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:
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.
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.
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…