DOING DISNEY With Character Dining


It’s a magical moment for children and their parents – the look of adoration and amazement on the face of a young guest as they finally meet Cinderella, Stitch, Doc McStuffins, or the one and only Mickey Mouse. One of the best ways to ensure a good meet and greet – and great pictures – with a favorite character is by making reservations for character dining.

What exactly is character dining? As you enjoy your meal, select Disney characters will stop by each table, one at a time, for a few minutes. This allows guests time for photos, autographs, high fives, and even hugs.

Character dining can be a highlight of your Disney vacation, and there are many different kinds of restaurants, characters, and experiences. So many choices can make it hard to decide which character meal is right for you. I recommend the following:

1.    Avoid scheduling your character meal at breakfast –unless it’s scheduled well before the park opens. Lines are shortest at rope drop, so if you’re sitting enjoying breakfast then, you’ll miss experiencing attractions with minimal wait. Instead, make your reservation for lunch, when the parks are busiest.

2.    Consider purchasing the dining plan. Character meals are expensive. Purchasing the Disney Dining Plan can help you save money if you’re planning on lots of table service and character meals.

3.    A character meal at a resort can be a good option for a non-park day and also gives you an opportunity to see a Disney resort. Some are located in monorail hotels, so if you’re at Magic Kingdom or Epcot, you can hop on the monorail and take a break from the parks as you enjoy your meal at the Grand Floridian, the Polynesian, or the Contemporary.

Best Disneyworld character dining experiences:


The best place to enjoy meeting Cinderella herself, as well as the other princesses, is Cinderella’s Royal Table. This hard-to-get reservation requires 2 dining service credits, but there aren’t many other ways to get access to Cinderella’s Castle. It’s definitely a magical experience to climb the stairs and look out over all of Fantasyland! Alternate: Akershus in Norway at Epcot allows you to meet Belle, Ariel, Aurora, Cinderella, and Snow White.

Mickey and Friends:

Favorite options include Chef Mickey’s in the Contemporary Inn where you can meet the Fab Five – Mickey, Donald, Goofy, Pluto, and Minnie – while you enjoy a delicious buffet. Tusker House in Animal Kingdom is hosted by Mickey, Goofy, Donald, and Daisy. At Garden Grill in Epcot, Mickey, Pluto, Chip, and Dale will stop by your table as you enjoy farm fresh food served family style.

Other Disney Favorites:

At 1900 Park Fare at the Grand Floridian, Mary Poppins, Pooh, Tigger, Alice, and the Mad Hatter make appearances at breakfast and lunch. At dinner you’ll find Cinderella, Prince Charming, Lady Tremaine, and her sassy stepdaughters.

The newest character experience is with Snow White, Dopey, Grumpy, and the Wicked Queen at Artist Point at Wilderness Lodge. To meet couples Rapunzel and Flynn Rider and Ariel and Prince Eric, make reservations at Trattoria al Forno on the Boardwalk near Epcot. At ‘Ohana at the Polynesian resort, breakfast is served family style with Stitch, Lilo, Mickey, and Pluto.

Meeting beloved characters can be one of the most memorable parts of your Disney vacation! Contact Vacations by Shannon for free Disney vacation planning.

Shannon LeyerleComment