A Meal with Character

The situation

So you finally take your little Prince or Princess to Walt Disney World, and as you walk through the gates, you see a line of people that seems to be about 2 miles long. As you gaze past all of those poor souls baking in the Orlando sun, you spot the reason why. Pluto. OK, admit it. You have a decision to make. You could do your best impression of a magician and try the old misdirection trick, or you could enter the running for Parent of the Year. You decide to take one for the team and say, “Hey kids! Look! There’s Pluto!” The kids jump up and down excited to meet the real Pluto! He’s practically a celebrity! You head over to the end of the line, only to be told that Pluto is about to leave, but should be back later in the day. 😦

This is a situation that we have been caught in more times than I can count. Our solution:

Character Meals!

The solution

Very early on, we discovered the trick. We could either stand and let the soles of our shoes melt to the pavement while we wait in line, or worse yet be turned away, OR we could sit in some of the best air conditioning on Disney property while enjoying a meal and a nice cool beverage while the characters come to us.

Photo courtesy of: MBesantPhoto

Wait a minute. You mean I get to sit down, eat a delicious meal, enjoy a nice beverage, soak in all the air conditioning I want and be waited on….AND the characters come to me?? Wow!! Where do I sign up?!

There are more than a dozen different Character Dining experiences for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner all across Walt Disney World. There is something for everyone. Meals with the Fab 5 (that’s Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy and Pluto in case you didn’t know), Chip & Dale, the Disney Princesses, Winnie the Pooh and Friends, and many many more. You can choose from locations that offer buffet dining or ones that offer Family-Style service.

Some of our favorites include:

  • The Crystal Palace in the Magic Kingdom (pictured above), where you will meet Winnie the Pooh and friends. You can’t beat the location (the place is beautiful), and the food is delicious.
  • Chef Mickey’s at the Contemporary Resort. Meet the Fab 5 here as you sit and enjoy a nice buffet. That mouse sure can cook!
  • Donald’s Safari Breakfast at Tusker House at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Get your picture taken with the main duck before heading into the African themed buffet. Here you will also meet Mickey, Goofy, and Daisy. They are all decked out in their Safari garb. Be sure to add this one to your list. Not only is their Jungle Juice delicious (it’s a mixture of Orange Juice, Guava Juice, and Passion Fruit Juice), but it is the only character meal where you get to meet Daisy.

And, what would a character meal be without meeting the Princesses?

Although there are a few places where you may meet a Princess or two, your best bet is to head to one of two places:

  • Cinderella’s Royal Table inside Cinderella Castle at the Magic Kingdom. Open for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. Although the characters could change from day to day, this is one of your best chances to meet your favorite Princess. Plus, dining inside a real castle! How can you beat that?!
  • Akershus Royal Banquet Hall  at the Norway Pavilion in Epcot. Although not in a castle, this is another of your best bets (and less expensive too) to rub elbows with royalty. Lunch and Dinner is served family-style.

    I can’t believe Snow White just kissed me!!

Beware, however.  The Princesses have been known to hand out kisses!  They will catch you when you least expect it!

So, there you have it. Avoid the heat, disappointment and still meet your favorite charactesr. No matter what type of food you enjoy, or the character you would like to meet, there is probably an option for you. Have you dined with Characters before (and I don’t mean your children)?  Where is your favorite place to dine at Walt Disney World? Let me hear your comments…

Categories: Destinations, Walt Disney World | 1 Comment

Carburetor County coming to California!

Tomorrow, June 15th, 2012 will mark the official Grand Opening of Cars Land at Disney California Adventure theme park. I for one have been watching and waiting for it to come. It’s one more thing that is going to intice me to finally get out to the left coast to visit the original Disneyland Resort.

The newest addition to Disney California Adventure, which is located right next door to Disneyland, looks to be on “track” to entertain. As their tagline says, “Get ready to be FLOORED!”.

Here’s a quick look at the Cars Land “Opening Day” TV Spot:

Cars Land, which is based on the films by Disney/Pixar, will be the home of three different attractions:

  • Radiator Springs Racers – This main attraction in Cars Land is a high speed race through the desert landscape of Ornament Valley. As you cruise through the valley, you will meet many familiar faces along the way including Lightning McQueen, Mater, Sally and the rest of the gang. Hold onto your hats. It looks like this one is going to be a blast!
  • Luigi’s Flying Tires – You will climb aboard a HUGE tire, and thanks to more than 6,000 air vents your tire will float just over the ground. They say that it feels just like riding on a gigantic air hockey table. Sounds like a unique experience!
  • Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree – This is essentially a square dance for baby tractors. You climb into a trailer being pulled by a baby tractor and scoot across the floor swinging to the music by Mater and Billy Hill & the Hillbillies as you go.

In addition to the attractions, you will also find a few places to “fill yer tank”.

Flo’s V8 Cafe – This counter-service restaurant is open for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. For Breakfast you can enjoy items like French Toast, Chicken Tamales and Scrambled Eggs, and for Lunch & Dinner the offerings include a home-style rotisserie with New York Stip Loin and Citrus-Marinated Turkey Breast.

You may also choose to vist the Cozy Cone Motel for a unique counter-service dining experience where you can pick up all your favorite cone-themed snacks. 🙂 Or visit Fillmore’s Taste-In for a quick drink or some fresh fruit.

If that isn’t enough to keep you busy, you will also find some places to pick up that one little souvenir to remind you of your visit to Radiator Springs.

This is certainly something that I …. um….. I mean my 6-year old son is looking forward to experiencing sometime in the near future. Road trip!

How about you? Are you making plans to head to Radiator Springs? Let me hear your comments.

Categories: Destinations, Disneyland | Leave a comment

It All Started With A …..

As I sat down to start my first attempt at a real blog, I wasn’t sure where it would lead me.  I had hopes to cover all things Disney with a distinct lean towards Walt Disney World.  I knew that the “World” is a large place, so I definitely had an endless amount of topics to cover.

Having been there many times in the past, there is so much to cover.

Perhaps I could start with a particular theme park.  But which one?  The Magic Kingdom, the original home of the magic?  Or maybe Epcot, with the distinctive Spaceship Earth, and World Showcase with pavilions representing 11 different countries?  Maybe Hollywood Studios, or Animal Kingdom.  Yikes!

Well, maybe I’ll just talk about a “land” within one of the Parks.  Let’s see Adventure Land, Tomorrowland, Fantasyland in the Magic Kingdom.   All right, um, maybe Epcot…Future World, or World Showcase?

Or perhaps I should just stick to covering a single attraction?  Which one?  Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean, Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, Spaceship Earth, Test Track, Soarin’, Everest, Star Tours, Tower of Terror….well…

Maybe I should talk about other activities while at Walt Disney World.  I could discuss the golf courses, or water parks, or of course the Downtown Disney shopping district.

I know, maybe I should discuss the restaurants, or maybe just the signature dining experiences, or the character dining experiences.

Or, perhaps the resorts themselves, there are so many.  That may be more than I can handle in one post.  There are all the Value Resorts, Moderate Resorts, and of course the amazing Deluxe Resorts.  Where to start?

OK.  I’m starting to get sidetracked.  Let me get focused again.

I got it, special events.  That’s it.  There are so many from the Epcot Flower & Garden show to the International Food & Wine events, to Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.  Man!

How can I ever cover all of it?!

Well, it’s evident that there is far too much to cover in my first post.  I guess you will have to come back and read about each of these as I get to them.

Looks like I’m going to be pretty busy!   🙂

Categories: Destinations, Walt Disney World | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

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