One of the things we love about Disney is the food. There are tons of places to choose to eat, from nice sit down restaurants, to quick service restaurants, to food cart vendors.
I've been to Walt Disney World over 25 times and have still not eaten at all of the restaurants they have to offer. I doubt I ever will considering some of them don't cater to my limited palate.
When people always ask me which restaurants I recommend I usually have to make a list because there are so many good places. The next few weeks I am going to make some restaurant recommendations for you.
First up is character dining. Character dining consists of a meal (buffet, family style, or regular) where the characters come to your table. They will spend a couple of minutes with you to sign autographs and take pictures. Doing these meals are fun and they will save you some time waiting in line to meet all of your favorites.
When they want recommendations for character dining I recommend the following:
Crystal Palace: Located in the Magic Kingdom with views of Cinderella Castle, this restaurant offers a typical American buffet as food choices. The big draw for this place is meeting characters from Hundred Acre Wood, including Winnie the Pooh, Piglet, Tigger, and Eeyore. Some of these characters do not do meet and greets in the park so this is the only place to get to see them. The characters sometimes sing and dance with the kids around the restaurant. I tell people to try and get a pre-park opening breakfast at this restaurant so they can be in the park to get some awesome photos of Cinderella Castle without anyone else in it. If you are on the dining plan this table service buffet takes 1 dining credit per person. Park ticket is required to enter the Magic Kingdom to dine at this restaurant.
Chef Mickey's: This one is located in Disney's Contemporary Resort. It does not require a park ticket to get in. We have done breakfast and dinner here. This place is loud and fun with singing and dancing. You get to meet the Fab 5, Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Donald, and Pluto. There is typical buffet foods but we like it. If you are on the dining plan, this buffet takes 1 table service credit per person.
1900 Park Fare: This is another buffet that is located in a resort, Disney's Grand Floridian, and does not take a park ticket to enter. There are different characters depending on which meal you eat there. Breakfast has Mary Poppins, Alice, and Mad Hatter. Dinner has Cinderella, Prince Charming, the Step Sisters, and Step Mother. We have eaten breakfast here and loved meeting Mary and Hatter. They were so engaging but I've heard that the Step Sisters are fabulous at dinner. They propose marriage to lots of boys and men hoping for an acceptance. Because Cinderella is at this one, I usually recommend it to people that cannot get a reservation at Cinderella's Royal Table. This buffet takes 1 table service per person.
Cinderella's Royal Table: This is one of those difficult to get reservations that you have to try for right at 180 days before your vacation. This meal is in Cinderella Castle in the Magic Kingdom. Cinderella is at the bottom of the stairs for a photo and then you climb some curved stairs to the dining room. There are beautiful stained glass windows looking out over Fantasyland. You will be greeted by different princesses throughout your meal. We met Cinderella (in the lobby), Ariel, Sleeping Beauty, Jasmine, and Snow White. Before the meal someone comes around with toy wands and swords for each guest. My mom and I chose a wand, my daughter chose a sword. The meal is a plated meal and there are only a few choices. It is a little more expensive and if you have the dining plan it takes 2 dining credits. Since it is in the Magic Kingdom, you need a park ticket to dine here.
Akershus Royal Banquet Hall: The Epcot Norway pavilion is where this meal takes place. It is a beautiful setting for a princess meal. I actually did a review of this place here. You will meet some princesses and have some good food. This is another great alternative to Cinderella's Royal Table if you don't get a reservation or don't want to spend the extra money/dining credit on it.
Cape May Cafe: This lovely little place is at a resort (Disney's Beach Club) and does not require a park ticket. The only meal that is character dining here is breakfast where you will meet Minnie and some of her friends in their beach gear. We ate here when the kids were little and loved it. The food is typical buffet foods but the character interaction was great. It doesn't seem as hectic as Chef Mickey's and interactions seem a little longer. This requires 1 dining credit.
|The little one has a heart over her face because I didn't ask her mom if I could put her photo on the internet.|
Garden Grill: This awesome little place is my favorite place to meet characters. The food is wonderful, most of it grown right there in the same pavilion (The Land, Epcot). Characters to meet here are Mickey, Pluto, Chip, and Dale, all are in their best farmer gear. This restaurant rotates slowly while you dine, which makes for an awesome experience, it even overlooks the Living with the Land attraction right below it. It is located in the Land pavilion at Epcot. The food here is served family style and you can ask for extras if you find something you like. This requires 1 dining credit if you are on the dining plan.
There are some other character dining experiences that we have not tried including Hollywood & Vine at Disney's Hollywood Studios, Mickey's Backyard BBQ at Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort, 'Ohana breakfast at Disney's Polynesian Village Resort, and Tusker House Restaurant at Disney's Animal Kingdom. From reviews that I have heard from friends, they recommend these places as well.
As with most things, opinion means a lot. We might not like the same things but I can say that I have never had a bad meal at any of these places. Also, characters are not guaranteed so please do go into the meal expecting to meet someone because you might be disappointed if they are not there. Most definitely don't tell your child who will be there, you don't want a disappointed child, just let it be a surprise.
Check out my pictures of Eve throughout the years. I love that we have all of these memories of our vacations together. Poor Xander has always hated getting his picture taken so there aren't many of him with characters as he got older.
If you want to meet some characters and have a fabulous meal, then contact me here.
Have a magical day :)