Character Dining at Walt Disney World (with the Best Meals Ranked for 2023)

This article discusses character dining at Walt Disney World in its entirety. Additionally, we rank every character meal from best to worst, provide important updates, and share tips for securing reservations. 

Dining with characters at Walt Disney World is one of the most charming experiences you’ll have during your vacation. Some meals provide the opportunity to make memories that will last a lifetime. 

I know because I have a few of my own. 

When it comes to character dining at Disney World, there are numerous options. There are so many options that it can get confusing trying to determine which one is the best meal.

You’ll also want to consider many circumstances when planning a character meal. For instance, you probably wouldn’t want to reserve a character meal first thing in the morning on your day at Magic Kingdom. 

That time might be better spent experiencing a couple of popular attractions. Then you can enjoy a character meal in the park a little later when wait times begin to rise. 

With so many things to consider, we’ve put together this ultimate guide to character dining at Walt Disney World. Below we’ll discuss everything you need to know for planning character meals, from price points to the best options. 

You’ll be happy to know that in 2023, nearly all character dining experiences have returned to Walt Disney World. Of course, there are a few minor exceptions, which we will discuss. 

Thankfully, you can now visit with characters at your table, hug characters, and collect autographs at each character meal.

This article was updated on January 10, 2023.

Character dining at Disney World

List of Character Dining Locations at Walt Disney World 

Here is a list of the character dining locations available at Walt Disney World.

  • The Crystal Palace
  • Akershus Royal Banquet Hall
  • Garden Grill Restaurant
  • Hollywood and Vine
  • Tusker House Restaurant
  • Chef Mickey’s
  • ‘Ohana
  • Storybook Dining at Artist Point with Snow White
  • Cape May Café
  • Topolino’s Terrace, Flavors of the Riviera
  • Be Our Guest *

*Disney does not consider Be Our Guest as a formal character dining location. However, the Beast is known to make an appearance in the dining hall during dinner. Unfortunately, his appearance is not guaranteed.

Character Dining Updates for 2023

Each of the restaurants below has important character dining updates for 2023.

  • Cinderella’s Royal Table at Magic Kingdom

Character dining is currently unavailable at Cinderella’s Royal Table. However, Disney recently announced that characters will return on February 28, 2023.

  • Trattoria al Forno

Unfortunately, there has been no mention of the return of the Bon Voyage character breakfast at Trattoria al Forno.

  • 1900 Park Fare at Disney’s Grand Floridian

As Disney’s Grand Floridian undergoes an extensive refurbishment, 1900 Park Fare remains listed as temporarily unavailable on Disney’s website.

Best Character Dining Meals at Disney World

Here are our rankings for the best character dining locations at Walt Disney World in order from best to worst:

  • Topolino’s Terrace, Flavors of the Riviera
  • Cinderella’s Royal Table 
  • Tusker House Restaurant
  • Storybook Dining at Artist Point with Snow White
  • The Crystal Palace
  • Cape May Cafe
  • ‘Ohana
  • Akershus Royal Banquet Hall
  • Garden Grill
  • Hollywood and Vine
  • Chef Mickey’s

Below is a summary of every Disney character meal available by location. We’ll start with the theme parks before moving on to the resorts. Then, I’ll share a few things you need to know for planning these meals.

Cinderella’s Royal Table

*While Cinderella’s Royal Table is open, characters aren’t scheduled to return until February 28, 2023.

Our first stop for character dining is at Cinderella’s Royal Table at Magic Kingdom. This popular restaurant is located inside Cinderella Castle.

Cinderella’s Royal Table serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Additionally, the restaurant doubles as signature dining.

Pricing: Cinderella’s Royal Table is the most expensive character meal at Walt Disney World. Pricing runs $67.00 per adult for lunch and dinner and $39.00 per child ages 3-9 years old.

However, there are a few perks. For example, guests can have their picture made with Cinderella before being seated. In addition, a trinket like a magical star or plastic sword is usually delivered to each child at the end of the meal.

Tip: Breakfast is the least expensive meal at Cinderella’s Royal Table. If you’re on a budget but want to have the experience of dining in the castle, plan a breakfast here.

Menu: View Here

Positives: For many, the most significant appeal is getting to dine inside Cinderella Castle. From our experience, the food was excellent once and subpar on another visit.

However, the character interaction is always terrific. Additionally, only one other location at Disney World offers the opportunity to dine with princesses.

Negatives: A character meal at Cinderella’s Royal Table is expensive and can take up a considerable amount of your touring time. You’ll want to consider what time you can get a reservation here.

It would be a shame to secure an 8:30 p.m. reservation on a night when the fireworks were scheduled at 9:00 p.m. If you hadn’t planned another evening at Magic Kingdom, you would forfeit seeing the fireworks.

Characters: Cinderella, Ariel, Jasmine, Snow White, and Rapunzel

Overall, Cinderella’s Royal Table is considered the creme de la creme of Walt Disney World character dining. If the idea of eating inside the castle appeals to you, I recommend making a reservation at least once to check it out.

The Crystal Palace

Next, we have The Crystal Palace at Magic Kingdom. Crystal Palace is located between Main Street, U.S.A. and Adventureland.

The Crystal Palace offers a wonderful breakfast, lunch, and dinner buffet. While this is a popular location, reservations can usually easily be obtained, given the restaurant’s large capacity.

Pricing: Pricing varies for Crystal Palace between the meals. Breakfast runs $45.00 per adult and $29.00 per child ages 3-9 years old. Lunch and dinner cost $59.00 per adult and $38.00 per child.

Menu:  View Here

Positives: Crystal Palace is the only place to meet Piglet and Eeyore at Walt Disney World, except for the seasonal extra-ticketed parties at Halloween and Christmas.

Negatives: At some point during the day, you have to eat. However, reserving a full-service meal at Magic Kingdom can take away valuable time in the park if you only have one day to spend here.

Characters: Winnie the Pooh, Piglet, Tigger, Eeyore

Related: The Crystal Palace Breakfast Review with Winnie the Pooh and Friends

Akershus Royal Banquet Hall

Moving on to Epcot, we stop at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall for Princess Storybook Dining. Akershus is located in the Norway Pavilion at Epcot.

Formerly, Akershus offered breakfast, lunch, and dinner. However, at this time, the restaurant has only reopened for dinner service.

Pricing: Dinner currently costs $63.00 for adults and $41.00 for children ages 3-9 years old.

Menu: View Here

Positives: Akershus is one of the few places to dine with Disney Princesses. Additionally, a meal here provides the opportunity to try traditional Norwegian cuisine.

Negatives: Like the other theme park character meals, Akershus will take up a decent amount of touring time. However, there are not a lot of “princess-related” activities at Epcot.

Therefore, this meal might be just the right thing to add to the mix on your Epcot day.

Characters at Akershus: Belle, Cinderella, Snow White, Aurora, Ariel

Overall, Akershus is a good fit for anyone wanting to dine with princesses. We have a review of the former breakfast at Akershus if you want to learn more about the overall dining experience here.

Related: Akershus Princess Character Breakfast Review

Character Dining Review at Disney World

Garden Grill Restaurant

Garden Grill is a restaurant at Epcot that serves lunch and dinner. You’ll find Garden Grill on the upper floor of the Land Pavilion in the World Nature section of the park.

What’s unique about this restaurant is that it slowly rotates while you dine. During the rotation, you’ll eventually get a behind-the-scenes look at the Living with the Land attraction.

Garden Grill formerly served breakfast in addition to lunch and dinner. Unfortunately, that meal period is not available as of this update.

Pricing: Chip and Dale’s Harvest Feast at Garden Grill costs $55.00 per adult and $36.00 per child ages 3-9 years old.

Menu: View Here

Positives: There aren’t many restaurants that rotate while you dine, so this is guaranteed to be somewhat of a unique experience. Additionally, you get to see Mickey Mouse dressed as a farmer.

Negatives: Meals here are brought out in family-style presentations, and the menu is limited. It’s kind of like eating at the lunchroom cafeteria. You are out of luck if you don’t like what’s served.

Characters at Garden Grill: Chip, Dale, Mickey (Farmer), and Pluto

Overall, Garden Grill tends to get rave reviews. We’ll provide an update if and when breakfast returns to this venue.

Dining with Characters at Disney

Hollywood and Vine

Hollywood and Vine is the only character dining location at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. This restaurant is directly behind Echo Lake, not far from the park’s entrance.

Hollywood and Vine offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner. However, character dining works differently here than in other restaurants.

For example, breakfast at Hollywood and Vine allows one to meet popular Disney Junior Characters. These special characters are exclusive to the Disney Junior Play n’ Dine Breakfast.

Hollywood and Vine is home to Minnie’s Seasonal Dine during lunch and dinner. This meal changes every few months to represent the season.

Pricing: Breakfast at Hollywood and Vine costs $42.00 per adult and $27.00 per child. Lunch and dinner cost $59.00 per adult and $38.00 per child.

Breakfast Menu: View Here

Lunch and Dinner Menu: View Here

Positives: Kids get to see some of their favorite television characters. Overall, the buffet at Hollywood and Vine offers a variety of items and consistently gets decent reviews.

Negatives: Unfortunately, the food is pretty generic. While some items might stand out, most will be basic food items you can order almost anywhere.

Characters at Breakfast: Vampirina, Fancy Nancy, Doc McStuffins, Goofy

Characters at Dinner: Minnie Mouse and Friends (Seasonally-themed)

Here are the names of Minnie’s seasonal dining experiences at Hollywood and Vine:

  • Minnie’s Holiday Dine
  • Silver Screen Dine
  • Springtime Dine
  • Summertime Dine
  • Halloween Dine

Overall, Hollywood and Vine offers a unique opportunity to meet several characters at breakfast. Additionally, it’s always fun to enjoy a meal with Minnie Mouse and her friends.

Character Meals at Disney World

Tusker House Restaurant

Disney’s Animal Kingdom has one option for character dining at Walt Disney World. Tusker House Restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Breakfast is called Donald’s Safari Breakfast.

You’ll find Tusker House in the Africa section of the park near the Festival of the Lion King. Tusker House is known for its buffet featuring standard fare mixed with African cuisine.

Pricing: Breakfast is $45.00 per adult and $29.00 per child ages 3-9 years old. Lunch and dinner cost $59.00 per adult and $38.00 per child.

Menu: View Here

Positives: Tusker House is a popular character dining experience to meet a few classic characters in unique outfits. Additionally, the buffet is a step above similar types of experiences.

Negatives: Like other character meals in the parks, you must have valid admission and a theme park reservation to dine here. Additionally, a meal here will take up some of your touring time.

Characters at Tusker House: Donald Duck and Friends in Safari Suits (Donald Duck, Daisy Duck, Goofy, and Mickey Mouse)

Overall, Tusker House is a popular character dining location with rave reviews. Some of their popular breakfast items include zebra coffee cake, Mickey waffles, Simba waffles, and rotisserie meats.

Lunch and dinner offerings include Tandoori chicken, Berber marinated pork, Cape Malay green curry shrimp, and Moroccan-spiced beef.

Related: Tusker House Breakfast Review

1900 Park Fare

As Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa undergoes an extensive refurbishment, 1900 Park Fare remains listed as temporarily unavailable on Disney’s website.

1900 Park Fare at Disney’s Grand Floridian formerly served breakfast, brunch, and dinner. There were two character meals here, the Supercalifragilistic Breakfast and Cinderella’s Happily Ever After Dinner.

Each of these meals had entirely different characters and food offerings.

Menu and Pricing: View Here

Positives: 1900 Park Fare was an excellent location for meeting a few harder-to-find characters. Plus, it’s always lovely to visit the Grand Floridian.

Negatives: Make sure you plan for transportation for any resort dining experience. Sometimes resort dining reservations can be challenging to get to if you aren’t staying nearby.

Breakfast Characters: Mary Poppins, Alice, Mad Hatter, Tigger, Winnie the Pooh

Dinner Characters:  Cinderella, Prince Charming, Lady Tremaine, Anastasia, Drizella

Those with plans to enjoy a meal here will need to pick which characters are most important. It is difficult to see the Mad Hatter anywhere else.

In the evening, Prince Charming and Lady Tremaine are also very rare. Usually, you might catch a glimpse of Prince Charming in the Festival of Fantasy Parade.

Lady Tremaine is often part of the stage show at Mickey’s Halloween Party. However, that’s an extra-ticketed event.

Chef Mickey’s

Next, we’ll take the monorail to Disney’s Contemporary Resort to check out their character dining option. Chef Mickey’s serves breakfast and dinner.

At the time of this update, this is a family-style meal. However, Disney announced that this character dining experience would return to a buffet on March 1, 2023.

Pricing: Breakfast is $45.00 per adult and $29.00 per child ages 3-9 years old. Dinner costs $59.00 per adult and $38.00 per child.

Menu: View Here

Positives: When dining at Chef Mickey’s, you get to see the monorail going by overhead, which is fun. Additionally, the characters dress as chefs!

Negatives: This meal is overpriced for what most will consider mediocre food. You are paying for location and characters when you eat here. It’s also fairly loud.

Characters at Chef Mickey’s: Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy, and Pluto

Overall, Chef Mickey’s can be fun, but the food has never been anything to write home about. We’ll see about providing an updated review when the buffet returns later in 2023.

Tips for dining with Characters at Disney World

‘Ohana

Our next stop for character dining is ‘Ohana at Disney’s Polynesian Resort. This location only offers character dining during breakfast. Breakfast hours are daily between 7:30 a.m. and 12:00 p.m.

You’ll find ‘Ohana on the second floor of the Great Ceremonial House at Disney’s Polynesian. Outside the restaurant, there’s a lobby with a podium where you’ll check in for the Best Friends Breakfast.

Pricing: Breakfast at ‘Ohana costs $45.00 per adult and $29.00 for children ages 3-9.

Menu: View Here

Positives: ‘Ohana is an excellent location to meet several rare characters. Additionally, the location and atmosphere are delightful.

Negatives: On our last visit, we waited over an hour past our reservation time to be seated. Unfortunately, the food was average. And while we received good service, our overall experience wasn’t great.

Characters at ‘Ohana: Mickey Mouse (Hawaiian), Lilo, Stitch, and Pluto

Related: ‘Ohana Character Breakfast Review

One of the characters at dining in Disney World

Storybook Dining at Artist Point with Snow White

Storybook Dining at Artist Point with Snow White is another popular character dining meal at Walt Disney World. Storybook Dining at Artist Point is located off the lobby of Disney’s Wilderness Lodge.

Dinner is the only meal offered at this location. This meal has a prix fixe menu where you select an entree, appetizer, and dessert.

Pricing: Dinner at Artist Point costs $65.00 per adult and $39.00 per child, ages 3-9 years old.

Menu: View Here

Positives: Some of the characters present at this meal are exceptionally rare. You will also have the opportunity to meet the Evil Queen from Snow White.

Negatives: For our last meal, the food wasn’t necessarily up to par, considering the cost of the meal. Read the full review below to learn more. 

Characters: Snow White, Dopey, Grumpy, and the Evil Queen

Related: Storybook Dining at Artist Point Review

Cape May Cafe

Moving on to Disney’s Beach Club Resort, we’ll look at their popular character breakfast location at Cape May Cafe. This restaurant only offers characters at breakfast.

This character dining experience is Minnie’s Beach Bash Breakfast and offers a full buffet.

Pricing: At the time of this update, breakfast at Cape May Cafe is $45.00 per adult and $29.00 per child ages 3-9 years old.

Menu: Here

Positives: Cape May Cafe provides the opportunity to meet classic characters in their beach attire!

Negatives: While we love this character dining location, the food is pretty average.

Characters: Minnie Mouse, Goofy, Donald Duck, and Daisy Duck

Related: Cape May Cafe Character Breakfast Review

Trattoria al Forno

Trattoria al Forno’s character meal remains listed as temporarily unavailable on Disney’s site. Meanwhile, the Boardwalk is undergoing extensive refurbishment.

Unfortunately, there are no updates on the Bon Voyage Adventure Breakfast at Disney’s Boardwalk Inn. Formerly, Trattoria al Forno offered a unique breakfast with characters each morning.

This restaurant used to have a prix fixe menu where you were brought a basket of pastries to the table. Then you could select individual entrees from the menu.

Breakfast is still available at this location. However, no characters are present.

Pricing and Menu: View Here

Positives: This location consistently received rave reviews.

Negatives: Disney’s Boardwalk might be a little challenging to get to early in the morning.

Characters: Ariel, Prince Eric, Rapunzel, and Flynn Rider

Trattoria al Forno was formerly a top recommendation for character meals at Disney World. Some of the characters here were extremely rare and difficult to meet in the parks.

This is the only location I’m aware of for meeting Flynn Rider and Prince Eric outside the seasonal parties. Every once in a while, Prince Eric shows up with Ariel in Epcot.

Topolino’s Terrace

Finally, we’ve arrived at our top choice for best character dining at Walt Disney World, Topolino’s Terrace. This restaurant is located at Disney’s Riviera Resort.

Topolino’s Terrace serves breakfast only with characters. This Breakfast a la Art with Mickey and Friends is the newest character dining experience at the Walt Disney World Resort. 

Pricing: As of this update, a character meal at Topolino’s Terrace costs $45.00 per adult and $29.00 per child ages 3-9 years old.

Menu: View Here

Positives: This is the best food we’ve had to date at any character meal at Disney World. Additionally, the classic characters are endearing. 

Negatives: Riviera Resort might be challenging to get to in the morning unless you stay there or next door at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort.

Characters: Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald, and Daisy Duck

Related: Topolino’s Terrace Character Breakfast Review

Other Character Dining at Walt Disney World

In addition to these formal character meals at Disney World, I felt it was important to mention a few other things.

First, there is no character dining at Disney Springs. If you’re looking for a kid-friendly meal at Disney Springs, you might try T-Rex or Rainforest Cafe.

As mentioned earlier, Be Our Guest is commonly called character dining. However, Disney does not consider this meal character dining, and the Beast’s appearance is not guaranteed.

With that said, we did see the Beast on our last visit. Additionally, we were given an autograph card.

Related: Be Our Guest Review

Ravello, at the Four Seasons Resort in Orlando, offers a character breakfast. It’s called the Good Morning Breakfast with Goofy and His Pals.

You can read more about the experience here on the Four Seasons site. The Good Morning Breakfast with Goofy takes place on Thursdays, Saturdays, and select Tuesdays from 7:00 a.m. until 11:00 a.m.

Sadly, Mickey’s Backyard BBQ permanently closed a few years back. However, guests can visit Fort Wilderness to see Chip ‘n’ Dale’s Campfire Sing Along. More about the nightly campfire is available here on Disney’s site.

Unfortunately, Garden Grove, the character meal at Disney’s Swan and Dolphin Hotel is no longer offered. There is no mention of its return.

As of this update, there’s no word on the return of Grand Floridian’s Wonderland Tea Party or the Perfectly Princess Tea Party. While these were not character dining experiences, they included food and characters.

How Disney Character Dining Works

When it comes to character dining at Disney World, it can be tough to select the right experience. Often, others mention they booked a meal with characters based on what they heard others recommend.

While it’s great to take recommendations from friends and family, it’s important to know that a meal like this is an investment.

An average family of four typically spends $200.00 or more on one character dining experience. That money could easily go toward other extras like adding another day to your park tickets or upgrading to the park hopper option.

So it’s wise to research and find the meal that best works for your family. That might be a meal based on what characters are available. Or, you could choose a restaurant based on the quality of the food where the characters are an added bonus.

Another important factor is making your reservations as soon as possible. Many character dining locations fill up within minutes of the reservation window opening.

Dining reservations are available 60 days out, plus the length of stay for guests of the Walt Disney World Resort. In addition, off-property guests can reserve 60 days out of their desired dining date.

Therefore you will need to plan your dining reservations. I highly recommend using an authorized Disney travel agent who will reserve your vacation and help secure your dining reservations.

You do not was to miss any sought-after meals or experiences. Also, when and if the Disney dining plan returns, a travel agent can help you decide if it’s worth the cost.

After arriving at the restaurant, you’ll check in at the hostess stand or by using the My Disney Experience app. When your table is ready, you’ll receive a text notification.

Once seated, your server will come over and get you started. You’ll probably see characters visiting with other families around you. If not, they will return shortly.

A cast member accompanies the characters. Often this person stays in the background, so you might not notice them. They watch the characters meeting at tables and ensure they visit an entire section before moving on to the next one.

If a character is at a table next to you and they appear to skip you, don’t worry. They have a specific order to follow.

However, with the characters in full costume, they can easily get turned around. Ideally, if they skip you, the character handler will send them back your way before the next break. Or the cast member might address you and tell you they’ll be back to you soon.

And even if none of these work out, you may meet three out of four characters. Someone is supposed to come by your table and confirm that you have met all the characters.

They usually come by and say something like you’re just waiting to meet Jasmine, right?

We’ve eaten at numerous character dining locations over the last ten years. I can attest that cast members do an excellent job of ensuring every table is visited.

Disney Character Dining Photos 

When you visit a character dining experience at Walt Disney World, you’ll want something to take photos with. Unfortunately, character dining experiences (with a few small exceptions) do not have PhotoPass photographers present to take your family photo.

Those exceptions are meals like Cinderella’s Royal Table and Akershus Princess Dining. These two usually have a princess greeting guests at the restaurant’s entrance before you are seated.

Another exception is Storybook Dining at Artist Point with Snow White. At this character meal, the Evil queen stands in the center of the Enchanted Forest from time to time. She doesn’t come to the table, but guests can stand in line to meet her and have their pictures taken with her.

In these instances, a photographer typically takes photos with the character. The PhotoPass photographer will scan your band or ticket if applicable, and the images will show up in your My Disney Experience account.

*A Memory Maker package might be required to access these photos.

Unfortunately, photographers are not available at any restaurant to take pictures when the characters visit your table. Therefore, make sure to have something readily available for photos.

Autographs at Disney Character Dining

Another essential thing to remember is that many of the characters sign autographs. So if your children are interested in collecting autographs, be prepared with an autograph book.

I recommend purchasing a good, quality one on shopDisney before your Disney vacation. If you wait, you’ll have to buy one at the parks, which will take extra time and money.

An autograph book is something simple to have packed in your park bag before you leave.

Character Dining and Autographs

Word to the wise, you might not think your child will be interested in collecting autographs. But it only takes one instance of them seeing someone else getting a character’s signature.

After that, most children will automatically want the same experience.

Character autograph books are a minimal investment. They also have plenty of pages so that you can reuse them again on a future trip. Remember to store them with your “Disney stuff” when you get home.

If characters don’t sign autographs at a particular location, usually, the restaurant will provide an autograph card instead. For instance, we received this one in the photo below at Minnie’s Beach Bash at Cape May Cafe.

Disney Character Dining Tips 

Here’s an overview of the tips we’ve covered so far for character dining at Disney World.

  • Don’t forget to reserve your Walt Disney World character dining experiences as soon as you become eligible. (60 Days Out)
  • If you don’t get the desired reservation, check back often. The best time to get a new reservation is when someone cancels. This usually happens within 30 days to a week before the start of your vacation.
  • Know where you are going and how you will get there before your meal. Also, make sure to consider weather factors when traveling to your meal.
  • If using free Disney transportation, allow a good hour to an hour-and-a-half for travel time. If you arrive late, explain your situation to the cast member, and they should fit you back into the schedule.
  • Don’t forget to bring your camera and autograph books!
  • If you are visiting a resort for a character meal, allow yourself a little time to explore before or after your dinner.

Final Thoughts on Disney World Character Dining

Character meals often provide a bit of unexpected Disney magic during your vacation. While this guide is long, it is filled with many considerations.

So often, I have found it’s the things you don’t know that leave you feeling aggravated during and after your trip.

With that being said, Disney World is a massive place, and it’s going to be impossible to know everything. In those cases, I recommend rolling with the punches and chalking your experience up to memory for next time.

If you want to know more about planning a Disney vacation, check out our Disney Resort Reviews. Deciding where to stay is one of the most critical planning factors. It sets the precedence for your trip and leaves a basis for where you will go and how you will get there.

If you want to learn more about individual characters in each Disney park, you’ll enjoy the guide to Disney World characters here. We update it regularly to provide the best information for planning character meets.

Additionally, there’s a list of every Disney restaurant review available here on the site. Or you might also like these other Disney dining guides:

For those planning character dining in 2023, check back with us often. We anticipate more changes in the coming year and update this article frequently.

In the meantime, good luck planning your Disney World character dining! I hope it will be a meal truly worthwhile with many fond memories.