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 sticking with 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.
There are five character dining experiences throughout the Disneyland Resort. There is one located in Disneyland and one in each Disney owned hotel.
Breakfast With Minnie and Friends at the Plaza Inn inside Disneyland
Where? Right off of the hub in Disneyland park, on the Tomorrowland side, at the Plaza Inn. You 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 regular hotel. You can find Mickey waffles, pancakes, omelette stations, breakfast potatoes, hashbrowns, sausage/bacon, and more at this breakfast option.
Who should go? You see a large variety of characters at this breakfast and experience it all in the Disneyland park which makes it a favorite for many park guests. I recommend booking your reservation as late in the morning as possible for a brunch experience so you can spend the morning doing rides and enjoy this as a brunch option. The Plaza Inn is beautiful and was decorated by Walt's wife Lillian making it a good choice for any Disney history buffs.
What characters are here? A whole mixture of characters can be found here including most often Minnie Mouse, Eeyore, Captain Hook, Rafiki, Winnie the Pooh, Eeyore, Chip n Dale, and Fairy Godmother. Other characters that have been spotted here are Gepetto, Genie, Max, the Cinderella Mice, Pinocchio, and the penguins from Mary Poppins.
What costs are involved? This restaurant is located inside Disneyland Park and requires park admission. The price is $34 for adults and $19 for children aged 3-9. Two and under are free but still include them in your reservation so the cast member makes enough space for your party. Reserve this dining option here.
Side note: this is Lindsay's favorite character dining option due to the charm and history of the Plaza Inn and the variety of characters you get to see. On her last visit, Tigger took the time to play Tic-Tac-Toe with her eight year old son in his autograph book which was a nice touch to see how characters keep the magic alive for older kids! But watch out- Tigger cheats!
Goofy’s Kitchen at the 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 character dining does not require park admission since it's located at the Disneyland Hotel. The price is $39 for adults and $23 for children aged 3-9 for breakfast and for dinner it is $43 for adults and $25 for children aged 3-9. Two and under are free but still include them in your reservation so the cast member makes enough space for your party. Reserve this dining option here.
Side note: Goofy's Kitchen is Gavin's favorite Disneyland character dining experience because of the variety of characters and wacky food options. For many years the brunch–featuring his favorite Peanut Butter Pizza–was critical for every birthday celebration.
Mickey's Tales of Adventure Character Breakfast at Disney's Grand Californian
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. 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. You will likely also see Minnie Mouse, Chip n Dale, and Pluto.
What costs are involved? This character dining does not require park admission since it's located at the Grand Californian Hotel. The price is $39 for adults and $23 for children aged 3-9. Two and under are free but still include them in your reservation so the cast member makes enough space for your party. Reserve this dining option here.
Donald Duck's Seaside Breakfast at Disney's Paradise Pier Hotel
Where? Disney's Paradise Pier Hotel at the PCH Grill.
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? Fans of Donald and Daisy Duck will definitely enjoy the experience, which puts them at the forefront of the Breakfast. As for big Stitch fans, this is the only way to meet him outside of the Visa Meet and Greet in California Adventure! 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? You will be guaranteed to see Donald, Daisy and Stitch at this breakfast.
What costs are involved? This character dining does not require park admission since it's located at the Paradise Pier Hotel. The price is $39 for adults and $23 for children aged 3-9. Two and under are free but still include them in your reservation so the cast member makes enough space for your party. Reserve this dining option here.
To see our most recent experience from this character dining breakfast, check our out visit from August 2018. We booked this experience just to meet Stitch and it was my son's favorite part of our vacation from that trip! We took the monorail over from Disneyland to Downtown Disney and walked to the hotel. This helped incorporate the monorail experience into our day which was a fun perk.
Disney Princess Breakfast Adventures at Disney's Grand Californian
Where? Napa Rose at Disney's Grand Californian Hotel.
The morning begins with a three course breakfast (with champagne options for adults!) in the fine dining option of Napa Rose. During breakfast Princesses such as Belle, Tiana, Ariel, Jasmine and others arrive to greet and make memories with families.
After breakfast, Princesses will share storytelling moments featuring tales of empowerment out on the patio. Mulan may encourage children to strike a pose to discover their own inner warrior, while Rapunzel may share how she felt when she found the courage to explore the world outside her tower, showing little ones how to spin joyfully and shout, “Best day ever!”
The experience concludes with a photo portrait opportunity with the Princesses and premium keepsakes for guests to remember this inspirational day. Children will receive character autograph books and pens along with a choice of princess crown necklace or sword. Adults will get the gift of chocolates to take home.
What do they serve? This will be a three-course breakfast option featuring cold starters, hot offerings for kids like house made mac & cheese or Princess waffles, hot offerings for adults like shephard's pie or slow braised short ribs, and side dishes such as roasted seasonal vegetables, heirloom potatoes, artisan breakfast sausage, bangers, and more. Also includes is a large dessert menu featuring chocolate princess cake pops, white chocolate slipper with strawberry ganache, petite fruit tarts, and more.
Who should go? Since this is a high ticket character dining experience, only the most devoted Disney Princess fans should attend. This is a great option for special occasions like birthdays, first visits, or anniversaries. The menu items seem more similar to a lunch/dinner option than breakfast so picky eaters should keep that in mind or book a later breakfast so it feels more like brunch.
What characters are here? There will be a variety of Disney Princesses at this meal such as Belle, Tianna, Ariel, Jasmine, Mulan, and Rapunzel.
What costs are involved? The price for this meal is $125 per person (adults and children) not including tax or gratuity. Includes 5 hours of complimentary parking with validation at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa. You can book your reservation here.
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.
Another good option is booking your character meal on the day you arrive or leave if you're interested in the hotel options so you don't have to spend valuable park time on a longer meal experience.
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 10-15% 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.
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. You will have your picture taken at the beginning of your meal and during the meal a PhotoPass photographer will come offer you the prints. If you have purchased MaxPass, you just need to show them this on the Disneyland app and they will give you the code to load your digital photos. You are also welcome to purchase the prints, too!
- 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. Many of the characters will do selfies with you too which can be fun!
- 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). If you feel like you're not getting enough time with characters, just tell a cast member (nicely!) and they will be sure to help the situation!
- 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.
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