Walt Disney World Character Meals and Dinner Shows Ranked in Order

By Dave Shute

How to Eat    Where to Eat    The Dining Plan    Guide to Disney Dining

CHARACTER MEALS AND DINNER SHOWS AT WALT DISNEY WORLD 

This site’s recommended dining venues are in the basic itinerary and are listed at the bottom of this page. 

They were selected based on how well-loved they are by families, kid-pleasing menus, how effectively they achieve their show intent, value for money, and convenience.

If you cannot follow these recommendations, use one of two tools.

Disney World Character Meal RankingsFirst, the thumbnail  (click to open; when open, click again once or twice to enlarge) ranks all the characters meals and dinner shows at Walt Disney World based both on appeal to kids and appeal to adults

Use this information to balance these two kinds of appeal.

Or, second, see the list that comes next. This list recommends character meals and dinner shows in order,  first on the basis of characters and the visual appeal of the setting, and after that on the relative amount of attention and fun your kids will get from the characters/event.

RECOMMENDED DISNEY WORLD CHARACTER MEALS RANKED IN ORDER

  1. Cinderella’s Royal Table (Magic Kingdom; Cinderella and Princesses)
  2. Askerhus Royal Banquet Hall (Epcot; Norway; Princesses)
  3. Chef Mickey's Character BreakfastChef Mickey’s (Contemporary Resort; Mickey, etc)
  4. 1900 Park Fare (Grand Floridian; Mary Poppins, etc. at breakfast, princesses at dinner)
  5. Crystal Palace (Magic Kingdom, Pooh, Tigger, etc.)
  6. Garden Grill (Epcot; Mickey, etc.)
  7. Cape May Café (Beach Club; Goofy, Pluto, Chip, etc.)
  8. Donald’s Safari Breakfast (Animal Kingdom; Tusker House; Donald Duck, etc)
  9. Ohana Breakfast (Polynesian; Lilo etc.)

(None of the other character meals are recommended.)

RECOMMENDED DISNEY WORLD DINNER SHOWS RANKED IN ORDER

  1. Hoop Dee Doo Revue Dinner ShowHoop Dee Doo Revue, Fort Wilderness
    No other dinner shows are recommended.

COMPLETE LIST OF DISNEY WORLD DINING SITES IN THE BASIC ITINERARY

Crystal PalaceMagic Kingdom:

  • Cinderella’s Royal Table (Character Meal)
  • Pecos Bill Café
  • Crystal Palace (Character Meal)
  • Dole Whip at Aloha Isle (Snack)

Hollywood Studios:

  • Backlot Express
  • Sci-Fi Diner (Snack)

Epcot:

  • Akershus Banquet (Character Meal)
  • Sunshine Season Food Fair
  • San Angel Inn
  • Boulangerie Patisserie (Snack)

Animal Kingdom:

  • Flame Tree Barbecue

Resorts:

  • Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue (Fort Wilderness, Dinner Show)
  • Chef Mickey'sChef Mickey’s (Contemporary, Character Meal)
  • Beaches and Cream (Beach Club, Snack)
  • Dole Whip at Captain Cook’s (Polynesian, Snack)
  • Plus your hotel’s counter service and your hotel room!

Downtown Disney:

  • House of Blues Gospel Brunch
  • Rainforest Café

MORE ON WALT DISNEY WORLD DINING



92 comments

1 Lisa { 07.31.10 at 2:48 am }

Why is Cinderella’s Royal Table so highly recommended? It appears to have limited food options relative to the other restaurants. And other than that, princesses are also available to meet in Akershus. From what I have seen, even the decor is not particularly outstanding compared to other restaurants. Finally, the cost is equivalent to two meals. So, what makes it stand out so far above the rest? Thank you.

2 Dave { 07.31.10 at 8:23 am }

Lisa–I don’t disagree with your observations. What stands out about Cindy is the setting–not just in the Magic Kingdom, but also in the Castle–and the limited seating capacity, which means the kids get more interaction with the princesses…

3 Lisa { 07.31.10 at 2:22 pm }

Ok, so it sounds like you’re saying the inside of the restaurant is nicer than that of Akershus. And, the kids have more opportunity to spend time with princesses. Is that right? If so, I may need to rethink our reservations…

4 Dave { 07.31.10 at 6:04 pm }

Yes to the second. On the first, “nicer” is tricky–but more magical, because at MK and the Castle, yes.

5 Sandi { 03.23.11 at 9:06 pm }

Hi Dave! You mentioned in a previous post that it can be difficult to get to Fort Wilderness to see Mickey’s Backyard BBQ. Can you please recommend the best method to get from the Caribbean Beach Resort to the BBQ? We will not have a car; we will be using shuttles. We plan to arrive 1-2 hours early to check out the activities at the campgrounds.

Thanks!

6 Dave { 03.24.11 at 8:09 am }

Hi Sandi!

The basics are that you take a bus to a theme park, and from there take transport, either bus or boat, from that park to Fort Wilderness. Depending on which park you are coming from, you may then need to take a third bus, an internal FW bus, to get to the BBQ area of Fort Wilderness (if you are on the third bus, ask the drvier where to get off for the BBQ)

It’s easiest to bus to the Magic Kingdom. Between the bus depot and the entrance itself, you’ll see boats. One of these has a sign to Fort Wilderness. Take that boat, and once you arrive, follow the signs to Pioneer Hall! and ask a cast memebr around there for directions to the BBQ–there are also signs…

7 Vanessa { 04.25.11 at 12:05 am }

My 5 year old will love to eat w/princesses! Do we do the Cinderella Table in the MK? Is it only breakfast or do they do lunch? HOW do I book it and WHEN? We are going wk of Nov.12th HELP!! thanks

8 Dave { 04.25.11 at 8:13 am }

Hi Vanessa!

It’s breakfast, lunch and dinner.

You can reserve 180 days before your date–and up to 190 days if you are staying at a WDW resort hotel.

For a 180 day calendar, see this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/planning-your-first-family-trip/when-your-plans-need-to-be-firm/90-and-180-day-calendars/

You can either call or do it over the web–over the web is better–Go to the online restaurant reservations page here

Read the related part of any of this site’s To-Do Lists for specific instructions, e.g. see Section B on this page: http://yourfirstvisit.net/planning-your-first-family-trip/to-do-list/to-do-lists-for-alternative-itineraries/to-do-list-v2-of-2009-autumn-winter-spring-itinerary/

9 Vanessa { 05.04.11 at 1:48 pm }

Important question I forgot to ask regarding if I should get the Meal Plan: We are staying at one of the Mariott Time Share suites. Can we still get the meal plan??

10 Dave { 05.04.11 at 2:17 pm }

Hi Vanessa!

No you can’t. You can only get the dining plan if you stay in one of the Disney owned-and-operated resort hotels

11 Debbie { 05.07.11 at 12:47 am }

My husband and I are taking our family to WDW for our retirement gift. We were both teachers, so not “loaded”, but have planned and saved for several years to do this. We will have 6 adults, 1 junior (17) and 5 youth, ages 7 to 2. It is one of my favorite vacation places. But as we start to plan for a large group, I am gettting overwhelmed. This is a great site, but is there anyone I can personally talk to , or spending the time on here will be my best bet. We want to go Dec. of 2012 (2nd week-as your plan says). We want the best bang and convenience for our money. Cant decide if it is better to stay onsite or off….just soooo many questions…..My dad did this for his family when he retired, and I want to carry on the tradition….just want it to be special for it will be the first time for 2 of my grandchildren. Any suggestions where to start. Thanks!

12 Dave { 05.07.11 at 10:34 am }

Hi Debbie! What a fun problem…

A couple of thoughts.

First, your least expensive on-site option is a couple of Family Suites–each holds 6 over the age of three plus another younger than three in a crib.

Each has two baths, a master bedroom with a queen, and a sitting room with convertible furniture that sleeps 4. These are available at All-Star Music and will be available by 12/12 in the new Art of Animation Resort.

2012 prices aren’t out yet, but for those dates these rooms will likely run around $250 a night (each room) plus tax. Off site will likely cost you half as much. See The Tightwad’s Guide to Staying Off-Site.

See also Large Families.

Second, regarding planning for such a varied group, see Planning a Multi-Generational Trip to Walt Disney World.

Third, for whom to talk to…your best bet is a travel agent…but recall that they don’t get paid until you book, so a kindness would be not to ask much of their time unless/until you are committed to booking with them. I recommend my friends at Destinations in Florida.

Hope this helps!! Dave

13 Leslie { 09.04.11 at 8:08 am }

We are just now planning a trip next month and were able to get reservations at Askerhus. What princesses and other characters are we likely to meet?

14 Dave { 09.04.11 at 8:15 am }

Could be anyone in a skirt except Cinderella! There will be 4-6 characters from among Ariel, Belle, Jasmin, Mulan, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, and also Mary Poppins and Alice

15 Cynthia { 09.18.11 at 1:21 am }

Am planning to take my daughter to WDW next year. She is very in love with the princesses espcecially Belle. Is there any way of knowing what princess asise form Cindy would be at Cindrella’s table? Does it matter what meal we go to or is Breakfast the best? I want here to meet the maximum amount of princesses she can.
Thanks!

16 Dave { 09.18.11 at 9:59 am }

Hi Cynthia! While Belle is almost always one of the princesses, there’s no guarantee…people seem to like the breakfast and lunch more than dinner, but not by a lot.

17 Jessica { 01.29.12 at 9:57 pm }

I am traveling with 2 boys and 1 girl we are doing the 7 day Autumn internary. Can I trade Chef Mickey for one of the character meals? If so which would be the be the best trade?

18 Eva { 01.29.12 at 10:20 pm }

Hi Dave! I cant resist asking you all of my questions since you are so good about answering them!
I have booked a 8:20 breakfast at Chef Mickey’s for our last day of our 5 night/6 day trip. It is the day we’re leaving. I plan to spend the rest of the morning/early afternoon in MK when we’re done as a last hoorah for our boys, 4 and 5.5. I know you recommend Chef Mickey’s as a first-time must do, but is there something else you would recommend? We will have already done Crystal Palace, HDDR, and the Beirgarten and been to all of the parks at least once (MK one day and our first evening). Pretty much following your 6 day autum/spring schedule even though we’re staying one less day.

19 Dave { 01.30.12 at 9:58 am }

Hi Jessica, Chef Mickey is a character meal, with Minnie, Mickey, Donald, Pluto, and Goofy.

20 Dave { 01.30.12 at 10:00 am }

Hi Eva–honestly, I wouildn’t as that time will mean you’ll get to MK after it opens. Can you eat earlier or after 11a?

A very fun alternative for lunch is Whispering Canyon at the Wilderness Lodge–reachable by boat from MK. Not characters, but very fun and silly!

21 Carla Rupert { 02.28.12 at 12:47 pm }

Dave,
Spent Xmas 2011 at WDW. Our good friend (and travel agent) set us up for: Askerhus Royal Banquet Hall (Epcot; Norway; Princesses), Donald’s Safari Breakfast (Animal Kingdom, Tusker House; Donald Duck, etc), and Ohana Breakfast (Polynesian; Lilo etc.). All were amazing! My 6 year old daughter cried when she saw all of the princesses at Askerhus. It was an amazing adventure and would recommend all three to first-timers. Also, we stayed at Carribean Beach and LOVED it!! Pool was awesome and employees had games pool-side for the kids. FANTASTIC Xmas vacation! We are going back in November, 2012.
WE CAN”T WAIT!!!!!!

22 Dave { 02.28.12 at 5:54 pm }

Hi Carla, what helpful observations, and thanks for sharing! Dave

23 Nicole { 04.17.12 at 12:47 am }

Hi Dave,
We are planning our first WDW trip arriving Dec 3rd and staying for 7 nights (only 6 full days as we arrive late at night). We really want to do MVMCP and have a meal at Cinderella’s Royal Table. Is there any reason why we shouldn’t combine these and have dinner there before the party? On your basic itinerary you have a lunch at Royal Table on a different day to the Christmas party, so I was wondering if there is a reason behind this?

Thanks for all the great information on this site! We are making the trip from Australia, so it’s a one off for us and we want to get it right :)

24 Dave { 04.17.12 at 6:44 am }

Hi Nicole! There used to be a good reason–the castle dinner was different than breakfast and lunch. But now they are the same, so your plans will work fine!

25 Neil { 05.10.12 at 9:11 am }

Hi! We will be making our first visit to WDW on 20 October and your website has been a fantastic mine of helpful information. We are following your itinerary pretty much to the letter but it seems we have missed the chance to book the Hoop Dee Doo Revue for the Tuesday evening (or any other evening – it must have booked up incredibly quickly as we had no problms whatsoever getting all the other meals booked for the times we wanted). What would you recommend instead? Our kids will be 11 (girl) and 8 (boy).
Thanks

26 Dave { 05.10.12 at 10:32 am }

Hi Neil I’m glad the site has helped!

It looks like Hoop Dee Doo is closing for refurbishment–I haven’t seen this confirmed, but see this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2012/04/03/hoop-dee-doo-revue-closed-for-refurbishment-october-to-december-2012/

You can see my first thoughts on what to do instead in my response to a similar question here: http://yourfirstvisit.net/planning-your-first-family-trip/basic-itinerary/alternative-itineraries/itineraries-for-the-rest-of-the-year/v2-of-2009-autumn-winter-spring-itinerary/#comment-31134

27 Neil { 05.11.12 at 9:17 am }

Thank you very much, I’ve made the changes to my bookings.
Why couldn’t Disney just say it’s not available? I’ve looked on the website every day for nearly 3 weeks and I’ve made two phone calls from England (one operator said tyehn tables hadn’t been releaesed yet and one said it was fully booked!) – what a waste of time and money!! Grrrr!

28 Dave { 05.11.12 at 9:55 am }

Yeah they can do dumb stuff at times.

One thing that just struck me is that the lack of confirmation may be because they are still struggling with refurb plans or even an alternate site while it’s being refurbed.

For example there’s a pavilion with a roof but no walls that is used only a couple of nights a week for Mickey’s Backyard Barbecue. Maybe they are thinking about temporarily housing Hoop Dee Doo in it…A tough alternative for the colder days of November and December…

For my thoughts on the refurb potential see the end of this post: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2012/04/24/review-the-hoop-dee-doo-musical-revue/

29 Carole Vellosa { 05.19.12 at 7:12 am }

We are a party of 5 adults 1 child 1 baby. during our visit starting August 13th 2012 our grandson has his 7th birthday. We would like to have a small celebration and possibly eat with one of the characters. The quick service dining plan came as part of our package.

Please can you give some advice as to where we should celebrate and how to arrange it.

Thanks. By the way, love your site!!

30 Dave { 05.19.12 at 8:47 am }

Hi Carole and thanks!

I don’t think you can eat with a character in the sense of them sitting at your table…all you can do is book a character meal–where they walk around and greet and pose with the kids. A day or two before your actual reservation, call and let them know it’s a birthday…at that point you can also order a cake.

See this too: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2012/02/01/is-walt-disney-world-free-on-your-birthday/

31 Victoria { 06.22.12 at 5:12 pm }

What is your opinion of the Fireworks Dessert Buffet? Do you have any helpful tips for going to this buffet? Will we really have a good view of the fireworks?

32 Dave { 06.22.12 at 5:54 pm }

Victoria–I’m not keen on it, mostly because it’s a little off the axis along which the fireworks were designed to be viewed from. See this: http://blog.touringplans.com/2011/09/16/best-magic-kingdom-fireworks-viewing-locations/

33 Lisa { 09.06.12 at 9:23 pm }

I love your site and already contacted one of your travel agents! What do you think about a 5 year old boy who thinks “princesses are for girls”going to a princess character meal? While the Cinderella meal is the highest must-see, I just get the feeling he isn’t going to find it all that magical.

34 Dave { 09.07.12 at 6:50 am }

Hey Lisa, Thanks for the love! You could definitely view it as optional for a 5 year old boy!

35 Kevin { 09.16.12 at 8:08 pm }

Is the Spirt of Aloha show worth going to? – have already taken kids to Hoop-de-Doo, would like to take them to something different. The reviews seem mixed – any other dinner shows the kids (9 and 5) might like? We are planning on doing Pirates & Pals and a character breakfast in addition to a dinner show.

36 Dave { 09.17.12 at 5:26 am }

Hi Kevin, frankly I think it not worth the money…there’s a couple of meals that aren’t formal dinner shows but are a hoot–one is whispering canyon at Wilderness Lounge, the other is the character dinner at 1900 park fare at Grand Floridian

37 Carrie { 09.24.12 at 10:28 pm }

Hi Dave, my husband and two sons (one and three 1/2 years) will be heading to Disney in April. My type A has been working on our week long itinerary for the past month! When the 180 days hit I want to advance schedule as much as possible. I was thinking about Hoop Dee Doo as well as Pirates and Pals but concerned my two boys are too young for both. I know many of the events are suitable for young children but do you think 1 and 3.5 is a little too young? The fireworks are pretty late for them. I don’t want to spend needlessly. I’m planning on making reservations for 2-3 character meals in addition. Those might be more up our alley. What are your thoughts? Thanks so much for your time!

38 Dave { 09.25.12 at 8:19 am }

Carrie, assuming you’ll be coming back later when the boys are older, I’d skip both and save the money! You can then do these with them when they are old enough to fully appreciate them!

39 Amy Sullivan { 10.15.12 at 10:11 pm }

Hi Dave,
We are traveling April 12th-18th with a 4 and 6 year old. We are arriving quite early on Friday the 12th and staying at AofA. We are thinking of taking it easy that first day–enjoying the hotel and pool so I booked the dinner show at the Grand Floridian for 6:15 that first night. A couple of questions… What do you think of this plan for the 1st day? Is Cinderella the only princess that appears at this show? Would you recommend Mickey’s Backyard BBQ or the Hoop Dee Doo show instead? I didn’t know if the kids maybe too young to fully enjoy them or if it was worth the trouble to get to Fort Wilderness. Also, is it just a rumor that there is unlimited beer and wine available to adults at the dinner shows? Lastly, I would also like to book Chef Mickey’s one morning before going to MK. Given the dates we are going to be there and the age of the kids can you recommend an itinerary and what days we should be at MK during our dates of travel so that I may coordinate a breakfast reservation at Chef Mickeys? Thanks so much

40 Amy Sullivan { 10.15.12 at 10:11 pm }

Hi Dave,
We are traveling April 12th-18th with a 4 and 6 year old. We are arriving quite early on Friday the 12th and staying at AofA. We are thinking of taking it easy that first day–enjoying the hotel and pool so I booked the dinner show at the Grand Floridian for 6:15 that first night. A couple of questions… What do you think of this plan for the 1st day? Is Cinderella the only princess that appears at this show? Would you recommend Mickey’s Backyard BBQ or the Hoop Dee Doo show instead? I didn’t know if the kids maybe too young to fully enjoy them or if it was worth the trouble to get to Fort Wilderness. Also, is it just a rumor that there is unlimited beer and wine available to adults at the dinner shows? Lastly, I would also like to book Chef Mickey’s one morning before going to MK. Given the dates we are going to be there and the age of the kids can you recommend an itinerary and what days we should be at MK during our dates of travel so that I may coordinate a breakfast reservation at Chef Mickeys? Thanks so much

41 Dave { 10.16.12 at 6:33 am }

Hi Amy! Like your first day plan. And yes, the GF dinner is Cinderella and her sisters and other relatives–no other princesses. I think Hoop will be fine, but I wouldn’t replace it with the barbecue–if you don’t do hoop, I’d take the night off. My itineraries are all for older kids and longer trips–you could adapt one using this http://yourfirstvisit.net/2011/03/09/the-comprehensive-guide-to-walt-disney-world-rides-and-attractions/ but it’s probably easier to get ones from TouringPlans.com here: http://touringplans.com/walt-disney-world/touring-plans For MK, avoid 4/14 and 4/18, and the best days will be 4/16 and 4/17…

42 Troy { 10.21.12 at 10:20 am }

Dave -

Dining in Hollywood – We’ve got reservations for lunch to 50s Prime Time Cafe, just because it was the only thing available for table-service. You recommend Sci-Fi, but only as a snack. Are reservations needed for that, if you’re not planning on eating a meal there? From what I’ve read on your site and other places, we’d love to see Sci-Fi, but the food is nothing to shout about. Are you able to go in to see it…even as just a snack?

43 Dave { 10.22.12 at 6:44 am }

Hi Troy! Sometimes you can get a snack at Sci Fi and sometimes you can’t–it depend show busy it is…I should be clearer about this in the itineraries..it’s worth a look either way

44 Bridget { 11.06.12 at 11:33 pm }

Hi Dave,

We will be visitng Disney from Dec. 13-17th this year. This is our first time going during Christmas which has been a long time dream of mine! Can you mention somethings I should not miss ? We already going to MVMCP on my 40th b-day (16th). What else should we see ? Also is it worth leaving Disney to see ICE at Gaylord Palms ? How could I go about doing that if staying at Disney without a car ? Any suggestions would be much appreciated !

Bridget

45 Dave { 11.07.12 at 7:38 am }

Hi Bridget! On stuff not to miss, see this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2012/05/20/christmas-2012-at-walt-disney-world/ I think ICE pales compared to other ways you can spend your time, but if you want to do it, take a cab either from your hotel or a park….

46 amy { 02.04.13 at 7:12 pm }

when tring to make a reservation on disney website for chef mickey’s, the site requires that I provide my credit card info but will not FIRST tell me whhat the total amount of the charge will be. This is very frutrating. I just want to price out going to lunch at Chef Mickeys. I did enter all the guests in my party and their age, but the site will not give me a price.

47 Dave { 02.05.13 at 8:37 am }

Hi Amy, there are some WDW restaurants that require a credit card as par tof the reservation so that they can charge you a no-show fee.

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48 Missy { 03.19.13 at 12:33 pm }

This will be our first family trip to MK. My kids are 1.5 and 4. We are just going to MK for one day (we live 2 hours away, not staying at a disney resort, and will be there from Sat March 30 – Tuesday April 2). We are going to MK on Monday. I really want to do a character breakfast before we go to MK but i am confused. Can we go to any of them or so we have to have tickets to that particular park. Please Help!!!! Since we are trying to stay on a budget, can you tell me about how much it would cost with 3 adults and 1 child. I have done so much research that i am just confusing myself i think. Also i will gladly take any suggestions you have for doing MK in one day with little ones. Thank you in advance

49 Dave { 03.19.13 at 5:12 pm }

Well, Missy, frankly I’d skip it. Those are among the busiest days of the year, and the crowds will be amazing. I doubt any reservations for breakfast are available–they begin to fill up 5 to 6 months ahead. The kids will be free, but if it’s two adults, it’ll cost you around $200–see this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2012/06/03/disney-world-ticket-prices-2012-to-summer-2013/

All my itineraries are for kids 8 and up (see this for why: http://yourfirstvisit.net/planning-your-first-family-trip/how-oldtall-your-children-should-be/ ) but you can find itineraries here: http://touringplans.com/magic-kingdom/touring-plans?utm_campaign=referral&utm_medium=website&utm_source=yourfirstvisit&utm_content=r1&property_id=1

There are two kinds of breakfasts: those in the parks, for which you need a ticket, and those in the hotels, for which you don’t.

Sorry to be bad news and little help…

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50 Jennifer { 03.20.13 at 9:47 am }

We’re staying at Port Orleans Riverside and have reservations for Mickey’s Backyard BBQ. My plan is to get our tickets at POR when we check in, then take a taxi to Fort Wilderness. My question is, can we take the taxi straight to the pavilion, or do we have to go to the Outpost and take the internal bus from there? Also, when it’s time to go, is there a concierge or desk where I can call for a return cab at the pavilion?

Thanks for the help!

51 Dave { 03.20.13 at 2:02 pm }

Hi Jennifer, cabs at FW drop off and pick up at the “Outpost,” and the BBQ is in the “Settlement, so you’ll need to take an internal bus to and fro. (There’s an annotated map here: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2013/03/18/the-cabins-at-disneys-fort-wilderness-resort-page-3/ ) There’s a concierge within the check-in building at the Outpost who can call a cab for you; there may also be cabs already there, or you could call one from your cell…

Another option when you leave is to take the boat from FW to MK, and then a POR bus from MK back to POR…

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52 Jennifer { 03.20.13 at 5:49 pm }

Thanks for the information! I did think we might do the return trip via MK depending on whether or not the kiddo was up for it, but definitely wanted to have the cab info in my back pocket. The map is SO helpful; thanks for that, too!!!

53 Wendy { 03.30.13 at 12:50 pm }

Hello, again…we were looking at he different princess meals…how much less is Askerhaus that Cinderella’s in MK? When I look on the WDW website, I do not see any prices except for the drinks. I did a practice reservation for our party of 10 – and Cinderella’s was 480.00. Wow! When I practice with Askerhaus, no price comes up so I cannot compare.

One more question, we are now staying at the Wilderness Lodge for our Thanksgiving week trip. Is Artist Point a good place for kids? We have 4 of them between the families – 5 – 11. It seems pricey…worth it?

Thanks and around our house, you are known as “Dave the guru,”

Wendy

54 Dave { 03.31.13 at 9:39 am }

Hi Wendy…Dave the guru, huh? While not true, That may have to go into the “more puffery” section on the lower left with the other stuff that’s not true :)!

Akershus prices vary by the season, but it’s less expensive than Cindy–especially if you are using the dining plan (one vs two credits. According to this, the adult rate is around $36-$59, depending on the time of year and meal http://www.wdwinfo.com/wdwinfo/dining/diningdetail.cfm?restaurant.id=126

Artist Point is great restaurant, but dull for kids. A better WL choice for most families is Whispering Canyon. See also this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/planning-your-first-family-trip/where-to-eat/dining-alternatives/the-comprehensive-guide-to-walt-disney-world-dining/

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55 Wendy { 03.31.13 at 10:44 am }

Thanks for the info – that is what I was thinking about Whispering Canyon – do you think will we need a reservation since it will be such a busy week?

My husband smiles every time I say, “Well, you know, Dave says…” – and thus the label “Dave the guru.”

Wendy

56 Dave { 04.01.13 at 6:22 am }

Wendy, even during not-so-busy weeks I’d recommend reservations. That week, absolutely!…and I’m glad I’m making your husband smile!

57 Samantha { 04.24.13 at 11:54 pm }

Hi! Last minute question, do not know if I will get an answer in time, but figured I’d ask! We have an 8:10 reservation for tusker house breakfast in animal kingdom tomorrow morning! We are staying at carribean beach! How do I get there? No one will give me an answer, besides take a cab!!!

58 Dave { 04.25.13 at 7:56 am }

Samantha–this’ll be too late for you, but for everyone else reading this: At the WDW resorts, Disney has special buses to take people to the parks for pre-opening breakfasts. Check with your hotel concierge the day before to arrange one and find out when and where to get it.

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59 Rick { 05.06.13 at 3:50 pm }

Dave, we are heading down to Disney on Sat 5/11 and evidently I’ve waited too long to make a reservation at Chef Mickey for the breakfast because it is completely booked. What is the likelihood of anyone cancelling their reservation? Someone mentioned checking with Guest Services once we arrive and see if they can help. Or is there another character breakfast that would have Mickey show up?? Thanks for your help.

60 Dave { 05.07.13 at 9:18 am }

Hey Rick, I can’t quantify the likelihood of a cancellation. Many of these meals have a cancellation penalty, so there are some openings the day or two before. The Mickey meals can sell out 5-6 months in advance, but one that’s worth checking is the Beach Club breakfast at the Cape May Cafe…

61 Shaf { 07.23.13 at 1:50 pm }

I don’t see this on your list …
Cinderella’s Happily Ever After Dinner at 1900 Park Fare – Restaurant at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

Is it something that you would not recommend as it’s missing from your list. Our trip is 5 months away and we called for “Cinderella’s Royal Table at Magic Kingdom theme park” but that’s sold out and they don’t have a wait list.

62 Dave { 07.24.13 at 6:48 am }
63 Molly { 07.28.13 at 8:10 pm }

Hi Dave,

What is the difference between the breakfast and the lunch at Cinderella’s Royal Table? Would you recommend one over the other in terms of food/value? We are not on the meal plan and our kids might actually prefer the breakfast versus the lunch menu — but the adults might not. If we do breakfast — what time should we request?

Thanks!

64 Dave { 07.29.13 at 6:46 am }

Hi Molly, just different menus and prices. I suggest a late morning breakfast or lunch to avoid having to get up early…if you are paying cash, I’d go with lunch–just a little more money for a meal than most people will eat more at…

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65 Geneva { 08.27.13 at 2:42 pm }

Hi Dave,

We are planning a character breakfast at the polynesion for 6 adults and 3 children. One of the adults has some serious dietary restrictions and will probably only eat toast. Is there any way we can avoid paying full price for him?

Thanks!

66 Dave { 08.28.13 at 7:41 am }

Hi Geneva, a couple of things.

First, Disney is astonishingly helpful with dietary restrictions–see e.g. this https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/guest-services/special-dietary-requests/

Second, if you don’t put in a special order, I suspect that they will charge him anyway, as the way Ohana works is that food for the entire table is brought, and all guests pick from among it. See this: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2013/06/09/review-the-lilo-and-stitch-best-friends-character-breakfast-at-disneys-polynesian-resort/

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67 Joanna { 01.02.14 at 6:20 pm }

Hi Dave,
Is there a character breakfast with Disney junior friends? Particularly looking for Jake and the never land pirates. If not, what do u recommend that is simple enough for a 2 year old boy who loves Mickey?

68 Dave { 01.03.14 at 8:13 am }

Joanna, Hollywood and Vine at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. See https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/dining/hollywood-studios/hollywood-and-vine/

69 Lil { 01.08.14 at 7:38 pm }

We will be in WDW Oct 18-23. Not our first visit. We want to do Cinderella’s Royal Table and have the disney dining plan. Which meal do you suggest is the best (most bang for your dinning credits)? Our party includes 4 adults and 2 kids (14 y.o. boy and 3 y.o. girl). Thanks for your input!

70 Dave { 01.09.14 at 5:21 am }

Hi Lil, I don’t have an opinion on that, but see this on Tom’s site: http://www.disneytouristblog.com/dining-plan-table-service-top-value/

71 Michelle { 01.30.14 at 12:15 pm }

Do all ice creams at Beaches and Cream count as a snack? What is up with reservations there now? just if you want to use a TS credit? do they have QS items too? thanks.

72 Dave { 01.31.14 at 7:11 am }

Some, but not all ice cream, is a snack credit–http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3210637 A reservation would require a TS credit…

73 Kristi { 02.01.14 at 6:10 pm }

Hi again, Dave!
Couple dining questions for you…
1) is a 7:20 AM reservation for Chef Mickey’s to kick off a day at MK a good idea?
2) Is dinner at sci fi diner theater a good choice?
and last but the most important to my three daughters… has Disney incorporated anything from the Frozen movie into Disney World? When looking at venues online they preferred Akershus over Cinderella’s table and are now thinking/hoping Disney will be incorporating Frozen characters at Akershus given the Norwegian theme by the time we visit in May 2014…
Thank you!

74 Dave { 02.02.14 at 8:21 am }

Hi Kristi, yes to 1 and 2–though on 2 many prefer 50′s Prime Time Cafe. So far there’s nothing from Frozen except a meet and greet in Norway at Epcot that builds enormous lines quickly. I expect to see something, someday, but not at Akershus by May…although I hope I’m wrong!!

75 Kristi { 02.02.14 at 9:38 am }

Thanks Dave! I figured if anyone could answer their question about Frozen it would be you! We’ll be hoping, too, and just saw that Disney is releasing the DVD in March so maybe the folks at Disney who see dollar signs will be moving things along re: Frozen tie ins. :) I remember last year there was marketing connection in May with Monsters U. As for the dining questions thanks so much for the validation on both…My new mantra when planning is “what would Dave do/say!” My family is a bunch of science/sci fi geeks/fans so the drive in theatre concept seemed equally appealing to everyone – always a good thing! We actually have two reservations on different days for Chef Mickey’s as one kid wanted breakfast there and the other wanted dinner based on the menus. By the way, my kids have an uncle Dave so to avoid confusion when I refer to you ( Disney Dave) they call you Uncle Disney! :) Thanks again from all of us!

76 Kristi { 02.02.14 at 9:44 am }

Apologies and typo alert — that random ” ‘s ” in my last post should actually say “As for the dining * Q’s* ” …

77 Dave { 02.03.14 at 7:09 am }

Oh Kristi how cute! Thanks for telling me!

78 Dave { 02.03.14 at 7:10 am }

Fixed!

79 Melissa { 04.16.14 at 2:48 pm }

I looked over your character meal recommendations, which at the bottom states none of the other meet and greets are recommended. I was wondering about Hollywood and Vine.
They started having Doc McStuffin, Jack, and Sophia. I was wondering why it is not recommended?

80 Dave { 04.17.14 at 9:18 am }

Hi melissa, pretty much everything here is written from the point of view of kids 8 and older. Enough of them think DIsney Jr is “baby stuff” that I don’t highlight H&V. But if your kids have not outgrown it, they will love it!

81 Melissa { 04.17.14 at 3:22 pm }

Thank You!!!! :)

82 Cheryl Bozinis { 04.30.14 at 10:02 am }

Hi! Thank you so much for this website, it’s the only one I’ve been using in planning our Disney trip. We are going for the first time hopefully on Nov. 9. As far as meal plans go, for a family of 5, two adults an 8 y/o, 4 and 2, I don’t feel like the magic your way package plus gives us enough food, especially since I plan on booking several character dinings. But the package plus deluxe seems like too much food, however I can use credits towards character dinings, correct? Also, character dinings can be for breakfast or lunch too? There’s nothing in between these two options I am missing? Thanks so much for your help:) just don’t want to waste money but don’t want to have starving children either:)

83 Dave { 05.02.14 at 6:40 am }

Cheryl, thanks for the kind words!! You can use your credits for almost any meal, including all the character meals. Some cost two credits. But it would be MUCH cheaper to get the regular plan and pay cash for added meals. See the second half of this for why: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2014/04/16/the-best-ever-free-dining-faq-in-the-history-of-the-world/

84 Rachel { 06.22.14 at 9:36 am }

Hi Dave!
So our trip is fast approaching (August 10-19). We are a family of four (11 year old son/7 year old daughter) and will be staying @ The Wilderness Lodge. I have all of our adrs set and fastpass selections made. Of course with all the waiting I keep moving things around/adding stuff ;)

One thing I am particularly on the fence about adding is dinner at 1900 Park Fare. Our family loves Cinderella and I’ve read that the character interaction here is great. Below is our current itinerary w/adrs listed. Do you think I should add it or will it be too much? This is our first and probably last trip for a while. Of course I know we “can’t do it all”, but we’d like to fit in as much as possible while still having some down time.

Sun 8/10 – HS, Fantasmic Dinner Show @ Mamma Melrose
Mon, 8/11 – Epcot, dinner @ San Angel Inn
Tues 8/12 – MK, late bfast @ Chef Mickey’s — **This is where I would add dinner @ 1900 Park Fare**
Wed 8/13 – MK, late bfast @ CRT/Hoop Dee @ night
Thur, 8/14 – AK, lunch @ Sanaa
Fri 8/15 – MK – bfast at Whispering Canyon/Dinner at BOG
Sat, 8/16 – EP/MK – dinner @ O’hana
Sun/Mon/Tues – Universal

What do you think? Should I book 1900 or leave it as is. Thanks for all of your help! And, congrats on your book :)

85 Dave { 06.23.14 at 8:43 am }

Hi Rachel, and thanks! You do run the risk of being overscheduled. Here’s what I’d do: go ahead and book it, then decide the day befroe if you really want it–cancel the day befroe and you won’t pay the cancellation fee.

BTW, you didn’t ask…but if you all are so princessy, why San Angel Inn and not Akershus? See http://yourfirstvisit.net/2013/10/31/review-princess-dining-at-akershus/

86 Rachel { 06.24.14 at 8:05 am }

Thanks for the advice, Dave. I think I will book it and just see how we feel. So the cancellation policy is 24 hours? For some reason I thought it was 3 days. Good to know!

LOVE the idea of Akershus — just looked and there is no availability during our stay/days @ Epcot.
Not sure my husband/son are going to enjoy another princess meal as much as myself and daughter will, so if it doesn’t work – no biggy :) Maybe the stars aren’t aligning for a reason!

87 Rachel { 06.24.14 at 8:20 am }

Okay so after I responded I went and looked and Akershus had availability! Yes! So does 1900 for my Epcot day/night.

Then I got to thinking….would it be a bad idea to book 1900 on my Epcot day/night – monorail over there for dinner and them come back to Epcot for Illuminations after dinner @ Grand Floridian. We have park hopper so going back and forth is not problem. We will also most likely take a mid day break so can head to dinner then go back to Epcot for illuminations…
OR
Should I just keep my Akershus and stop moving things around.

88 Dave { 06.24.14 at 4:16 pm }

Rachel, it’s not a bad idea, but a tad more complicated than you think, as you have to change monorails, so you have two monorail rides (plus waiting, and stops on the resort monorail) each way. Honestly, especially given husband objections, I’d just do Akershus on your Epcot day. There’s enough uses of time not to add extra ones…

However, two more thoughts on the husband issues: 1. the Akershus princesses are really hot, and 2. it’s not really his vacation, is it? A frying pan upside his head might help him see this point more clearly…

89 Rachel { 06.24.14 at 10:03 pm }

Totally agree…I cancelled 1900 and now have Akershus and Garden Grill booked for my Epcot day.
As our trip gets closer I’ll make a final decision and cancel one…and maybe buy another frying pan ;)

Thanks again. This site has honestly been so very helpful in my last year of planning for our families first ever trip!

90 Dave { 06.25.14 at 8:08 am }

:) Rachel!!

91 Candace { 07.22.14 at 2:20 pm }

Dave,

Great site, thank you!! I just saw on the WDW website that Cinderella’s Royal Table will be closed for planned maintenance starting Jan 5, 2015 and will reopen sometime in the spring of 2015. I’m looking to book our visit in either late January or early February. Do you know if they are going to be moving the character dining with the princesses at that time to another location in the MK or is our only option going to be Akershus to dine with the princesses? My daughter will be 4 during our visit and I know she’d love the see the princesses, but honestly I think Epcot would bore her. Any info you can give is greatly appreciated… thank you!!

92 Dave { 07.22.14 at 5:42 pm }

Candace, if they were doing so they would have announced it by now. Agree with you that Epcot is thin for youngsters. You could have dinner at Akershus and see a few things + Illuminations. See this for some Epcot ideas: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2011/03/09/the-comprehensive-guide-to-walt-disney-world-rides-and-attractions/ Another option that does not cost you a park admission is dinner at 1900 Park Fare. See the review on this page: http://yourfirstvisit.net/2014/05/22/review-disneys-grand-floridian-resort-spa-page-3/

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