Best Disney World Character Dining Experiences For Your Next Vacation
The Best Dining at Disney World with Characters
Some folks go to Disney for the rides, others go for the food or even the drinks. However, while all of those things can be enjoyed in one way or another outside the sprawling Orlando resort, one thing you can’t do outside Disney is meet your favorite Disney characters. And while you could (and should) do meet-and-greets in the parks, one of the best ways to get up-close-and-personal with your Disney faves is by booking a reservation for a Disney character meal.
Dining with characters is truly a quintessential Disney experience. Fortunately, when it comes to Disney World character dining, guests really are spoilt for choice. With 14 different restaurants offering character dining, 16 unique character meals, 2 character tea parties, and another restaurant that isn’t technically character dining but still features appearances by a Disney character, there really is something for everyone.
Keep reading to find out which of the Disney character dining options is best for you and your crew on your next Disney World vacation. (Updated April 11, 2023)
Disney World Character Dining 2023
Planning your trip to Disney World for 2023? Wondering how this Disney World character dining list was ranked? Here are a few quick housekeeping notes you should know before we get started.
Character Dining in the Walt Disney World Resort During COVID-19
There’s no denying that, for quite some time, the COVID-19 pandemic turned the guest experience at Disney World on its head. Fortunately, for the most part, things around the Central Florida resort are mostly back to normal, and that includes Disney World’s character dining restaurants. That said, there are still a handful of Disney dining experiences with characters that remain temporarily unavailable. They include:
Breakfast at Trattoria al Forno at Disney’s BoardWalk
1900 Park Fare at the Grand Floridian
Disney’s Perfectly Princess Tea at the Grand Floridian
Wonderland Tea Party at 1900 Park Fare at the Grand Floridian
It’s also worth mentioning that, as of right now, the Alice in Wonderland-inspired tea party is no longer available on the My Disney Experience app. Sadly, this typically isn’t a great sign, as it is usually an indicator of an offering’s untimely demise. That said, we haven’t given up hope that we’ll still be able to celebrate our un-birthday with a spot of tea sometime in the near future.
A Note About the Rankings
Giving a ranking to a restaurant, especially a Disney character dining experience, is a tall order with a whole lot of factors to consider. While some would rather meet huggable characters like Minnie Mouse or Winnie the Pooh, others want to see some of your favorite princesses. Good food and great atmosphere both play a part as well.
To top it all off, so much of it comes down to personal preference. So, rather than pitting all the character meals against each other in one massive, magical culinary rumble, we decided to break things down into what kind of Disney character meal experience you’re looking for.
Additionally, while it’s tempting to write a character dining experience off based on one lackluster character interaction, we wanted to keep things as holistic as possible. Why? Because Disney character dining is an intricate dance with a lot of moving parts and people, and an off day doesn’t mean you should be put off the restaurant forever.
Ok, enough business and onto the fun stuff!
Best Disney Character Meals for Meeting Mickey and Pals
Dining at Disney World with characters is an absolute must for any vacation. Whether you’re hoping to meet Mickey Mouse and the rest of the Fab 5, your kiddos are obsessed with Disney Junior, or your family loves the antics of Stitch and those rascally chipmunks, these are the best character meals in Disney World for your next vacation.
Chip ‘n’ Dale’s Harvest Feast at Garden Grill at Epcot
Garden Grill in Epcot’s The Land Pavilion in Future World has a lot of things going for it. The setting is truly unique, as the whole restaurant rotates while you’re eating, giving you a bird’s-eye view of the Living with the Land ride below.
The food – served family-style – is hearty, fresh, and delicious, with some of the ingredients even being grown right there in the pavilion. This is Chip ‘n’ Dale’s Harvest Feast, after all. Plus, with classic American favorites on the menu like turkey breast, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and berry shortcake, this is one Disney World character meal that is sure to please guests of all ages.
And of course, the characters! Your hosts Chip and Dale are always a hoot. Mickey is there too in his farmer’s overalls, as is his trusty dog Pluto. Overall, the whole thing is just wholesome fun.
Characters at: Breakfast, lunch & dinner
Characters (may vary): Chip, Dale, Mickey, and Pluto
Hollywood and Vine at Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Hollywood & Vine at Hollywood Studios checks a lot of boxes for a lot of families. In the morning, your little one’s favorite Disney Junior characters take over for the restaurant’s character breakfast As you might imagine, food served at this morning meal is as kid-friendly as the characters that stop by to visit, with plenty of dishes that are perfect for picky eaters such as French toast stuffed with Nutella and bananas and omelets filled with cheese on the menu.
However, our favorite time to go to Hollywood & Vine is for Minnie’s Seasonal Dining over lunch and dinner. Not only do you get to meet classic Disney characters like Minnie and Mickey, but you get to see them decked out in their seasonal finest. And that’s not all – even the menu offerings change too to reflect the theming, with dishes showcasing the flavors of the season. All in all, it’s a ton of fun, and it helps keep the restaurant fresh and exciting each time you return.
Characters at: Breakfast, lunch & dinner
Disney Junior Play n’ Dine Breakfast Characters (may vary): Doc McStuffins, Fancy Nancy, Vampirina, and Roadster Goofy
Minnie’s Seasonal Dining Lunch & Dinner Characters (may vary): Minnie, Mickey, Goofy, Daisy, and Donald
Tusker House Restaurant at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park
The only Disney World character dining experience at Animal Kingdom, Tusker House in Africa’s Harambe Village dishes up African-inspired flavors and character fun all day long for Donald’s Dining Safari. As much as we love stuffing our faces with BBQ pulled pork, macaroni & cheese, and other American comfort food classics, we also like sampling some different flavors every now and then. And that’s why Tusker House in Animal Kingdom is on the best list.
With Animal Kingdom-inspired dishes like Moroccan-spiced beef and green curry shrimp on offer, Tusker House has one of the more interesting character dining menus. And not to worry about your picky eaters. That macaroni & cheese is still available – and it’s house-made. Truly something for everyone.
Not to be outdone by the food, the character experience at Tusker House is just as enjoyable. As this is Animal Kingdom, Donald, Mickey, and Goofy stroll around in their safari best, and you may even get to join them for some singing and dancing.
Characters at: Breakfast, lunch & dinner
Characters (may vary): Donald, Mickey, and Goofy
Best Friends Breakfast at ‘Ohana at Disney’s Polynesian Village
‘Ohana at the Polynesian Village Resort may be known for its bottomless, family-style Polynesian feast that takes place in the evenings, but its Disney character breakfast is just as worthy of dining reservations. While dinner at ‘Ohana is all island-inspired flavors, breakfast is more standard with a couple of tropical twists. Think, scrambled eggs and Mickey waffles with pineapple-coconut bread and Hawaiian ham.
The restaurant’s Best Friends Breakfast features two of Disney’s classic friendships: Mickey & Pluto and Lilo & Stitch – all dressed up in their luau finery. In fact, barring a pop-up meet-and-greet or a festival appearance, this is the only place at Disney World where you can meet that last naughty-yet-endearing duo.
Characters at: Breakfast
Characters (may vary): Lilo, Stitch, Mickey, and Pluto
The Crystal Palace at Magic Kingdom
The Crystal Palace is a Magic Kingdom mainstay and a popular choice for families with young children. Why? Winnie the Pooh and Tigger too, of course! All your favorite characters from the Hundred Acre Wood have popped by this bright, Victorian-inspired conservatory to say hello and give some welcome hugs.
Just like Las Vegas, buffets are a mainstay meal at Disney World, and that includes The Crystal Palace. Here, Winnie the Pooh fans can dig into bottomless helpings of palate-pleasing classics picky eaters are sure to enjoy, like country fried chicken doused with peppery gravy, buttery mashed potatoes and succulent prime rib, all while enjoying tableside greetings from some cuddly characters. A seasonal ravioli option is also available for all the pasta lovers out there.
Characters at: Breakfast, lunch & dinner
Characters (may vary): Pooh, Piglet, Tigger, and Eeyore
Chef Mickey’s at Disney’s Contemporary Resort
Of all the character dining in Disney World, Chef Mickey’s at the Contemporary is probably the most iconic. And that’s not just because you can meet Mickey here. It’s also one of the only character meals where you can see all of the Fab Five altogether, including Chef Mickey, his main gal Minnie and their friends, Pluto, Donald Duck, and Goofy. There’s even a fun view of the Monorail running through the hotel as a bonus. This is also the Disney character meal if you have something to celebrate. Whether you’re celebrating a birthday or an anniversary, the characters will make sure you feel special by waving the nearest napkin and getting the rest of the restaurant in on the party.
For Chef Mickey’s Family Feast, the menu is filled with slightly elevated, all-American classics like beef brisket with mushroom ragout and banana bread French toast for the buffet breakfast and prime rib and turkey breast with succotash for dinner. That being said, while there are plenty of options to be had for even the pickiest of eaters, the food here can be hit or miss. Still, the chance to see Chef Mickey milling about Disney’s Contemporary Resort certainly helps to make up for it.
Characters at: Breakfast and dinner
Characters (may vary): Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, and Pluto
Minnie’s Beach Bash Breakfast at Cape May Café at Disney’s Beach Club Resort
Every Floridian loves a good beach day. Luckily for honorary Floridian Minnie Mouse, every day is beach day at Disney’s Beach Club Resort – and she’s invited her BFF Daisy and pals Donald and Goofy along for the party. Although the setting is charming and the characters look spiffy in their beachwear, the menu here is pretty lackluster compared to other Disney character breakfasts. We’re talking scrambled eggs and Minnie waffles. In short, unless you’re staying in the Epcot Resort Area, there are other character dining locations with better food and more characters that we recommend trying first. Sorry, Minnie!
Characters at: Breakfast
Characters (may vary): Minnie, Daisy, Donald, and Goofy
Best Disney World Character Dining with Disney Princesses (& Princes)
Regal settings, beautiful gowns, delicious food. What could be better than canoodling with Disney princesses (and a few princes) over a plate of something tasty? Have a brush with royalty at these character meals.
Bon Voyage Adventure Breakfast at Trattoria al Forno at Disney’s BoardWalk
We know that seeing the Bon Voyage Adventure Breakfast at the top of this list over Akershus and Cinderella’s Royal Table may come as a shock to some people but let us explain. Held at Trattoria al Forno at Disney’s BoardWalk, this is one of Disney’s newer character breakfast experiences and offers what is arguably some of the best food of the AM bunch. And while we’re pretty sure neither Ariel nor Rapunzel are from Italy, we are more than happy to feast on Italian-inspired breakfast dishes like King Triton’s Shipwreck al Forno, a breakfast calzone stuffed with velvety eggs, tasty meats like bacon and soppressata and gooey cheese, all topped with the restaurant’s sumptuous Sunday gravy. (For all the adults out there, be sure to save some space for the Caprese Bloody Mary.)
Speaking of Ariel and Rapunzel, Trattoria al Forno’s character breakfast also stars some of Disney World’s more unique character pairings – all in the same place. In addition to making a grand entrance and joining some of the younger guests for a few short games, the characters here love to interact with guests. So, don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation. It will only add to your experience.
Characters at: Breakfast
Characters (may vary): Rapunzel, Flynn Rider, Ariel, Prince Eric
Cinderella’s Royal Table at Magic Kingdom
We’ll admit that we struggled a bit to put Cinderella’s Royal Table at Magic Kingdom in the runners-up pile. After all, what could be grander than dining in Cinderella Castle and mingling with Disney princesses? Unfortunately, all the grandeur comes with a steep price: a roughly $20 increase per adult and around a $10 upcharge per child.
On the bright side, the setting is unbeatable, especially if you’re lucky enough to time your meal to coincide with the fireworks. The food is more elegant than what you’ll find at other character dining locations, and the desserts are standouts. That being said, the dishes don’t always land.
Of course, the real highlight here is the lineup of Disney princesses. To see the likes of Cinderella, Jasmine, and Ariel all swirling around together will truly be a dream for your little princess or prince. Plus, they’ll even receive some trinkets to take home.
Akershus Royal Banquet Hall at Epcot in the Norway Pavilion is like Cinderella’s Royal Table was magically transported to the Norwegian fjords or Arendelle, but without Anna and Elsa as the hostesses with the most-est. Admittedly, the atmosphere at Princess Storybook Dining isn’t as extravagant, but having all the princesses there (Belle instead of Jasmine) is equally as impressive.
As befitting of the only Disney character dining in World Showcase, the real charm here is both the Norwegian food and cast members. Aside from the princesses (and the cheaper price tag), of course. From breakfast to dinner, guests here dine on a bounty of Norwegian favorites including a Smorgasbord overflowing with sliced meats, cheeses, and salads. Mains include more familiar potato casserole and scrambled eggs in the AM and meatballs or pork tenderloin in the PM. It’s different but delicious.
Even more than the traditional food, the restaurant’s Norwegian cast members really add to the experience. Not only can they explain all the tasty things in front of you, but they’re usually more than happy to answer any questions you might have about living in Norway.
Best Character Dining in Disney World for an Elevated Experience
Are you looking for a Disney character meal with a little extra something? An amazing view, elevated food, an intricate storyline, or maybe even an exclusive setting? These next character meals at Disney World have it all.
Breakfast à la Art at Topolino’s Terrace at Disney’s Riviera Resort
We’re moving on up… to the one and only rooftop restaurant on our list: Topolino’s Terrace – Flavors of the Riviera at the Riviera Resort. By night, this restaurant is a great place to catch the fireworks outside the parks. By day, it hosts one of the best Disney World character breakfasts; so, be sure to walk out on the terrace for a sweeping panorama of the resort below if you go.
This sophisticated character breakfast transports guests to the European Riviera, where Mickey, Minnie, Daisy, and Donald are studying the arts. In short, the theming here is beyond adorable. Each of the character’s outfits represents their area of specialization: Mickey’s painting, Minnie’s poetry, Donald’s sculptures, and Daisy’s dancing. On top of the fashion moments and the characters’ introductions, the opportunities for great character interactions here are also top-notch. We suggest you really play into the theme and your favorite character’s costume for a truly memorable experience.
As you would imagine from the beautiful setting, the dishes here are every bit as delightful. It’s hard to not feel fancy as you nosh on prix fixe, European-inspired eats like a sour cream waffle served with Chantilly and orange-maple syrup or spiced sausage hash with a poached hen egg.
Characters at: Breakfast
Characters (may vary): Mickey, Minnie, Donald, and Daisy
Good Morning Breakfast with Goofy and His Pals at Ravello at Four Seasons Resort
Goofy is on vacation with his best pals Mickey and Minnie and you get to be part of their adventure at the Four Season Resort Orlando’s character breakfast. If you’re looking to kick off your day with a luxurious bang, then the Four Seasons’ character breakfast at Ravello is for you.
Part of the exclusive Golden Oak community on Disney World property, your visit is a treat from the moment you pass the (security-guarded) front gate. Access is restricted to those who have a room or dining reservations or residents, so be sure to be prepared. As you drive (yes, drive, or take an Uber – non-hotel guests aren’t allowed on the resort shuttle), you’ll get glimpses of some of Orlando’s most impressive real estate.
Once in the restaurant, guests fuel up for the day on sophisticated, prix fixe takes on breakfast favorites like Belgian waffles with berry coulis or a veggie and goat cheese-filled egg white frittata. As you eat, Goofy and the gang will greet you for pictures in their finest resort-casual wear and periodically party with the crowd for a napkin dance.
Characters at: Breakfast
Characters (may vary): Goofy, Mickey, and Minnie
Storybook Dining at Artist Point with Snow White at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
If you’re looking for an immersive, entertaining Disney character dining experience, then you’re definitely going to want to check out Story Book Dining at Artist Point with Snow White. Located at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, the restaurant is themed like the Enchanted Forest. With towering trees twinkling with fairy lights above you, it truly is a magical setting. To top it all off, not only do you get to meet the Evil Queen, Snow White, and a couple of her dwarf friends, but they’ll also treat you to a few choreographed dances to some songs from the movie.
As you might expect, the dishes are just as charming as the characters and atmosphere. From hearty mains like the Royal Prime Rib Roast and Magic Mirror’s Braised Pork Shank to an assortment of desserts that are as pleasing to the eye as they are to the stomach, such as the Fairy Tale Gooseberry Pie, the entire meal is a cut above what you’ll typically find at a Disney character dinner. All in all, this Wilderness Lodge character experience is an enchanting experience from beginning to end.
Characters at: Dinner
Characters (may vary): Snow White, Evil Queen, Grumpy, and Dopey
Best Character Meal in Disney World for Adults & Teens
Some (let’s be honest, most) Disney World character meals are perfect for families with smaller children. With such a focus on traditional Disney characters and the princesses, it all starts feeling a little, well, young. So, if you’re traveling with teenagers or with a group of adults but are still looking for a memorable Disney character experience, this next suggestion is the restaurant for you.
1900 Park Fare at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
In the morning, this whimsical restaurant hosts the Supercalifragilistic Breakfast. A British invasion in Disney style, you get to meet some of the most popular characters from UK imports including Alice in Wonderland, Mary Poppins, and Winnie the Pooh. And let us say, what a delightful combination. Picture, The Mad Hatter asking Pooh why Piglet couldn’t be there and then pointing to a plateful of bacon. Dead. All of this was in front of a table of adults and teens, mind you. What would the children think?
At dinnertime, a messy family drama that you just can’t look away from and a classic Disney fairytale take over the restaurant for the Happily Ever After Dinner. Featuring the characters from Disney’s Cinderella, you’ll watch on in glee the antics of Cinderella’s iconic stepsisters, cower from Lady Tremaine, and see the happy couple themselves. With this cast of characters, anything could happen. Mock proposals, uncomfortable arguments – you name it. And if that doesn’t sound like fun for the grown-ups, we don’t know what does.
As unforgettable as the character experiences are here, the food is admittedly less so. Breakfast offers up the same sorts of dishes you’ll find elsewhere like eggs benedict and corned beef hash. Dinner is a worldly mélange of fried catfish, honey-sriracha salmon, creamy pasta, ratatouille, and much more. The epitome of something for everyone if we’ve ever heard one. As vaguely tasty as that all sounds, the only thing you need to remember to have here is the Floridian Strawberry Soup. It’s available at both meals. Seriously, just trust us.
In addition to all this amazingness, the restaurant is also home to not one, but two different tea parties themed after Wonderland and the princesses. Basically, start booking your reservation now.
Characters at: Breakfast and Dinner
Supercalifragilistic Breakfast Characters (may vary): Alice (in Wonderland), The Mad Hatter, Mary Poppins, Pooh, and Tigger
Happily Ever After Dinner Characters (may vary): Cinderella, Prince Charming, Lady Tremaine, Anastasia, and Drizella
Well all you Disney-character-lovin’ foodies out there, this concludes our guide to the best character dining in Disney World. Hopefully, we’ve helped you figure out which character meal is best for you and your crew. Or for those of you who are looking for something a little lighter on the characters, may we suggest an alternative? The Be Our Guest Restaurant in Magic Kingdom’s Fantasyland offers family-friendly, French-inspired dining in the Beast’s castle – with the man of the house even occasionally stalking through the highly themed dining rooms and posing for optional pictures.
Are you an expert on Disney World character dining? Which character meals are your favorites? What’s your pick for the best character breakfast? Do you have any go-to dishes? Let us know in the comments!