Best Character Dining Hacks You Need for A Disney Vacation

in Disney, Food, Walt Disney World

Disney Character Dining

If a Disney family vacation is on your schedule for this year, you are probably drafting your Disney dining plan. You are not short on options with so many fun and interactive eating options at Walt Disney World.

Disney character dining is one of the most fun and unique dining options at Disney World. Character dining at Disney World allows your family to meet Disney favorites like Cinderella, Mickey Mouse, Stitch, Chip and Dale, and more while enjoying a yummy meal.

Garden Grill
Credit: Disney

Whether you opt for a character dining dinner at Disney World or stick to breakfast in a Disney World Park like Animal Kingdom or a Disney Resort, you have many options. Let’s discuss some of the top character dining options at Disney World, the cheapest character dining at Disney World, the best character dining outside Disney World Parks, and the best way to book a Disney vacation.

tusker house donald and food
Credit: Disney

Disney World character dining can get pricey, but it is always worth the cost for my family. Some of the best character dining at Disney World to meet Disney Princesses is Akershus Royal Banquet Hall in EPCOT World Showcase. If you are looking for a beautiful spot to meet Snow White, Dopey, and Grumpy, head to Disney’s Wilderness Lodge to Artist Point. Let’s get into the Disney World tips to help your character dining experience go smoothly.

Character Dining Tips

Confirm Your Character Lineup

If you are set on meeting certain Disney friends, be sure your Disney dining reservation is for the correct meal. Some spots like Hollywood and Vine (Disney Junior characters and Minnie Mouse meet Guests at different meals) or Ohana (Stitch meets Guests at breakfast, dinner has no characters) at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort has other characters or no characters for certain meals.

Minnie Mouse pointing towards a building
Credit: Disney

Check and recheck, to ensure the friends you expect are at your booked meal. It should be evident on the Disney website, but you can always check in with a Cast Member on the Disney website if you have questions.

Related: More Delightful Disney Resort Experiences You May Not Know About 

Choose A Camera Person

Character meals are an enjoyable way to meet characters without waiting in line. Bonus points- you also get to enjoy a delicious meal. Characters drop by your table to say hello, sign autographs, and take photos with the group. Choose a designated camera person in your group for photos to make this process smoother.

A group of people sitting at a table in a room
Credit: Disney

The family can share photos later instead of taking snaps on multiple phones/cameras. This will ensure more character interaction time instead of switching out cameras and photographers when each Disney character arrives at the table.

Seat Children in Accessible Seats at Character Dining

Disney Character Dining
Credit: Disney

Seating children in your group near accessible areas of the table will allow them to hop up to hug characters when they arrive without requiring the family to shift seats. Strategically placing children at the table will save time and spills.

If You Are Celebrating, Let Them Know

A group of people sitting at a table and Minnie mouse
Credit: Disney

Let the restaurant know if you have a birthday, anniversary, retirement, engagement, graduation, or any other life event to celebrate. You can leave a note for servers when booking online or mention it at the welcome stand to receive celebratory treatment during your meal.

Lunch Buffets May Be the Best Option

1900 Park Fare
Credit: Disney

If a character dinner is not the best fit for your family, there is no need to force it; there are other options you can enjoy. Young children with early bedtimes may be better suited to a lunch buffet instead of dinner. Bonus points, some buffets are cheaper at lunch. Again, take a second glance when booking to ensure that the characters meeting Guests at lunch are indeed the ones you are hoping to meet.

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♬ Minnie M. – The Disneylanders

Snag a Late Disney Dining Reservation

Family dining at Crystal Palace
Credit: Disney

Don’t get discouraged if you can’t snag the 6:00 p.m. dinner reservation at character dining spots. Disney restaurants seat Guests for hours after what most of us consider meal time. Suppose your family chooses to play in the Magic Kingdom later and enjoy a 9:00 p.m. dinner at The Crystal Palace before returning to your Disney Resort for the evening. In that case, you can snag a later reservation after a full day in the Park.

Pricing May Vary

Some Walt Disney World restaurants vary in price based on your visiting season. During the “off-season,” you may pay ten dollars less per person at restaurants than is common during the busiest seasons. In general, you will find the cheapest character dining experiences to be breakfast options. Eating a bottomless breakfast with Chip and Dale at EPCOT’s Garden Grill or meeting Experiment 626 (Stitch) at a Polynesian breakfast at Ohana are two of my favorite character dining experiences that are also cheaper.

Stitch dancing with a family at 'Ohana dining at Polynesian Resort
Credit: Disney

We hope your character dining experience is unforgettable. If you need more help planning your Disney vacation, head to Inside the Magic for all the Disney Parks and dining tips you need!

in Disney, Food, Walt Disney World

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