Everyone “does Disney” a bit differently. If meeting characters is on your priority list, character dining can be an amazing option to be able to meet a lot of (or specific) characters without standing in line. Character dining is table service experience where there are specific characters that make their way around the room as you eat your meal.
If you’d like to meet a character in a Disney park, you either stand in line for a specific meet and greet, get incredibly lucky and see a character walking around the park (which is more and more rare every day), or have a character dining experience.
You have to eat, so I think it’s totally worth it to spend a little bit more time eating and sitting comfortably in air conditioning in order to meet the multiple characters instead of standing in line to meet maybe 2 characters at one time.
There are FastPass options to meet some characters in WDW, but not all, and they can be hard to get.
As with anything, there are some pros and cons to character dining.
- No line to wait in to meet the characters
- You already have to eat
- Characters get to spend more time with each family compared to a standard meet and greet
- Your time can be spent on rides instead of waiting for characters
- Reservations are necessary, or you may have to wait quite a long time before being seated
- These experiences are often buffet meals, so they can cost a bit more than a regular table service meal
I prefer to go to character breakfasts because the breakfast meals are often less expensive than lunch or dinner meals. Also, you can make a reservation for breakfast before the park actually opens, and then you have the opportunity to get those coveted photos of your family with the castle and very few people in the background. You can also be one of the first to head into the parks at rope drop (official park opening) and get on one of the more crowded rides first thing when the lines are shorter.
Keep in mind, the reservations for restaurants in Walt Disney World open 180 days before the date you you wish to make a reservation for. If you are staying on property, you can make reservations for your entire stay (up to 10 days) at 180 days from the date of check in. Many of the character meals are very popular and require you to make those reservations very close to the full 180 days in advance, especially to have your pick of reservation time. For a full and current list of character dining at Walt Disney World see their website link here
Reservations for Disneyland open 60 days before the date of reservation. Just like WDW, reservations are highly recommended if you’d like to be seated in a reasonable amount of time. There are only a few options of character dining in Disneyland, so be sure to get those reservations if you’d like to experience one of these meals. See the full and current list of character dining at Disneyland Resort here
Dining reservations are one more thing that your travel agent can take care of for you. Let me help you plan your next pixie dusted vacation! Fill out the “Free Quote” form on the home page, or email me directly at Jill@ThinkTheHappiestThoughts.com so we can get started today!