Hello friends! So you have made the decision to visit Disney and think… “Ok, I’m good until we get there. I know what rides we want, etc.” Well, let me tell you, you should definitely make Advanced Dining Reservations (ADRs) for any table service restaurant you want to dine at. Dining reservations are available 180 days prior to arrival and they book up fast; especially character meals!
I love character meals. Before we had our daughter, I liked them because it was a nice way to meet a few characters without having to spend our precious park time waiting in line. We would kill two birds with one stone and do a “meet and eat”. This year we took our, then 6 month old, daughter to Walt Disney World. We planned out our restaurants in advance and made our ADRs at the 180 day mark. We scheduled two character meals, Akershus so she could meet some princesses, and Chef Mickey’s to meet the Fab Five. We figured “this way we get most everyone a 6 month old needs to meet”. Well, after our first night’s meal at the Biergarten (our absolute favorite) we thought, “She’s doing so well sitting at a big table rather than her own highchair.” The next day, we had a reservation at the highly sought out Be Our Guest. Holy smokes, she did NOT want to sit or eat or be held. We ordered and ate as quickly as we could because she was being so loud and fussy. We felt so bad for everyone around us. That night, we decided to change every single one of our restaurants we planned so hard for. We changed them all to character meals, which are typically louder overall. We had to be flexible on times and restaurants because it was such a last minute change but this was the best decision we could have made for our family. She enjoyed meeting the characters and my husband, dad and I all took turns going up to the buffet.
What is that you say? You want autographs and photos? Yes, you can DEFINITELY still get those at the restaurants. The characters come to each table so there is no need to run to get in a line while your meal gets cold. They will take photos with each member of the family if you want. The characters are all awesome and great to interact with. I HIGHLY recommend character meals, all of them, for any family who wants to do a nice sit down meal but wants to budget their park time accordingly. You will not regret it.
Here is a short list of my personal favorite character meals (please note characters are subject to change):
- Chef Mickey’s – serves breakfast and dinner while you meet the Fab Five, located in the Contemporary Resort
- Akershus Royal Banquet Hall – serves breakfast, lunch and dinner while you meet Belle, Cinderella, Snow White, Ariel, and Aurora, located in the Norway pavilion in Epcot
- Tusker House – serves breakfast while you meet Safari Donald, Daisy, Goofy and Mickey, located in Animal Kingdom
- ‘Ohana – serves breakfast family style while you meet Lilo, Stitch and Mickey, located in the Polynesian Resort. Please note, dinner does not have characters.
- Crystal Palace – serves breakfast, lunch and dinner while you meet Winnie the Pooh and friends, located in the Magic Kingdom
One final note. Please be fully aware that Be Our Guest, the newest restaurant in the Magic Kingdom’s Fantasyland, DOES NOT have characters. While the Beast is present during dinner, he is alone, and does not come around to tables. He appears in the dining hall every 30 minutes or so, and then is available to see in his study for a few minutes after that. Many people just assume that other characters are here, and then are disappointed.