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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; Minnie, Goofy, Pluto, Chip, etc.)
  8. Donald’s Safari Breakfast (Animal Kingdom; Tusker House; Mickey, Donald Duck, etc)
  9. Ohana Breakfast (Polynesian; Mickey, 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.

MORE ON WALT DISNEY WORLD DINING



106 comments

1 Debbie { 03.30.15 at 8:11 pm }

Hi, I’m visiting in early December (great tip btw, I would have never thought of it thanks). Do the dinner shows have Holiday versions or do they remain regular like the rest of the year? Do character meals do the same, or do I just dream to much. Are there any specific character meals or dinner shows that would appeal most to teenagers? Thanks for all the help.
-Debbie

2 Dave { 04.01.15 at 11:39 am }

Hi Debbie and thanks!!

All the shows and meals are the same, although you’ll find extra holiday decorations on some of the buildings they are in. There’s not one I can think of with distinctive appeal to teens–I’d pick based on their favorite characters–even if from when they were little!

3 Lynn { 03.31.15 at 9:15 pm }

I’m planning on spending my 40th birthday at Disney by myself. Would I be too much out of place going to Cinderella’s character dinner by myself?

4 Dave { 04.01.15 at 11:47 am }

Lynn, honestly, yes…

5 Jessica { 05.05.15 at 10:40 am }

Forgive me for not reading all of the above, I will do so if necessary. I am planning a trip in November 2015 for my family which include a 1.5 year old son, a 7 year old son and a 6 year old nephew. I see so much about the princesses but really want to make this trip enjoyable for my boys. What do you suggest for them? Also, is the Very Merry Christmas party worth the money for the tickets? We are only going for four days, is that something I should focus on for the next trip? I want this to be the best experience yet being their first one. Itll be my first trip also 🙂 Any advice and suggestions are welcome. We are staying at the Caribean beach resorty and have the

6 Dave { 05.06.15 at 7:25 am }

Jessica, Chef Mickeys, Crystal Palace and Hoop Dee Doo Revue should be great choices for the boys. The Xmas party is a way to see rides with lower waits, plus great fireworks and a parade. See this.

7 Jessica { 05.05.15 at 10:41 am }

Sorry for typos, I wasn’t finished! We are staying at the Caribbean Beach Resort and have the standard dining plan.

8 Jessica { 05.05.15 at 10:55 am }

Also, what is your opinion of the phantasmic dinner show?

9 Dave { 05.06.15 at 7:26 am }

Jessica, Fantasmic is a great show–it’s the favorite offering of many at the Studios. It’s not a dinner show, see this.

10 Zahira Rodriguez Torres { 03.26.16 at 11:13 am }

As a Disney fanatic (literally) I agree with Lisa. I was very disappointed when I had my meal at the castle. No magic at all once you sit in that round table. You will be rushed through your meal. It is done at every sitting to comply with the ridiculously busy schedule. I am sure Mickey is not very happy with this. You barely have time to enjoy yourself. I do recommend for those who still want to do it to go to EPCOT’s Arkeshus

11 Dack { 05.17.16 at 3:49 pm }

Dave,

What are your thoughts on Minnie’s Seasonal dine at Hollywood and Vine? We are going in December and thinking about booking this as one of our meals. We would combo it with Fantasmic- dinner package.

Thanks,
Dack

12 Dave { 05.19.16 at 7:14 am }

Dack, of the HS choices for the Fantasmic package, it’s the most broadly-appealing choice

13 Eric { 07.18.16 at 4:24 pm }

Hi Dave,

Apologies if you answered this elsewhere, but do you have a suggested age bracket for Hoop? My kids will be 5 & 3 when we go. Do you think that’s too young? (Although this is our first trip as a family, there will be many to come)

14 Dave { 07.20.16 at 8:24 am }

Eric, I would wait a few years…

15 Jo { 07.20.16 at 3:30 pm }

Hi Dave,
have you heard any word on the new Club Villain event at HS? It looks like it could be a blast but I’d love to know more about it and whether is something a 13 year old girl would enjoy.
Thanks!

16 Dave { 07.22.16 at 8:05 am }

Jo, I have not attended it, but there’s a review here.

17 Eric { 07.21.16 at 12:02 pm }

Thanks, Dave!

18 Chera Tinker { 09.28.16 at 12:14 pm }

Hi Dave..I will be at Hollywood Studios on NOV 27 and made reservations for the 12:55 Fantasmic dinner show at the Brown Derby. I’m second guessing myself. Should I keep or cancel? I’m wondering if its worth my time my kids are 11, 7 and 7 year of age. Is it a better idea just to see the show at 7 when its dark? In that case should I choose a fastpass for the 7:00 show or just join the line? All this “planning” is about toe drive me crazy 😉 Thank you!!!!!!

19 Dave { 09.28.16 at 2:49 pm }

Chera, the Fantasmic show is at the same time regardless. What the meal package does is give you access to a special (shorter) line and better seats at the show. Brown Derby is expensive (but great) dining. Nov 27th will be a busy day at the Studios, so it may still be worth it to you. Your pre-scheduled FP+ is better used elsewhere (Toy Story) and Fantasmic may not be available as a fourth FP+ that day.

20 Heather { 11.01.16 at 11:43 am }

Hello! I don’t see Hollywood & Vine (any of the meals – both Disney Jr and Minnie’s Seasonal Package) on here. Is the food horrible?

21 Dave { 11.02.16 at 7:05 am }

Heather, here’s the review from my book:

hollywood-vine-from-the-easy-guide

22 Jonah { 01.27.17 at 10:53 am }

Hi Dave,

Where is the best character breakfast in your opinion for meeting Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Donald (the standard original characters) as my kids are young 3 and 5 when we go this august, so food isn’t a priority just character interaction.

We are staying a Caribbean Beach Resort. Thanks

23 Kelly B - Agent with Destinations in Florida { 01.28.17 at 8:34 pm }

Hi Jonah,

The only character meal where you can meet Mickey, Minne, Goofy and Donald are at Contemporary’s Chef Mickey (1 Tables Service Credit) and Fort Wilderness’ Backyard BBQ (2 Table Service Credits). My pick from (and my daughter’s favorite character meal) is Chef Mickey’s.

My favorite Character meal is Tusker House Breakfast (at Animal Kingdom) with Mickey, Donald, Goofy and Daisy Duck. (So no Minnie).

24 Dave { 01.29.17 at 8:01 pm }

Jonah, Kelly nailed it! Note also that the BBQ is only evenings, so for breakfast, it’s Chef Mickey.

25 Dack { 03.02.17 at 6:25 pm }

Dave,
I am curious where you see the new Rapunzel Character Breakfast at Trattoria al Forno ranking on this list, or if you see it making the top 10 at all. Also wanted your thoughts on getting there without a car (assuming we are using the Disney transportation system). Is the best option still to go to a park from your hotel, and then from the park to the character meal hotel?

Thank you as always,
Dack

26 Dave { 03.04.17 at 10:00 am }

Dack, this one will be purely a function of your group’s interest in the specific characters. There’s no good way to get to it (if you aren’t at an Epcot resort). I’d uber to the BoardWalk Inn…

27 Islandgirl { 05.02.17 at 11:05 am }

Hello! You’ve recommended Donald’s Safari breakfast in the past as a character breakfast at Animal Kingdom, but I can’t find it now in the Disney dining list on the website. Do you know if it was cancelled? If so, can you recommend another character breakfast close to AK? We are visiting in July. Thank you!

28 Dave { 05.03.17 at 8:29 am }

Hi Islandgirl, see this.

29 mike { 10.09.17 at 4:13 pm }

Hi Dave, Could you take a bus to epcot and then walk to Rapunzel Character Breakfast at Trattoria al Forno just thinking that using uber with kids would not be a good choice.

30 Dave { 10.09.17 at 6:20 pm }

Mike you can, but you’ll need to use a park ticket day to go through Epcot.

31 Mike { 01.10.18 at 12:00 am }

Epcot has extra magic hours that morning, so would I really be out anything we have the park hopper so I don’t think reentry into the park should be a problem after the Rapunzel breakfast, what do you think. Also my meal plans for the week are BOG, Chef Mickey, Ohana, Cape May, and Cinderella royal table, all for dinner, we will be on the dining plan are there any you suggest to pay cash for?

32 Dave { 01.10.18 at 6:09 am }

Mike, I don’t understand the first part of your question. On the second part, in general if you don’t have enough credits to pay for all then the two credit meals are the best ones to pay cash for–so long as you can use both the credits freed up.

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