Disneyland Character Dining is one of the quintessential experiences of a Disneyland vacation. During the character meal, different characters move from table to table mingling with the guests, signing autographs, and posing for pictures. Disneyland offers multiple character experiences centering around different themes. The different restaurants vary in serving style with some offering buffet service and others providing table service. The characters at each character dining meal are based on the overall theme of the restaurant.
Below you will find information on every Disneyland character dining experience, my top tips on how to get the most out of the characters at each of the Disneyland character meals, and how you can get at least 10% off the bill.
Should You Book a Disneyland Character Dining Meal?
Disneyland Character Dining is more expensive than other restaurants on resort property and more difficult to reserve. However, these character meals are the perfect way to meet quite a few characters without waiting in long lines inside the parks. You will also have much more quality time with the characters during the meals because they spend quite a bit of time at each table.
Keep in mind that small children may be overwhelmed by characters who wear masks. If you know this will be the case, I recommend either sticking with Ariel’s Grotto character dining which features princesses (no masks) or checking out some of the other non-character dining options.
Disneyland Character Dining Restaurants
Below you will find Disneyland Character Dining reviews of each restaurant explaining where the experience is located, what food they serve, which meals are offered, which characters you will find, and who will enjoy the meal options.
Each Disney Character Dining experience is graded as either premium or regular. Aside from a difference in price, these ratings simply define the difference in meals, with breakfast considered “regular.” Get Away Today offers Disney-approved discount vouchers for Character Dining that will save you about 10%. These vouchers must be purchased in advance. If you choose to purchase a voucher, be sure to purchase the voucher that coincides with the Disneyland character dining you have reserved.
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Disneyland Character Dining Reviews
There are five character dining experiences throughout the Disneyland Resort. There is one located in each theme park and one in each hotel.
Goofy’s Kitchen at Disneyland Hotel
Where? In the Disneyland Hotel located just a couple steps from the lobby and next to Steakhouse 55.
What do they serve? Goofy’s Kitchen is a buffet style meal with food that appeals to kids and adults alike. The food changes between dinner and lunch. I highly recommend the peanut butter pizza.
Who should go? Everyone! This is our favorite Disney character meal. This meal can be a great mid-day break from visiting Disneyland. The best time to visit Goofy’s Kitchen is when you are celebrating a birthday, anniversary, or something else special. But, as Disney recently said, there is always something worth celebrating. Any visit to Goofy’s Kitchen is a good one.
What characters are here? Goofy’s Kitchen is home to Goofy and a variety of other random characters. In the past, we have seen characters including Pluto, Baloo from the Jungle Book, Aladdin and Jasmine, Alice from Alice in Wonderland, Chip or Dale, and Pinocchio. In the evening, Minnie Mouse might be found here.
What costs are involved? This Disneyland character dining experience is a “premium character dining experience,” however it does not require park admission because it is located inside the Disneyland hotel. When purchasing your discount dining voucher, be sure to purchase the one marked “premium”.
Breakfast With Minnie and Friends–Disneyland Character Dining Breakfast
Where? Right off of the hub in Disneyland park, on the Tomorrowland side, at the Plaza Inn. (Must have theme park ticket to visit this character dining experience.)
What do they serve? The Plaza Inn serves a hot breakfast buffet, a step up from what you would find at a Doubletree or other hotel.
Who should go? Many people really like Breakfast With Minnie and Friends, but I would prefer to eat at one of the other character dining experiences. I would recommend eating at Mickey’s Tales of Adventure Breakfast for the same price instead. Remember though, the morning is the best time to get on attractions character breakfasts take up precious time. Check out other character dining options on this page.
What characters are here? A whole mixture of characters can be found here including Minnie Mouse, Eeyore, Gepetto, Captain Hook, Genie, and Rafiki.
What costs are involved? This restaurant is located inside Disneyland Park and requires park admission. This Disneyland character dining experience is considered a “regular character dining experience” so be sure to buy the regular voucher before you go in order to save money.
Mickey’s Tales of Adventure Character Breakfast at Storyteller’s Cafe
Where? Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel in Storyteller’s Cafe
What do they serve? Mickey’s Tales of Adventure Breakfast is a buffet style meal that has food that appeals to kids and adults alike. While the characters available have changed, the buffet will remain the same as the Chip and Dale Critter Breakfast. The buffet is great here. The best of the non-premium Disneyland Character Breakfasts. Great Caramel French Toast.
Who should go? This is the only breakfast where you can meet Mickey Mouse. This is a great reason to go, simply because you will avoid the long lines to meet Mickey Mouse in Toontown. It is a good idea to have an early breakfast here before hitting the parks or a late breakfast on the final day of your trip when you don’t purchase park admission. The food and atmosphere are good for the entire family.
What characters are here? The only confirmed character you’ll see at Mickey’s Tales of Adventure Breakfast is Mickey Mouse himself, who’ll take you through immersive tales through his magical Adventurer’s Journal.
What costs are involved? This Disneyland character dining experience is considered a “regular dining experience” and does not require park tickets as it is located in the Grand Californian Hotel. Be sure to buy the regular voucher if purchasing in advance.
Donald Duck’s Seaside Breakfast at PCH Grill
Where? Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel at the PCH Grill.
Donald will be reunited with his heart-throb Daisy at Disney’s PCH Grill, and is bringing all the beachy fun with him! Soak in those rays and catch some waves on the dance floor with Donald, Daisy and Stitch as you chow down on an all-you-care-to-enjoy breakfast buffet. Try the build-your-own-parfait stations, chef’s signature flatbreads, egg white frittatas, chilaquiles, smoothies, smoked salmon and more. Little dudes and dudettes will love the Mickey waffles, Minnie pancakes, Bananas Foster French toast and a selection of hot and cold cereals, sausage, bacon and seasonal fresh fruit.
What do they serve? This breakfast buffet features a wide variety of breakfast items, including build-your-own parfait stations, signature flatbreads, egg white frittatas, and more high-end breakfast items for adults, as well as more traditional options like Mickey waffles and Bananas Foster French Toast for younger visitors.
Who should go? Because the new dining experience debuts on July 10, we don’t know much about its appeal, but fans of Donald and Daisy Duck will definitely enjoy the experience, which puts them at the forefront of the Breakfast. However, the food choices in the past at PCH Grill haven’t been particularly creative, so if you’re looking for a great meal along with your character dining experience, try Mickey’s Tales of Adventure or Goofy’s Kitchen.
What characters are here? The Seaside Breakfast experience allows you to help Donald Duck reunite with the love of his life, Daisy. You’ll get to see both Duck characters from the fab five, as well as Stitch and other characters in a maritime-themed experience.
What costs are involved? This Disneyland character dining experience is listed as a “premium character dining experience” and doesn’t require park tickets as it is located in the Paradise Pier Hotel. If you are purchasing vouchers in advance, be sure to purchase the “premium Disneyland character dining” voucher.
To see our most recent experience from this character dining breakfast, check our out visit from August 2018.
When to Enjoy a Disney Character Meal?
Schedule your Disney Character Dining as either a late breakfast or lunch. For years, our tradition was enjoying Goofy’s Kitchen to celebrate a birthday. On these days, we would go into the park early using Extra Magic Hour or Magic Morning and then exit the park right around 9:30 or 10 am just as the huge crowds were arriving. As I tell you in our guide to maximizing your time at Disneyland, these first couple of hours in the parks are extremely valuable for riding the most popular attractions in the parks. Lunch is a perfect option to escape the crowds and weather during the busy months of the year. Actually, I always recommend booking a meal to escape the crowds.
Disneyland Character Dining Discounts and Reservations
First, make your reservation for your Disneyland character meal. Reservations are highly recommended for the character dining experiences. While I prefer to call–the number is (714) 781-3463–you can book all Disneyland restaurant reservations online. (See tip #7 below for other advice when booking.)
The only discount for dining comes with the purchase of the two top tier Disneyland annual passports where the passholder receives 15% off at most dining locations throughout the Disneyland Resort. (See info on the other Disneyland annual pass benefits at the bottom of our tickets page.)
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9 Tips To Make the Most of Your Disney Character Dining Experience
These are a couple of my top tips to make the most of your character dining experience.
- Respect The Character’s Time: Be on the lookout for the characters as they are coming around the room. If you see a character approaching, wait to take another trip to the buffet or restroom. Get ready for the character by having cameras on and autograph books out. The more you have ready, the more quality time you will have with the Disney character.
- Autograph Book: Be sure to bring an autograph book with you to the character dining meal you choose. These books really engage your children and will have them looking forward to seeing each character. After purchasing the book, this is something free they can collect to really make the experience that much better. You can purchase a Disney autograph book in advance to save money over the prices charged at the parks. See all of our tips on souvenirs here.
- Consider PhotoPass: You can read all of our review of PhotoPass here, but in essence, this system will allow you to purchase specific pictures with characters. A new PhotoPass package that includes all of the photos taken on your vacation is being rolled out slowly. Check in with the hostess at the restaurant to see how they are currently using PhotoPass at the restaurant.
- Don’t Promise Any Character: The only characters that are guaranteed to appear at any one Disney Character Meal are the ones who the experience is named after. I don’t think I have ever been to Goofy’s Kitchen and not seen Goofy, but just in case, I wouldn’t get too excited about any one character.
- Tell Them What You Want: Be sure to let the character know what photos and signatures you want from them right when they arrive at your table. This will ensure that they don’t leave before you have gotten all of those different groupings of people in photos and each autograph book signed.
- Don’t Freeze Up: For some reason I will often freeze up around characters and just stop talking. Interact like it’s a regular conversation and join into the story with them. This is especially fun for the face characters who will get into big conversations with you. We have had quite fun conversations with Peter Pan and the Fairy Godmother once I loosened up.
- Remind the Character If You Have Met: If you have met the character previously, remind them of your previous meetings. Ask them how they have been and really get the conversation going. This will start them along the path of checking in with you about how you have been since your last meeting.
- Tell Your Waiter If You Are Celebrating Or Need Anything: Let your waiter know if you have any special circumstances. This can mean that you are enjoying a special occasion such as a birthday, anniversary, or first visit to the parks or could be that you need special care because of a certain allergy or food preference. In both of these situations, the restaurant staff will be especially helpful. Keep in mind that you can also make special notes when booking your dining reservations (info above).
- Costumes Are Just Fine For Most: The character meal is the perfect time to break out the costume if your son or daughter wants to dress as their favorite characters. It can go either way, a majority of those in costume are young guests dressed like princesses. (Disneyland recently updated their costume rules to state that costumes are allowed for anyone under the age of 14.)
Bonus: If you are looking for any other specific characters, check out the Disneyland App, which is now available to track characters in the parks. This will help you to find characters you didn’t get to meet at your character meal.
Disneyland Dining and Other Restaurant Advice
The Disneyland Character Dining options listed above are just a few of the many different dining opportunities at the Disneyland Resort. Be sure to check out our full review page for all of the restaurants we recommend visiting in Disneyland.
To secure your reservation, you can visit Disneyland.com to see all avaliable restaurant times.