To Character Dine…Or Not To Character Dine
A lot of people will ask me should we do a character meal with the kids? Are character meals worth the money? Is the food good? Can I go to a character meal without kids?
My answers: yes, yes, yes, and yes!!
But of course, like all experiences in life, some are better then others. You need to know how to get the most bang for your buck, so I am going to give you a few pointers.
First of all, if you are staying on Disney property…get the meal plan!!! I can not stress that enough. There are three different categories of meal plans from quick service dining to the Deluxe dining plan. If you are looking for a character meal(s) go for the middle option- the Disney dining plan. The quick service plan will not give you any character meal credits because you need sit down credits for those. The deluxe plan is great too, but if you aren’t big eaters you won’t need three meals a day.
A big tip to remember with the dining plan is that Disney often offers free dining (which would include the Disney dining plan level when staying at moderate or deluxe resorts) so you often won’t even have to pay for this amazing feature.
Another great thing about the dining plan is you can experience many different character meals without breaking the bank at upwards of $35 per person per meal without the meal plan.
Tip #2 – Book your dining reservations the moment they open on the morning of your 180 day. The best places WILL book up IMMEDIATELY. This is a big reason to book your trip through us! We go through all the hassle of booking your dining for you so you don’t have to get online at the crack of dawn or sit on the phone for hours on end-and believe me an hour wait with the Disney call center is NOT anything close to unusual, it’s more the norm.
Tip #3 – Be flexible with your dining time. Eating during an off time like a 10 am breakfast or 3 pm lunch means more seating availability and better character interactions because the dining room will be less busy.
Tip #4 – Know your group. Will everyone be ok with the flexibility of buffets, is family dining more your thing? Different character meals offer different ways of serving. Who are your group’s favorite, must see characters? Is your priority meeting Mickey and the gang, princesses, the Hundred Acre Wood Friends? Are there any children in the group that will not like the characters at all and will cry, if so skip the character meal altogether. Don’t waste your money or the dining credit.
Tip #6 – Be ready! Characters have a short amount of time to spend with each guest. Have your autograph books out and open to the page you want signed with pen ready, have your camera/cell/camcorder or whatever other new technology you want to use set to go as well so that you won’t miss a precious second of time with the characters.
Lastly, let me go over the options that were my favorites. There are so many great character choices but these really stood out:
The sit down (pre-fixe/family style meals)
Cinderella’s Royal table-meet Cinderella for a photo op then head up to the dining room to dine with the princesses…every little girl dreams of being in Cinderella’s castle. This experience requires two dining credits but well worth the chance to dine in the most iconic Disney symbol there is.
Be Our Guest-the new and breathtaking castle, the beast’s castle. Breakfast and lunch are options here but choose dinner which is the only time you can meet the beast himself.
Ohana- paradise Hawaiian style with Lilo and Stitch. A fun dance parade around the restaurant, Hawaiian flavors and island decor.
Bon Voyage Adventure breakfast with Ariel and Eric and Rapunzel and Flynn Rider. A beautiful newer restaurant with a new character experience…the characters spend sooo much one on one time with you.
The Crystal Palace with Pooh and friends. The food here is so good, it is so clean and the characters are great!
Chef Mickeys with Mickey and gang in the Contemporary. Watch the monorail go by while you enjoy your mail for extra fun.
Minnie’s Seasonal Dine in Hollywood and Vine. Here you will have themed food with Mickey characters dressed in festive attire, definitely eat here for a unique and fun experience.
So there you have it…boun apetite!
Danielle Hart is a professional travel planner with Main Street Adventures Travel Agency specializing in Disney Destinations. She looks forward to booking your dream vacation, to Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Aulani, Disney Cruise or an Adventures By Disney vacation where you can make your own magical memories! Remember, all of her planning services are free to you! Contact her today. firstname.lastname@example.org.