Which Character Meal?

My husband, my 7 year old son, and myself will be at Disney for a short weekend visit in January. We are so excited to do this with our son, who happens to be autistic, and LOVES Disney. We have been to Disney with him before and he loves it and especially the main Disney characters. For this trip we want to do one of the character meals with him. Which is the best one to go to where you get to see the most characters like Mickey, Minnie, Daisy, Donald, etc? He does have some sensory issues that we always take into account as well, especially in restaurants.
Thanks for any and all input.

My son has sensory processing disorder and he really enjoyed Tusker House in Animal Kingdom! When we go in 2018 he wants to go again. I don’t know if your son has issues with sound but we were placed in a section right off the big dining room with only 5 tables, it was much calmer and quieter. They have mickey, donald, daisy, and goofy!

This is exactly what I need. Thank you. Yes he does have sensory issues so knowing this could be an option is always good.

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We really enjoyed TH and the characters came round to see us two or three times because it was quite quiet. But I have heard other people saying they only saw one or two characters because it was so busy. I’m sure liners could recommend a best time during your holiday that would hopefully be quiet. We were there on a Friday at 6:55pm but I can’t remember the crowd level sorry.

We liked Tusker house a lot. The lunch food there was pretty great. I also want to plug Garden Grill in Epcot. The best part about that restaurant is that you sit in a booth and they bring you your food to you, which I thought was really great. We were in a booth on the ‘outer ring’ and the booth walls were high enough that it was relatively quiet and private. The restaurant does ‘spin’ but it’s very very slow. I didn’t notice it, but some people are more sensitive to it. We were there for breakfast and I thought everything was pretty good.

I agree, I quite like TH. All of the main characters are there, and if you go at an “off meal time” (lunch at 2 for example) it can be a pretty calm experience. My DD and I were there around that time last February and there were quite a few empty tables. Helped to keep the noise down if he’s sensitive to that, and I’ve always found Disney to be accommodating to special needs when they know about them.

I generally do not like CMs and rarely go to them, but I have to echo others’ comments and recommend TH - the only one I go to “by choice”. You get 4 of the classic characters, it’s relatively “calm” and the food on the buffet is much better than the “standard” buffet fare.

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I agree with everyone else, Tusker House was great. If you go at an off-time, it is quieter and there is more interaction, but even when we went at busy times we still saw all the characters. We were off in a type of alcove which made it less hectic feeling.

We love Tusker House for meeting the gang of classic characters. And the restaurant has more quiet, subdued feel than some of the other character meal locations (such as Chef Mickey which for your circumstances I would avoid).

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Great to Know!!! Thanks

May not be adding much to the conversation by also recommending Tusker House, but I will say that the chances are very good that you get a quiet space because of the way the have the restaurant broken into smaller rooms. We have been a few times and have always seen all of the characters. I can’t imagine any character meal where you wouldn’t see all of them unless you were in a hurry and left before they came back around. And if you haven’t seen a character, all you need to do is mention it to your server at any character meal and they can usually help make sure they come by before you go.

You didn’t mention you were considering Hollywood and Vine but in case you are we found it to be very noisy and chaotic. The restaurant was not completely full and it gave my DH a headache.

Haven’t done Tusker House, but we loved Garden Grill breakfast.

I would check the menu at Tusker House before booking it to see if the food will meet your family’s tastes as well. Last month, we had dinner at Tusker House and it was the worst food we had on our trip by far. My kids didn’t even like the kids buffet.

We had concerns going in, but decided to try it because of the Rivers of Light package. Show was good, characters were good. Supper was … not.

That being said, I suspect the environment at Tusker House might work best for you, even if you have to stop at Flame Tree or Restaurantosaurus afterwards.

So funny how our own experience informs us.

You posted about dinner and I was thinking - but OP asked about breakfast! Which, of course, OP did not! LOL

We only ever have breakfast there so I often forget that you can have other meals there. Maybe someday we’ll go there for one of the other meals :wink:

I went to both breakfast and lunch, but not dinner, on the same day. I enjoyed both, but I’m always partial to breakfast. :wink: we thought the food was great, even my picky eater, but taste is so subjective, too.

The Garden Grill breakfast is very quiet. Look for some photos of the restaurant. You can’t really see other diners while you eat. It feels very private. You meet Farmer Mickey, Pluto, Chip and Dale. The food is served to your table, but it is a … like a buffet served to you? You get a family sized portion of a number of breakfast foods and can ask for more of whatever you like. For a pre-park opening breakfast, you can finish and head down to the Soarin’ line before the park opens. I have read that you could also go over to Joy & Sadness (I haven’t done that myself)

We’ve had dinner here too, but it is very loud where you wait for dinner. The dinner itself isn’t loud that I remember.

I have had breakfast at the Tusker house too. Food is good but it is a buffet. You have to go to a different room to get your food. It is not very loud, but not as private as Garden Grill. Safari Mickey Donald, Daisy and Goofy (no Minnie, but you can meet her at the Adventurer’s outpost in her safari gear along with Mickey) come to your table. I think there is a family photo shoot outside of the restaurant (optional) at least there used to be. For pre-park opening breakfast, if you finish up quickly, you can

  1. head to safari ahead of the rope drop crowd
  2. When we went from breakfast to Everest instead, we didn’t beat the rope drop crowd, we kind of merged with them – meaning we weren’t at a disadvantage. I wonder if this breakfast will help with Pandora.

Chef Mickey is very loud, and there is a loud song - -sing-along encouraged and napkin dance during the meal – maybe not the best choice? You can probably find a you tube video. Mickey, Donald, Minnie, Pluto, Goofy.

My boys wanted me to add a warning about Rain Forest & T-Rex Restaurant, just in case you are considering them. They are really cool, but overwhelmingly loud.