Character Meals

My kids 8&10 want lots of character meals and I like the idea of resting eating and meeting characters but why on earth do we have to pay 50-75$ sometimes more a person to do that? I don’t want my kids to eat junk food in the park like we did at Disneyland. All the character meals and restaurants like BOG sound great! What do you do to keep cost down with the expensive restaurants in WDW? Even coral reef sounds like fun. I am planning on staying in park so how do you keep the kids happy without breaking the bank? Thanks for your help :blush:

Supply and demand. Disney keeps jacking up the prices and people still swarm to the CMs making them some of the most difficult ADRs to get. The same reason people will pay $1000 for a ticket to an NFL game or a hit Broadway show. The Disney business model is to make as much money as they can, not make as many people happy as they can.

This is why I refuse to support them. FOr that money I can have a fine dining experience at a signature restaurant instead of mediocre TS (or buffet) food amid college kids dress up as characters who briefly stop by the table for a hello and a photo (and sometimes an autograph). Maybe I’m a cynical, unmagical, old curmudgeon, but that’s my 2 cents on CMs.

One exception. I like Tusker House. It’s reasonably priced and the food quality is better than average. I would go to it by choice even if it wasn’t a CM, and the addition of the classic characters is kind of a fun “plus”.


We have always opted to get the dining plan for this very reason. I think if we were focused on the cost of each meal, we wouldn’t enjoy our time as much and wouldn’t allow ourselves to book character dining as much. You might consider a dining plan if you are going to have a lot of character meals. If you choose to pay out of pocket then you are looking at a heavy price per person for character meals, as the vast majority of these meals are either buffets or a set menu. For the non-character meals, you can choose quick service locations with hearty portions and share meals between you. Also consider eating breakfast in your room and/or getting snacks delivered by Amazon Prime Now that you can take into the parks. We ordered water, peanut butter, pretzels, goldfish, etc. and always had a snack bag as a go-to in the parks. All of these strategies helped our family keep costs lower than they could have been. But make no mistake, it is a sticker shock for sure.


Check out Garden Grove restaurant at Swan hotel. Maybe that could work out for one of your meals, at a better-ish price? The food quality might be better, as well.

You could pick out a few character/special meals you really want to experience and spread them throughout the trip, eg. if you have 5 park days, maybe do a special meal every second day. Breakfasts and lunches can be less expensive than dinners - our best character meal of our trip was Garden Grill breakfast. For other meals on property you could consider less expensive table service and quick service. We had a fun day where ate snacks in the park instead of having breakfast and lunch. You can also get a grocery delivery to your room for breakfast items, snacks, sandwich stuff, etc. If there are some characters you want to meet but the character meal doesn’t fit into your budget or plans, many of the characters are available for meets in the parks. We found the princess meets to be much better interactions than most were at the meals.

Must be those people paying 9000 for Super Bowl tickets lol. I guess I will probably have kids pick few characters they really want to see at meals otherwise I will FastPass them, thanks!

There is also a lot of repetition in the Characters at the meals. For example, don’t do Akershus if you are doing Cinderella’s Castle. I can skip Chef Mickey’s if I’m doing Tusker House - which I agree is a wonderful breakfast meal!