Character dining has returned to Disneyland Park with the reopening of Minnie & Friends Breakfast in the Park at Plaza Inn! There is something very special about character dining, especially getting to experience it in the theme park. Why chase the characters around the park when they can come to you? Character dining at Plaza Inn is the only available character dining experience in a theme park at Disneyland Resort. (The others are located in the hotels.) This dining experience is just one of the ways we love to celebrate birthdays or special occasions at Disneyland Resort.
An Overview of Minnie & Friends Character Dining at Plaza Inn
As hoppy as we are to see character dining return, guests need to approach the experience with the right expectations for the current situation. Keep in mind that service is modified during the Disneyland phased reopening, so it may be different from what you remember or might normally experience. We hopped by to check out this character dining experience as soon as it reopened. Here is what Minnie & Friends character dining at Plaza Inn is like right now! The characters stay physically distant to protect themselves and guests. Of course, by the time you visit, some of this may have changed. From Disneyland’s reopening day to where we are now, things are constantly changing at Disneyland as we move back to a more normal world. So, for now, expect the unexpected and just roll with it. Chances are any changes would be for the better so things can only change in a positive direction!
Hop over to our mask policy post to find out the current rules about face coverings at Disneyland, as well as all theme parks. When we visited, everyone had to wear masks inside except when eating or drinking. Another hopful post at this time is what to know when visiting Disneyland right now for a more thorough overview of what the resort is like.
Planning and Arrival Tips for Plaza Inn Character Dining
The best way to access Minnie & Friends character dining at Plaza Inn is to make a reservation. You may reserve up to 60 days in advance, and these days, all reservations fill up quickly. If your reservation is at or before park opening, you can use the special character dining turnstiles on the left side of the park entrance to get into the park faster. If you cannot get a reservation, inquire at the restaurant to see if they have any walk-up availability that day. You may have to wait a bit before getting in, if Plaza Inn has any availability.
You also need a theme park ticket to access your dining reservation, so you'll need to buy a ticket and make a theme park reservation for the day of your reservation. You may make a theme park reservation up to 120 days in advance.
Arriving at the Restaurant
When you arrive at the restaurant, you can use mobile check-in or check-in with the host in person. You might see a walk-up dining line for people who did not secure a reservation. Don’t stand in that line unless you do not have a reservation. When you do mobile check-in using the Disneyland app, you can note any special occasions or food allergies.
Before you are seated or even pay, you can meet your hostess with the mostest, Minnie Mouse. For now, you can chat in a physically distant way and take a photo together. That is consistent with how all character sightings work at this time. Your PhotoPass photo downloads from the meal are included, so link your photos to the Disneyland app! You are also allowed to take your own photos with your devices.
After meeting Minnie, take your slip to the cashier to pay (don’t froget to add any discounts such as Magic Key or use your Disney credit card for discounts). You’ll receive complimentary Minnie buttons for each member of your party. You’ll be seated indoors or outdoors. Then, it’s time to hit the buffet!
Food at Minnie & Friends Breakfast at Plaza Inn
At all of the character dining locations, there are standard items, but each location puts its own spin on breakfast. Plaza Inn has Minnie waffles — not Mickey waffles! What a surprise for Lily! While you can douse your waffles with the usual maple syrup, the bananas foster topping is a must-try. YUM!
The other really unique part of Plaza Inn breakfast is that it includes a nod to our favorite Plaza Inn lunch and dinner items: fried chicken with biscuits and gravy. It’s a boneless fried chicken thigh, and we were toadally frogcited to dig in!
Traditional hot foods such as eggs, bacon, sausage, potatoes (plus the chicken and biscuits) are in the middle of the buffet line. The made-to-order omelet station is on the left. Minnie waffles, French toast and oatmeal are to the right. Breads, pastries, croissants, desserts and fruit are centrally located. Dry cereal and the drinks area are to the sides (coffee, tea, juice, soft drinks and milk). You’ll grab a tray and the servers will fill your plate as you desire. You’ll grab your own beverages, napkins and plastic utensils. That last part may be just a temporary thing. I hope you’ve arrived hungry because it’s all-you-care-to-enjoy! If you are gluten-free, be sure to ask about gluten-free waffles.
Characters at Minnie & Friends Breakfast in the Park
Now we are getting to the important part of character dining — the characters! Again, the character selection is modified at the moment. Minnie is a guarantee, but the others could be anyone. When we visited, Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Chip 'n' Dale, Daisy Duck and Pluto also stopped by and visited our table. On other days, we have seen Piglet and Perla (a mouse from "Cinderella") mixed in. So the characters may vary and the way that they parade around the restaurant may evolve over time.
This is a different crew than we experienced previously. Plaza Inn usually has the greatest number of characters at a character dining location. And the characters are of a greater variety, with characters from different stories and areas of the park.
In the past, the characters included Minnie, Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Eeyore, Fairy Godmother, Captain Hook, Chip, Dale, Rafiki and special guests who hop on by while they are in the park. You could encounter a rare treat, such as Piglet, Pinocchio, Max or some other surprise guest. So do not count on any particular character except for Minnie and you will not be disappointed. It is what it is. There are plenty of characters, and we love them all!
Normally, Minnie stays in place and the other characters circulate the tables, give hugs, pose for photos and spend a little time with each table. At this time, Minnie still stays in place, but the others are on the move and do not get close enough to touch guests. We visited Minnie more than once. Can you ever get enough of her? About every 30 minutes, you’ll hear some music play and the characters enter the restaurant one by one to circulate the tables both indoors and outdoors. Lately, they have been parading by in a group.
Characters don’t stop at tables for now, but we expect things to return to normal eventually. They do come by pretty often though. Guests are asked to remain in their seats to see the characters and not get up and follow them around. Do not be afraid to call out, blow kisses or get them excited to see you. If you can be quick with your camera, you just might get them to strike a pose!
Prices and Service at Minnie & Friends Breakfast in the Park
The Minnie & Friends breakfast is the most affordable of all the Disneyland character dining locations, except for the fact that you must have a theme park ticket to dine there, and we know those are not cheap (but we can toadally help you save some green on Disneyland Resort tickets). As mentioned, you will pay at a register before you are seated. Buffet meals are $41, plus tax, for adults and $24, plus tax, for children ages 3 to 9. Tax is added to the bill but gratuity is not, at least for now. That differs from other character dining experiences, which automatically add gratuity to the bill when you pay your server after the meal. If you have a Magic Key pass, present it for a discount.
While this character dining is technically the cheapest, it also has the least amount of service. At other character dining locations, such as Storytellers Café, the waiters bring your drinks or specialty items (such as omelets or oatmeal). At Plaza Inn, you collect your own omelets, beverages and also get your own paper napkins and plastic utensils, but that may just be a sign of the times for now. On the other hand, at Plaza Inn, the buffet servers plate your food. At other character dining buffets, you serve yourself. Once you're finished eating, someone will come by to clear used plates and trays at Plaza Inn.
Tips for Attending Character Dining at Plaza Inn
We have some hopful advice for getting the most out of your character dining experience:
- Reserve dining 60 days in advance.
- Make a theme park reservation for Disneyland Park (or one that starts in Disneyland Park if park hopping on the day of your reservation).
- Bring your camera.
- Plan to shoot small videos rather than photos as the characters walk by your table (videos will come out better than photos, and you can later take stills from videos).
- Ask for a table near the central walkway instead of the edges so you are closest to the characters as they pass by.
- Time your meal right. Don’t make it too late or too early. We prefer a reservation time in the middle of the dining window so we have a buffer for arriving and have plenty of time to eat and see all the characters before the dining ends.
- Arrive at Disneyland early. Give yourself plenty of time to park, go through security and walk to the park and restaurant so you will be on time for your reservation. We like to arrive an hour early.
- Think of questions to ask the characters or things to tell or show them so they can get excited to interact with you.
- Talk to a chef about any dietary needs, allergies or food intolerances.
Do you have any questions about Minnie & Friends character dining at Plaza Inn? Please ask away in the comment section below. If you need to purchase your Disneyland tickets for your visit, Undercover Tourist sells discount multi-day Disneyland Resort tickets.