This weeks big Disney trip post is the first one I’ve worked with Little Miss on! As much as I can write about our trips, there will always be parts of them that Little Miss has opinions on. And lets face it, her opinions are just as valid as mine, if not more valid as my trips are mainly about her happiness. So this week I sat down with her and all our photos and we talked about character dining at Walt Disney World. Although I really don’t think we’re doing any on our trip in March as we’re on a budget, we’ll be doing all the character dining in October when we have the dining plan. When we come back in April it will only be a couple of days until we can start making our advanced dining reservations! How exciting?
On our trip in April 2015 we did do a fair amount of character dining, and even in September we still fitted in 4 over the 10 days so I do think she has some experiences that work for this collaboration. I’ve added “from 2015” as hopefully at the end of the year she’ll have changed her opinion dependant on what we choose to do in October.
So here are Little Miss’ favourite character dining experiences from last year.
1900 Park Fare (Breakfast & Dinner)
Of all the places on the property to eat, 1900 Park Fare is our favourite. Firstly, it’s in the beautiful Grand Floridian. The restaurant is stunning, all pastel with carousel horses. Growing up I ALWAYS wanted to visit this hotel but because we visited with my Godfather and his family, including his son it never happened. So when booking ADR for April this was top of my list, and guess what? It’s now a favourite for both Little Miss and I. I LOVE the breakfast because Alice and the Hatter are there, our breakfast back in September was possibly the funniest thing that happened all trip, I was crying at the stuff the Hatter was coming out with. However, Little Miss chose this restaurant for the dinner character dining option with Cinderella, Prince Charming and the Tremaines. This is what LM looks forward to, and if we do any in March it will be this. We have done three dinner sittings over two trips because she enjoys it that much. Our first trip she was selected by Cinderella for a special dance, our second trip she sat on Prince Charming’s knee and became firm friends with the Tremaines and on her 3rd trip she became BFF with Anastasia and Drizella. Little Miss really does not like any Disney villains but she LOVES the Tremaines and they have her completely mothered to death even when she’s dressed as Cinderella. They have brilliant chemistry and they’re so funny together. This is the only place you can meet Prince Charming too who happens to be her favourite Disney Prince. We were incredibly blessed on our last trip to be presented with beautiful Park Fare cards signed by all the characters at dinner.
Both breakfast and dinner are buffet style. I’m addicted to the mac & cheese at dinner, and for breakfast you can get the famous Mickey Waffles as well at Park Fare’s signature Strawberry Soup. Character dining isn’t known for it’s great tasting food because you’re paying for the experience rather than what you’re eating (especially the kids, Little Miss literally eats bread and croutons at dinner and fruit for breakfast) however the food isn’t awful here. There is loads of choice, even for vegetarians. If I do manage to eat here in March expect a full review of what is available. Little Miss couldn’t even remember what there was to eat as she ate so little at both meals, she said there were croissants but I honestly can’t say if that’s true or if she is thinking about breakfast in Disneyland Paris haha. The bacon is good though.
On the other hand, for food and character experience, ‘Ohana at the Polynesian Resort comes up top for food. We have eaten here on both our trips, which is surprising since it was a last minute booking for April after a friend recommended it. Unlike 1900 Park Fare, ‘Ohana only offers character dining at breakfast but that suits me fine because the food is amazing and really is what keeps me going back. However, Little Miss loves it because the stars of the show are Lilo and Stitch. And the fact the staff treat her like a Polynesian Princess. Despite being a really large restaurant the staff have so much time for the kids and cater to every whim. It feels a lot more spacious which is great because they have a procession around with the characters and some musical instruments, that LM always likes to get involved with (and get herself attached to one of the characters, usually Mickey or Stitch.) For this is a huge part of the fun. This breakfast is lower in price because there is only Lilo, Stitch, Mickey in his Hawaiian outfit and Pluto. It’s now the only place on property you can meet Lilo and Stitch and since Stitch is one of LM’s fav characters it’s a must visit for her.
The Crystal Palace (Breakfast)
The Crystal Palace is situated in Magic Kingdom and offers breakfast and brunch character dining with Winnie the Pooh and gang. This was one of the few places I did eat as a child, and it was fun but not as fun as I found it taking my own daughter. Little Miss is familiar with the Winnie the Pooh and friends (the day we dined it was Pooh, Tigger, Eeyore and Piglet) so she enjoyed seeing them all, but again like with ‘Ohana her favourite part was the parade around the room, where she was chosen especially to walk with Tigger, highlight of her day for sure! Tigger seemed to take a liking to her and came back to the table twice. All the characters are furs which means no talking but Little Miss never has a problem with this and still chats away to them. It’s the only place you can see Piglet and Eeyore on a regular basis. Little Miss loves Piglet due to the pinkness so it was the main reason for doing this. It’s reasonably priced, along the same lines as ‘Ohana (about $30 per adult head if you’re not on the dining plan). I love the food here, it’s a great breakfast fair for the price you pay. But my favourite reason or dining here is if you get an early enough booking you can actually be in Magic Kingdom before the park opens, this is a great opportunity for photographs of Main Street up to the castle.
Cinderella’s Royal Table (Breakfast)
The creme de la creme of character dining or little girls. Cinderella’s Royal Table is actually inside Cinderella Castle in Magic Kingdom and it’s one of the most expensive places to eat on property. It’s a set menu and set price but all sittings are with characters. I chose breakfast because it’s the cheapest (still over $50 per adult head though) but I just wanted to give LM the experience of eating inside the castle, something I never had as a child. I’m so glad I did because of all the meals we had, this is the one that sticks in her mind. On entering you are greeted by Cinderella herself in the lobby where you have the chance for photographs. Each family is called forward as their table is ready and then you head up in a lift to the main dining room. The girls get a wand and the boys a plastic sword as well as a wishing star. The dining room is incredibly packed to fit as many guests in, but as it’s table service this isn’t a huge deal. There is still plenty of room for character interaction. It’s every girls dream to have the princesses come to the table and talk to her while eating breakfast. We had a beautiful table right by the window so we could look right over Fantasyland. On our visit we had Aurora, Jasmine, Ariel and Snow White, as well as Cinderella in the lobby. The castle is such a beautiful setting to meet such beautiful princess and I think that’s why Little Miss loved it so much. It was the complete Disney magic experience and for me worth every penny. On an adult level the food was good too and the staff couldn’t be faulted. This restaurant is always busy as it’s pay in advance making it harder to cancel but even when Little Miss spilt milk on herself they were so attentive. A final note, it also costs two credits on the dining plan but to me, it’s worth it and I can’t wait to do it in October.
These are the picks of a four year old, Princess mad child, so it’s no surprise that Cinderella’s Royal Table and Park Fare are up there. We also ate at Akershus and although the atmosphere was a lot calmer than CRT LM really didn’t like the food on offer at the lunch we did. I’m hoping to tackle this for breakfast instead in October. The princesses were exactly the same as CRT, minus Jasmine but plus Belle.. I also know Mulan is sometimes present here as we went in to meet Mulan between tables. Again, I know Rapunzel is sometimes present at CRT. We also did Be Our Guest which is also kind of a character meal if you choose to do dinner as at the end of the meal you get to meet the Beast. And the other one we did was the Hollywood & Vine Disney Junior meal, which was awful (and I may do a whole other post about it!) As of yet we haven’t done a fab five character meal, but we have a complimentary meal at Cafe Mickey that we received with our booking for October, and I also want to try Tusker House at Animal Kingdom and The Garden Grill at Epcot which both have some of the members of the fab five present. I’m always excited to try new places, and if they have characters visiting our table, I know Little Miss will be excited to try them too.