When it comes time to book a trip to Walt Disney World, the one must-do atop most seasoned Disney visitors’ lists is making a reservation for the most magical of meals: Disney character dining.
For the unindoctrinated, this tradition may seem a little silly. After all, food around all that plush could pose a sticky problem for Mickey & Friends. But Disney fans of all ages know that if your heart (and belly) desire amazing food, a fun show-like atmosphere, and the ability to meet your favorite Disney characters in an air conditioned space without waiting in endless lines, Disney character meals are where it’s at.
When asked if character meals are a must for their trips to Disney World, our Disney-specialized travel agents came back with a resounding Y-E-S.
“YES! At least one character dining experience is essential at Disney World! Having a meal and meeting some characters is part of the magic. Even adults can have fun at these events.” – Jen
“It’s like dinner and a show – plus, you get to meet characters you may not get to see in other places!” – Kristin
“Character dining is a must-do for our family trips! We love that we can see multiple characters while we’re having a meal and a break from the sunshine and ride hopping. Not having to wait in line multiple times and getting to fill our bellies with the deliciousness…why wouldn’t you do character dining?!” – Deidre
“Absolutely! You get to hang out with several characters at once without the wait. It’s a unique experience and everyone is so excited.” – Amanda
“Character Dining is a must-do for guests with children or without kids if you’re big Disney fans. It is one of the best ways to meet those characters without waiting in lines. Typically, there are around five characters and they come to you! They pose for personal pictures and sign autographs as well. The cast members also come around to ensure each table has been visited by each character.” – Christian
“Character Dining at Walt Disney World is an absolute must do. It is a really fun, relaxed way to meet characters and they have awesome themed costumes based on the restaurant. I think Farmer Mickey at Epcot’s Garden Grill is the cutest!” – Jennie
“Disney character dining is a huge memory maker in my opinion and really helps you feel the Disney magic!” – Morgan
“Yes! Character dining is the easiest way to meet many characters all at once and if you pick the right restaurant you will enjoy some great food as well!” – Katie
Ahh…did you catch that?
…IF YOU PICK THE RIGHT RESTAURANT…
While the standard is high across the board at Disney World, some character dining experiences are better than others.
Knowledge is power and we here at Ear To There Travel are nothing if not knowledgeable about how to make your Disney travel experience the very best it can be. After all, it’s what we do for all of our travel clients.
We book Disney trips at no cost to our clients because we’re paid directly by Disney! And – trust us – we’ve done very thorough research.
So, without further ado, here’s our list of the 8 best character dining meals you can partake in while enjoying your next Disney World vacation.
And, if you want us to book your trip and make your dining reservations ahead of time for you, get in touch! We’re here to provide you with a free, no-obligation quote whenever you’re ready to make your Disney dreams a reality.
Our Favorite Character Dining Experiences at Disney World
As we always say here at Ear To There Travel, the best Disney experiences are the ones that fit your family’s needs and desires.
The same holds true with character dining.
Whether you’re seeking out a glamorous, princess-filled character meal or prefer to bounce around whipping napkins over your head with Mickey and his pals, we’re here to give you the very best options for selecting your perfect-fit character dining experience to enjoy during your next Walt Disney World vacation.
Best Character Dining at Epcot: Garden Grill
The overall top recommendation for best character dining experience at Disney World from our Ear To There Vacationeers was overwhelmingly Garden Grill at Epcot.
Here’s a bit about the experience from our agents…
“My favorite character dining experience is Garden Grill. It’s located in the Land Pavilion and is a rotating restaurant featuring Mickey, Pluto, Chip and Dale. It overlooks Living with the Land which is one of our must do attractions, so that is a huge plus for us. We have been there for dinner, and the food, which is served family style, is delicious. Save room for that strawberry shortcake!!!” – Jennie
“My favorite character breakfast at Disney World is Garden Grill at Epcot – classic characters and a delicious breakfast!” – Kristin
“My favorite WDW character dining experience is dinner at Garden Grill at Epcot. Chip and Dale, Pluto, and Mickey join the meal, and they are really good with the interactions and photos. Chip and Dale are really funny, and Pluto is adorable at this location. Mickey is dressed like a farmer and he is also really fun to visit. The characters are really good at signing autograph books, posing for photos, and joking with guests and Cast Members. The service is outstanding, and guests get to eat above “Living with the Land.” This means the restaurant moves in a slow circle, so guests can hear snippets of the attraction below them! Honestly, I was a bit bummed about the food option (homestyle comfort food) until I tasted it! I would never have chosen that option for dinner, but the food is really good.” – Jen
Best Character Breakfast For The Foodies: Topolino’s Terrace
When it comes to amazing food to accompany your character dining experience, there was zero competition among our agents.
If amazing food, side-of-plush optional is the way you view character dining experiences, head to Topolino’s Terrace at Disney’s Riviera Resort can’t be beat.
As our cheeky agent Ron put it when we asked for his favorite character dining experience on property…
“I tell people all the time that Topolino’s is the best breakfast on property. Oh, and they have characters too!”
Here’s what a few of our other agents had to say…
“My favorite character dining is Topolino’s Terrace at the new Riviera Resort! Mickey, Minnie, Donald, and Daisy appear in adorable artist outfits only at breakfast. What I like the most about this character meal is that it is both kid friendly and classy enough for adults. I have dined here twice with only a group of Disney loving adults and we had a great time! The food is absolutely amazing! My favorite dish is the Quiche Gruyère with House-made Pancetta, Roasted Potatoes, and Gruyère, Lemon Vinaigrette. I dream about the potatoes when I am at home! This restaurant is on the top floor of the Riviera resort and it has an amazing outdoor Terrace that will give you fantastic views of the surrounding Disney resorts, skyliner, and parks! If you want a character meal that is fun for kids but also provides amazing food, this is the place to book!” – Katie
“Breakfast at Topolino’s Terrace at Riviera Resort is my favorite character meal at Disney World. The food is amazing and the character interactions are great! The characters don’t rush and are very interactive and their outfits are adorable. The quiche gruyere and roasted potatoes are so good. It’s a beautiful restaurant as well with great views of Epcot and Hollywood Studios.” – Amanda
Potatoes and quiche? Yes. Please.
Best Character Breakfast at Magic Kingdom: Crystal Palace or Chef Mickey’s
If you’re planning to have a character breakfast experience during a day at Magic Kingdom, you have two great options: one just a short monorail ride away at Chef Mickey’s in the Contemporary Resort and another at Crystal Palace right inside Magic Kingdom with Winnie, Tigger, and the whole Hundred Acre Wood crew.
Here’s what a few of our Vacationeers have to say…
“Our first character dining experience was breakfast at the Crystal Palace with Winnie the Pooh and Friends. It really stands out because it is not often you get to give Tigger a hug! But then Chef Mickey’s has the Fab Five and if you ride the Monorail to the Contemporary, it adds a special trip element as well.” – Christian
“Chef Mickey’s is great for breakfast or dinner. You get to meet the Fab Five! What could be better?” – Jessica
Best Character Breakfast at Animal Kingdom: Tusker House
Looking to enjoy breakfast at Animal Kingdom with Mickey & Friends just a stone’s throw from Pandora?
Our travel agent Deidre has some very dialed-in advice about how to make reservations at Tusker House that allows you to enjoy the not-often-seen character brunch.
“There are so many great options for character dining at Walt Disney World, but if I could only choose one, I’d go with a 10:20 reservation at Tusker House in Animal Kingdom. That may sound oddly specific, but it allows perfect time to rope drop Avatar Flight of Passage and then get an early morning Safari ride in before breakfast. Explorer Mickey, Goofy, Donald and Daisy are at Tusker House for all meals, but having this in-between time allows for you to take advantage of the Mickey (and Simba!) Waffles for breakfast before having a second plate from the lunch menu. Curry for brunch! Yummy!”
Best Character Dining For Dinner: Storybook Dining at Artist Point
If you want a truly sumptuous dinner experience complete with dwarfs and delicious desserts, look no further than Storybook Dining at Artist Point.
“My favorite character dinner would have to be Storybook Dining at Artist Point. I love the prix fixe dinner. It is very immersive into Snow White and the food is amazing! It’s a good time for all ages. Great photo opportunities too! It is hard to score this reservation so book as early as you can. “ – Morgan
“My favorite dinner is Storybook Dining at Artist Point! You get to meet Snow White, the Evil Queen, Dopey and Grumpy! The desserts are so cool too!” – Kristin
Best Character Dining For Those With Food Allergies and Dietary Restrictions: Cape May Cafe
While all Disney kitchens are incredibly accommodating for those with special dietary needs, it’s always nice to have a specific recommendation from someone who has navigated this often stressful path before you.
Our Disney-specialized travel agent, Danielle, had an amazing experience with her daughter at Cape May Cafe at Disney’s Beach Club Resort that exemplifies the inclusive magic Walt Disney World is renowned for.
Here’s what she had to say…
“I love Cape May Cafe Beach Club Resort. My daughter has celiac disease and the chefs are wonderful! We were greeted at the table, to discuss her menu. She was given such superb attention and the food was on point making her feel like every other child being able to eat Mickey Mouse’s Waffles – gluten free, of course! We told them how she loved bacon, and they brought her a plate of bacon that was as big as she is! It was such a great experience for her to feel included!”
Best Character Dining For Off-Beat Characters & Tickled Funny Bones: 1900 Park Fare
If you want a character meal at Disney World that has a pinch of tradition and a dash of dinner show thrown in for good measure, step out for supper at 1900 Park Fare at the Grand Floridian.
Our agent, Jen, was pleasantly surprised by her character dining experience with Cinderella and family. Here’s what she had to say…
“Cinderella, the Stepsisters, Lady Tremaine, and Prince Charming at 1900 Park Fare at Grand Floridian are amazing for dinner. I say this because I thought Cinderella was going to be the star of the show, but the Stepsisters are hysterical! They never break character (of course) and I cannot stop cracking up! Having them poke at each other, the guests, Cinderella, and their mom is really fun to watch.”
After all, what could be more Disney than happily ever after and hilarity side-by-side?
How To Make Disney World Character Dining Reservations
Ready to enjoy a fun family meal with amazing Disney characters? We’re so excited for you to do so.
That said, we have to caution you: the Disney experience has changed in recent years. You can’t just stroll into a Disney restaurant and expect to be seated right away.
Disney World dining reservations open 60 days ahead of time and some reservations – particularly character dining reservations – are very hard to come by.
If you want us to do the time-consuming work of securing your reservations at no cost to you, please do get in touch!
We’d love to help make sure you get the very best Disney Deals available and enjoy the Disney character dining experience that’s the perfect fit for your family.
In some cases, we can even transfer your existing Disney World travel reservation into our system after you’ve booked. In doing so, you can take advantage of our concierge-style services to get the advanced dining reservations and expert guidance we have to offer.
We can sometimes even save you money by keeping an eye on any new discounts or offers Disney releases and retroactively applying them to your travel.
Whether you’re traveling to Disney in a few months or a year from now, keep us in mind. We would love the opportunity to make your Disney vacation experience the very best one it can possibly be.
Just reach out to us using this form and we will get back to you ASAP.