Did you know that the architecture for The Crystal Palace restaurant in the Magic Kingdom was based on the Kew Gardens in England, the Crystal Palace in New York and the San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers?
For today’s Friday Favorites, I’m going to share with you my picks for best Disney World character meals. Personally, I love character meals! Even though they are more expensive than a regular table service meal, they are such a fun experience and are well worth the additional cost in my opinion. What I love most about them is that you get great one-on-one interaction with the characters while you are enjoying your meal. You can take photos, get autographs and have a little quality time with your favorites. I feel like the time spent with the characters in this setting is so much more special and personal than at the character greeting spots. And this way you don’t have to spend additional time during your day waiting in line or using one of your Fastpass+ reservations to see the characters. So here are my choices for best Disney World character meals!
- Cinderella’s Royal Table If you have someone in your group that likes princesses, this is the place to go! You will be treated to an elegant meal inside Cinderella’s castle in the Magic Kingdom. You will begin by getting your photo taken with Cinderella herself (this is included in the price of your meal and will be brought to you at your table) and then you are off to the dining room. Throughout your meal various princesses will visit you at your table for photos and autographs. This is a plated meal that you can choose from a small menu. The food itself is usually rated as average, but this meal is really about the experience of dining in the castle. They can even arrange a special celebration for your own “princess” for a birthday or engagement! A reservation here is difficult to come by and needs to be booked as soon as your 180 day window opens up.
- Crystal Palace This location serves a buffet style breakfast, lunch or dinner and is located in the Magic Kingdom. The restaurant itself is a beautiful combination of greenery, white woodwork and glass. It makes you feel like you are dining in an elegant greenhouse. Here you will get the pleasure of visiting with Winnie the Pooh and some of his friends (usually Piglet, Tigger and Eeyore). They will come by your table for photos and autographs and about once an hour everyone can participate with the characters in a Friendship Parade around the restaurant. The food here is traditional American fare and there is even a kid’s buffet. To make a visit here more special, book a reservation as early as possible in the morning. You will be allowed into the Magic Kingdom before it opens and you can get some amazing pictures on Main Street and of Cinderella’s Castle with no crowds. Also, if you are finished eating early enough, you will be one of the first ones to the attractions as soon as they open.
- Chef Mickey’s Located at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, this is one of the most popular character meals in all of Disney World. This restaurant serves up a buffet style breakfast or dinner filled with American cuisine. As with most of the character meals, the food is tasty and plentiful, but it is much more about the experience. The location offers beautiful views of Bay Lake and the exciting sight of the monorail speeding along just above you! Here you will get to hang out with the Fab Five (Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Pluto and Goofy) when they come by your table for photos and autographs. Every so often the song “Celebrate with Mickey Mouse” starts playing and the entire restaurant erupts in celebration complete with napkin twirling and dancing! This place is loud and full of excitement. Definitely book this reservation at 180 days out!
- Garden Grill This restaurant is located in the Land Pavilion in Future World at Epcot. Not only is this a character meal featuring Mickey, Pluto, Chip and Dale, it is also served up in a rotating restaurant! That’s right…this place spins while you are eating offering magnificent views of the Living with the Land ride. I love that attraction, so that makes this restaurant even more special to me. The meal here is all-you-can-eat served family style right at your table. This choice was especially attractive to me when my kids were really small, because it was so nice to have everything come to me, characters and food included! It was so much more relaxing, because I didn’t have to juggle two little ones through buffet lines with plates, cameras and autograph books all at once. The menu here is simple with rolls, salad, beef, turkey, fish, veggies and cobbler for dessert. Be sure to request a booth for the best views of Living with the Land and put your kids on the ends so that they will have easy access to the characters as they come by.
- ‘Ohana Located at Disney’s Polynesian Resort, this restaurant offers a unique dining and character experience. ‘Ohana meaning family is a great place to bring your whole gang to hang out with Lilo, Stitch, Mickey and Pluto. The atmosphere here has a Polynesian flare while offering spectacular views of the Seven Seas Lagoon and the Magic Kingdom. The characters come by your table for photos and autographs and about every 45 minutes there is a fun-filled parade to join in. The food here is yummy and served all-you-can-eat family style right to your table. While this restaurant serves both breakfast and dinner, the characters are only present at breakfast time. The food includes breakfast breads, fruit, bacon, sausage, eggs, potatoes, biscuits and Mickey waffles. Being a huge fan of Hawaii, I love this place!
There you have it…my picks for best Disney World character meals! Be sure to click on the restaurant name to be taken to each place’s official website for more information and to make reservations. I hope you enjoy your meal and time with the characters as much as my family!
What about you? Do you have a favorite character meal? Please leave a comment!