5 Tips For Choosing Disney Character Dining

blonde girl waiving to Minnie Mouse in restaurant

We are less than 2 months from making dining selections for our upcoming Disney trip! I will most definitely be booking a character dinning experience. 

But how do you choose??

Today I’m giving you 5 tips for choosing Disney character dining.

Guests staying onsite at a Disney resort are able to make advanced dining reservations, known as ADR’s, starting 60 days out from their arrival day for up to 10 days of their trip.

This means, for example, if you are checking into a Disney resort on December 1, for a 7 day trip, then at 5:45AM on October 2,  you can start making reservations for December 1-7.

How does this help you?

Let’s say you want a reservation that is very difficult to book. (At this point, all character dining has limited availability.) You can try to organize your trip so that the character dinning with the most limited availability is towards the end of your trip. This allows you a better chance to snag the reservation when your 60 day window opens.

By the time we head to Disney in December 2022, there will be 11 Character Dining Experiences available.

Here are 5 tips for choosing Disney Character Dining.

1. Characters

This may sound obvious but you can really narrow down your selection of character dining by choosing which characters you want to meet.

The classic characters can be found at several locations throughout the parks and resorts. The characters from the 100 acre woods can be found at Magic Kingdom’s Crystal Palace and the Disney Jr. favorites are at Hollywood Studios Hollywood and Vine breakfast. Cinderella can be found at Magic Kingdom and Snow White at Wilderness Lodge.

There are still several character dining experiences that have not returned to Disney World. Keep your eyes peeled for return dates.

**For this trip I am wanting to dine with the classic characters, including both Mickey and Minnie. This makes my options right now, Chef Mickey’s, Topolino’s Terrace, Tusker House or Hollywood and Vine.

2. Food

Every restaurant’s menu is posted on Disney’s website. You can take a look and make sure there is something that everyone will enjoy from the menu before you book.

Something to keep in mind is the food has been notoriously “just ok” at character dining. Disney Food Blog is a wonderful resource that rates and compares the food at Disney World and is worth taking some time reviewing their site. You have to be alright with spending the money on the experience as a whole and not just for those Mickey Waffles.

**I have one child that is an adventurous eater and one not so much. This menu check crosses off Tusker House as an option as they have a pretty unique menu in which my eldest will not approve. Now I am down to Chef Mickey’s, Topolino Terrace, and Hollywood and Vine.

3. Location

Character dining is located both inside and out of the parks. If you choose to dine at a park location, remember that you need a park ticket and reservation for the day you want to dine. You also have to understand that this dining experience will take up some of your park touring time. Plan on an hour for character dining, that way you are not rushed and you get your money’s worth!

Another tip I have learned from WDW Prep School is to take advantage of dining options located near where you are staying. This way you are not taking up precious time traveling to and from the restaurant.

**I am choosing to do a character meal on our non-park day. This will limit my dining options to Disney Resorts only. My available options now include Chef Mickey’s or Topolino Terrace. We can ride the skyliner to Topolino’s Terrace or we can drive to The Contemporary for Chef Mickey’s.

4. Price

Some dining locations offer a breakfast, lunch or dinner option. Breakfast is typically the cheapest meal of the day. Lunch and Diner are comparable for pricing. 

**I want to start off the day with a character meal so breakfast it is for us. Both Chef Mickey’s and Topolino’s is $42 for adults and $27 for kids. This tip did not help narrow down our options as they are the same price.

5. Schedule

Decide in advance what day you want to book your character meal. If you are park hoping or going to be in the same park on multiple days, check the date furthest out from the start of your trip if you can’t seem to find availability initially.

**My plan is to get a Chef Mickey’s breakfast reservation on our non-park day. My second choice is going to be Cape May Café Breakfast at Beach Club (no Mickey Mouse, but good menu and a short skyliner ride away)

Breathe.

Remember to have a back up option and book that one as well. If you didn’t get your first choice, be flexible and keep looking. Reservations open up all the time as other people adjust their vacation plans.

Click here for a list of Current Disney Character Dining options

Have any other tips? Leave a comment below.

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