Snuggling in the furry arms of your favourite Disney character is one of the absolute highlights of a Disney World vacation. But I recommend skipping the meet and greet queues and booking a character meal instead.
In our experience, Disney World character dining is the most relaxing way to meet adorable characters and enjoy a delicious meal, while also escaping the heat and getting off your feet for awhile. It ticks all the boxes!
But what are the best character meals at Disney World? Well the short answer is Cinderella’s Royal Table at Magic Kingdom and Tusker House at Animal Kingdom. But they all have their pros and cons, so here are our top 7, ranked by characters, food, atmosphere and location.
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- 7 best character meals at Disney World – buffets, a la carte and family-style
- Disney World character dining list
- How to book your character meal
- Don’t forget your autograph book
7 best character meals at Disney World – buffets, a la carte and family-style
The best character meals have a fantastic combination of characters, food, atmosphere and location. So I’ve given each aspect a rating to help you choose, depending on whether you have your heart set on meeting specific characters, you’re a foodie, you just love being in the Disney bubble, or you need a convenient location.
Keen to indulge at one of the Disney World buffets? There’s plenty of those to choose from below.
1. Cinderella’s Royal Table at Magic Kingdom
Cinderella’s Royal Table is the cream of the crop when it comes to character meals. Located inside the iconic Cinderella’s Castle, smack bang in the middle of Magic Kingdom, it can’t be beaten for characters (assuming you like princesses), delicious a la carte meals, incredible atmosphere and convenient location.
The buzz in the air when you step into this spectacular room, surrounded by stained glass windows, stone castle walls and luxurious furnishings, might bring a tear to the eye. You certainly wouldn’t be the first!
This is a luxury character meal with a price to match, but these memories will last a lifetime.
Cinderella will always greet you on arrival to her castle, plus there are four other princesses which are subject to change. On our first visit we had Aurora, Snow White, Jasmine and Rapunzel. On our second visit we had Aurora, Snow White, Jasmine and Ariel.
Read our full review of the Cinderella’s Royal Table character meal here with information on menu, prices and lots of photos.
2. Tusker House at Animal Kingdom
While Cinderella’s Royal Table is wonderful, it is also quite formal. Tusker House, on the other hand, is relaxed and fun with heaps of character time. Definitely one of the best character meals at Disney World.
You can stay as long as you like and the characters will keep on visiting your table, staying with you for all the photos and cuddles that you could possibly want.
And I LOVE the food. This is the best range of food that you will find at the Disney World buffets. There are the perennial favourites of Mickey waffles and donuts for breakfast and roast meats and macaroni and cheese at lunch and dinner, but, if you’re feeling more adventurous, then there is an extensive range of Asian and African dishes that are just delicious.
A buffet is such a great opportunity to try something new!
Donald Duck is guaranteed and, while they are apparently subject to change, you are almost certain to meet Mickey Mouse, Daisy Duck and Goofy.
Read our full review of the Tusker House character meal here with information on menu, prices and lots of photos.
3. Crystal Palace at Magic Kingdom
Perhaps Winnie-the Pooh and friends are not the top of your list of characters to meet, but they are absolutely adorable and very good at cuddles. The atmosphere is wonderful, because the Crystal Palace is like a conservatory in style, with wall to wall windows and greenery surrounding you. It’s almost like sitting in a garden.
Conveniently located on Main Street in the middle of Magic Kingdom, this is the perfect spot to enjoy an affordable character meal while taking a break from the heat and crowds outside.
The Disney World buffet is not adventurous, but still has a lovely range of American/Western style dishes.
Winnie-the-Pooh is guaranteed and, while they are apparently subject to change, you are almost certain to meet Tigger, Eeyore and Piglet.
Read our full review of the Crystal Palace character meal here with information on menu, prices and lots of photos.
4. Ohana at Polynesian Resort
Choosing character dining outside Disney World parks can be a great option. You don’t have the same time pressures as when you’re juggling FastPass bookings and ride queues inside the parks. And it’s the perfect way to get a hit of Disney magic on a non-park day.
We did the Ohana breakfast at Disney’s Polynesian Resort on our very first morning in Orlando, before we had been to a park, and it was a fabulous way to kick off our vacation.
The setting, elevated and overlooking the lake looking towards Cinderella’s Castle, is light-filled with beautiful Polynesian carvings of birds and animals. And the characters are so much fun. Cheeky Stitch will keep you on your toes and the kids will love participating in the musical parade.
The food is delicious, but, as it’s served family-style (share plates in the middle of your table), there are limited choices.
Dining at Ohana is only a character meal at breakfast time. Pluto is available for photos outside the restaurant and Lilo, Stitch and Mickey will visit your table during your meal.
Read our full review of the Ohana breakfast here with information on menu, prices and lots of photos.
5. Garden Grill at Epcot
We really enjoy breaking up a long park day with a character meal and stopping at Garden Grill for lunch was a lot of fun.
The kids particularly loved the rotating restaurant – such a novelty! But it is Chip ‘n’ Dale who are the highlights. This cheeky pair are so entertaining and full of cuddles. This is one of the few places in all of Disney World that you can meet them.
The food is delicious and the vegetables are grown on-site, but, as it’s served family-style (share plates in the middle of your table), there are limited choices.
Chip, Dale and other Disney characters (usually Mickey and Pluto) will visit your table over the course of your meal.
Read our full review of the Garden Grill Epcot character meal here with information on menu, prices and lots of photos.
6. Hollywood & Vine at Hollywood Studios
It is the characters that are the highlight of this meal, because it is one of the very few character dining experiences where you can meet so many popular characters – Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Donald and Daisy Duck plus Goofy.
So you get all the Tusker House characters plus Minnie. Minnie is not an easy character to catch, so if you (or your child) are a fan, then this meal is a fantastic option.
Hollywood & Vine is conveniently located at Hollywood Studios, with a buffet serving a good range of American/Western style dishes.
Dining at Hollywood and Vine is always a character meal, but at breakfast it has Disney Junior characters. It is at lunch and dinner that you will meet Minnie and friends. Minnie Mouse will definitely be there and as a general rule so will Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Daisy Duck and Goofy, but characters are always subject to change.
Read our full review of the Minnie’s Seasonal Dine Hollywood and Vine here with information on menu, prices and lots of photos.
7. Chef Mickey’s at Contemporary Resort
Chef Mickey’s is hugely popular because it is the ONLY place you can meet the Big 5 – Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy and Pluto.
Like Ohana, being located at a Disney hotel rather than inside a Disney theme park can be a plus because you don’t need to waste valuable park time at a character meal.
Unfortunately we found it a bit crowded and hectic on our first visit to Disney World, so we haven’t returned. I would still recommend it as a good value character meal, because meeting five hugely popular characters at one meal is a big win. But for us, we would rather enjoy the more relaxed environment and fabulous food at Tusker House.
Chef Mickey’s is a Disney World buffet restaurant serving a good range of American/Western style dishes.
As a general rule you will meet Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Pluto and Goofy, but characters are always subject to change.
Disney World character dining list
This is all the character meals currently on offer at Walt Disney World, listed from cheapest to most expensive. All prices are approximate and all meals and characters are subject to change.
Click on the column headings to list in a different order.
B=Breakfast, Br=Brunch, L=Lunch and D=Dinner
Use the search box to find a particular character.
|Restaurant||Park/Resort||Meal||Style||Characters||US$ per adult (approx)|
|Crystal Palace||Magic Kingdom||B||buffet||Winnie the Pooh, Piglet, Eeyore & Tigger||$44|
|Ohana||Polynesian Village Resort||B||family||Lilo, Stitch, Pluto & Mickey||$44|
|Tusker House||Animal Kingdom||B||buffet||Mickey, Donald, Daisy, Goofy||$44|
|Trattoria al Forno||BoardWalk||B||a la carte||Rapunzel, Flynn Rider, Ariel, Prince Eric||$44|
|Cape May Café||Beach Club Resort||B||a la carte||Donald, Goofy, Minnie||$44|
|Garden Grill||Epcot||B||family||Chip, Dale, Pluto & Mickey||$44|
|Hollywood & Vine||Hollywood Studios||B||buffet||Disney Jnr characters like Vampirina, Doc McStuffins, Sofia the First, Goofy||$44|
|1900 Park Fare||Grand Floridian Resort||B||buffet||Characters like Alice, Mad Hatter, Mary Poppins, Tigger, Winnie the Pooh||$47|
|Akershus Royal Banquet Hall||Epcot||B||family||Princesses like Snow White, Cinderella, Belle, Princess Aurora, Ariel||$50|
|1900 Park Fare||Grand Floridian Resort||D||buffet||Characters like Prince Charming, Cinderella, Anastasia, Drizella, Lady Tremaine||$50|
|Chef Mickey's||Contemporary||B||buffet||Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Pluto, Goofy||$52|
|Chef Mickey's||Contemporary||Br||buffet||Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Pluto, Goofy||$52|
|Hollywood & Vine||Hollywood Studios||D||buffet||Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Goofy||$58|
|Garden Grill||Epcot||L||family||Chip, Dale, Pluto & Mickey||$58|
|Garden Grill||Epcot||D||family||Chip, Dale, Pluto & Mickey||$58|
|Tusker House||Animal Kingdom||L||buffet||Mickey, Donald, Daisy, Goofy||$58|
|Tusker House||Animal Kingdom||D||buffet||Mickey, Donald, Daisy, Goofy||$58|
|Crystal Palace||Magic Kingdom||L||buffet||Winnie the Pooh, Piglet, Eeyore & Tigger||$58|
|Crystal Palace||Magic Kingdom||D||buffet||Winnie the Pooh, Piglet, Eeyore & Tigger||$58|
|Akershus Royal Banquet Hall||Epcot||L||a la carte||Princesses like Snow White, Cinderella, Belle, Princess Aurora, Ariel||$58|
|Akershus Royal Banquet Hall||Epcot||D||a la carte||Princesses like Snow White, Cinderella, Belle, Princess Aurora, Ariel||$58|
|Hollywood & Vine||Hollywood Studios||L||buffet||Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Goofy||$58|
|Chef Mickey's||Contemporary||D||buffet||Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Pluto, Goofy||$63|
|Storybook Dining at Artist Point||Wilderness Lodge||D||a la carte||Snow White, Evil Queen, Dopey, Grumpy||$63|
|Be Our Guest||Magic Kingdom||D||a la carte||The Beast||$64|
|Cinderella's Royal Table||Magic Kingdom||B||a la carte||Princesses like Snow White, Cinderella, Rapunzel, Princess Aurora, Ariel, Jasmine||$75|
|Cinderella's Royal Table||Magic Kingdom||L||a la carte||Princesses like Snow White, Cinderella, Rapunzel, Princess Aurora, Ariel, Jasmine||$92|
|Cinderella's Royal Table||Magic Kingdom||D||a la carte||Princesses like Snow White, Cinderella, Rapunzel, Princess Aurora, Ariel, Jasmine||$92|
How to book your character meal
To check availability and make a booking, head to the official Disney World website.
Remember that if a meal is at a restaurant inside a Disney theme park, then you will need to have a ticket to enter the park as well as a reservation for the restaurant. So it is ideal if you can decide which day you will go to each park a long way in advance. Try the 10 day Orlando itinerary that worked for us here.
Dining bookings open 180 days (about 6 months) in advance and some character meals like Cinderella’s Royal Table will book out within hours, if not minutes, of going on sale. Most bookings can be cancelled up to the day before, so if in doubt make a booking then cancel it later if you need to.
Don’t forget your autograph book
While you can always pick up a Disney autograph book in the parks, plan ahead and you will find some adorable options.
1 Mickey Mouse Small Autograph Book
2 Disney vintage upcycled autograph book
3 Disney Princess & Castle Autograph Book
4 Personalized My First Disney Vacation Autograph Book
5 Personalised Castle silhouette autograph book
6 Disney Watercolor Mickey & Minnie autograph book
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