Character Dining at Walt Disney World, Part One

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Tigger, Sophie and Stephanie at The Crystal Palace

One of my favorite things to do when we visit Walt Disney World is to meet our favorite characters.  Previously, I talked about where you can find your characters at the various meet and greet locations throughout the parks, but for today, I would like to talk with you about all of the different character dining locations and who you can meet there.

For my family, there is nothing better for us than having a nice sit-down dinner at a character meal.  We get the best of both worlds – a wonderful meal, a relaxing break from the heat of the Florida summer, and some great quality time with our favorite characters.

This is definitely not a new topic of discussion on Chip & Company.  My friend Lisa did a wonderful piece that talked about character dining and whether or not it was worth the price back in June of 2010.  If you haven’t read it, take a look at it for some great information.

For those of us that have decided to make reservations for character meals, here is a rundown of whom you can see and what kind of food you will get.  There is a lot of information to share here, so I am breaking it into two parts.  Part one today will look at character dining at the parks.

Magic Kingdom

Cinderella Royal Table

Located at Cinderella Castle, this character dining location is considered one of the best, and also one of the hardest, dining locations on property.  Cinderella herself will meet guests in the lobby before you are taken up into the Castle for your meal.  Included in the price of your meal is a special photo session for your party with Cinderella.  You will receive the prints before you finish eating.  The meal will consist of such things as prime rib, duck, salmon, and other dishes for lunch and dinner, and for breakfast you will get a family-style breakfast of eggs, bacon, sausage, waffles, and so forth.

The Crystal Palace

The Crystal Palace is the home of Winnie the Pooh, Tigger too, Piglet, and Eeyore, and is a fan favorite of ours.  Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are served here, and the meal consists of a “buffet with character”.  If you love Winnie the Pooh, this dining location is for you!

Epcot

Princess Storybook Dining

Located at the Akershus Royal Banquet Hall in Norway, the Princess Storybook Dining character meal is my favorite dining location at Walt Disney World.  Guests are met by Belle for a picture meet and greet, which is included in your meal cost, and as you eat, further visits are made by Princesses Aurora and Jasmine, Snow White, and Cinderella (the actual princesses varies sometimes).  The food consists of a cold cut, cheese, and salad buffet followed by a menu driven main entrée with desert.

The Garden Grill Restaurant

The Garden Grill Restaurant is another of our favorites.  Located over in the Land pavilion, the Garden Grill combines a unique combination of location with some really great food, some of which is developed right in the pavilion.  The Garden Grill location rotates slowly as you eat, so you are able to experience part of the Land Boat ride.  The food is served family style, and includes selections of turkey, fish, and beef dishes, along with special side dishes, and you are also greeted by Mickey Mouse in his farmer gear, Pluto, and Chip & Dale.

Hollywood Studios

Hollywood & Vine

Character dining exists at the Hollywood & Vine restaurant for breakfast and lunch.  We have eaten here for breakfast once, the food was a typical buffet breakfast found at Disney World – Mickey waffles, bacon, eggs, sausage, etc.  When we ate there, the characters were June and Leo from Little Einstein, and JoJo and Goliath from JoJo’s Circus.  In today’s take on the Hollywood & Vine, Handy Manny and Special Agent Oso have replaced JoJo and Goliath.

Animal Kingdom

Donald’s Safari Breakfast at Tusker House

The only character dining location at Animal Kingdom, Tusker House serves as the setting for Donald’s Safari Breakfast, featuring Donald Duck, Daisy Duck, Mickey Mouse, and Goofy.  The only time they have the characters at the restaurant is at breakfast, so plan accordingly.  The food is your standard breakfast buffet food.

This concludes our look at the character dining locations at the Walt Disney World Parks.  We’ll have part two of the series, where we look at the Resorts, tomorrow.


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