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YAre character meals at Disneyland a vacation must-do? There are five unique character meals at Disneyland, with four at the Disneyland Resort hotels and one that’s inside the park. Get the best tips from a Disneyland expert about which character meals at Disneyland would be best for your family.
Character Meals at Disneyland
Meeting favorite Disney characters is often a large part of the bucket list Disneyland vacation! There’s no better place to meet n’ greet than at the character meals at Disneyland. Rather than using up park time waiting in line, families receive one-on-one interaction with each character as they personally visit your table. And of course, there’s the amazing food that completes this magical experience.
Yes, the price for character meals at Disneyland is definitely more than you’re usually spending for a restaurant meal. Costs vary at each location and also change based on the time of your reservation (breakfast costs less than brunch or dinner). The cost for a child 3+ is over $25 each and adult prices start around $40 (kids 2 and under eat for free). Be sure to verify the actual cost when booking your dining reservation.
Four of these character meals at Disneyland are held at Disneyland Resort hotels. This means you will not need a Disneyland park ticket to enjoy this meal! Guests with valid dining reservations receive complimentary parking at the restaurant’s hotel.
Which Disney Favorite Characters Will I See?
Characters vary at each experience and the only guarantee is that if the character’s name is in the dining experience title. For example, you’ll know for sure that Minnie Mouse will be featured at Minnie & Friends – Breakfast in the Park. All the other characters that appear in each location vary from day to day.
Capturing photo memories of your Disneyland vacation is important. Before being seated, a cast member will have your family pose with one of the characters for a Photopass opportunity. The printed photos will be brought to you during your meal with the option to purchase (Cost is around $35). There is only one exception; Mickey’s Tales of Adventure Breakfast does not offer this feature.
Another option is to pre-purchase Maxpass when in the Disneyland parks. This will allow you unlimited downloads of these and all Photopass images. This only works if you were inside the Disneyland parks before your character meal.
You’ll also have the option to hand your personal camera to the Photopass photographer to use. The lighting is dim in some locations so the image may not come out as high quality (see photo example below). But it’s no additional charge and photographers happily use your camera. Other than this initial photo op, you’ll be in charge of taking photos for the rest of the meal. Be sure you have your camera battery or phone fully charged and ready.
Breakfast and Dinner at Goofy’s Kitchen
The only one of the character meals at Disneyland to offer both breakfast and dinner, Goofy’s Kitchen is held at the Disneyland Hotel. No park ticket is needed to enjoy this colorful buffet. Goofy is always there in his chef outfit, though you may also spot Chip and Dale, Minnie and Pluto.
Goofy’s Kitchen is known for the wide variety of dishes at the five serving stations. Kids’ favorites like chicken nuggets are found with fresh seafood and salads that adults love. Everyone likes to try the unique pizzas topped with mac & cheese or peanut butter and jelly! Tons of desserts are offered and a self-serve frozen yogurt bar is a delight.
TravelingMom Tip: If anyone has food intolerance or allergies, mention when booking your reservation at any of the character meals at Disneyland. Be sure to remind the cast member at check in. The Chef will be able to explain what is safe to eat with a personalized walk around the buffet.
Donald Duck’s Seaside Breakfast and Brunch
This surf-themed breakfast is held Disney’s PCH Grill at Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel. Donald Duck always makes an appearance but Daisy Duck, Pluto and Stitch are also frequently seen, wearing their beach outfits. No Disney park ticket is required. Twice each hour, characters host a dance party in the restaurant where kids can join in.
Breakfast highlights include a yogurt parfait bar and Bananas Foster French toast. On Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Donald Duck’s Seaside Brunch includes the breakfast items as well as savory lunch additions.
TravelingMom Tip: Donald Duck’s Seaside Breakfast was previously known as Surf’s Up. Disney’s PCH Grill has an Italian-themed dinner buffet; however, characters do not appear.
Mickey’s Tales of Adventure Breakfast and Brunch Buffet
Held inside Storytellers Cafe at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, this experience offers either breakfast or brunch. You do not need a Disney park ticket. This character meal was formerly called the Chip ‘n Dale Critter Breakfast. Mickey Mouse is a guarantee though Minnie, Chip ‘n Dale and Pluto are frequent guests as well. All the characters are dressed in hiking gear to match the restaurant’s rustic California theme. Twice each hour, kids are invited to march and play noise makers with characters around the dining room.
The food at Storytellers Cafe is high quality and delicious. Some breakfast options are more “adult,” like the matcha green tea sauce and spicy chilaquiles. But there’s enough here for the kids to enjoy as well. My daughter loved the Mickey shaped waffles, of course! The brunch buffet is served until 2:00 p.m. and includes these breakfast dishes as well as lunch options like prime rib and kale salad. Leave room for the mini desserts and warm bread pudding!
TravelingMom Tip: When booking Mickey’s Tales of Adventure Breakfast Buffet, make your reservation for a day when also visiting Disney California Adventure theme park. Take advantage of lighter crowds at park opening. Use the side entrance connected to Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa to quickly access the restaurant in time for your brunch reservation. Storytellers Cafe is only a few minutes walk away!
Disney Princess Breakfast Adventures
The most upscale breakfast character meal at Disneyland, the Disney Princess Breakfast Adventures takes place on select days of the week at Napa Rose in Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa. No Disney park ticket is needed for this dining experience.
Of the character meals at Disneyland, this experience is one of the ultimate Disneyland splurges. The $125 per person price tag eliminates most budget Disneyland vacationers. Be aware there is no “kids price”. The meal is the same price for ages 3 and up. The 3-course meal includes appetizers (served at the table), hot buffet (all-you-care-to-eat) and desserts (served family style at the table).
This meal experience does not guarantee a princess. In the past, Disney princesses Belle, Ariel, Mulan, Tiana, and Pocahontas have been seen. Some princesses appear at each table and other princesses offer what Disney calls an “enchanting experience.” In the past this has included story time with Belle and a photo op with Ariel. Of course, experiences vary between visits. Each guest will also receive a special gift (children have their choice between two items).
TravelingMom Tip: Disney Princess Breakfast Adventures is the longest of the 5 character meals at Disneyland. With the added special experiences, you’ll want to set aside 2-3 hours of time. Fidgety toddlers and preschoolers may not enjoy this leisurely and sophisticated experience.
Minnie and Friends – Breakfast in the Park
This character dining experience is the only one held inside the Disneyland theme park. Minnie & Friends – Breakfast in the Park is found at the Plaza Inn on Main Street U.S.A. You will need a valid Disneyland park ticket. If you arrive for your dining reservation before the park official opens, go to the gate with the signage, “Character Breakfast.”
The Minnie and Friends breakfast offers the usual offerings including made-to-order omelets and biscuits and gravy. Minnie’s seen here in addition to a large number of other characters. Of all the character meals at Disneyland, Minnie and Friends – Breakfast in the Park features the best variety of Disney characters. You may see Tigger, Eeyore and Winnie the Pooh along with Captain Hook, Fairy Godmother and Lion King’s Rafiki. Bring your autograph book to Minnie & Friends – Breakfast in the Park to grab the most amount of Disney character signatures in a short amount of time!
TravelingMom Tip: Schedule your Minnie & Friends breakfast reservation for late morning. Take advantage of the short wait times at park opening and maximize your time in the first two hours of Disneyland opening.