Walt Disney World reopened to Guests back in mid-July 2020 to once again bring Disney magic during this unprecedented time. However, with the phased reopening amid the ongoing pandemic came several changes in order to keep health and safety as the number one priority for both Guests and Cast Members. One of those changes included the suspension of character meet and greets and traditional character dining.
However, as the phased reopening at Disney World continues, the theme parks and resorts are continuing to make modifications, including slowly bringing back some of character dining experiences to select restaurants. Though these restaurants offer character dining, it is not like it was prior to the closures.
In fact, characters no longer come around to Guests’ tables for autographs and photos. Instead, they will walk through the dining room and pose for socially distanced selfies with Guests.
Alternatively, Guests saw both Crystal Palace, known for hosting Winnie the Pooh and Friends, and Cinderella’s Royal Table, known for hosting Disney Princesses, reopen without characters. This has us wondering, which other restaurants could be next to bring back modified character dining and who will the characters be? Here’s what we think!
Keep in mind, this is pure speculation and Disney has not released any statements on whether or not additional modified character dining would be returning. Inside the Magic will continue updating you as we get information from Disney.
A Trend With Characters That Have Returned
Something that is key that we have noticed is that all of the modified character dining experiences that we have seen return include Mickey and friends. At Topolino’s Terrace, Guests can see Mickey, Minnie, Donald, and Daisy as they make appearances in the dining room for socially distanced selfies. Over at Garden Grill in EPCOT, Guests enjoying their meals will spot Mickey, Pluto, Chip, and Dale.
At Chef Mickey’s, Guests can experience the modified character dining with Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, and Pluto. And Hollywood and Vine, located inside Disney’s Hollywood Studios, recently brought back Minnie’s Seasonal Dining, which features Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, and Goofy, but did not bring back its breakfast character dining which features Disney Junior characters.
The other two Disney World restaurants that reopened, but without their normal character dining, include Crystal Palace, known for dining with Winnie the Pooh and Friends, and Cinderella’s Royal Table, known for dining with Disney Princesses.
So does this mean Disney World is only bringing back character dining that includes Mickey and Friends? Well, if this is true, here are the restaurants that we could see reopen with modified character dining in the future.
Which Restaurants Could Be Next?
Our first guess as to which restaurant will bring back modified character dining is Tusker House, located inside Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
We already know that Disney World has brought another modified character dining experience to the theme parks when they reopened Garden Grill at EPCOT. Additionally, Tusker House is known for hosting Mickey and the gang, which is the trend we have noticed within the last few months. Tusker House Restaurant is also one of the few table service restaurants inside Disney’s Animal Kingdom and could help provide more Guests with more dining options in the theme park.
Therefore, Tusker House would be a great restaurant to bring back modified character dining next.
Our next guess would be another restaurant that also hosts Mickey and Friends — Cape May Cafe. Pre-pandemic, Cape May Cafe, located inside Disney’s Beach Club Resort, was only open for character dining for breakfast. The restaurant was open for dinner, but with no character dining. Therefore, we could possibly see Cape May Cafe reopen for breakfast only as they bring back Donald, Minnie, and Goofy to dine with Guests from a safe social distance.
And lastly, we could possibly see ‘Ohana reopen at Disney’s Polynesian Resort. Though this restaurant, like Cape May Cafe, was only open for character dining for breakfast, (again, the restaurant was open for dinner, but without character dining) this could be a possibility. The character dining experience for breakfast included not only Lilo and Stitch but also included Mickey and Pluto so that could be a good transition for Disney to take advantage of if they wanted to start debuting other characters in their modified character dining experiences on property.
Additionally, ‘Ohana already offers a family-style breakfast option, unlike the other restaurants which had to adapt from a buffet-style to a family-style, so that is something this restaurant already has on hand.
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So what do you think? Which restaurant will bring back modified character dining next? Let us know in the comments below.