Mom With Kids After Run
  • On Jun 16, 2016
    Cara from TX Asked

    Wanting to get opinions on character dining. What are the "best" favorite options for character dining? I've been looking into Ohana breakfast. We will be staying at Art of Animation resort.

  • Hello, Cara!

    How exciting that you'll be visiting Walt Disney World Resort - 'the Happiest Place on Earth' and are staying at Disney's Art of Animation Resort where you'll benefit from the "Disney Difference" amenities. Disney's Character Dining is tops on our list where dining with our buddies is always fun and delicious.

    I'll name some of my favorite Disney Character Dining restaurants: The Crystal Palace, at Disney's Magic Kingdom park, Chef Mickey's at Disney's Contemporary Resort, Akershus Royal Banquet Hall in Epcot, and Hollywood and Vine at Disney's Hollywood Studios to name a few. My fellow panelists will contribute their favorites for you as well. Now, I'm 'rumbly in my tumbly'.

    May I offer a new Dining Package at Tony's Town Square Restaurant which affords you the option of reserved viewing for Disney's Main Street Electrical Parade later on that day in Disney's Magic Kingdom park.

    Enjoy full customization and control of your vacation through My Disney Experience online and mobile app, especially for Disney Dining and FastPass+ experiences.

    Best Disney Dishes, Cara~




  • thumbnail image for Ritzy
    Hi Cara,

    In general, I would suggest booking Disney Character Dining based on two main factors, your family's preference for specific Disney Characters and the type of dining experience you would most enjoy.

    My family absolutely LOVES 'Ohana Best Friends Breakfast Featuring Lilo & Stitch at Disney's Polynesian Village Resort. This restaurant offers a family-style meal experience. The bread basket comes with Hawaiian welcome bread flavored with pineapple and coconut. YUM! They offer an assortment of juices, including a delicious tropical juice blend made from a combination of passion fruit, orange and guava juices. Breakfast is served in skillets, family-style. Characters include Mickey Mouse, Pluto, Lilo and Stitch. They come to your table dressed in their tropical Hawaiian outfits!

    We are also quite fond of Chef Mickey's at Disney's Contemporary Resort. This location offers a more typical buffet-style experience with cold and hot buffet stations for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Breakfast is bountiful and quite delicious! Characters include Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Pluto, Donald Duck and Goofy. They all come to your table dressed in chef-inspired outfits!

    If you wish to dine with Disney Royalty, I would highly recommend Cinderella's Royal Table in Magic Kingdom Park or Akershus Royal Banquet Hall in Epcot. Both of these Disney Character Dining experiences are absolutely MAGICAL!

    You may book dining reservations 180 days in advance of your visit by calling (407) WDW-DINE (407-939-3463). Alternatively, make reservations online or via the My Disney Experience Mobile app.

    Ritzy ºOº
  • thumbnail image for Susan

    Hello Cara,

    One of my family's favorite Character Dining Experiences is at The Garden Grill in Epcot. The Restaurant rotates around Living with the Land so you'll get a unique perspective of the Attraction's different scenes while you enjoy your family-style "harvest feast"! Chip, Dale, and other Disney pals stop by your table for photos, autographs, and fun!

    Another one of our favorites is at 1900 Park Fare in Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. During our last visit, we dined there at both Breakfast and Dinner time. In the morning we met Alice, The Mad Hatter, Mary Poppins, Tigger, and Winnie the Pooh and in the evening we enjoyed a royal meal with Cinderella and Prince Charming as well as Lady Tremaine and her wicked daughters, Anastasia and Drizella. The Characters are very interactive with Guests, and the menu is fantastic; it's a very enchanting Dining Experience! 

    Please visit us again if you have any additional vacation planning questions!

    Magical Wishes,

  • thumbnail image for Emma

    Hi Cara,

    My family LOVES Character Dining and I am pretty sure that we've done almost all of the Character Meals (some several times) over the years.

    Best Friends Breakfast featuring Lilo & Stitch at 'Ohana at Disney's Polynesian Village Resort is our No. 1 absolute favourite. So much so that we have eaten breakfast there during each and every visit to the Walt Disney World Resort since 2009! So why do we keep going back? Well, first of all, it features 2 of my son's most beloved Disney characters - Stitch and Pluto. We also love the fact that the food is served family style and includes a lot of our favourite selections from back home in the UK including bacon, sausages, eggs and potatoes. 

    We usually make an Advance Dining Reservation for between 7:30 AM - 8:00 AM on a day when we are planning to visit the Magic Kingdom Park. That way, once we have enjoyed our breakfast, we simply hop on the monorail and arrive at the entrance of the theme park just in time for (or just after) park opening.

    As you can imagine, Character Meals are super popular so no matter which one(s) you decide to go with, I would highly recommend that you make your Advance Dining Reservations at your earliest possible opportunity.

    As Ritzy said, Advance Dining Reservations can be made up to 180 days in advance and remember that as you will be staying at a Disney Resort hotel, you can make Advance Dining Reservations for up to the first 10 days of your stay at 180 days out.

    Wishing you a magical trip filled with memories which will last a lifetime!


  • thumbnail image for Camila

    Hi Cara,

    Welcome to Disney Parks Moms Panel. So nice to know that you are going to WDW and have a family time with your loved ones. My two favorite Character Meals are at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall located at Norwegian pavilion at Epcot or at Tusker House Restaurant located inside Disney’s Animal Kingdom. At Akershus, you will have a meal with the princesses at a medieval castle. Usually, Belle is the one who great us on the reception. We take a picture with her and them we proceed to the meal. I prefer have the breakfast there because on the other meals the menu is a little fancy and too much elaborated for my family of picky eaters. During the meal Ariel, Cinderella, Aurora and Snow White come visit us at our table, sign autographs books, take pictures and chat a lot with us. Fantastic photos opportunity with the princesses without having to face the long lines. If you have a little girl with you, this restaurant is your best bet. My other favorite meal is at Tusker House Restaurant, there you can have a meal with Walt’s more famous characters like Donald, Goofy, Pluto, Mickey and Daisy, same thing they came at each table to pose for photos and autographs.  They came in a safari attire that is so cute and the meal is delicious, totally worth it. Reservations are required and you should start trying to make them with 180 days in advance. Good Luck!

    Have a magical trip!

    Camila R.

  • thumbnail image for Korliss

    Hey there, Cara!

    My fellow Moms are so right when it comes to character dining! No matter where you decide, you really can't go wrong! 

    During my family's most recent trip to Walt Disney World, I gave my toddlers the option of choosing which character dining they wanted most! They both chose to have lunch at Hollywood and Vine with Disney Jr. Play 'N' Dine at Disney's Hollywood Studios! This character dining experience features a dance party with some of their favorite Disney Jr. friends! Princess Sophia, Handy Manny, and Doc McStuffins welcome friends to the dance floor during breakfast and lunch! What's better than dancing the Disney day away with their favorite pals...topped off with great buffet style food? Not much!

    Also for this trip, my mother joined in on the fun! I knew that she would love to see some of the characters from my childhood, so I thought that breakfast at The Crystal Palace would be a great way to add a little pixie dust to this multigenerational Disney vacation! So, Pooh, Tigger, Piglet, and Eeyore made an early Advanced Dining Reservation at the Magic Kingdom just that more magical for my mom...and the kids!  They loved watching her take pictures with these Hundred Acre Wood friends! 

    So Cara, know that every character dining experience is a great choice, as you will be making magic and memories that will last a lifetime for your entire family!

    Happy planning! 



  • thumbnail image for Mona Leigh

    Hi Cara,

    Thank you so much for visiting the Disney Parks Moms Panel with your question! As you have seen from my fellow panelists' answers, there are many options for character dining at Walt Disney World. There truly is something for everyone.

    My family and I very much enjoy the Best Friends Breakfast featuring Lilo & Stitch at 'Ohana. The food is delicious, and meeting Lilo and Stitch in a Polynesian setting is so perfect! For another character dining breakfast option, I suggest Cape May Cafe. This restaurant is located at Disney's Beach Club Resort. The breakfast here is Minnie's Beach Bash Breakfast, and it features Minnie Mouse and her friends in their beach attire. It is a fun way to start the day! Please do note that character appearances are subject to change.

    I hope that these thoughts are helpful for you, Cara. Have a wonderful time planning your magical vacation, and please do let us know if you have any further questions!


  • thumbnail image for Wes

    Hello, Cara!

    Welcome to the Disney Parks Moms Panel!  Thank you so much for allowing us to help you plan your upcoming Walt Disney World vacation!

    First of all, you are going to LOVE Disney's Art of Animation Resort!  My family stayed there a few weeks ago, and it was AH-mazing!  We loved The Big Blue Pool, and I can't wait for you to see the Cars resort area!

    OK...I have to totally agree with Camila and say one of my all-time favorite Disney Character Dining experiences is breakfast at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall located at the Norway Pavilion in Epcot.  This restaurant is an absolute MUST-SEE!

    I would also like to highly recommend Mickey's Backyard BBQ located at Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort. This is a REALLY fun and casual Disney Character experience that a person of any age will LOVE!  The food is delicious, so come hungry!  I also really liked the band that played throughout the night, and it was so much fun dancing with my kids on the dance floor. The Disney "Classic" Characters did an incredible job interacting with the guests taking pictures and signing autographs. I promise your family will have a truly rootin'-tootin' good time!

    If you have other questions, please let us know!  We are here to help in any way!

    Have a MAGICAL day!


  • thumbnail image for Ricardo

    Hi Cara,

    Character dining experiences are awesome. So many choices to pick from too. Be it for just your family, or a grand gathering with kids young, or young at heart, it's a must do when visiting Walt Disney World Resort.

    I'm also throwing in my vote for Chef Mickey's. Available for breakfast, brunch or dinner, great selections of American Cuisine are served buffet style, which means there's something for everyone including those picky eaters. And you get to meet some of your favorite Disney friends too. We typically prefer dining later in the evening and try to time it so we can later watch Wishes nighttime spectacular from Disney's Contemporary Resort.

    One of my fondest memories was here. With my family, my sister family's and my parents, we celebrated a belated 40th anniversary. We had an amazing time, and I remember watching my dad and my son high-fiving Mickey and reminded me of my first encounter with him when I was little.

    Make sure you make your Advance Dining Reservations up to 180 days ahead of time, since these experiences are popular. Whatever choice you'll make, I'm sure you'll have a wonderful time. See you real soon!


  • thumbnail image for Nancy

    Hi there!

    Let me begin by saying how much my family loves Character Dining at Walt Disney World, especially when we have grandchildren in tow. It is the perfect way to see the Characters up close and personal and saves us time waiting in lines to meet them once we get to the Parks. We love the relaxed setting of Character Dining and we always feel like we had some special time with the Characters we all love!

    We have a few "must-do" Character Meals that are always at the top of our list. The Crystal Palace at Magic Kingdom is a setting like no other--right in the shadows of Cinderella's Castle. Sitting in Chef Mickey's, visiting with Characters as we hear the sound of the Monorail whizzing by at Disney's Contemporary Resort, is so much fun! And you can't go wrong with 'Ohana at Disney's Polynesian Village Resort. Lilo and Stitch and all you can eat--what could be better than that?

    Take a minute to read through all of the amazing places you can dine with the Characters at Walt Disney World. I've only mentioned a few--there are so many other fantastic options. Choose a few to try each time you visit--you will not be disappointed! Oh and be sure to book Advanced Dining Reservations--these are some of the very most popular of all the dining experiences at Walt Disney World. 

    Please come back if we can help you with any other planning tips.

    Here's wishing you a magical day!


  • thumbnail image for Kay

    Hi Cara! We all have our favorite character dining experiences and it is hard to just pick one. There are many things to consider when looking for one to book.

    If you have children who want to meet and greet with the "fabulous five" then head over to Chef Mickey's in the Contemporary Resort. Mickey, Donald, Minnie, Goofy and Pluto are there for photos and autographs. If you have little girls who want to meet as many princesses as possible then book Akershus Royal Banquet Hall in Epcot.

    The parks will also have character dining options and most offer breakfast times. Popular ones include Crystal Palace in the Magic Kingdom where you can find Pooh and friends, Tusker House in the Animal Kingdom park, Garden Grill in Epcot for a Chip and Dale experience, and Hollywood and Vine in Hollywood Studios. Many guests prefer to start off their park days with a park breakfast so they can be ready for their first attraction when the park opens.

    One of our favorite family choices for resort character dining is Cape May in the Beach Club resort. Minnie and some of her friends come to meet and greet the guests in a beach type atmosphere. From there it is a short walk to Epcot or a boat ride to Hollywood Studios if you wish to follow it up with a park day.


  • thumbnail image for Stacy

    My family loves 'Ohana! It is our favorite and we dine there each time we visit Walt Disney World because my kids are huge fans of Lilo and Stitch! There are so many wonderful character dining experiences, let me give you my favorites in the following categories:

    Princess Dining

    Every year on my daughter's birthday we take her to Cinderella's Royal Table at Magic Kingdom! You actually get to dine in Cinderella Castle and meet Cinderella and her best princess friends. My daughter and I also love the Perfectly Princess Tea Party at Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. You can meet Princess Aurora and sing songs, dance and enjoy a fancy tea with chicken salad sandwiches. 

    The Fab Five

    My favorite Disney dining experience with the "Fab Five" (Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, Pluto) is Donald's Safari Breakfast at Tusker House in Animal Kingdom. The food is delicious (my kids love the Jungle Juice) and the atmosphere is great! 

    Dine with an Imagineer

    While an imagineer isn't a character, it's truly a one-of-a-kind experience in which you can dine at Hollywood Brown Derby and ask questions of a Disney Imagineer.

    I hope you have a magical vacation!





  • thumbnail image for Jodie

    Hi there Cara!

    I'm so excited to assist you with this question!  You are actually considering one of my favorite places to enjoy Character Dining for breakfast.  Besides getting to meet the popular Lilo and Stitch, my family loves the relaxed family-style dining and all-you-care-to-enjoy Mickey waffles at 'Ohana.  Although characters are subject to change, we've always been greeted by Mickey and Pluto during our past visits as well. When my children were toddlers, I found it sometimes challenging to time going to a buffet for myself or the kids with being at the table when the characters came by for a picture.  When dining at 'Ohana, all of the hearty breakfast items are brought to the table so you never have to get up and possibly miss capturing that magical moment.

    Chef Mickey's at Disney's Contemporary Resort is another family favorite and a great way to meet the Fab 5. This all-you-care-to-enjoy Character Dining experience features an extensive buffet and a fun atmosphere. I have dined at nearly every location that offers Character Dining and have enjoyed every single one. I honestly don't think you can go wrong with any of the Character Dining experiences that are available at the Walt Disney World Resort.  Best wishes for a magical trip, Cara!

    Bon Appétit,


  • thumbnail image for Andrea

    Hi Cara,

    Thanks so much for visiting with this question. I think my friends here at the Disney Parks Moms Panel have given you some great ideas. My family loves Character Dining for many of the same reasons listed above.

    When deciding where we want to eat, we take a few things into consideration like time of day, location and of course, the Characters!

    If you don't have your own vehicle, you may want to plan your meal at a theme park location when traveling from Disney's Art of Animation Resort. This is because Complimentary Resort Transportation does not run between Resort Hotels. I also recommend reviewing the menus in advance if you have any picky eaters in your family, like me!

    We've found that everyone loves the breakfast options, so we typically plan our Character Dining experiences for mornings. You can't go wrong with Mickey waffles! That said, if you are visiting during a popular time, you may find that a lunchtime meal will provide a nice break from the crowds in the middle of the day.

    Finally, depending on when you plan to travel, you may enjoy Minnie's Seasonal Dining at Hollywood & Vine in Disney's Hollywood Studios, which combines a delicious dinner with seasonal music and décor to celebrate the season. Please note, this meal is for dinner only. Breakfast and lunch times typically include Disney Junior stars and are not seasonal.

    Wishing you a wonderful visit, Cara. Please say hi to Mickey for me!

    Andrea U.

  • thumbnail image for Lori

    Hi Cara!

    There are so many great places to eat with your favorite Disney characters!  My fellow panelists have given you a wonderful list of them.

    I just wanted to stop by and put my vote in for our absolute favorite and a "must-do" on every trip. 

    For my family, we LOVE Donald's Safari Breakfast at Tusker House in Animal Kingdom.  We began eating there on when my boys were small.  They are now 16 and 13 and it's still their favorite.  The food choices are more unique than a typical buffet breakfast, but there are plenty of options for picky eaters. 

    It's our tradition for my boys to get their photo with Mickey & Friends in their safari outfits on each of our trips.  I have one from every year for about 10 years now.  Seeing them grow up with Mickey makes my heart smile;-)

    All of these suggestions are fabulous!  I hope you have a magical vacation!

  • thumbnail image for Yael

    Hi Cara!

    You are off to a great start! Disney's Art of Animation resort is spectacular! Good choice! As for character dining, my family and I choose the restaurant based on the characters we want to meet. When my boys were little, they liked Winnie the Pooh so The Crystal Palace was the obvious choice. Although this is one of my favorites due to the food being so delicious, my now "tween" boys feel that these characters are for younger kids. Their picks would include Chef Mickey's at Disney's Contemporary (because Mickey Mouse is cool not matter how old you are) and 'Ohana (because Stitch is awesome). They of course do not enjoy the restaurants featuring Princesses but will tag along for their little sister's sake. Speaking of princesses, my little princess had a ball at Cinderella's Royal Table and Akershus Royal Banquet. It gave her the perfect opportunity to slip in to her princess costume and join in the fun! I would definitely recommend that you check out all the different options by visiting this page: Character Dining. You will be able to sort by location as well as view the characters offered and the menus for the restaurants. 

    Did you know?:  The Walt Disney World Resort offers several dining plans to Guests staying at a Disney Resort. For more information, please visit: Disney Dining Plans. Also, there is currently a special offer available which would include a free dining plan. Be sure to check that out as well! 
    It has been a real pleasure assisting you!  Happy Planning!




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