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Donald, Mickey and Goofy in safari gear

Best Disney World Character Dining Experiences For Your Next Vacation

Some folks go to Disney World 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 the Disney parks is meet beloved Disney characters. And while you could (and should) do character 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. 

When it comes to Disney World character dining, guests really are spoilt for choice. With 14 different restaurants offering character dining, 16 unique Disney 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. 

Walt Disney World Character Dining 2021

Mickey at character lunch with two guests

Planning your trip to Disney World for 2021? 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 Walt Disney World During COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has done quite a number on Walt Disney World. Although things are slowly but surely going back to normal, one of the areas that remain most affected by the virus is Disney character experiences. We get it, Mickey Mouse and Cinderella don’t want to catch COVID-19 either. 

The pandemic has especially altered Disney character dining. Some restaurants have temporarily transitioned to regular table-service restaurants with no characters to be seen. At other restaurants, the characters are back, but they aren’t currently stopping for signatures, a bunch of photos, and some hugs. Instead, they’ll typically parade around a bit waving at everyone and, if you’re lucky, maybe stop for a socially distanced selfie. And then there are others that aren’t even back open yet. 

Plus, for some of those that are available, even how the meal itself is presented has changed. Rather than buffet dining, food is served family-style to prevent the spread of germs. This is one change that we can actually get behind since the food tends to be fresher (i.e., better).

Here are the changes at a glance.

  • Open but with modified character dining:
  • Chef Mickey’s at the Contemporary Resort
  • Garden Grill at Epcot (breakfast temporarily unavailable)
  • Hollywood & Vine at Hollywood Studios
  • Breakfast at Ravello at the Four Seasons Resort Orlando
  • Breakfast at Topolino’s Terrace – Flavors of the Riviera at the Riviera Resort
  • Tusker House Restaurant at Animal Kingdom
  • Open with only a possible appearance from a character:
  • Dinner at Be Our Guest at Magic Kingdom
  • Cinderella’s Royal Table at Magic Kingdom (breakfast temporarily unavailable)
  • Open without any character meals:
      • Breakfast at Cape May Café at the Beach Club Resort
      • Breakfast at ‘Ohana at the Polynesian Village Resort
  • Breakfast at Trattoria al Forno at Disney’s BoardWalk
  • The Crystal Palace at Magic Kingdom (breakfast temporarily unavailable)
  • Temporarily unavailable:
    • 1900 Park Fare at the Contemporary Resort
    • Akershus Royal Banquet Hall at Epcot
    • Storybook Dining at Artist Point with Snow White at the Wilderness Lodge Resort

A Note About the Rankings

Mickey-shaped brunch on plate

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 princesses. Food and 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 

Whether you’re hoping to meet Mickey 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. 

Garden Grill tables and signage

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, and 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 Disney Junior Play ‘n Dine. Food served at breakfast is as kid-friendly as the characters that stop by to visit, with 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, and dinner

Disney Junior Play n’ Dine Breakfast Characters (may vary): Doc McStuffins, Fancy Nancy, Vampirina, and Roadster Goofy

Minnie’s Seasonal Dining Lunch and Dinner Characters (may vary): Minnie, Mickey, Daisy, Donald, and Goofy

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 is on the best list. 

Donald, Mickey and Goofy in safari gear

With dishes like Moroccan-spiced beef and green curry shrimp on offer, it’s one of the more interesting character dining menus. And not to worry about your picky eater. 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 here is just as enjoyable. 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, and 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 a reservation. 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 friends from the Hundred Acre Wood have popped by this bright, Victorian-inspired conservatory to say hello and give some welcome hugs. 

Dining room with tables and lights

Previously, the menu here was pretty standard. Peel-n-Eat shrimp, a meat carving station. Since reopening, however, the restaurant has unveiled a whole new menu. While the menu is said to be inspired by classic picnic foods perfect for an alfresco meal in the Hundred Acre Wood, with dishes on offer like fried chicken, blackened catfish, and strawberry shortcake, this meal is all about comforting soul food. It remains to be seen whether this new menu will stick around once the characters return. 

Characters at: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner

Characters (may vary): Winnie the Pooh, Piglet, Tigger, and Eeyore

Chef Mickey’s at Disney’s Contemporary Resort

Of all the character dining in Walt Disney World, Chef Mickey’s at the Contemporary is probably the most iconic. It’s one of the only character meals where you can see all of the Fab Five – Mickey, Minnie, Pluto, Donald, and Goofy – altogether, with 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 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. 

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 

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 options 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)

Tables and bar of restaurant

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 Disney 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 breakfasts 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 a breakfast calzone stuffed with scrambled eggs. 

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 spots, 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. 

Characters at: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner

Characters (may vary): Cinderella, Aurora (Sleeping Beauty), Snow White, Jasmine, and Ariel

Akershus Royal Banquet Hall at Epcot

Akershus Royal Banquet Hall at Epcot is like Cinderella’s Royal Table was magically transported to the fjords of Norway 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. 

Characters at: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner

Characters (may vary): Snow White, Aurora (Sleeping Beauty), Cinderella, Belle, and Ariel

Best Character Dining in Walt 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. 

Breakfast à la Art with Mickey & Friends transports guests to the European Riviera where Mickey, Minnie, Donald, and Daisy 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 Good Morning 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 dining or room reservation 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 Storybook 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, 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 prime rib and braised pork shank to an assortment of desserts that’s as pleasing to the eye as they are to the stomach, the entire meal is a cut above what you’ll typically find at a Disney character dinner. 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

Located at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, 1900 Park Fare may be a bit tricky to find but trust us, it’s worth it. 

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 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, Winnie the 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 Walt Disney World. Hopefully, we’ve helped you figure out with 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. 

Not sure you have enough time for a full character dining experience? Save some minutes – and cross everything off your theme park to-do list – with our 1-day plans for Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom. Hoping you’ll find some extra cash to cover that Disney fireworks cruise? Save some cents instead with our discount Disney World tickets.

Are you an expert on Disney World character dining? Which character meals are your favorites? Do you have any go-to dishes? Let us know in the comments!