Who doesn’t want to be able to see characters quickly when they are at Disney? Cinderella, Belle, Jasmine, Aurora, Snow White, Lilo, Stitch, Donald Duck, Pluto, Goofy, Mickey Mouse… I could go on, but there are many Disney Characters to see and interact with when you book a Disney Dining table service meal at select restaurants around Disney. When making dining selections, the question often becomes character meals: value or not?
It is no surprise that table service meals cost more than their quick service counterparts. For those on the Disney basic or above dining plan, you have already paid for a table service meal so booking a character meal (barring Cinderella’s Royal Table that takes 2 credits) is probably a no-brainer. If you have a Tables in Wonderland card, your party will receive 20% off the character meal cost. Families who are paying out of pocket or on the quick-service dining plan may need to consider whether the character meals provide enough of a value the most out of all of the dining groups.
My family weighs the quality of the food, the number of or which characters are present, and the quantity of our time involved when trying to decide on the amount of value we will get. The amount of time waiting in lines out in the hot Florida sun is less attractive to my family than the 1 1/2 hours it usually takes us to get done with a character meal. We often do character meals so we can take a break from the heat and see several characters without waiting in long lines. Obviously, not every character that your family may want to see will be able to be done via character meal, but it will save you from more standing and waiting in additional lines. During character meals, we see 4 to 5 characters during the 1 1/2 hours we are seated. If we were standing in character lines out in the parks with the line for each character being 1/2 hour, we would be at 2 to 2 1/2 hours easily. The time saved at character meals equals value to my family.
Most character meals only have certain meal periods that they operate with characters. Generally speaking, breakfast is the cheapest option, followed by lunch and then dinner. If you are torn deciding on whether to do a character meal or not strictly based on cost, then I would recommend looking at a breakfast character meal. Another positive about breakfast character meals is that if you book the dining time for before the park opens, your family will be able to enter early to get to your dining reservation on time which is a great way to get pictures without very many people being around. No matter which meal you book, character meals are a great way to get more character autographs all without leaving your table. You can find the listing of available character meals by clicking here.
What does your family think – character meals – value or not? Please comment below. We would love to hear about your thoughts about whether character meals represent a value to your family!