Disney’s theme parks and Disney Resort hotels offer a variety of options for Character Dining at Walt Disney World. From princesses to Winnie the Pooh, you can meet whatever character you prefer at the many character dining spots. Character dining combines a smorgasbord of food, family bonding, memorable photograph opportunities and best of all, the chance to experience character interactions without the lines. But where to start? Here’s a handy, mom-approved guide to character dining at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.
Character dining is a must for children and adults of all ages when visiting Walt Disney World. While you eat, the different Disney characters will rotate slowly around the restaurant making their way from table to table and eventually stopping at yours for a personal table visit. It’s a great way to see Disney characters up-close without having to wait in line, while also enjoying a memorable family meal together. Perfect for fun photos and autographs too! My toddler boys were especially proud to brag at school the following week that they “met” Mickey. The only problem is there are so many character dining options to choose from that it’s hard to figure out which ones to try and where to go.
After dining at several character spots, below are some favorites along with pricing, location, hours and other helpful tips.
Overall Tips for Character Dining at Walt Disney World
- Use the My Disney Experience app to easily make your reservation up to 180 days in advance as reservations are a must.
- Even with a reservation, be prepared to wait up to 20 minutes to be seated. So, if you’re with little ones, be prepared to visit the gift shop or walk around the hotel grounds while waiting.
- Pick up an autograph book ahead of time or create your own to bring with you. Don’t forget to pack a pen or marker too.
- Simply let the character’s handlers know that you’d like an autograph and they’ll help arrange it during the appearance.
- If a particular character hasn’t come by your table during the course of your meal, be sure to tell one of the staff members, so you can get a better sense of timing. Eventually, they all come around.
- You do not have to stay on property or even have a pass to the theme parks to meet official Disney characters and enjoy a quality character meal. See below for official Disney World resort character dining options (Cape May, Chef Mickey’s and Wyndham) for a perfect way to fill time on a non-park day and still get your Disney fix.
- Dress up or “Disney up,” Photos captured during your meals will likely be ones that you’ll be posting online or framing after, so it’s best to all look the part.
Complete Guide to Character Dining at Walt Disney World
Magic Kingdom’s Crystal Palace
Located off of Main Street, the Crystal Palace provides an elegant atmosphere for breakfast, lunch and dinner and the chance to see favorite Winnie the Pooh characters Eeyore, Piglet, Tigger and Pooh. If you’re looking for the classic Fab Five characters, this is NOT the character dining spot for you. However, we enjoyed the chance to get photos with these furry friends from the Hundred Acre Wood. I especially liked the natural light and the greenhouse atmosphere of the Crystal Palace. There’s also a separate smaller kids buffet area with nuggets, mac and cheese and other child favorites. Pricing: $26-41/adult, $16-22/child.
Cinderella’s Royal Table
Your little princess and girlfriends will love the chance to dine and pose with Disney Princesses Ariel, Aurora, Cinderella, Snow White and Jasmine. Located in the castle, this dining experience is available for breakfast, lunch and dinner. However, the price range for this spot is more costly than the others at $57-70 for adults and $35-43 per child. There’s something magical about eating inside the castle though, so this is a good choice for a slurge.
Cape May Café
You do not have to be staying at Disney’s Beach Club resort near Epcot to enjoy this breakfast dining experience with Donald Duck, Goofy and Minnie Mouse all wearing fun beach attire. Unlike the other spots, we’ve been able to make reservations here only days beforehand. Even better, it’s nice to simply be able to visit this resort and not worry about having a pass to the theme parks. Although a buffet is available at dinner too, breakfast is the only time characters appear, so don’t make the same mistake that we did the first time we booked. We’ve since been back twice for breakfast with the kids. $28/adult, $16/child.
Wyndham Lake Buena Vista Resort Character Breakfast
Skip the long wait times and go offsite, while still experiencing a real Disney character breakfast at Wyndham Lake Buena Vista, an Official Walt Disney World Resort! It’s also the closest hotel to Disney Springs (directly across the street). Character breakfast is offered three days a week (Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday) in their Lakeview Restaurant on the 2nd floor of the resort from 7:30-10:30 a.m. Here you can enjoy photo opportunities with two of the Disney “Fab Five” characters (Goofy and Pluto) and feast on a delicious breakfast buffet, which features a cooked to order omelet station and extra-large Mickey Waffles made fresh (bigger than the one’s at Cape May)! We found it calmer, less crowded and just as enjoyable to have a character meet and greet here without having to even enter the parks. Pricing: $26.95/adult, $12.95/kids 4 to 11, children under 4 eat free!
Located inside Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Chef Mickey’s is your chance to see the entire “Fab Five” (Donald Duck, Goofy, Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and Pluto) for breakfast, brunch/lunch and dinner. I’ve gone with and without children and enjoy the atmosphere and lively vibe of this character dining spot. It’s my favorite for dinner; however, I prefer the breakfast at Cape May better. Chef Mickey’s is easy to get to too, since you can simply ride the monorail right into the building. This location is quite popular, so reservations are hard . Be sure to book ASAP. Also, when checking into your reservation, request to be in the main dining room for optimal character viewing. If going to Chef Mickey’s for dinner, book about two hours before the Magic Kingdom fireworks show and after you eat you can watch the display from outside. Pricing: $38-50/adult, $21-27/child.
Heading to Disneyland? Be sure and visit Traveling Mom’s Ultimate Character Dining Guide to Disneyland.