Disney World Character Dining Options: A Cheapskate Princess Guide

Updated for 2017!

Behind determining where you’ll stay, when you’ll travel, and how many days worth of tickets you need, where you eat has become a huge vacation decision. Through the years, Disney Character meals have become a huge part of many trips, meals that are way more expensive than counter service food items or breakfast in your hotel room.

However by paying more money for the meal with characters, you save valuable roller coaster riding time by eating with the characters rather than waiting in meet and greet lines later on. It’s like money vs. time.

Which do you choose? 

If you have the money to afford the character meals, there are some fantastic options throughout the parks and resorts. We’ll break those down for you park by park with prices and links for further information.

Tusker House (Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner)
Location: Africa
Buffet
Characters: Safari Donald, Daisy, Goofy, and Mickey Mouse

On the Disney Dining Plan: Yes.

Uses: 1 Table Service credit
Price Range: $$ ($15 to $34.99 per adult) – $$$ ($35 to $59.99 per adult)

Use this link for more information. 

This is one of the most popular restaurants at Animal Kingdom, so be aware that it books up early. Be sure to make your reservations 180 days before your vacation. The lunch and dinner meals can be tough for picky eaters, so an option is to try breakfast if you are traveling with a finicky  group. This character meal is also a great way to meet Daisy, since this is the only restaurant she appears in.

Tusker House is included in the Rivers of Life Dining Package, so by making a reservation, you’ll have VIP seating for the evening show. Tiffins and Tusker House are the only two restaurants included with the Rivers of Light Dining Package.

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

Uses: 1 Table Service credit
Price Range: $$$ ($35 to $59.99 per adult)

Use this link for more information. 

Akershus Royal Banquet Hall offers a prime way to meet multiple Disney Princesses in a beautiful setting. Picky eaters might have a little trouble with some of the lunch and dinner options, but visitors report the food is good. The Princess parade interaction is fun for children. The restaurant location is ideal for guests who want an early breakfast before getting in line for Frozen Ever After when the park opens.

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

Uses: 1 Table Service credit
Price Range: $$ ($15 to $34.99 per adult) – $$$ ($35 to $59.99 per adult)

Use this link for more information. 

Unlike other character meals, the set up of Garden Grill makes enjoying the total environment of the restaurant harder. Everyone sits in a large circle as the restaurant very, very slowly rotates around. Guests see views around The Land Pavilion, but in doing so, you won’t get to see the characters interact with other guests. So it’s attraction view versus watching characters.

 

Hollywood and Vine
Disney Jr. Characters (only 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

Uses: 1 Table Service credit
Price Range: $$$ ($35 to $59.99 per adult)

Use this link for more information. 

The characters hands down make this experience! This is the only character meal restaurant where you can eat breakfast with your favorite Disney Jr. Characters. They interact wonderfully with the toddler crowd. Be prepared, because this restaurant can be loud. This is a large buffet with a yummy dessert options for lunch and dinner.

Be Our Guest (Dinner Only)
Location: Fantasy Land
Quick Service and Table Service
Characters: The Beast

On Disney Dining Plan: Yes

Uses: 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)

Use this link for more information.

You’ll notice Belle is not on the list of characters, and that’s because Belle is NOT there. The only character you will meet at Be Our Guest is the Beast, and that’s only at night for dinner. For Breakfast and Lunch, Be Our Guest is considered a quick service meal. So while you pay less, there no characters before just the one at dinner.

The restaurant is beautiful and so well put together. There are three different sections to dine in; the West Wing, The Grand Ballroom and the Castle Gallery. This restaurant is ultra popular, so be sure to make your reservations as early as you can.

Cinderella’s Royal Table
Location: Cinderella’s Castle
Table Service with Price Fixed 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,

Uses: 2 Table Service credits
Price Range: $$$ ($35 to $59.99 per adult) – $$$$

Use this link for more information. 

This dining experience is very popular and very expensive! If you want reservations, it’s advisable you make them 180 days out. You might start saving your money 360 days out!  This is a two credit Table Service Meal and has a fixed price menu.

All that money talk being said, you will be dining inside Cinderella Castle with princesses! Haven’t we all dreamed about eating inside Cinderella Castle? The restaurant is simply gorgeous, and no matter your age, you will feel like a royalty. If you have the money in your budget, then this character experience 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

Uses: 1 Table Service credit
Price Range: $$ ($15 to $34.99 per adult) – $$$ ($35 to $59.99 per adult

Use this link for more information.

The Crystal Palace is very pretty and an iconic dining location at Magic Kingdom. The food is fair to good, with lots of options on the buffet, including kids selections perfect for your little ones. The wait times, even with a reservation, can be lengthy. The character interactions are great at this location as well, but they will only make it around the restaurant once every 1.5 hours. Once chance at hugs is probably all you will get.

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

Uses: 1 Table Service credit
Price Range: $$ ($15 to $34.99 per adult) – $$$ ($35 to $59.99 per adult)

Use this link for more information. 

The food is reportedly just so-so, but the character interaction 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’ll have to walk through the lobby, or downstairs from the monorail, and into the back of the resort, so factor in an extra 5 minutes for arrival.

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

Uses: 1 Table Service credit
Price Range: $ ($14.99 and under per adult) – $$ ($15 to $34.99 per adult)

Use this link for more information. 

This is a new character dining experience where you can meet several princes with their leading ladies. The price, which you’ll notice is lower than other character meals, is great if you just want to pay out of pocket for one character meal or are working with a limited budget.

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

Uses: 1 Table Service credit
Price Range: $$ ($15 to $34.99 per adult) – $$$ ($35 to $59.99 per adult)

Use this link for more information.

There are only three characters here but at the full price of a character buffet. Many visitors report they love the food here and 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.

Chef Mickey’s (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

Uses: 1 Table Service credit
Price Range: $$$ ($35 to $59.99 per adult)

Use this link for more information. 

Chef Mickey’s another tough location to snag a reservation, so be sure to book 180 days out from travel if possible. The food is typically just so-so, but the environment is amazing. Between the monorail running through the resort and being able to meet the fab five all at one dining experience, this restaurant is generally regarded as a must do. Breakfast is  good option, as the food has a much better reputation at the morning buffet.

Mickey’s 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

Uses: 1 Table Service credit
Price Range: $$$$ (over $60 per adult)

Use this link for more information. 

Guests feast on an all-you-care-to-enjoy BBQ spread while enjoying a dinner show, which is outside and can often be very hot. 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 is not open in January and February so plan accordingly. While this restaurant offers a great experience for character interaction, things can get crazy with all the children.

Ohana’s (Breakfast)
Location: Disney’s Polynesian Resort
Family Style
Characters: Mickey Mouse, Pluto, Lilo, and Stitch

On Disney Dining Plan: Yes

Uses: 1 Table Service credit
Price Range: $$ ($15 to $34.99 per adult) – $$$ ($35 to $59.99 per adult)

Use this link for more information. 

This is a popular character experience because you can meet Lilo and Stitch as well as the big cheese himself, Mickey Mouse. This location 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

Character dining becomes more popular by the year, so be sure to make your reservations 180 days out before you travel. It’s highly unlikely you can just walk up and be seated without a prior reservation, so pre-planning now can pay off hugely in the future.

Mike Ellis, our Disney Vacation Planner with Pixie Vacations, will also be happy to set up all your table service meals for you, and his services are 100% free.

Thanks for stopping by, and we’ll see you waving a napkin at Chef Mickey’s…

To see more of our Cheapskating Guides, use this link.

Amanda Major Cheapskate Princess

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Disney’s Cheapskate Princess

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Call Mike at 919-606-6725 or e-mail him at mike@pixievacations.com.

Amanda Major CheapskatePrincess.comAmanda Major is the creator of cheapskateprincess.com. She remembers her first visit to Magic Kingdom like it was yesterday, because she had a ham sandwich tucked in her shorts pocket. The whole family snuck in their lunch; you can’t make that kinda stuff up. 40 years worth of trips to Orlando later, she is still trying to save money on vacations.

Amanda is a Disney Vacation Club Member and Annual Pass holder. Her amazing husband, band director Carl Major, plus three teen children and two dogs keep her busy. Amanda teaches Leadership to high school seniors in the almost-coastal town of Foley, Alabama. Read about her cheapskating local vacations with this link. When she’s not writing, she’s reading, walking somewhere, or paddling a kayak. Life is indeed a blast. 

We hope we can help save you some money too. Use this link for a free no obligation vacation quote from our Travel Consultant with Pixie Vacations, Mike Ellis. You can also e-mail him at mike@pixievacations.com.

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