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Trying to make some decisions about Disneyland Character Dining? This is the ultimate guide all Disneyland character meals, so that you can choose which is best for your visit to the Happiest Place on Earth (aka Disneyland Park).
Disneyland Character Dining is one of my biggest recommendations for families visiting on their Disneyland vacation (and I'm not going to lie, it's one of our favorite Disneyland activities as annual passholders). Character Meals are an amazing way to meet a TON of characters at theme parks without the pressure of long lines and a great way to rest and relax during longer park days (especially days when you are trying to beat the heat or visiting Disneyland in the Rain) . While they tend to be a little more pricey than quick service dining, you also have access to an unlimited buffet and can ABSOLUTELY eat a ton.
Pro Tip: We usually do a LATE breakfast for our Disneyland Character Dining experiences and then skip lunch (grabbing just a small snack or one of our favorite from the Best Food at Disneyland must try list).
These? Are all available character dining options currently available inside and around the Disneyland Resort.
Pro Tip: A Few Things to Bring Along for Any Disneyland Character Meal
Autograph Book: One of the best things you can do in terms of character experiences at all character dining experiences? Get character autographs! You can get fancy books from Shop Disney, or another fun option? Get a great picture frame, and have all characters sign a post card! It's a fun memory and something you can display in your child's room when you get home with their favorite Disney characters!
Cast Member Thank You Gifts: From the characters to the servers to the hosts, Disneyland cast members truly make the magic. You can bring thank you notes, little treats or anything else to say thank you for making our trip special. Trust me, they'll be much appreciated!
Minnie and Friends – Breakfast in the Park
Location and Time of Day: Minnie and Friends Breakfast in the park is located at the Plaza Inn. Plaza Inn is at the end of Main Street inside of Disneyland (which means you need a ticket or annual pass to do this one). This is a breakfast only experience (and let me tell you, a Plaza Inn breakfast is DELISH) and is available each day from a few minutes before park opening until 11 am (we normally do this one at around 10:30 or 11, eat something VERY small earlier and do a couple rides inside the park before breakfast).
Current Pricing: $34 for adults, $19 for kids ages 3-9, kids under 3 are free
Food Options: You can see the full breakfast menu HERE, this is a traditional American Breakfast menu. Tons of eggs (including a custom omelette station where you can order omelettes made to your liking), waffles (yes even the Mickey ones), pastries, bacon, cereal, French Toast and fruit, there's TONS of food!
Characters to Expect: Minnie and Friends Breakfast in the Park always has a great variety of different characters. Minnie will ALWAYS be there (she has a meet and greet with each family as you enter Plaza Inn) and then a fun group of characters will come up to your table as you eat for individual time. We've seen: Captain Hook, Tigger, Eeyore, Cinderella's Fairy Godmother, Chip and Dale, the Penguin from Mary Poppins, Max, Rafiki and more. You can definitely expect to see characters that rarely do meet and greets in the park, which is a ton of fun!
Interactive Experience: The meet and greet with Minnie is always a blast, and she usually is wearing theme attire for each holiday or festival (bonus, there are always photopass photographers at the meet and greet and this is a great place to take family photos). There isn't a separate dance party or song, but this Disneyland Character Breakfast experience tends to have WAY more characters that come to your table than the others.
There's something super special about character dining INSIDE the park. We always do Plaza Inn for birthdays and then walk through the castle for a makeover at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique after.
Mickey’s Tales of Adventure Breakfast Buffet and Mickey’s Tales of Adventure Brunch Buffet at Storyteller's Cafe
Location and Time of Day: Mickey's Tales of Adventure is located at the Storyteller's Cafe inside Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa (this means you do NOT need a park ticket to go to the character meal). They have both a breakfast (from 7 am to 11:25 am) and a brunch (from 11:30 am to 2 pm).
Current Pricing: $44 for adults, $26 for kids ages 3-9.
Food Options: We've done both Mickey’s Tales of Adventure Breakfast Buffet and Mickey’s Tales of Adventure Brunch Buffet and the food is definitely my favorite out of all the Disneyland Character Dining experiences. The food tends to be a bit more on the gourmet / foodie side (think Artisanal Breakfast Sausages, a Fromage Platter and a Carving Station). They also serve alcohol since it's not INSIDE Disneyland (if you're looking for mimosas, you'll find great ones here).
Characters to Expect: Mickey's Tales of Adventure has traditional characters all dressed in explorer gear (we saw Minnie Mouse, Mickey Mouse, Chip, Dale and Pluto).
Interactive Experience: During each seating, the characters lead guests in a fun parade around the cafe, it's really fun and kids love it!
If you've got a gourmet foodie in your family, this is my top recommendation, the food is AMAZING!
Breakfast and Dinner at Goofy's Kitchen:
Location and Time of Day: Goofy's Kitchen is inside the Disneyland Hotel (you do NOT need a park ticket to go to this character meal) and is open from 7:00 am to 1:30 pm for breakfast and 4 pm to 8:45 pm for a dinner buffet.
Current Pricing: Dinner at goofy's kitchen is $48 for adults and $28 for kids ages 3-9. Breakfast is $44 for kids and $26 for kids ages 3-9. Children under 3 are free.
Food Options: Goofy's Kitchen serves traditional American food and is CERTAIN to appeal to even the pickiest eater (Lydia's favorite was the Peanut Butter and Jelly Pizza). The “adult” food options were GREAT, I loved the fish and chicken and there were delicious salads.
Characters to Expect: When you enter Goofy's Kitchen, you'll do a meet and greet in the “kitchen” area with either Goofy or Mickey. Then Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Pluto and Chip and Dale visit the tables.
Interactive Experience: During each seating, the characters do a “dance party” in the buffet area while guests wave napkins above their heads to celebrate. Kids can join in (when you hear the music, feel free to rush over to the buffet area for the best viewing)!
I love that Goofy's Kitchen has a dinner option. It's perfect if you fly in mid-day and aren't visiting the Parks until the next day!
Donald Duck's Seaside Breakfast
update: this character breakfast inside Disney's Paradise Pier Hotel is currently not available
Location and Time of Day: Donald Duck's Seaside Breakfast is located inside Disney's Paradise Pier Hotel (you do NOT need a park ticket to go to this Disneyland Character Dining experience). As of now, it is breakfast only (from 7:30 am to 11:25 am). At the end of March 2019, they launched a brunch experience on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, with longer hours!
Current Pricing: Donald Duck's Seaside Breakfast is $39 for adults and $23 for kids age 3-9. Children under 3 are free.
Food Options: Donald Duck's Seaside Breakfast is filled traditional American Breakfast options and some special offerings. Our favorites? The Chicken and Mickey Waffles, the Egg White Frittatas, the Grilled Peanut Butter and Banana with Chocolate-stuffed French Toast…..and they even have a soft serve ice cream machine!
Characters to Expect: This adorable beach themed Breakfast has a ton of your favorite characters in their beach attire. We saw: Minnie in her lifeguard romper, Daisy in a beach dress, Donald in his beach gear and Stitch.
Interactive Experience: This is my absolute favorite interactive experience…….multiple times each hour Daisy and Minnie host a beach dance party. It's ADORABLE.
This is a smaller, quieter experience…..and would be a good option for younger children who aren't used to characters.
Location and Time of Day: The Disney Princess Breakfast Adventures is located inside the Grand Californian Hotel in the Napa Rose (you do NOT need a park ticket for this dining experience). It takes place Thursdays through Mondays between 8:00 AM and 12:00 PM.
Current Pricing: The Breakfast Adventures are $125 Adults and $125 for children ages 3 to 9. Under age three is free. This price includes extended character interactions and a gift (you can see details about the gifts in my blog post outlining the full Disney Princess Breakfast Adventures experience).
Food Options: Trust me, you won't leave this one hungry. This is one of the best brunches I've had EVER, not just at Disneyland. You can expect three courses. The first course contains pastries, scones, and lemon curd. The second course is FILLED with princess themed plates including a lobster roll that came complete with a dinglehopper. Third course is a buffet filled with amazing food, and you also get a dessert course.
Characters to Expect: You can expect a LOT of princesses at the breakfast. We saw, and had extended interactions with seven during our dining experience.
Interactive Experience: After having traditional experiences with the princesses during our dining, was the patio experience. After eating, each table is escorted outside for three unique interactions with princesses who were NOT inside the dining room. We had story time with Mulan. We had a meet and greet with Pocahontas. She taught the girls about bravery, and practiced special hand signals with them. Our last experience was a photo session with Ariel. We were able to take pictures ourselves as well as utilizing a photo pass photographer, and then Ariel showed the girls how her dress twirled just like theirs.
This is unique, high end experience. It's perfect for a birthday celebration or a one on one day.
Frequently Asked Questions when picking the Best Disneyland Character Dining for Your Family:
How do I snag difficult reservations? This is the hard part, right? You can always book dining on the Disneyland website, but they definitely fill up quickly. Pro tip? I use Mouse Dining. You input times and locations you'd like reservations, and it alerts you when something opens up! It's helped me get some great bookings!
Which Disneyland character dining experiences include the Disney Princesses? I know, I know. Ariel's Grotto in Disney California Adventure was a great option for seeing princesses, but it's no longer available (in it's place is Lamplight Lounge which is AMAZING and a great non-character dining option). As of now, the Princess Breakfast at Napa Rose is the only dining option that guarantees princesses.
Have you tried Disneyland Character Dining experiences? Which is your favorite at the Disney Parks?