Restaurant advice for 5 year old

Surprising my 5 year old and 2 year old with a trip to Disney. As our trip is mostly character focused. What restaurants do you recommend? My thought was Cinderellas Castle, Hollywood and Vine, and Tusker for ADRs. I want to make this trip truly magical for my princess crazed girl.

Also is different times of the day better then others for characters or do they always come around?

Any advice appreciated. Thank you!

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Cinderella’s Royal Table is beautiful. Akershus is also a fun princess meal. Hollywood and Vine has Disney Jr. for breakfast, and Mickey and friends for lunch and dinner. 1900 Park Fare dinner with Cinderella’s family is our favorite. If she likes Lilo from Lilo and Stitch, the Ohana breakfast is fun also. Characters at the meals always come around to each table or greet you at the beginning for a picture before you are seated.

For other character meets- At Magic Kingdom, most characters (except for the ones with a Fast Pass option like Mickey, TInkerbell, Ariel, and Princess Hall) meet in the mornings from like 9-2pm. There are some exceptions. In Epcot, most princesses begin meeting in the World Showcase in the mid morning, like 11-3, except for Anna and Elsa, who meet all day.

Hope that helps you!

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Very helpful! I didn’t realize disney jr characters were only breakfast. Good to know! Thank you!

H&V for dinner can be hit or miss.

We have been 3 times to dinner, and twice for breakfast.

Breakfast has been good both times, and my DD loves Doc and Sofia and they have we all have a fun time. Disney Jr. is Breakfast only, Minnie’s Seasonal Dine for Lunch and Dinner.

2 out of the 3 times were not bad at H&V, but our last time through the food wasn’t great and the characters seemed to be more in a rush.

Tusker House Interaction was fantastic.

Akershus and CRT are both good princess meals, and eating in Cinderella’s is something to experience. We seem to always book Akershus again and again though, can’t seem to justify the added expense of CRT.

As for timing goes if you hit at the start of a meal cycle or at the end of a meal cycle you seem to get more attention from the characters.

We also like Lilo and Stich at Ohana. Chef Mickeys is decent with a lot of characters.

I wouldn’t recommend H&V strictly do to previous experiences with the food

I highly recommend finding character schedules for your visit to help plan.

DD was awestruck by the princesses at CRT and Akershus but was so busy looking around that she only picked at her food. She interacted more and had a lot of fun with the characters at Garden Grill plus she ate a good meal. Characters were good at Hollywood & Vine dinner but food was mediocre and it was very loud - my DH says he would never go there again. On a future trip we would repeat Garden Grill and want to try Bon Voyage Breakfast.

At the in park character meets you get to spend a little longer with the characters than at breakfast. Most memorable for us were Merida, Rapunzel, Tiana, Anna and Elsa, Ariel with her tail (once DD met her wearing a dress she said she wished she could get to meet her with her tail so I had to shuffle our plans for next MK day to include that meet).

I travelled with DH, DD7 & DD5 and we tried 8 TS restaurants. We all loved lunch/dinner at H&V, Ashershus, Coral Reef, Ohana, BOG, SciFi, and Biergarten, didn’t think so much of Park Fair. I made our choices based on characters, unique setting, and things to keep the kids occupied/amused while DH and I could sit back and relax. We were on the dining plan so Akershus made financial sense over CRT. Still on my to do list with a similar theme are Crystal Palace and Tuskers, Garden Grill, and the mexican restaurant. With the exception of BOG breakfast I only book ADR’s for lunch or dinner when we are all in need of a break, and I mainly booked lunches as that kept the evening fluid. Do consider your kids sleeping schedule when you plan your day. Walking around Epcot or sitting in the open air market at AK is great with a sleeping child in a buggy, but most restaurants don’t allow them. DD5 slept throughout our whole dinner at Ohana, between 2 material chairs pushed together, we then fetched the buggy and moved down to the outside bar where she continued to sleep, it was a very relaxing evening. I would take 2 single buggies, for your five year old you can park their buggy in different places and just pick it up when you need it. When I was given the advice about buggies I was sceptical as my daughter hadn’t used one in nearly 3 years, but I was so glad I took one.

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We did several character meals in Jan on the DP, and all were good. My personal favorite was brunch at 1900 PF on our last day. Food was superb and characters fun… (By then I’d had my fill of the princesses and cartoon characters).

Thank you all! A lot to think about!

We went a few weeks ago with princess-loving girls, DD5 and DD3 and we did:

CRT - loved this - was really fun to eat in the castle and meet Cinderella as a guarantee. Not sure I’d do it again due to expense (see next).

Akershus - also liked this - didn’t like food as much but the princesses were essentially the same and I’d chose one or the other of these next time. (Likely Akershus - it didn’t have as nice a feel to it and food wasn’t as good but it’s not like you can TELL you’re in the castle when you’re inside so… for the price difference I’d probably do Akershus.)

Hollywood & Vine lunch - we met Mickey, Minnie, Daisy, Donald and Goofy. Girls loved it!

Bon Voyage breakfast - met Ariel, Eric, Rapunzel and Flynn - girls also loved this

1900 Park Fare Dinner - Cinderella, prince charming, Step-mother and step-sisters. The five year old enjoyed the step-sisters humor but the 3 year old didn’t get it. This was a no-brainer for us because we stayed at GF so it was easy to do. I’d recommend to do it once for people but that might be enough if you have to go far out of your way to do it.

BOG Dinner - this will be different now since they’re upping the price but I’m really glad we met the beast - girls loved it and the food was some of the best we had all week.

Having said that, food was definitely secondary to the entertainment factor in all of these. We never had bad food and didn’t think much about it beyond that. Dinner at BOG was the best food for sure, probably followed by CRT.

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Bon Voyage breakfast, haven’t heard of this one, more info please?

I’m interested to know what gift they gave out at H&V

Bon Voyage breakfast is at Tratorria al Forno - right by Boardwalk Inn. Features Flynn Rider/Rapunzel and Ariel/Eric. Apparently it’s hard to find their guys around and my girls liked meeting them. The food was good (fixed price, choose something off the menu).

For Hollywood and Vine - we didn’t receive a gift - we had pictures with the characters and a buffet. Has ther been a gift in the past?

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Guests can pose for pics with popular Disney Characters, say “hi” to those stopping by and engage in table activities geared to the theme. Plus, the party gifts make great souvenirs!

The party gifts are like a hand fan during the summer season H&V. I don’t remember what it was for Christmas.

Our entire trip revolved around Princesses and meeting Characters. We did breakfast at Cinderella’s Castle and it was amazing. You meet Cinderella on your way in and 4 more princesses make the rounds to each table. The food was great and they gave my girls magic wands. The excitement of being in the castle was BIG for my 5 year old. Yes - it was expensive.

Akershus was also good. I believe it was 5 princesses as well. This was the only place we found Mulan, but we probably could have looked harder for her if we needed to. The food was good (not great) and the atmosphere was cool but not as awesome as being in the castle.

Hollywood and Vine we saw the classic disney characters, and Pooh and friends at Crystal Palace. Both were good buffets. My Daughter wasn’t as excited for them as she was the princesses.

The MDE Ap is great for finding characters.

Sidenote: My 5 yr old was so obsessed with getting autographs that she didn’t think to ask to buy stuff at the gift shops. It was all about the autograph book (Parent WIN).

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@Brendapwood How hard was it to get a Cinderella castle meal?? That is on my MUST DO list and i will be willing to plan everything else around it. Would be great if it was round lunch or breakfast to make it easier! I am also interested to hear what her favorite rides were? Thanks for your help!

@disneygirl8710 We have done breakfast at the castle twice. The first time we booked it the morning of the 180 day mark - literally the minute reservations opened for the day we were planning. Last time (in Jan) it was a last minute trip so I used the touring plans reservation finder and was able to get it as soon as they texted me that it was available. We did breakfast because I have a picky eater and it was the most cost effective. The steak & eggs was great for an adult and we were full enough to just have snacks for lunch.

Her favorite rides: Small World, Ariels Grotto, Tales with Belle, Teacups and the antique cars. Honestly we spend most of our time in Fantasy Land. She is a very timid girly girl so we didn’t do anything dark or fast. We used FP on meeting Elena and Tiana, Belle’s story time and Ariel.

Hollywood Studios is not my favorite park, but it is the home if Disney Jr characters so make sure you look for Doc!

I also have a princess loving DD5. On our first trip, she was 4 and we did three character meals. CRT, H&V dinner and CP. She absolutely loved them all! IA with others that you typically get longer character interactions in the parks.

CRT was somewhat rushed. Some princesses interact longer than others. I liked my meal, DD5 barely touched her food bc of the excitement. Definitely worth it to eat in the castle at least once! She also definitely liked the wand/wishing star part. We had a preRD BBB appointment, then met characters and rides in fantasyland, then lunch at CRT. My favorite day of the trip!

H&V dinner was fun/cute. Food was fine for buffet. Definitely loved seeing all 5 characters!

We also liked CP lunch. This was actually the 1 meal that my DD asked to repeat on our upcoming April trip because “Tigger tickled me!”

In addition to CP, we are trying Tusker House and Bon Voyage breakfast on this trip.

I haven’t thought about Crystal Palace, but Maybe I should by 2 year old might get a kick out of or maybe scared? or the pooh characters. And my DD5 has always loved Pooh. My daughter is somewhat timid-- not sure she would be ready for the roller coasters this trip. So good to hear her highlights. Last birthday was an Elena birthday party, so she will be a must.

Hollywood and Vine will be great- since she loves all of those characters. Im worried that it will be a mess with Toy Story Land opening— but maybe no so bad come November?