The 5 best character dining meals at Disney World

If you’re planning a trip to Walt Disney World, you may also be mulling your options when it comes to character meals. During these meals, famous friends like Mickey and Minnie stop by to say hi between bites. Combining a delicious meal and a meet-and-greet is one of the best ways to meet your favorite characters at Disney without lines or any extra time spent in the heat, rain or other elements.

However, many of the most popular options to dine with your favorite Disney characters book up quickly and can be pricey, so you may need to be selective.

Related: Everything you need to know about visiting Walt Disney World Resort

To help you choose the best Walt Disney World character meal for your group, we’ve pulled together our five favorite character dining meals at Disney World to help you prepare. You can begin making reservations at 6 a.m. Eastern time when your window opens 60 days before the first day of your trip (so you’ll also need to prepare a big ol’ cup of coffee).

What is character dining at Disney World?

If you’ve never done a character meal, you may wonder what the fuss is about and whether the meals are worth the cost.

The honest answer to “Is it worth it?” is, “Sometimes.” Some elements are common to most of the Disney World character meals, but the food quality and the character interaction vary widely from restaurant to restaurant. Some can be pretty loud and borderline chaotic, while others are far more chill and relaxed.


Many character meals are served “family style” at the table. Others utilize traditional buffets, and a few offer traditional table service dining where you order off a menu.

During these meals, the characters visit your table, meaning you don’t have to line up to visit with them. Some meals have a marquee character either at the door or in his or her own area. However, most of the character experience takes place at your table as the characters make the rounds.

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Related: The best restaurants in Walt Disney World

This is a more convenient way for your kids to see their favorite pals than waiting in line at the parks. However, it can also mean that you’re caught with a mouthful of muffin when Mickey strolls over to say hi. The characters sometimes stop by more than once during your visit, so it’s highly unlikely you won’t find a moment to grab an autograph and a photo sans mouth full of food.

How to book Disney character dining

You can book Disney World dining reservations at 6 a.m. beginning 60 days in advance of your trip by calling 407-WDW-DINE, booking online at Disney World’s website or via the MyDisneyExperience mobile app. If you have a Disney World hotel reservation, you can book dining reservations for the length of your stay at the 60-day mark (for up to a 10-night stay). Otherwise, you can book 60 days in advance, one day at a time.

Related: How you can save hundreds of dollars by renting Disney Vacation Club points

Do you want to book a character meal for your next Disney trip? Here are five Disney World character meals with a variety of characters and delicious food options. Some are inside the parks, and some are outside of the parks so that you can enjoy them even without a Disney park ticket.

If you purchase a Disney Dining Plan (when they return in early 2024), you can redeem dining credits for most character meals. Some only require one table service credit, but select restaurants, like Cinderella’s Royal Table, require you to redeem two table service credits.

Topolino’s Terrace

Location: Topolino’s Terrace, Disney’s Riviera Resort

Best for: A delicious “Breakfast a la Art” with classic Disney characters

Topolino’s Terrace — at the Riviera Resort — is one of Walt Disney World’s newest character meals, and it’s one of the best. Available for breakfast and brunch only, Topolino (“Mickey Mouse” in Italian) appears with his friends Minnie, Donald and Daisy in adorable outfits inspired by their creative pursuits. Mickey and Donald are wearing artist smocks while Minnie has a cosmopolitan outfit befitting a fashion designer, and Daisy is featured as a ballerina.

Related: TPG’s ultimate guide to Walt Disney World

The characters alone make this meal worthy of a spot on our list, but the food takes it to the next level. The menu features French- and Italian-inspired dishes like a quiche Gruyere, avocado toast with prosciutto, French toast brulee and a wood-fired steak with polenta and roasted vegetables ($45 for each adult breakfast entree, $29 for kids ages 3 to 9).

This restaurant is on the 10th floor of Disney’s Riviera Resort and offers terrific views of the surrounding resorts and the Disney Skyliner from the outdoor terrace. You can even see Hollywood Studios and Epcot in the distance.

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Story Book Dining at Artist Point

Location: Artist Point, Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

Best for: Teens and tweens

Do you have a tween who rolls their eyes at character meals with traditional characters? An up-close sneer from the Evil Queen at Artist Point within Disney’s Wilderness Lodge might be just the ticket. This character dining experience is only available for dinner, with shared starters and desserts and individual plated entrees.

At $65 for dinner for adults ($39 for children ages 3 to 9), Storybook Dining provides both a hearty meal – think prime rib and veal shank – and a unique character experience. Adults can enjoy themed drinks like the Enchanted Apple ($14.50), which is vodka, sour apple liqueur and white cranberry juice, while kids can order specialty mocktails like the Transformation Potion ($6.50) that changes regular lemonade into a mystical blue concoction.

Related: How much does a Walt Disney World vacation cost?

Snow White, Dopey and Grumpy roam around the dining room during your meal for photos and autographs, and the aforementioned Evil Queen holds court in a separate area. You can line up to see her separately … if you dare.

Cinderella’s Royal Table

Location: Cinderella Castle, Magic Kingdom

Best for: Dining with princesses

Dining at Cinderella’s Royal Table is the only way most of us will ever get to step inside Cinderella Castle at the heart of the Magic Kingdom. This dining room is fit for royalty, with stone archways, medieval-style flags bearing coats of arms, colorful stained-glass windows and regal furnishings.

It’s not just the decor that’s suitable for a princess — the food is, too. This fairy tale dining experience is available for breakfast ($65 for adults and $39 for children ages 3 to 9), lunch and dinner ($79 for adults and $47 for children ages 3 to 9).

Breakfast includes assorted shared pastries, entrees like baked quiche and caramel apple-stuffed French toast and specialty cocktails for adults (for an added cost). The lunch and dinner menus are equally upscale, with entrees like spice-rubbed pork tenderloin and Parisian gnocchi and Cinderella-themed desserts like The Clock Strikes Twelve, a chocolatey dessert topped with a white chocolate clock.

There’s no special dress code for Cinderella’s Royal Table, but kids are encouraged to dress in regal finery for the occasion if they want to be a prince or princess, too. Expect princesses such as Cinderella, Aurora, Ariel, Snow White and Jasmine to stop by and make their way from table to table during your meal.

Hollywood & Vine

Location: Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Best for: Speciality holiday dining

The attractions at Disney’s Hollywood Studios transport visitors into the worlds of favorite Disney films like “Toy Story” and “Frozen,” as well as blockbuster franchises like “Star Wars” and “Indiana Jones.” But walking down the streets of this park, you feel like you are walking through the epicenter of Tinseltown during its heyday, with all of the glitz, glamour and movie-making magic.

Just off Hollywood Boulevard, you’ll find Hollywood & Vine, a restaurant themed to a 1940s diner. During the character dining breakfast buffet ($42 for adults and $27 for children ages 3 to 9), kids can meet popular Disney Junior characters like Doc McStuffins, Vampirina and Roadster Goofy.

What makes this character meal extra special, however, is that the lunch and dinner experiences ($59 for adults and $38 for children ages 3 to 9) change seasonally. Depending on when you visit, you could get to see Minnie and her friends during the Silver Screen Dine, the Springtime Dine, the Halloween Dine or the Holiday Dine.

The meals are served buffet-style, but the stars of this experience are the characters that stop by your table in festive outfits throughout the meal. During our holiday-time visit, the characters even performed a few Christmas songs and dance numbers.

No matter which meal you choose or what time of year you visit, you’ll be treated to classic American fare like omelets and waffles for breakfast or salads, roasted pork, macaroni and cheese and caramelized Brussels sprouts at lunch and dinner.

Garden Grill

Location: The Land Pavilion, Epcot

Best for: A unique character dining experience at Epcot

Many people head for the international cuisine at World Showcase when they plan a meal at Epcot, but Garden Grill is a hidden-gem restaurant that serves farm-fresh favorites within Epcot’s World Nature area. This all-you-care-to-eat meal is served family-style, with servers bringing heaping platters of food to your table for your family to share.

Not only do Mickey, Pluto and Chip ‘n’ Dale make their way to your table while you dine (wearing farm-themed outfits like overalls), the restaurant slowly rotates, revealing nature-inspired scenes from the adjacent Living with the Land attraction. In fact, your meal may include dishes made with ingredients that were grown in the greenhouses you see in Living with the Land.

For breakfast ($42 for adults, $27 for kids ages 3 to 9), you’ll enjoy traditional American breakfast dishes, including bacon, eggs and Mickey-shaped waffles. Lunch and dinner ($55 for adults, $36 for kids ages 3 to 9) are anchored by hearty fare like barbecue roasted chicken, creamy mashed potatoes, green beans and, for dessert, fresh berry shortcake.

Related: What it really costs to go to Disney World

Bottom line

There are about a dozen character dining experiences at Disney World, each with its own distinctive character meet-and-greets and delicious menu options. You really can’t go wrong with any of them.

However, if you are looking for an extra-special way to meet your family’s favorite characters and satisfy your hunger at the same time, these are the best of the best.

And our top pro tip for Disney character meals, especially if you are trying to stick to a budget on your Disney trip, is to only dine with those in your party that actually want to be there. Send the too-cool teens and/or other adults who are not into the meal with characters to do something else during that time, and only pay for the experience for those in your group who think Mickey with a side of waffles is worth the cost.

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