Hi All! This forum has been so helpful. I know it is a ways away but we are heading over in December 2020, we just deposited! I am starting to do some preliminary planning so we are super prepared once we can actually start booking things.
One of the activities I have been researching is character dining. We will have our 5 year old nephew with us and it is his first trip.
There are so many great character dining experiences, I am having a hard time choosing. My question is - is there such thing as too many character meals? I know of course it will be expensive but we started saving for this over a year ago already so I am not too worried about that part.
Right now I am thinking about O’hana, Chef Mickey & Cinderella’s Castle. Are there any others I should consider? How much is too much? I am kind of thinking this will save from disappointment if there is someone he really wants to meet? Or will save him from wanting to spend hours in line at the park to meet Mickey if he has already met him once?
Except of course Jack Skellington - which I have already starting mentally preparing for the melt down if he doesn’t meet him or the 3 hour line we will have to wait on if we can find him!
Thanks so much for all your help!
There is definitely such a thing as too many character meals. How many days will you be there? If you can manage one every other day, that would probably feel ok. ADRs, with or without characters, take up a good chunk of time. Meeting several at once though is preferable to standing in many separate lines (also eating up tons of time).
Tusker House is great. Garden Grill too.
Every other day sounds like a super reasonable cadence! We are there for a week. Thank you for the additional suggestions, I will check them out!
I love character meals with kids because it helps avoid standing in line, and I’ve enjoyed the food we have had. If cost isn’t an issue, I say go for it!
You can get extra bang for your buck by scheduling in-park dining before the parks open, so you can get in early and walk down Main Street with very little crowds for Cinderella’s Royal Table, for example, and then head straight to rides for shorter lines.
I would pick locations based on characters your nephew likes, but also stay aware of what kind of food they are serving so you don’t overdo it. Eating buffets several days in a row can be too much, and places that serve a set menu with multiple courses (like Artists Point at Wilderness Lodge) can be REALLY filling.
Cinderella’s Royal Table and Ohana (both of which I went to for breakfast) are great. I haven’t been to Chef Mickeys, but since you’re going in December, I would suggest possibly replacing it with lunch or dinner at Hollywood and Vine in Hollywood Studios for Minnie’s Holiday Dine. It will be a buffet like Chef Mickeys, but in a park so you can hit up rides before/after, and you’ll get to see the characters in special Holiday outfits!
(Edited to change to “nephew”!)
Minnie’s holiday dine looks amazing, thank you for the recommendation! Definitely going to add that. And will definitely try for maximizing the timing to take advantage of the parks.
I have kids 4 and 6 at trip time and we have booked all the character meals because 2 years ago they loved them and we felt like it allowed us to ride more rides rather than waiting on meet and greets.
We have booked:
Tusker House (Mickey/Minnie/Donald/Goofy in Safari)
1900 Park Fare (Evil Step Sisters, Cinderella and Prince Charming)
Storybook at Artist’s Point (Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs)
Crystal Palace (Winnie the Pooh)
TRex (not character but the kids loved it last time)
Last time we did hollywood and vine and didn’t love the food so it did not make it this time.
Also with all the character meals, I would consider the Disney Dining Plan.
Bummer about H&V food! What didn’t you like about it? We will probably still go for the holiday characters, but want to be prepared
We are definitely going to book Trex. He is also OBSESSED with rainforest cafe so might have a few trips there haha
That was my same thinking with characters meals and optimizing time exploring parks and rides!
We went in the afternoon around 2 and the lunch food was cold. The characters were really great though!
Good to know! I think ours is at 11:30, so fingers crossed for fresher food.
I don’t think there is such a thing as character meal overkill. My mom and I had a character breakfast nearly every morning last trip. Mostly because we like a slow start to our day…and need to ease into life with plenty of coffee. The PPO breakfasts are good because you still don’t feel like you’re ‘wasting time’ in your day even if they’re characters your nephew isn’t necessarily into meeting. We never miss a breakfast at Tusker House on our AK day. We’ve also enjoyed Garden Grill and CRT. The one morning we didn’t do character breakfast, we ate at Woody’s Lunch Box, where we could still sit and watch the toy soliders march by.
This is my feeling. I book CRT every trip. I knock out 5 princesses. I mix in Crystal Palace, as I am a big Pooh & Friends fan and the food is great. I do Tusker’s for breakfast at AK for Mickey & Friends.
I have not done H&V as the food reviews are “meh”. Akershus is fine, but if you have picky eaters they may not enjoy it as much.
We, also, love T-Rex at Disney Sprigs. Ask to be seated in the “Ice Cave” section!
Jack is available at the MVMCP only. If you want a M&G with him, you’ll have to get those tickets. You can also only meet the 7 dwarves there too.
I did the character meals last time, but we are skipping almost all TS meals. Part of it is due to cost, but also we want to get in more rides this time. More QS = more fleixbility.
We did the now defunct Mickey’s Backyard Barbeque, BOG dinner, CRT, H&V, Tusker House, and Akershus.
I appreciated CRT most because of my daughters. They said the Barbeque was their favorite.
We had a good experience with the food at H&V. Actually, it was much better than at Tusker. My kids aren’t very adventurous when it comes to food, so they would rate it above Akershus and probably BOG too.
I have not done any character meals in years but i second Garden Grill. Great meal. Awesome character interaction.
With our young children (last time ages 2, 6, 9; previous trip ages newborn, 4, & 7) we did one character meal per day, trips were 6-7 days long. It did not feel like overkill to them, and definitely helped skip most meet and greets in the parks. We did enjoy the Halloween H&V dinner with the characters in costume - we went at lunch and the food was not amazing but fine; Garden Grill, Chef Mickey, Crystal Palace, 1900 Park Fare, Tusker House, Akershus - all the character interactions were fantastic and the food was better than I expected for theme park buffets.
We did 4 character meals. If the kids are in to them why not. Once in a lifetime experience. I feel it’s better than waiting in line to meet characters. Do budget at least 90 minutes. With all those meals I would consider the dining plan if you’re staying insight. CRT is very hard to get so plan accordingly. Akershus or 1900 Park are nice alternatives.
It really depends on the kids…well and adults. We (parents) don’t care for them but assumed our kids would be. Turns out they didn’t care for them at all. We assumed our 6 year old would. But nope. I suggest asking the kids and even watch some videos on YouTube. Luckily we only did two character meals but they made clear that was enough and in the future no more…at least if it’s just for characters. They loved the food at Tusker House so we’re going back there but not for the characters.
We went for 8 days + a half departure day that was spent relaxing/packing, eating brunch at the GF, exploring the MR loop before flying home. We went with an almost 3 year old & and a 4.5 year old who love characters and so most of our sit-down meals were character meals but it never felt like it was overkill. There were so many more (character meals & other dining) that I wanted to try that we just didn’t have time to fit into the 1 trip, but here is what we ended up deciding on character meal-wise:
Day 1: Chef Mickey’s, Day 6: Tusker House, Day 7: Garden Grill, Day 8: CRT, BOG (those 2 were on the same day and it was a lot of food, but BOG is really only one character the Beast so it didn’t feel like a “true” character meal to me) and on departure day 1900 PF brunch.
We did also eat at 'Ohana (dinner so not with characters) and Whispering Canyon Cafe on Days 3 & 5 and those were picked by my husband and son based on my description of the the food & ended up staying because they were also great excuses to visit those resorts to get a chance to see them.
If time hadn’t been an issue the other character meals that I was considering included: Askerhus, Cape May, 1900 PF Happily Ever After Dinner with Cinderella & co., and Crystal Palace. Also, if it had existed (which it didn’t yet when we went) Trattoria Al Forno breakfast would’ve been high on my list & as near the top for our next trip.
My reply is it depends. For our trip in July we did all dinners in this order:
We have two 8 y/0 , 11 y/o, 13 y/o, and adults. Storybook was the only new character meal for our families. The last two everyone was charactered out and the food was meh at best. We have decided buffets are off the list next trip.
Our trip in December will be Garden Grill-I think that’s one of the best Character and food Combos.
I did Garden Grill last week for a PPO. Ask for a POG mimosa if you like such things. Resist the urge to eat too much of the cinnamon bun if you can. The breakfast food is solid. The characters get there quickly because of the layout.
I finished off the trip with a late breakfast at Trattoria al Forno Bon Voyage Breakfast. That’s my new favorite character meal. Great value for 1 TS credit. Food, decor, and characters were all top notch. Service is a little different. They seat several tables at a time, so that the server can do 4-6 tables at once. All the drinks, all the orders, all the “are you ok’s” in a single pass. It gets things done efficiently, but you may wait to get seated if one table doesn’t clear out, and you may need to be a little patient for the servers during the initial passes.