Top 10 Tips for Dining with Disney CharactersCheck out our 10 tips for dining with Disney characters while you are planning your trip to Disney World. These tips will help you decide which restaurant to select, as well as give some great hints to make your dining experience successful and memorable.
Dining with Disney Characters can be a wonderful experience. It is a great way to have a table service meal and meet with some of your favorite Disney Characters without the long wait times. Here are my top ten tips to help you plan, schedule and enjoy your Character Dining experience.
10) ResortsIn addition to the Disney Parks, some of the resorts have Character dining. The best Character Dining experiences I have ever had were at the Contemporary Resort and the Polynesian. Do not overlook the resorts as an excellent meal that can be shared with your favorite characters.
9) PackingDo not forget some essential items that will make your Character Dining more memorable and enjoyable. We pack both a digital camera as well as a video camera. We also supply our two older kids with their own disposable cameras. They enjoy snapping their own photos. If you are planning on getting autographs with the characters, be sure to have your autograph books and pens with you as well.
8) TimingIf you are doing a resort character breakfast, I recommend getting the earliest time available. This will ensure you have the rest of the day to explore Disney World. If you are doing a character meal in one of the parks, I suggest a reservation about an hour and a half after park opening. This allows you to get to the park early and get on a few rides while the parks are fairly uncrowded. After the crowds file in, you can head over to your reservation.
I always recommend lunch reservations at an off time. Everyone else will be eating lunch at noon which means it is a great time for you to explore with less crowds. We aim for two o’clock.
We plan dinner reservations based on what we are doing that evening. If you want to be sure to be done with dinner before night time entertainment or after a park closes, you need to take that into account before reserving.
7) DurationA lot of guests underestimate the time that these meals last. It can take 60-90 minutes for you to see all of the characters the experience offers. Remember that when planning fast passes or anything else after a meal.
6) ArrivalYour reservation may say 10:30 but if you arrive at 10:30, odds are you will not sit down until 11. If you have plans after a meal that require you to stick to a schedule, be sure to arrive to your reservation 15-20 minutes early to be seated on time.
5) CharactersIf you are looking for specific characters, head over to Disney’s Website to see which meals offer which characters. They are consistent at each location for the most part, but there is always the possibility of a substitution.
4) Dining PlanIf your goal is to go to as many character meals as possible, I would defiantly advise looking into the dining plan. It would be well worth it if you even ate one character meal per day.
3) TransportationMap out transportation in advance of your reservation. It can take upwards of 45 minutes to get across the resort depending on mode of transportation. If you have an early morning reservation, be sure to check if the busses are running early enough to get you where you need to go on time.
2) CuisineCheck out what the cuisine is at the restaurant before you reserve. Some of the meals like Tusker House and Akershus have very ethnic cuisines and might not be to every one’s tastes.
1) Plan!Most if not all of the character meals are booked solid months in advance. If a reservation means a lot to you, get on the phone or computer 180 days in advance of your stay and reserve your favorites!
Character Dining in Disney can be a wonderful and magical experience, however, some aspects can be surprising to guests. We suggest that you plan and be prepared by utilizing our tips to avoid unwelcomed surprises and any disappointment. Enjoy!