with extensive amounts of Disney knowledge while being experienced in helping you make wise decisions allowing you to fully maximize your vacation. We have used them over and over again, and we couldn’t suggest them highly enough. 

I’m so confident that once you start using a Disney Travel Agent, you won’t want to go back! They take out all of the guesswork and all of the additional work for you, making it extremely simple for your family to focus on the things that count most to you. 

And my favorite thing is it doesn’t cost one penny more than booking directly through Disney! To contact the team over at Show You The World for a free quote, click our link here.

That wraps up our ranking of the best character meals at Walt Disney World. We hope you liked it and that we gave you some good ideas for places to eat when you visit.

Winnie the Pooh and guests at Crystal Palace

We want to hear what your top character meals are so drop them in the comments section below!

For more great Disney Restaurants be sure to check out our other guides:

If you are going to Disney World soon, make sure to read our Disney World Planning Guide for all the tips and info you will need to cover everything! Also, check out our Disney World Crowd Calendar so you know when the best time to visit is!

Your Thoughts

I want to know what you think about our rankings of the best character meals at Disney World…

  • Do you agree with our list?
  • What are your Top Character Restaurants?

Let us know in the comments section below!

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