Character Dining

Classic Disney characters get up close for photos and autographs at special dining experiences in Walt Disney World theme parks and resorts. Character meals are typically buffet style in a bustling atmosphere. Bring your camera and autograph book because the characters will be coming over for a personal meet and greet! Specific character appearances are not guaranteed but Disney does try to keep things as consistent as possible. 

Using This Chart: Using our Walt Disney World Dining Survey readers of this website are asked one simple question, "Would you dine here again?" Since 2007 we have been collecting data on restaurant service, food quality, and theming. However, it became apparent that at Walt Disney World, good service is the norm; poor experiences tend to be isolated events. Most restaurants are well themed and food quality tends to meet or beat a minimum level of acceptableness
  • Best of the Best: A rating given by our staff and/or the popularity among other guests.
  • Best Dining Plan Value: Restaurants where you are likely to exceed the cost of the Disney Dining Plan. Click here for more on Disney Dining Plan Values.
  • Last Minute Reservation Factor: Dining locations that often have same-day availability or walk-ups.

Best of the best. Chef Mickey’s is offered daily at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. You may also spot Pluto, Goofy, Minnie Mouse and Donald Duck too; breakfast is served from 7-11:30 a.m., dinner from 5-9:30 p.m. Donald’s Safari Breakfast at Tusker House Restaurant is located in the Harambe area of Disney's Animal Kingdom Park. The buffet is excellent and offers traditional breakfast fare, from 8 a.m. until 10:30 a.m. daily. Inside Magic Kingdom Park is The Crystal Palace, featuring Winnie the Pooh and friends. It's one of the few character restaurants that is opened all day long; breakfast 8-10:30 a.m., lunch 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m., dinner from 4 p.m.-closing. Walk ups are near impossible, especially for dinner. Princess Storybook Dining at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall is located in Epcot's Norway pavilion in a castle-like setting with many of the Disney princesses. Included in your meal is a photo package where you and the family pose with a perfect princess; breakfast from 8:30-10:10 a.m., lunch from 11:40 a.m.-2:50 p.m., dinner from 4:20-8:40 p.m. `Ohana’s Best Friends Breakfast featuring Lilo and Stitch at Disney’s Polynesian Resort is an American breakfast served family-style with Lilo, Stitch, Mickey and Pluto, 7-11 a.m only. 

What the experts say. Ironically the two most expensive character dining experiences Cinderella's Royal Table located inside the Cinderella Castle and Mickey's Back Yard Barbecue are rated the lowest. The idea of dining inside Cinderella Castle, Magic Kingdom Park's main icon, is very appealing for many. However the decor is dated and the food is marginal at best. Disney World experts recommend Restaurant Akershus in Epcot as a better alternative to dining in the castle.  Akershus is located in the Norway pavilion in Epcot. Expect an American style breakfast, but lunch and dinner are Norwegian - plenty of fish - but a kids menu is available. Make a reservation for the Crystal Palace before the park opens and you'll have access to the park before anyone else - bring your camera for pictures of Cinderella Castle without other people in them. If you're on the Disney Dining Plan, book as many character meals as you can. Click here to read our article on How to Maximize the Disney Dining Plan. 

Need a last minute reservation? Character dining is very popular and books up fast. Try The Garden Grill in Epcot for dinner or 'Ohana at Disney's Polynesian Resort for breakfast, they often have availability. The Crystal Palace might have last minute reservation because they are opened all day. 

Restaurant Information presented on this page is subject to change without notice. 

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