Character Dining: A Cheapskate Princess Guide

My favorite part of planning a Walt Disney vacation is deciding where to eat and a trip to WDW isn’t complete without character dining. Character dining can be expensive and some experiences are better than others, but it saves lots of time to dine with characters instead of waiting in line in the parks to meet some of your favorite Disney characters. Character dining is also very popular so be sure to make your reservations at 180 days out or book with us and have your Princess Travel Expert take care of it for you!

Character Dining

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Character Dining at Animal Kingdom

Tusker House (Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner)
Location: Africa
Buffet
Characters: Safari Donald, Daisy, Goofy, and Mickey Mouse                                                                                                    On the Disney Dining Plan: Yes, 1 Table Service credit
Price Range: $$ ($15 to $34.99 per adult) – $$$ ($35 to $59.99 per adult)
Link https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/dining/animal-kingdom/tusker-house-restaurant/

This is one of the most popular restaurants at Animal Kingdom so it does book up early. Be sure to get your reservations 180 days before your vacation. The lunch and dinner options can be difficult for picky eaters, so be sure to try breakfast if you think this might be an issue. The buffet is huge and a great way to meet Daisy as this is the only restaurant she appears in.

This restaurant is included in the Rivers of Life Dining Package. Be sure to grab one of the reservations and have a VIP seat for the evening show. Tiffins and Tusker House are the only two included for the Rivers of Light Dining Package.

Character Dining at Epcot

Akershus Royal Banquet Hall (Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner)
Location: World Showcase – Norway
Buffet/Family Style
Characters: Belle, Snow White, Cinderella, Princess Aurora, and Ariel                                                                                  On the Disney Dining Plan: Yes, 1 Table Service credit
Price Range: $$$ ($35 to $59.99 per adult)
Link: https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/dining/epcot/akershus-royal-banquet-hall/

A great way to meet the princesses and in a beautiful setting. Picky eaters might have a little trouble with some of the lunch and dinner options, but the food is good! The Princess parade interaction is great for children. The location is great for guests who want an early breakfast and then get in line for Frozen Ever After when the park opens.

Character Dining

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Garden Grill (Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner)
Location: The Land Pavilion
Family Style
Characters: Mickey Mouse, Pluto, Chip, and Dale
On the Disney Dining Plan: Yes, 1 Table Service credit
Price Range: $$ ($15 to $34.99 per adult) – $$$ ($35 to $59.99 per adult) Link: https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/dining/epcot/garden-grill-restaurant/

The set up of this restaurant makes enjoying the total environment of the restaurant harder. Everyone sits in a circle and the circle does slowly (very, very slowly) rotate around so guests can see views around The Land Pavilion, but in doing so it is very hard to watch the characters interact with other guests.

The food is very good! This is my son’s favorite meal at Walt Disney World. It is a pretty decent price for character dining (which includes Mickey Mouse. SCORE!) too.

Character Dining at Hollywood Studios

Hollywood and Vine
Disney Jr. Characters (Breakfast) After May 2017, Disney Jr. Characters will only be at breakfast.
Minnie’s Seasonal Dining (Lunch and Dinner)
Location: Echo Lake Area near the entrance
Characters: Breakfast (Sofia the First, Doc McStuffins, Handy Manny, and Jake)
Lunch and Dinner (Minnie Mouse and pals dressed in special costumes based on current season and/or holiday.
On Disney Dining Plan: Yes, 1 Table Service credit
Price Range: $$$ ($35 to $59.99 per adult)
Link: https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/dining/hollywood-studios/hollywood-and-vine/

The characters hands down make this experience! This is the only place where you can eat with your favorite Disney Jr. Characters and they are great with the toddler crowd that loves them. This restaurant can be loud so be prepared. This is a large buffet with a wonderful dessert options for lunch and dinner.

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Character Dining at Magic Kingdom

Be Our Guest (Dinner Only)
Location: Fantasy Land
Quick Service and Table Service
Characters: The Beast
On Disney Dining Plan: Yes, 1 Table Service Credit for dinner; 1 Quick Service Credit for breakfast and lunch
Price Range: $ ($14.99 and under per adult) – $$ ($15 to $34.99 per adult)
Link: https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/dining/magic-kingdom/be-our-guest-restaurant/

The only character to meet is the Beast. Belle is NOT there, which is a big bummer and the Beast is only there during dinner. For Breakfast and Lunch, Be Our Guest is considered a quick service meal so it costs less, but no characters. It is still a great way to pay less to be able to eat in this beautiful restaurant. Breakfast and lunch are great to take advantage of if you are on the dining plan because they will take a Quick Service credit not a Table Service credit.

The restaurant is beautiful and so well done. There are three different sections to dine in; the West Wing, The Grand Ballroom and the Castle Gallery. The food varies depending on the meal, but I would recommend eating at Be Our Guest to anyone. This restaurant is very popular so please make your reservations as soon as you are able.

Character Dining

Photo from disneyworld.disney.go.com

Cinderella’s Royal Table
Location: Cinderella’s Castle
Table Service with Price Fixe Menu
Characters: Ariel, Aurora, Cinderella, Snow White, Jasmine (though she is rare) (Mary Poppins and Belle have been known to appear)
On Disney Dining Plan: Yes, 2 Table Service credits
Price Range: $$$ ($35 to $59.99 per adult) – $$$$
Link: https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/dining/magic-kingdom/cinderella-royal-table/

This dining experience is popular and expensive! If you want reservations you better make them 180 days out and start saving your money. This is a two credit Table Service Meal and has a price fixe menu.
But, you are eating in the castle with princesses! It is every little girl’s dream and even kids at heart dream about eating in Cinderella Castle. The restaurant itself is gorgeous and you will feel like a princess (or prince!). If you have the money in the budget then this is a must do, at least once.

Crystal Palace
Location: Main Street U.S.A
Buffet
Characters: Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Piglet, and Eeyore
On Disney Dining Plan: Yes, 1 Table Service credit
Price Range: $$ ($15 to $34.99 per adult) – $$$ ($35 to $59.99 per adult
Link: https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/dining/magic-kingdom/crystal-palace/

This restaurant is very pretty and such an iconic place to eat while at Magic Kingdom. The food is good and has lots of options on the buffet, including a kids buffet that has perfect options for your little ones. The wait times, even with a reservation, can be a little trying, but it is worth it. The character interactions are great at this location as well.

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Character Dining at the Resorts

1900 Park Fare (Breakfast and Dinner)
Location: Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort
Buffet
Breakfast Characters: Mary Poppins, Alice in Wonderland , The Mad Hatter, Tigger, and Winnie the Pooh
Dinner Characters: Prince Charming, Cinderella, Anastasia, Drizella, and Lady Tremaine
On Disney Dining Plan: Yes, 1 Table Service credit
Price Range: $$ ($15 to $34.99 per adult) – $$$ ($35 to $59.99 per adult)
Link: https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/dining/grand-floridian-resort-and-spa/1900-park-fare/

The food is just alright, but the interaction with the characters is amazing, especially at dinner. This is also a great place to meet Cinderella without having to pay the prices of Cinderella’s Royal Table. To find the restaurant, you have to walk through the lobby, or downstairs from the monorail, and into the back of the resort so be sure to factor this into your travel time.

Bon Voyage Breakfast (Breakfast) Trattoria al Forno
Location: Disney’s BoardWalk Resort
Table Service with Menu
Characters: Ariel, Prince Eric, Rapunzel, and Flynn Rider
On Disney Dining Plan: Yes, 1 Table Service credit
Price Range: $ ($14.99 and under per adult) – $$ ($15 to $34.99 per adult)
Link: https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/dining/boardwalk/trattoria-al-forno/

This is a new character dining experience, but the great news about this one is that you can meet a couple of princes with their leading ladies. I know I would love to meet Flynn Rider with Rapunzel. The price is great if you just want to pay out of pocket for one character meal.

Cape May Cafe (Breakfast)
Location: Disney’s Beach Club Resort
Buffet
Characters: Minnie Mouse, Goofy and Donald Duck (in beach attire)
On Disney Dining Plan: Yes, 1 Table Service credit
Price Range: $$ ($15 to $34.99 per adult) – $$$ ($35 to $59.99 per adult)
Link: https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/dining/beach-club-resort/cape-may-cafe/

There are only three characters here, but at the price of a buffet. However, this is one of my favorite character dining experiences. I love the food here and I love the look and feel of the restaurant. The characters are in their beach attire and so cute. Reservations are usually easier to obtain than other character meals so that helps too. This is one that my family always tries to do while on vacation.

Chef Mickey (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Location: Disney’s Contemporary Resort
Buffet
Characters: Chef Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Goofy, Pluto, and Donald Duck
On Disney Dining Plan: Yes, 1 Table Service credit
Price Range: $$$ ($35 to $59.99 per adult)
Link: https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/dining/contemporary-resort/chef-mickeys/

This is another tough one to get a reservation for so be sure to book them 180 days out. The food is just alright, but the environment is amazing. Between the monorail running through the resort, right above Chef Mickey’s and being able to meet the fab five at one dining experience this is a must do! Everyone should experience this at least once. I always choose breakfast for this meal because the food is much better at the morning buffet.

Mickey’s Backyard Backyard BBQ
Location: The Campsites at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort
Dinner Show
Characters: Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Goofy, and Chip ‘n Dale
On Disney Dining Plan: Yes, 1 Table Service credit
Price Range: $$$$ (over $60 per adult)
Link: https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/dining/cabins-at-fort-wilderness-resort/mickeys-backyard-barbeque/

Guests feast on an all-you-care-to-enjoy BBQ spread while enjoying the show. The dinner show is outside and can sometimes be very hot. Also, this is an expensive character show. But this meal does include complimentary beer and wine for guests over 21 years of age. Mickey’s Backyard BBQ doesn’t run in January and February so plan accordingly. Also, this is a great experience for character interaction, but it can get crazy with all of the children.

Ohana’s (Breakfast)
Location: Disney’s Polynesian Resort
Family Style
Characters: Mickey Mouse, Pluto, Lilo, and Stitch
On Disney Dining Plan: Yes, 1 Table Service credit
Price Range: $$ ($15 to $34.99 per adult) – $$$ ($35 to $59.99 per adult)
Link: https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/dining/polynesian-resort/ohana/

This is also a popular character experience because you can meet Lilo and Stitch as well as the big cheese himself, Mickey Mouse. The interaction with characters is great and includes several different activities with the characters during the meal. Breakfast does run later at this restaurant so consider brunch to help stay within your budget.

Character Dining

Photo from disneyworld.disney.go.com

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The good news is you can’t go wrong with any of these character dining options. Do try to make all of your Advance Dining Reservations on your 180 day mark or as soon as you book your vacation. Have your Princess Travel Expert help you with all these reservations, their services are free. If you don’t get that pre-park opening breakfast at first, then keep trying. If not, then you have another restaurant to try during your next Walt Disney World vacation.

Do you want help deciding which character meal is best for your family? We would love to help you. Your Princess Travel Experts are here to help! We know that a Disney vacation can be a lot and we are here to help you with all of your planning needs. The great news, is we can help you for FREE and we also give our clients tips, perks and freebies just for booking with us. Contact us today and let’s start planning your vacation.

Character Dining Elizabeth fell in love with Disney World as a little girl and has continued to visit again and again. She has been to Disney as a little girl, in her 20’s with friends, pregnant, with a preschooler, and with a child who has severe food allergies. Elizabeth is an agent with Destinations in Florida, an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner. She is ready to help you plan a magical Disney vacation, all at no cost to you!

Elizabeth loves planning and researching any adventure! She will work with you and your family to ensure that your vacation is everything you dreamed of and more! You can reach Elizabeth at elizabeth@destinationsinflorida.com or call her at 317-753-5959. You can fill out a quote request form here.

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