Newbie Character Dining Help


#1

Newbie here - making our first visit in October (with a 7yo and almost 3yo) and need help whittling down our Character dining choices. Initially we were staying 7 nights on property, but are switching to a split stay at Shades of Green to save $$$, get some extra space, and have easy monorail access. For TS meals, I currently have Tusker House brunch, Yak & Yeti dinner (our lone non-character adult treat), Hollywood & Vine breakfast, Crystal Palace dinner, Trattoria al Forno late breakfast, Chef Mickey’s and 1900 Park Fare dinners. I need to cut it down to 4.

I’m pretty sure I’ve already mentally axed Hollywood & Vine because the Disney Jr characters are least important to us. Should I drop Chef Mickey’s since Tusker House has similar characters (and Tusker works slightly better for our schedule)? Trattoria al Forno is possibly on the chopping block, too because it’s the most out of the way for us. Please give me your expert opinions!


#2

Keep:

Tusker - Mickey - perhaps more convenient for you but decidedly far better food
Crystal Palace - Pooh and puffed french toast - you can’t go wrong
Trattoria - Tangled - gets really great reviews and also flynn rider so…
1900 - Cinderella - stepsisters offer some of the best character interaction anywhere


#3

I do have a somewhat inappropriate crush on the animated Flynn Ryder. :joy:


#4

That’s not a thing.


#5

Personally I would drop CM dinner and H&V breakfast.


#6

Glad to know I’m on the right track! I still need to shave one character meal off or pay for Yak & Yeti out of pocket - I’m estimating it to be the cheapest of the TS meals, so that’s not a huge deal.


#7

If it’s feasible I would pay for Yak and Yeti out of pocket.


#8

I’ve done some of these, so I’ll share what I can:

Yak&Yeti - good choice, decent kid options if they aren’t too picky. I’d recommend getting a Landry’s Select Club membership. It costs $25, but you get that back when you have your first meal. No ADR required, just show up whenever you want and you’ll get the first available table. Less than 5 minutes when I went last September. If you get the Tuna Nachos, it is enough for a light meal for 2. My wife and I got this and shared one entree and it was too much food.

Hollywood & Vine - I’ve only done lunch, but if you aren’t that interested in the characters, easy to skip

Crystal Palace - I’ve only done breakfast, but Winnie the Pooh and friends are fun and it is a good selection on the buffet. We have repeated this one every trip

Trattoria al Forno - Never done but on our list for next trip

1900 Park Fare - had dinner last trip. Character interaction is great if you’re into that. Lots of great food including prime rib. I was surprised that this meal was cheaper including a glass of wine than Crystal Palace breakfast. I would do it again.

Tusker House - never done, but considering for the future

We have done Garden Grill lunch every trip. It’s a nice break in the middle of an Epcot day and nice to sit and revolve and look at the areas of the Land ride. Plus, they bring you the food instead of getting up and going to a buffet, which can be a hassle with kids. You get Mickey, Chip&Dale, and Pluto, if I recall correctly.


#9

Don’t use a TS meal credit for Yak & Yeti, it’s a pretty cheap meal, especially if you do your homework and share food. I’m only guessing, but I think it was like $80-90 for 2 adults, 2 kids and one toddler when we were there. Obviously your mileage may vary, but it is going to be around half the cost of a character meal.


#10

Excellent choice on Y&Y for your adult treat! We LOVED it!!

Out of all of your character meals, I’d say Tusker has the best food (although I haven’t eaten at Trattoria yet) so I’d keep that and drop CM.

We had 1900 PF breakfast and the food was meh. But I haven’t done dinner there so it may be way different and I’ve always heard great things about the characters at dinner.

I think H&V is a good one to cut since your oldest especially will probably be underwhelmed by the Disney Jr. line-up.

Trattoria is on my schedule for July and I’m looking forward to it. As far as I know it’s the only place to meet those princes. I’m looking forward to the meal quite a bit!

We’ve eaten breakfast and lunch at CP. the characters are very sweet and I’ve enjoyed both of our meals there!

So, in summary, I guess my picks for you would be Y&Y, TH, CP and Trattoria. Add in 1900 PK if you decide to pay OOP for Y&Y.


#11

I recently (May 10) did Tusker House brunch and is easily the best buffet brunch I have had anywhere.


#12

Tusker House was my favorite character meal. We did dinner, but were very happy with everything except that we had to wait a long time to be seated. Best character interaction all trip, and interesting food + basics for kids.

We are doing Crystal Palace dinner for the first time this trip. I’ve heard to make a reservation for when it is still light out to appreciate the windows more. Food reviews seem good. Just expect it to be very crowded; they seem to squeeze in more people than appropriate.

1900 Park Fare Dinner we liked, but we aren’t doing it again. The character interaction was good, the food was pretty good–it just wasn’t amazing. We did enjoy walking out to the waterfront after dinner and watching MK fireworks. They pipe in the music to the restaurant at the dock (Narcosee’s maybe?).

Chef Mickey I would skip. Food is reportedly awful. The Contemporary is so loud and busy. Characters are almost the same as Tusker House.

Y&Y we are trying for the first time this trip. I have heard that some meals can be shared there, so that’s a cost savings.

I know nothing about Trattoria al Forno, sorry.


#13

We did a lot of character meals when our two were the same age. They loved Tusker House and the food was good. Our experience at holllywood and vine was awful - terrible food, noisy and rushed characters. Crystal Palace characters are such fun. We found Trattoria al Forno a nightmare to get to (the Uber keptbgoing round in circles) and the kids really weren’t fussed about the food. Characters were ok, and obviously you get to see some you can’t see elsewhere. The kids liked Chef Mickey’s but we did breakfast so can’t comment on food. Didn’t like the atmosphere - noisy, crowded etc. We all loved 1900 Park Fare dinner and breakfast. All the characters were fantastic and food great for a buffet.


#14

CP was our favorite character meal. Characters were great and food was pretty good. We did dinner. TH was also pretty good in terms of food and characters. A nice alternative to the chaos of CM. Only issue is no Minnie. Haven’t been to the others but Trattoria and 1900 are on my list for next time.


#15

I would keep Tusker House (best character interaction we’ve ever had), Trattoria al Forno, Crystal Palace, and 1900 Park Fare.

Keep in mind that occasionally, characters will be missing from the 1900 Park Fare meal.


#16

If there are any of these that you are even interested in doing, I would get booking today! You’re within 180 days so I would just book your top choices now and set up a reservation finder for things you can’t get. You can very easily cancel when you firm up your plans!


#17

I had a positively wonderful experience at the Trattoria breakfast back in January - I would keep that, personally.


#18

Oh don’t worry, I was up at 6am on day 180! These are all booked already. I’m trying to make the tough choices now so I’m not hoarding the reservations we are most likely not keeping.


#19

I would drop Chef Mickeys and Y&Y - was not a fan of either.


#20

Which ones would be missing?