So, it is a widely known fact, that one of the reasons to go on vacation is to enjoy the delicious and wonderful food – that you don’t have to cook or clean up after. People go to great lengths to eat exotic and fabulous cuisine. They visit foreign countries, go on lavish cruises, and spend hundreds of dollars in gas on road trips just for some tasty eats and treats. Walt Disney World restaurants are no exception to these “pilgrimage for flavor” style vacations that people take, but luckily, at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida, you can actually taste nearly all of the flavors the world has to offer all in one place. With a few exceptions: you know, “delicacies” like fish eyes and bugs. Even better, Disney World Character Dining allows you to do it alongside your favorite Walt Disney Characters.
This may initially sound like a bit of a novelty, but of the dining experiences offered by Walt Disney World, casual dining, dinner shows, dining events, fast-service dining, and fine/signature dining, the character dining experience is by far the most unique and authentically Disney. Dining with Disney characters is an experience that appeals to the child in all of us – no matter how deep inside that kid may be hiding. With over a dozen character dining experiences available, don’t be afraid to explore, and just eat like a kid!
Walt Disney World Theme Parks
Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Epcot, and of course the Magic Kingdom each offer character dining experiences. For fresh fare with a green view, and visits from Chip ‘n’ Dale, check out the Garden Grill at Epcots’ Land Pavilion. Their Norway Pavilion offers Princess Storybook Dining at the Akershus Royal Banquet Hall – perfect for little, and not so little girls who dream of one day, becoming Princesses. This character dining experience includes, rather fittingly, a dessert menu fit for royalty.
For more Princess character dining, check out Cinderella’s Royale Table in Fantasyland in the Magic Kingdom for American style-favorites. Also in the Magic Kingdom is the Crystal Palace, where you can enjoy buffet style meals, served up with some fun antics from Winnie the Pooh and his friends. Tusker House, the Animal Kingdom and Hollywood and Vine in Hollywood Studios offer buffet-style meals as well; their dining experience being spiced-up considerably, thanks to Disney characters signing autographs, taking photos, and visiting guests at their tables.
Walt Disney World Resort Hotels
Surprisingly, many of the Walt Disney World Restaurants offering character dining can be found in their resort hotels, rather than their theme parks. Take this into account when choosing where to stay, as you may be interested in one character dining experience or another specifically. Especially because choosing where to stay can be so overwhelming – how are you supposed to know what sets say, Disney’s Beach Club Resort apart from their Caribbean Beach Resort? Why the Cape May Café of course, which offers New England-style décor and dining alongside Mickey, Minnie, and Goofy.
You would have no way of knowing, for example, that Disney’s Port Orleans Resort, Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort, Disney’s Old Key West Resort, Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort, and Disney’s Yacht Club Resort offer no character dining, but Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa has practically enough character dining experiences to make up for all of those combined. And those are: the Supercalifragilistic Breakfast, the Garden View Tea Room, Cinderella’s Happily Ever After Dinner, and the 1900 Park Fare Restaurant. 4 character dining experiences in one place! If you’re into character dining, then the Grand Floridian is the place to stay!
How Exactly Do Disney Characters Make the Food Taste Better?
So what exactly does having Disney characters around do to enhance your dining experience? It’s hard to imagine that it would have any affect on the flavor of your food, and in a way that’s true – except for the fact that what Disney characters really do is make you feel like a kid again – which means you smile a little more, laugh a little easier, and have a little bit more fun. An improved mood means a more heightened enjoyment of everything, including the taste of the delectable dishes you are enjoying alongside said Disney characters.
Disney World Vacation Packages
One thing that allows you to spend responsibly like a grown up, whilst munching merrily like a kid, is the Walt Disney World Vacation Package. It is a fact that a Disney Vacation can be expensive, but it is much cheaper if you book a vacation package – especially the Magic Your Way Package. This allows you to bundle the costs of your Disney Dining Plan, your stay in one of Disney’s resort hotels, and the cost of your theme park admission, saving you between 30% – 50%.
This is the best package for you if Disney dining is to be a large part of your Disney vacation experience, because it allows you to save on dining. Keep in mind however, that some of the dining experiences offered by Walt Disney World Resort, particularly things like a dinner show or dining event, are not covered by the Magic Your Way Package, and will have to be booked separately. Special dining events like the Chef’s Tasting Wine Dinner and the Tomorrowland Terrace Fireworks Dessert Party require special dining reservations.
In fact, making a dining reservation is a good idea for any restaurant at Walt Disney World Resort. It is the largest and most-visited theme park resort in the entire world, therefore, there is a good chance that the restaurant you are interested in may be, well, incredibly busy. The importance of location should not be ignored in regards to making reservations. Places around the park that have a high concentration of restaurants all in one place, like the Disney Springs Area or Disney’s Boardwalk, may be slightly less of a problem if you are not picky about where you eat – if one restaurant is full, you can visit another one. For restaurants in the thick of Disney’s theme parks or a water park, and especially popular dining experiences, like character dining, it is very important to call ahead to make reservations.
You can call (407) WDW-DINE to make your reservations. It is recommended that you call at least two days in advance, but you can do so up to 6 months in advance – this may seem like overkill, but it is good idea to guarantee priority seating for a special event – a birthday or anniversary for example, or even a proposal. It is also important to make reservations if you have a special dietary need. Walt Disney World Resort pride themselves on being able to meet the needs of guests with special dietary requirements, allergies and otherwise, but need to be informed no less than 48 hours in advance!
Whether you’re eating breakfast, lunch, or dinner, whether you’re browsing a menu or cruising a buffet, you’re inevitably going to be savoring the flavors of the meal you’re enjoying. How much more enjoyable can the experience be made by visits from your favorite Disney Characters? Why don’t you head to Walt Disney World Resort, hunker down at Cinderella’s Royale Table in the Magic Kingdom or Hollywood and Vine in Hollywood Studios and find out?