Our Complete Guide to Character Dining at Walt Disney World

by Mommy Frog on November 29, 2022 Orlando   Video

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Summary

Character dining is one of our favorite additions to a Walt Disney World trip. A meal and meeting characters? Win-win! We like saving time by seeing lots of characters during a meal versus waiting in lines. There are tons of options available throughout the theme parks and resort hotels if you're interested in booking a character meal. Hoppily, even more locations have reopened recently, such as Akershus Royal Banquet Hall. Plus, Cinderella's Royal Table returns to a full princess line-up beginning Feb. 28! We highlight all of the locations below, and don't froget to check out our rankings to see what our top froggy favorites are!

Character Dining at Disney World - Donald with guest at Topolino's Terrace

Overview of Character Dining at Disney World

Disney World has quite a variety of character dining experiences, ranging from Disney royalty to Mickey and friends in unique outfits. You'll have plenty of food options to choose from, as well. Each location offers a fun themed experience sure to delight the entire family!

Character Dining at Disney World – Winnie the Pooh posing with guest at The Crystal Palace

Each of the four theme parks has at least one character dining location, as well as some at the resort hotels. Over the last two years, character dining has slowly returned, and we are hoppy to say the majority of locations are now open! While there may still be some modifications at some locations, all the open locations have returned to traditional greetings, so you can get your hug and close photo (and even autographs when possible).

The only character dining locations that have not returned yet are 1900 Park Fare at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort and Spa and Bon Voyage Adventure Breakfast at Disney's BoardWalk. There are no expected dates yet, but we hope they return in the future.

We'll go through an overview of each experience below, grouped by location, as well as our top tips for making the most out of your character dining experience. Remember that valid park admission and a park reservation are required to dine inside the theme parks. Advanced dining reservations are highly recommended for all locations.

Note: The characters listed are the characters that generally appear at these dining locations. They are subject to change. There may be more, fewer or even different characters during your visit. Pricing information is accurate as of publish date and does not include tax or gratuity.

Character Dining in Magic Kingdom Park

There are two character dining locations located within Magic Kingdom. Though not officially considered character dining, we also want to mention Be Our Guest Restaurant, the elegant table-service restaurant themed to "Beauty and the Beast." This popular location offers an incredibly themed atmosphere, and you can even see the Beast make a tour around the ballroom.

Cinderella's Royal Table

Cinderella's Royal Table is open, but the princesses do not currently greet at the tables. You can meet Cinderella and get a photo when you enter the restaurant. Characters will return on Feb. 28, 2023.

Character Dining at Disney World - Dessert at Cinderella's Royal Table

When it comes to Disney, nothing says "dream come true" like dinner at Cinderella’s Royal Table in the heart of Magic Kingdom, inside Cinderella Castle. You’re greeted by Cinderella herself as you enter the castle and ascend the spiral staircase (or take the gilded elevator) to the banquet hall above.

At Cinderella's Royal Table, you can look out the castle windows overlooking Fantasyland as you enjoy gourmet prix fixe dishes such as duck two-ways, beef tenderloin or chickpea panisse. The food is exquisite, but the real showstoppers are the desserts! Try the “Clock Strikes Twelve," dark chocolate mousse with a caramel and crunchy praline center served with chocolate sauce and hazelnut gelato, or "Jaq & Gus," cheesecake with seasonal flavors and garnishes, to please even the tiniest tummies.

Normally, you would be visited at your table by princesses such as Ariel, Aurora, Jasmine and Snow White, but it is currently limited to meeting Cinderella as you enter. While this is still a magical experience, we think it has a better value when meeting multiple princesses. If this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, we suggest waiting until they hopefully return to a full lineup.

Young princesses are given a magic wand to take home with them, while princes are given a small souvenir sword. To make things a little extra magical, tadpoles are given a wishing star and are prompted to literally wish upon their star with a wave of their wand or sword. Lily has kept her wishing star for years!

Cinderella's Royal Table is available for breakfast, lunch and dinner. If you're lucky enough to be dining during the fireworks, you'll get a spectacular view with the lights turned down and the music piped in! This is one of the toughest places to get a table in all the land, so make sure to book this advance dining reservation early — preferably a full 60 days ahead!

Pricing: $45 per adult, $29 per child (breakfast); $62 per adult, $37 per child (lunch/dinner)

Why we love it: Its location and ambiance (how can you beat eating inside the castle?!)

The Crystal Palace

Character Dining at Disney World - The Crystal Palace: Winnie the Pooh and friends

A great restaurant for the little ones is The Crystal Palace, nestled beside the castle hub in Magic Kingdom. And exciting news — character dining is back as of Sept. 20, 2022! The Victorian-style greenhouse setting is a bright and verdant backdrop for meeting friends from the Hundred Acre Wood, including Tigger, Eeyore, Piglet and the willy, nilly, silly ole bear himself, Pooh.

The restaurant currently serves lunch and dinner, with Pooh and friends present at both meals (breakfast returns Oct. 25, 2022). For lunch or dinner, enjoy a buffet with dishes such as country-fried chicken, fire-roasted prime rib, mashed potatoes, seasonal ravioli and more. There are even kid-approved selections so everyone can find something they like. Be sure to save room for dessert with great options including the S'mores tart and apple cobbler. For more information, check out our complete Crystal Palace guide!

Pricing: $45 per adult, $29 per child (breakfast); $59 per adult, $38 per child (lunch/dinner)

Why we love it: Lots of buffet options and very family-friendly

Character Dining in EPCOT

EPCOT has two character dining experiences, one of which is returning very soon!

Chip 'n' Dale's Harvest Feast at Garden Grill

Character Dining at Disney World - Garden Grill EPCOT: Mickey

The Garden Grill in EPCOT has a unique atmosphere, hearty meals and ample time with characters. The restaurant, located in The Land pavilion at EPCOT, slowly rotates as guests dine, giving them a unique perspective of the Living with the Land boat ride below and a changing background throughout the meal. The food is classic American fare in bountiful portions, served all-you-can-eat, family style. Heaping plates of fresh-from-The-Land salad and vegetables, along with buttermilk mashed potatoes, accompany turkey breast slices with gravy, grilled beef with chimichurri and herb and leek stuffing to appease every taste. (And dessert — berry shortcake with whipped cream — is yummy, too!)

We never feel rushed with the characters at Garden Grill. Chip 'n' Dale, Pluto and Mickey clad in his farmer’s overalls meet and play with guests as they dine. Every time we visit, Lily and Tad love posing with Pluto and playing with Chip 'n' Dale! (By the way, do you know how to tell Chip 'n' Dale apart? It's easy. Chip has a black nose, like a chocolate chip! Dale's nose is red.) Garden Grill is currently open with characters for lunch and dinner.

Hop on over to our Garden Grill foodie review for more details!

Pricing: $55 per adult, $36 per child (lunch/dinner)

Why we love it: The ambiance and fresh, hearty food

Akershus Royal Banquet Hall

Character Dining at Disney World – Akershus Dining, Cinderella with four girls

Akershus is the ultimate princess party, located in EPCOT's Norway pavilion, which is now home to Royal Sommerhus and Frozen Ever After. The dining room is set in a medieval castle with a buffet feast fit for royalty! Our little princess, Lily, loves meeting her favorite princesses. After meeting Belle in her beautiful yellow ballgown, Snow White, Aurora (Sleeping Beauty), Ariel and Cinderella are on rotation, ready to mingle and march. (Elsa and Anna do not appear at Akershus, but you can find them greeting guests nearby at Royal Sommerhus.)

You’ll find familiar fare at the banquet tables, along with some Norwegian delights such as the breakfast smorgasbord (Leap loves the hashbrowns!) or the traditional Norwegian meatballs at lunch and dinner. It’s impossible not to feel like royalty as we dine at Akershus, and I love seeing the smile on Lily’s face as she gets to visit with her favorite princesses. Tadpoles also get to participate in a princess processional, dancing and waving alongside their favorite characters!

Akershus is a great alternative to Cinderella's Royal Table if you aren't able to get that coveted reservation.

Pricing: $63 per adult, $41 per child (lunch/dinner)

Why we love it: Great opportunity to see lots of princesses

Character Dining in Disney's Hollywood Studios

There is one character dining location in Disney's Hollywood Studios, but you'll find plenty of variety as it offers seasonal options!

Hollywood & Vine

One of the best character dining restaurants for the littlest tadpoles is Hollywood & Vine at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The Disney Junior Play 'n Dine breakfast satisfies the entire family with a hearty buffet featuring waffles, omelets, pastries and more. Disney Junior favorites such as Doc McStuffins, Sofia the First, Jake (of the Never Land Pirates), Vampirina and Roadster Goofy interact with the little ones.

During lunch and dinner time, Minnie Mouse and her friends host seasonal dinner parties with outfits and decor to reflect the season. Character guests usually include Minnie, Mickey, Goofy and Pluto ... in their best seasonal outfits, of course. Head over to our Frog Family review for more details!

Note that this video was captured when characters were socially distanced, but they can now greet guests at the table for hugs and sometimes autographs.

Pricing: $42 per adult, $27 per child (breakfast); $55 per adult, $36 per child (lunch/dinner)

Why we love it: Perfect for tadpoles and a great seasonal option

Character Dining in Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park

Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park offers one great character dining location — one of our top favorites!

Tusker House Restaurant

Located in the Harambe Village of Africa in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Tusker House adds vibrant flavor and fun to your Disney day! Tusker House offers family-style entrees and an opportunity to snap photos of Donald Duck and friends in safari gear. As of Nov. 1, 2022, Tusker House returns to an all-you-care-to-enjoy buffet-style dining experience.

We love heading straight to Kilimanjaro Safaris when the park opens in the morning before settling in at Tusker House for a hearty breakfast! The Jungle Juice is a delicious and refreshing treat. The table also gets a pastries basket filled with safari bread, multigrain croissants and cornbread, served with several spreads. The breakfast platter includes scrambled eggs, Mickey and Simba waffles, Durban chicken and egg curry, plus the usual bacon, sausage and roasted potatoes. After all, breakfast is the most important meal of the day!

For lunch and dinner, you can get plentiful Moroccan-spiced beef, spit-roasted herb chicken, Cape Malay green curry shrimp, berber-marinated pork, African-inspired salads and assorted house-made bread. Sides include veggies, jasmine rice, Impossible Durban curry, roasted potatoes and house-made mac and cheese. Top off your meal with animal-inspired mini desserts (or chocolate mousse, which is available upon request).

Tusker House serves breakfast, lunch and dinner with character meet-and-greets at all three meals. Explore our foodie review for more details!

Note that this video was captured when characters were socially distanced, but they can now greet guests at the table for hugs and autographs.

Pricing: $45 per adult, $29 per child (breakfast); $55 per adult, $36 per child (lunch/dinner)

Why we love it: Delicious food and great character experiences

Character Dining in Resort Hotels

Though there are some great options within the parks, we think some of Disney's best character dining takes place at Disney's Resort hotels. While you don't have to be staying at the hotel to partake in a character meal, it's another good reason to stay on-site (book with us to save some extra green!). If you want to park at the resort, just be prepared to show your dining reservation on your phone to the security at the gate, as well as a photo ID.

Though not an official Disney Resort, we also wanted to mention the Good Morning Breakfast with Goofy and His Pals at the Four Seasons as another option.

Storybook Dining at Artist Point — Disney's Wilderness Lodge Resort

Heigh-ho, it's off to Disney's Wilderness Lodge Resort we go for a character dinner featuring Snow White, Dopey, Grumpy and the Evil Queen! Enjoy appetizers and then choose your entrée from a prix fixe menu, including Royal Prime Rib Roast, Brother’s Grimm roasted chicken or a vegetarian option — A Stroll Through Nature — featuring butternut squash, arugula and gnocchi. Rounding off the menu are cocktails, mocktails and beer and wine from Oregon and Washington state, as well as some sinfully delicious desserts such as Fairy Tale Gooseberry Pie and, of course, a  “poison” apple. This Disney character dining location is notable not only because of its delicious eats but also because of its atmosphere. Guests dine in a rustic Enchanted Forest to mimic the iconic movie, complete with twinkling lights.

Hop over to our foodie review for more royal details!

Pricing: $65 per adult, $39 per child (dinner)

Why we love it: Elegant atmosphere and rare characters

 Topolino's Terrace: Flavors of the Riviera — Disney's Riviera Resort

Character Dining at Disney World - Disney's Riviera Resort - Minnie Mouse at Topolino's Terrace Character Breakfast

As the latest Disney character dining option, Breakfast à la Art with Mickey & Friends at Topolino's Terrace at Disney's Riviera Resort has one of the most adorably themed character dining experiences. Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Daisy have arrived at the European Riviera to study different art forms. Their outfits reflect their areas of expertise: Mickey the painter, Minnie the poet, Donald the sculptor and Daisy the dancer. We think the character interactions are the highlight of this character breakfast. We didn't feel rushed during our individual interactions, and the characters made multiple rounds. Lily twirled around in her dress alongside Daisy in her tutu!

The prix fixe menu includes shared pastries, an entrée and fresh juice or coffee. Entrées include spiced sausage hash, wood-fired butcher's steak, smoked salmon, sour cream waffles and more. The tadpoles can create their own combination of an entrée (Mickey waffle dippers, scrambled eggs or fruit and yogurt) and two sides (roasted potatoes, fruit cup, granola, bacon or sausage) from the kids menu.

Hop on over to our Topolino's Terrace foodie review for more details!

Pricing: $45 per adult, $29 per child (breakfast); open for dinner without characters

Why we love it: Beautiful location and unique character outfits

‘Ohana — Disney's Polynesian Village Resort

'Ohana – Lilo posing with guest

Dynamic duo Lilo and Stitch, along with other classic Disney characters such as Mickey and Pluto, join guests for the Best Friends Breakfast at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. Breakfast is the standard fare of scrambled eggs, fried potatoes, sausage, bacon and fruit served 'ohana style. If you’re looking for a Polynesian-inspired breakfast, head over to Kona. The character breakfast recently returned as of Sept. 27, 2022 — check out our full review for more information!

The real allure of ‘Ohana is at dinner time. No traditional Disney characters appear during dinner, but the evening meal is certainly not lacking in fun as entertainers sing, tell stories and invite guests to join them for games and dancing. The dinner menu at ‘Ohana features our favorite pineapple-coconut bread, followed by salad, pork dumplings, honey-coriander chicken wings, meat skewers and vegetables, finished with ‘Ohana’s specialty, bread pudding a la mode with caramel sauce. With the right timing, dinner at ‘Ohana also provides a spectacular view of the Magic Kingdom fireworks.

Pricing: $45 per adult, $29 per child (breakfast); open for dinner without characters

Why we love it: Delicious food and rare characters

Chef Mickey's — Disney's Contemporary Resort

Disney's Contemporary Resort offers a classic family-style restaurant serving breakfast and dinner. At Chef Mickey’s Family Feast, the Fab Five (Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Pluto and Goofy) join guests for their meals in culinary outfits. The restaurant overlooks Bay Lake, as well as the 90-foot-high mural by Mary Blair that has become an icon of the Contemporary Resort.

For breakfast, enjoy fresh fruit, Mickey waffles, banana bread french toast, loaded potato cheese casserole, scrambled eggs, bacon and other morning favorites. At dinner, offerings include caesar salad, potato gnocchi, roasted garlic potato gratin, prime rib, roasted turkey breast and more. With so many options, this is a great choice for groups with diverse palates, as well as picky eaters. Chef Mickey’s is a crowd-pleaser with a few surprises.

Pricing: $45 per adult, $29 per child (breakfast); $59 per adult, $38 per child (dinner)

Why we love it: The classic Fab Five characters in a fun location (wave to the monorail as it goes by!)

1900 Park Fare — Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa (currently unavailable)

Character Dining at Disney World - 1900 Park Fare breakfast - Mary Poppins

1900 Park Fare at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa offers a delightfully different experience for every time of day. At the Supercalifragilistic Breakfast, enjoy a buffet of made-to-order omelets, carved ham, and of course, Mickey waffles. Cheery characters such as Mary Poppins, Alice, the Mad Hatter, Tigger and Winnie the Pooh stop by to say good morning!

In the afternoon, the venue is host to the Wonderland Tea Party, during which kids snack on children’s tea (apple juice) and cupcakes that they get to decorate themselves, as well as some other tasty teatime treats. During the hour-long tea break, our favorite tea-loving characters, usually Alice and the Mad Hatter, entertain their guests with stories and crafts. Royal princesses also have the option of partaking in tea in the Grand Floridian's tea room on select mornings with Rose Petal, a magical rose from Aurora's garden, and sometimes even Aurora herself!

At Cinderella’s Happily Ever After Dinner, mealtime is a truly regal affair as each family is welcomed as the honored guests of Cinderella and Prince Charming. Cinderella, Prince Charming, Lady Tremaine, Anastasia and Drizella are usually in attendance, greeting guests as they dine on a buffet of international salads, meats, seafood and sides. There are also plenty of American staples such as macaroni and cheese, cheese pizza and chicken tenders for the tadpoles.

1900 Park Fare has not returned since the COVID-19 closure, so we hope this location reopens in the future.

Why we love it: Rare characters in a beautiful location

Bon Voyage Adventure Breakfast — Trattoria al Forno at Disney's Boardwalk (currently unavailable)

Currently, Trattoria al Forno is open, but the character dining experience is temporarily unavailable.

Located at Disney's BoardWalk (one of our favorite areas on Disney property), Trattoria al Forno is home to a breakfast celebration featuring some of Lily's and my royal favorites: Rapunzel, Flynn Rider, Ariel and Prince Eric. Each is welcomed with a royal entrance and individually makes their way to your table. (Don't shy away from asking them questions ... Flynn had some hilarious conversations with us!) Brief interactive activities are planned for little ones, as well!

The Bon Voyage Adventure Breakfast offers some of the most delectable breakfast items out of any character meal offered. The prix fixe menu starts with pastries for the table and an individual fruit starter before ordering your entrées. King Triton's Shipwreck al Forno is a must-try breakfast calzone that has quickly become one of my top three favorite meals at Disney World. Exquisite drinks are available, as well ... if you're a Bloody Mary fan, the Caprese Bloody Mary is out of this world!

Why we love it: A royal-themed experience with rarely-seen princes

Cape May Cafe — Disney's Beach Club Resort

Minnie at Cape May Cafe

Minnie Mouse loves to throw a beach bash! Minnie’s Beach Bash Breakfast has recently returned to Disney's Beach Club Resort. Minnie and her BFF Daisy are dressed in their beachy best to start the day sunny side up. Breakfast includes a mix of items from pastries, omelets, yogurt parfaits, Mickey and Minnie waffles, brioche french toast, scrambled eggs, bacon and more. This is a relaxed, casual dining experience and a perfect choice if you're staying at one of the EPCOT-area resort hotels. Hop on over to our full foodie review for more details!

Pricing: $45 per adult, $29 per child (breakfast)

Why we love it: Its variety of food and great character interactions

Tips for Character Dining at Disney World

We've done a lot of character dining over the years and have some additional tips for getting the most out of the experience.

  • We personally prefer choosing breakfast for character dining. Most locations only offer characters during their breakfast, but some have them at lunch and dinner. We like that breakfast is a cheaper price and you can't go wrong with breakfast food (Mickey waffles anyone?). Plus, this allows flexibility for the rest of your day. Lunch and dinner are still great options as well — just be sure to double-check which characters are offered during certain times.
  • Meeting characters as they come to the tables can require the right timing if you're at a buffet. If you see a character making their way toward your area, we suggest hanging tight before going back up for food, especially if they're only a few tables away. Characters sometimes have a set rotation so it is easiest to go with the flow.
  • If you hoppen to be up from the table when they pass by, don't fret! Character attendants typically try to keep track of which characters have seen which tables. If you're nearing the end of your meal and still haven't seen a certain character, you could ask a character attendant to see if they are coming back out soon. Usually, areas have a great system in place ensuring characters come out in a timely manner. And you might even get to see a character a second time before you go!
  • Not sure how the kids will handle meeting characters? Sometimes character dining is that perfect balance between waving to a character from afar or having that one-on-one interaction. Already being at your table may make the meeting less stressful for young tadpoles.

Which character dining will you choose? Be sure to check out our rankings to see which are our froggy favorites!

Related: Everything You Need to Know About Disney World Characters

Keep hopping, Mommy Frog!
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