Once you’ve decided that you’d like to try a character meal on your next Disney World vacation, your decisions are far from over. Disney World offers numerous character meals, and it can be difficult to navigate your choices. To help with this decision-making process, I broke Disney World’s character meal offerings into three categories: princess meals, classic character meals (Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, etc.), and “other” character meals. Then, I conducted a very informal poll (using my clients and Facebook fans as participants) to glean people’s overall character meal preferences. Here are the results!
Category #1: Princess Meals
Poll Results: Poll participants overwhelmingly chose Akershus.
My Opinion: Akershus offers the best princess meal. It is less expensive and more unique than Cinderella’s Royal Table. Nevertheless, there is nothing quite as magical as dining inside Cinderella Castle at the Magic Kingdom, especially if you have a little girl. Once you’ve experienced Cinderella’s Royal Table once, however, you probably won’t feel the need to do it again.
Honorable Mention: If you have older children or boys, consider attending Cinderella’s Happily Ever After dinner at the 1900 Park Fare in Disney's Grand Floridian Resort. Here, the wicked stepsisters join Cinderella and Prince Charming, resulting in a meal full of comical antics.
Category #2: Classic Character Meals
Poll Results: Chef Mickey’s was the clear winner.
My Opinion: I think the poll participants got this one wrong. Chef Mickey’s is great for characters, but the food is mediocre at best. On the other hand, the food at Tusker House is interesting and delicious, especially at lunch. And the characters are just as fun!
Honorable Mention: Breakfast at Cape May Café at Disney’s Beach Club Resort. Although the food is pretty standard at this location, the ambiance is laid-back and casual, and the characters are attentive. Best of all, it’s reasonably priced!
Category #3: Other Character Meals
Popular Choices: O’Hana at Disney's Polynesian Resort (Stitch and friends), Crystal Palace in the Magic Kingdom (Winnie the Pooh and friends), and Hollywood & Vine in Hollywood Studios (Handy Manny, Agent Oso, Jake).
Poll Results: O’Hana took the win.
My Opinion: It’s difficult for me to offer an unbiased opinion in this category because I have never had the opportunity to attend the character breakfast at O’Hana. I do know, however, that the family-style service and unique characters at O’Hana are a huge draw for families.
Honorable Mention: I am partial to Hollywood & Vine, especially if you have younger children. Seriously, it doesn’t get much better than watching your preschooler do the “Hot Dog Dance” with her favorite Disney Junior characters!
Regardless of which character meal (or meals) that you choose, it is imperative that you make reservations as early as possible (or have your travel agent do it for you). Disney World allows you to make dining reservations up to 180 days before your trip, so don’t delay!! Make those dining reservations today!!
Note: At some locations, characters do not appear at every meal; characters are subject to change.
Disney Specialist, Ginger's Getaways