I am a firm believer in character dining at Disney World. There is no other way to see so many characters at a time without standing in line for hours. Generally, the food is pretty good and with the buffets you can grab an apple or banana for later. My 4 year old does not want to hug characters and this is a great way for her to see characters that she loves without having to touch them and be scared. They will usually play peek a boo or blow kisses to make her smile.
One negative to the character meals is that the kids are distracted with their idols walking by. There have been meals when I have had to force feed my daughters in between pictures.
To see the Princesses, I love Akershus in Norway. You see 5 princesses and the food is great. They have a new chef and new menu as of September 2011 and he has done wonders! At Akershus, you order off the menu and salad/appetizer is a buffet and the dessert if family style. I think it is a good combination of the 3 styles and the kitchen is very accomodating about special orders for picky children.
For Mickey, I like Chef Mickey’s at the Contemporary hotel. Chef Mickey’s is a buffet style party with Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy & Pluto. It a great place to go on the day you get in to WDW and are not going to the park. I have also gone a few times as a late morning break from Magic Kingdom. We book the later breakfast times and leave MK for an early lunch. Who doesn’t like Mickey waffles for lunch?!
I want to give a thumbs up to Ohana breakfast and Garden Grill at EPCOT’s The Land. Ohana’s food was great and served family style. The only problem is that my kids really don’t know Lilo and Stitch. Garden Grill is in a revolving restaurant that overlooks the Living with the Land ride. It includes Mickey, Pluto, Chip & Dale in farmer outfits. The food was pretty good and family style. The portions were really small and you can get seconds but when we did they didn’t have all the sides included. I don’t know if we ordered wrong or if this is what they do.
Crystal Palace in Magic Kingdom has a fun atmosphere with Tigger, Pooh, Eeyore & Piglet. I would say that this is the best food at any sit down in Magic Kingdom. It is a great place to take a break from the hustle of the park without leaving MK.
My least favorite of all our character meals was 1900 Park Fare breakfast with Mary Poppins, Alice, Mad Hatter, & Tigger/Pooh. The characters felt like they were just going through the motions, the food was terrible and the service was the worst I have ever had at WDW. My 4 year old (who is scared of boy characters especially) didn’t like the Mad Hatter and he stuck around instead of letting her just see Alice. I was annoyed to say the least!
If I were to rank all the character meals that I have experienced….
- Food: Akershus
- Party: Chef Mickey’s
- Convienence: Crystal Palace
- Least favorite: 1900 Park Fare