When it comes to character meals at Walt Disney World, your family has lots of options. For the most part you will find that the quality of food at most Disney World restaurants is pretty standardized across the board. This is particularly true at the Character meals as nearly all of them serve standard American fare.
Those Disney restaurants featuring regional cuisines usually only offer character meals at breakfast, so you won't be able to take advantage of a more exciting menu. That said, if you do have some adventurous diners in your party, then I recommend making a reservation for the Princess Storybook Buffet at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall.
This restaurant is located in the Norway pavilion at Epcot and it is a great buffet, featuring foods you'll recognize and some wonderful Norwegian specialties as well. Of course, it is also a great place to meet all of the Disney princesses.
Since you really can't make a wrong choice when it comes to Disney character dining, I think the best way to make your decision on where to eat is to let your favorite characters be your guide. Here's three of my top picks featuring some of my favorite characters.
Chef Mickey's at the Contemporary Resort
Chef Mickey's is where you will find Mickey Mouse, Minnie
Mouse, Goofy and Chip & Dale. My family ends up heading to Chef Mickey's on
most trips to Disney World because I'm a big fan of the big cheese, Mickey
We also love Chip and Dale and they are quite fun at a character meal, always up to different antics.
On our last trip there, Dale decided my niece needed a new hairdo!
Prepare for lots of napkin-twirling and community fun at
Chef Mickey's and enjoy the buffet. Since the Contemporary is on the monorail,
this is a great place to eat if you want to spend the afternoon at the Magic
In fact, if you have a car, I recommend driving to the
Contemporary and parking your care there. Then you can enjoy the character lunch buffet and then head over to Magic
Kingdom for a few hours via monorail. It'll save you the trip to the Ticket
& Transportation Center.
Crystal Palace at the Magic Kingdom
Do you or the kids love Winnie the Pooh? Then you'll want to make a reservation to have lunch or dinner with Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Eeyore and little Piglet at the Crystal Palace. This character buffet is the only one to feature Winnie and his friends so if you are fan, this is the place for you.
Crystal Palace is located right off Main Street so it's a great place to start your day at the Magic Kingdom, or a good spot to take a breather around mid-day. One of the special features of dining here is also the live on-stage kitchen, for lots of fun watching the Chefs prepare your meals.
Cinderella's Royal Table
I've already mentioned that you can dine with Disney's princesses at the Restaurant Akershus over at Epcot, but for some folks there is only one place to dine with the princesses and that's Cinderella's Royal Table at the Magic Kingdom.
Affectionately known as Cindy's, this restaurant is located inside Cinderella's Castle so it's quite a magical experience, especially for first timers. They have three character meals per day. Breakfast is an all you can eat royal buffet. Lunch and dinner feature a prix fixe menu.
The food itself is nothing to write home about, but because of its location, this is the most difficult to book restaurant in all of Disney World. Still, if you have a little princess of your own who would love the fairytale splendor of it all, it would definitely pay to make a special effort to eat here at least once.
My recommendation would be to try for a breakfast
reservation at Cinderella's Royal Table. Because the restaurant starts seating
breakfast before the Magic Kingdom officially opens the gates, your family will
be some of the first guests in the park that morning and there's something
really magical about the theme parks when they are nearly empty. This also
means that when you are done with breakfast, you can get straight to the rides
before the park gets too crowded.
Making Reservations for Disney Character Meals
Once you do decide where you want to have your Disney character meal, it is a very good idea to make your Disney World dining reservations as soon as possible. In fact, for Cinderella's Royal Table, this is a must.
Once you know the dates for your trip, call (407) WDW-DINE and book your table. Disney occasionally fusses around with the number of days in advance that you can book a reservation, but right now the reservation window is 180 days, so if you know your dates for your Disney World vacation at least six months in advance, it pays to plan ahead and make that reservation.