Character dining has always been a Disney staple in my family; if we didn’t end the trip with 1900 Park Fare at The Grand Floridian, then it was with Chef Mickey’s Buffet at the Contemporary Resort. These dining experiences can be unique and create memories that last a lifetime but can get repetitive. Going to character meals helped me grow out of the “I’m scared of characters” phase. It was a calm environment where I didn’t feel rushed, so that I could take my time with the characters. Mind you, this was back in the day, like 2000 and 2001.
I think in more recent years, it has become not as unique of an experience. The same characters make appearances at different restaurants. It’s always Mickey and his pals, Winnie the Pooh and friends, or the princesses. I still think princess dining experiences are worth it because it’s not often you can have a full-on conversation with a Disney princess or several. As for the Mickey and pals experiences, I am ready for something new.
For example, a Pixar character breakfast would be so much fun. This breakfast could have friends from Toy Story, Monsters Inc., Coco, and The Incredibles. We see these characters around the parks but not very often, so it would be fun to see a dining location dedicated to them. Pixar characters continue to gain popularity, and many of us hold them in a special place in our hearts, so I think people would show up. An even more fantastic idea would be to have a Guardians of the Galaxy character breakfast at Space 220. They could make the food look futuristic and spacey like they do for lunch and dinner. This would definitely get guests excited to ride Cosmic Rewind.
The food at these dining experiences hasn’t been getting better. I wish they would spice up these menus and add some flare to the dishes they serve. I know many locations are buffets or family style, but that food needs some extra love, even if it sits under a heat lamp. I have learned that I prefer a character breakfast over a character lunch or dinner. Disney does breakfast right; it’s hard to mess up scrambled eggs and Mickey Waffles, but I have had nothing but great breakfast experiences.
I think character dining experiences are worth it if it’s your first trip, an anniversary, or a birthday or if you want the little one’s in your group to become more comfortable with meeting characters. I think paying $45 per person for breakfast and $60 per person for dinner at Chef Mickey’s multiple times is not worth it. Hear me out, please. The characters are adorable but aren’t rare or hard to find. That money would be better spent at the Story Book Dining at Artist Point with Snow White. This experience is on my dining bucket list, so maybe that’s why I think that way. I spend too much time researching that restaurant and watching TikToks of the character interactions. As a performer who worked character dining shifts, I think they can be great meals filled with memories. I wish they would start making more character dining adventures with rare characters, giving guests more options and allowing for different experiences.
All in all, it’s up to the travel party to decide what’s worth it for them, but if I can offer any advice, let me list the character dining experiences that might be more worth it than others.
The Better Character Dining Experiences
- Topolino’s Terrace
- Bon Voyage Breakfast Adventure at Trattoria al Forno
- Story Book Dining at Artist Point with Snow White
- 1900 Park Fare (still not open yet)
- Akershus Royal Banquet Hall (you can see a lot of princesses here)
If you could create your own character dining experience, what would it be? Let us know in the comments.
Hi, I'm Erica, and I write about all things Disney. Before working for The DIS, I was a theme park performer at SeaWorld, but I also performed at Disney. I have such an immense love for theme parks to the point I studied them in college.