When you think of Disney, you think of meeting all the characters from Mickey to Cinderella to Donald Duck and more. However, if you’ve actually ever tried to track them down at Disney World, it can be quite daunting. They don’t just roam freely. Sometimes you have to stand in very long lines, and I personally don’t want to stand in line to meet characters because I would rather ride rides and see shows. Therefore, when I go with my family, we kill two birds with one stone and book character dining. This allows us to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the parks, sit in air-conditioning and eat yummy food all while the characters comes to us at our table. I’ve listed my top five favorite character dining experiences below:
Cinderella's Royal Table
This is probably number one on most people’s list when they choose their dining.
This restaurant is inside the classic Cinderella’s Castle at Magic Kingdom where you will of course meet Cinderella herself, and it features American cuisine for breakfast, lunch and dinner. This is definitely fine dining, and some of the features include quiche and crepes for breakfast, slow-cooked short ribs for lunch and steak and shrimp for dinner.
One thing to note about this restaurant is that if you are on the dining plan, this takes TWO table service allotments.
2. Be Our Guest dinner (Characters not always present)
This is a relatively new character dining experience that opened in 2013 in the middle of Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom. Here you will dine with Beast from Beauty and the Beast in one of the beautiful rooms in his castle.
This restaurant serves American and French cuisine, and it is delicious! Mussels steamed in white wine and their French Onion Soup are some examples of what you can get. Of course no meal is ever complete without dessert, and dessert won’t disappoint here. You can even try the Gray Stuff – it’s delicious, as the song goes.
3. Chef Mickey's
This is a classic restaurant located inside the Contemporary Resort. It’s a surefire way to meet the classic Disney characters - Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Pluto, Donald Duck and Goofy.
Chef Mickey’s serves classic American breakfast, brunch and dinner buffet style. The menu ranges from Mickey waffles and eggs at breakfast to classic Caesar salad and frittatas at brunch and a carving station at dinner complete with macaroni and cheese for the kids.
4. Akershus Royal Banquet Hall
Akershus is in Epcot’s World Pavilion in Norway. It’s a great way to meet many of Disney’s famous princesses, such as Snow White, Cinderella, Belle, Princess Aurora, Ariel and Mary Poppins (who isn’t really a Disney princess, in my opinion, but a Disney icon, nonetheless).
It serves American, Norwegian style food. You can get breakfast, lunch and dinner buffet style. Some favorite menu items include potato casserole at breakfast, imported cheeses and cured and sliced meats at lunch and dinner.
5. O'hana brunch
O’hana means family, and at this brunch you will be eating family style. O’hana is located inside the Polynesian Village Resort.
During brunch, Mickey, Pluto, Lilo and Stitch will all come to your table while you enjoy delicious Mickey waffles and eggs with a Polynesian spin on some other classic brunch items.
Note that reservations are highly recommended for all of the restaurants listed above, and when staying on property, reservations can be made 180 days in advance.
I do have one caveat to this list. There are plenty of other awesome restaurants at Disney World. Some of the best meals I’ve had are at Disney World, so don’t only book character dining restaurants. Make sure to save time on your agenda for some of the non-character dining restaurants.