Are you looking for the best character breakfast options at Walt Disney World? There are so many different choices in the hotels and parks, it can be hard to select just one.
I happen to absolutely love character dining and if I have the option, will always choose to dine at one at least once during my vacation. Let’s break down what they are, the pros and cons and my top 5. Perhaps this will help you narrow down your choices and help you to pick the one you will dine at next time you visit Walt Disney World.
General Overview – Character Dining
At character dining, breakfast, lunch or dinner is served while select characters make their way around the restaurants visiting each table. The characters will typically spend a good amount of time at each table interacting with the whole family; autographs and photos are encouraged with everyone.
Most character dining is buffet-style, however there are a few options that serve meals family-style, where a variety of food choices are served to the table and replenished continuously as requested.
Let’s jump into some of the pros and cons.
Pros and Cons – Character Dining
There are quite a few pros and cons to character dining, whether it be for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Let’s walk through them, these are helpful in your decision on whether or not character meals are worth it.
- Interactions with characters you don’t often see in the parks – there are quite a few character dining options that include characters you don’t often see in the parks, like Lilo & Stitch at ‘Ohana. If someone in your family loves a particular character and they are in the character dining lineup, I say go for it. Character interactions with our favorites are priceless!
- You don’t have to wait in line for characters in the parks – Let’s keep it real, the lines get pretty long at the parks, especially for popular characters like the main cheese himself, Mickey. If he is available at a character dining experience, use the opportunity to meet him and get some awesome pics. The beauty of dining with the characters is they often spend a decent amount of time at each table, allowing you to take your time and get the best photo possible. You won’t have that same opportunity in the parks where they move people along rather quickly.
- Dining reservations can be hard to get – Depending on the popularity of the restaurant and the time of year, finding a dining reservation can be challenging. If you really want to dine at a particular location and there is nothing available, keep trying. Be persistent. You have probably heard that before, because it’s true. People cancel reservations all the time. Even try the night before and the same day, sometimes Disney opens up availability at the last minute.
- Character dining can take a chunk of time out of your morning that can be spent in the parks – This one really depends on your priorities. If meeting the characters is top on your list, then spending time in the morning at a character breakfast is perfect! If not, you may want to consider alternatives. Character dining usually takes about 2 hours from start to finish, not accounting for travel time to and from the park (if you happen to be dining at one of the resort hotels). It can get time consuming.
- Price. Plain and simple. Character dining is typically more expensive and can add up very quickly for a big family. Is the price worth it? It really again depends on the vacation priorities and what is most important to those vacationing. In many cases, the food isn’t the highlight at the dining locations, it’s the characters and their interactions. They are priceless to those that are looking for that on vacation. It makes the cost of the breakfast worth it.
Top 5 Character Breakfast Options at Walt Disney World
Topolino’s Terrace – Flavors of the Riviera
Location: Disney’s Riviera Hotel
Characters: Breakfast à la Art with Mickey & Friends (Mickey, Minnie, Daisy and Donald)
One of the newest character dining experiences at Walt Disney World, Topolino’s Terrace has been hailed as one of the very best. And I’d have to agree. This is one of the hardest dining reservations to get, but if you do get one, here is what you can expect.
Topolino’s, named after Mickey Mouse (Mickey’s name in Italian), is the Riviera’s rooftop restaurant with magnificent theme park views through floor-to-ceiling windows. It’s convenient to get to from Hollywood Studios or EPCOT via Disney’s Skyliner. The character’s attire combines influences from both Italy and France in this unique European setting; each is dressed adorably in their artsy flair.
Guests love the character interactions with Mickey, Minnie, Daisy and Donald. There aren’t as many tables in this restaurant (that’s why reservations are so hard to get), so the characters can spend quite a bit of time with each dining family.
The food here is also fabulous, not only in taste but in looks too. Disney really stepped up their game here, with each dish thoughtfully plated and uniquely themed. Enjoy the fun pastry basket served as a starter to each table, or give the Avocado Toast, Quiche Gruyère, or the Sour Cream Waffles a try!
You won’t regret booking Topolino’s for breakfast.
Location: Magic Kingdom (park ticket and park reservation required for entry)
Characters: Winnie the Pooh & Friends (Pooh, Piglet, Tigger and Eeyore)
I have been to Crystal Palace more times than I can count. There aren’t too many breakfast choices in Magic Kingdom, but this one for me ranks high on the list.
While the food is honestly mediocre and pretty standard for breakfast, you aren’t going to find anything special here (eggs, waffles, cereal, muffins, etc.), the character interactions is where Crystal Palace excels.
Pooh, Piglet, Tigger and Eeyore meet and greet their friends at each table throughout the course of your meal. Feel free to chat, take pictures or get their autographs when they stop by. Tigger is probably the most fun because he is so much fun and energetic. He can really get a crowd going, especially early in the morning!
During the meal, the characters will gather all of the children and they will actually parade around the restaurant for a few minutes to a fun and catchy song. It’s super cute, and if you have littles, they will love it.
If you are lucky, you may even get a window view of Cinderella Castle! Don’t miss your chance to stop into Crystal Palace. Dining reservations are not as hard to get as one might think, there is usually plenty to go around. This is definitely a fun way to start the day.
Location: Disney’s Contemporary Resort
Characters: Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Donald, and Pluto
Another great and popular spot is Chef Mickey’s at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. While I personally think the food is nothing to really speak of here (although there are some unique options), the ambiance and characters are really what you’re paying for. And, it’s worth it.
Being in the heart of the Contemporary Resort, the monorail whizzes overhead (it runs right through the hotel), while you can enjoy the expansive views of Bay Lake and the grand 90-foot mural by Mary Blair that overlooks the restaurant. There is so much history in the Contemporary Resort, any reason to be there and enjoy it, is a great reason in my book.
For breakfast you can enjoy sweet and savory breads, Scrambled Eggs, Smoked Bacon, Slow-roasted Beef Brisket, Mickey Waffles or try something from Chef Mickey’s Signature entrées—including Banana Bread French Toast, “Loaded” Potato-Cheese Casserole and the “Celebration” Mickey Pancake.
Mickey & friends are donned in their chef’s attire, looking adorable as usual. The character interactions here are top notch and for this reason, Chef Mickey’s is rated pretty highly with Disney fans.
Location: Animal Kingdom (park ticket and park reservation required for entry)
Characters: Mickey, Donald, Goofy & Daisy (all dressed in safari attire)
Another fan favorite, Tusker House, sits in the heart of Africa in Animal Kingdom. It happens to be one of the only character breakfast options in Animal Kingdom – actually one of the few places that sell breakfast. Animal Kingdom lacks breakfast choices in general.
Join Mickey, Donald, Goofy and Daisy all dressed and ready for an adventure on safari. The character interactions are superb, fun and joyful. The restaurant is boisterous and bustling, a great start to any park day.
There are some breakfast classics served here, but also a few varieties with an African flare, like Cardamom Granola. If you have adventurous eaters, this is a great spot to try.
Location: Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort
Characters: Lilo & Stitch
‘Ohana is mostly known for its dinner menu, including the legendary ‘Ohana noodles and the Pineapple Coconut Bread Pudding. But, they do also serve a pretty awesome breakfast. Serving up scrambled eggs, breakfast potatoes, Stitch and Mickey waffles, ham with pineapple, a variety of fresh fruits and assorted breads, this breakfast option makes it one of the top breakfast spots to kick off your day.
Lilo & Stitch make their rounds and visit with all the Guests, while dining on their delicious meal. What makes this character dining so special is that you don’t often (or almost never really) see Lilo or Stitch out in the parks for pictures. And if you have a Lilo or Stitch lover in the family, this is where you’ll get to see them and interact. That alone makes it worth the price of admission.
‘Ohana is also located in Disney’s Polynesian Resort and is super close to Magic Kingdom. Hop on the Monorail and be at the park gates in a matter of minutes. That makes this dining option an excellent choice to start off your Magic Kingdom day.
There is a wide variety of options across all of Walt Disney World when choosing a location for breakfast. While I selected these as my top 5, there are other well-known restaurants that come in very close, and are really no less worthy. If you are deciding which character breakfast location is best for you, here are some other options:
Cape May Cafe (Disney’s Beach Club Resort)
1900 Park Fare – Currently Unavailable (Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa)
Garden Grill Restaurant – Currently Unavailable for Breakfast (EPCOT)
Hollywood & Vine (Hollywood Studios)