Are you thinking of booking character meal at Disneyland? There are a number of choices for Disneyland Character Dining for you and your family. Which one is the best one?
There are 5 Character Dining venues in Disneyland. The good news is that 3 of these are outside the parks, so you do not need Disneyland park entry to enjoy a character meal. This is a great option if you are just visiting the area without a park ticket and want some of the Disney magic. It is also a great option for the first or last day of your stay at Disneyland when you may not have time to visit the parks, but you want to enjoy a classic Disney experience.
Disneyland Character Dining Without a Park Admission Ticket
These Disney Character Dining Restaurants are located in the Resort Hotels so you can go without a park ticket.
This is considered by many to be the classic Disneyland character dining experience. You can enjoy breakfast and dinner at Goofys Kitchen. It is located inside the Disneyland Hotel.
You may see Goofy, Pluto, Chip and Dale, and Minnie Mouse. As with all character dining the appearance of specific characters is not guaranteed.
Goofy’s Kitchen has 5 buffet stations. The choice is pretty much standard American food, and for us it really has the lowest quality of all of the Disneyland Character Dining restaurants. What this lacks in food quality it makes up for in fun, and it is fun place to bring younger children.
The brunch menu has pretty standard breakfast offerings. The Mickey Pancakes are always a big hit. Goofys Kitchen Peanut Butter Pizza is probably best left for the kids to try!
The cost of brunch at Goofy’s Kitchen is $33 for adults and $21 for children aged 3 to 9. The cost of dinner is $39 for adults and $23 for children.
The Chip n Dale Critter Breakfast at Storytellers Cafe
We think that Storytellers Cafe is one of the best restaurants at the Disneyland Resort. It is located inside the Disney Grand Californian Hotel an is well out of the way of the hustle and bustle of the theme parks. This only offers character dining at breakfast.
The inside of Storytellers Cafe is beautiful. The arts and crafts decor creates a feeling of grandeur and relaxation – even during a lively character breakfast!
The stars of the show are Chip n Dale. Whilst we think that the Storytellers buffet is the best quality option for breakfast the characters are not the most popular. If your child wants to see Mickey or Minnie they will not find them here.
Breakfast is $33 for adults and $19 for children aged 3 to 9.
Surf’s Up Breakfast with Mickey and Friends
You can find Mickey and Friends in the Disney Paradise Pier Hotel for a character breakfast. This is the location which is furthest away from the entry to the Disney parks – so bear this in mind if you are going to Disneyland or California Adventure on the morning that you are going for the breakfast. This is the least known of all the character dining options – this has the advantage that it is often easier to make a reservation, and you may even get a walk in.
The usual characters are Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Pluto, Lilo and Stitch. The food is standard Disney breakfast buffet. We think the standard is a little higher than Goofys Kithen but not as good as Storytellers.
The cost is $35 for adults and $21 for children aged 3 to 9.
Disney Character Dining in the Parks
Remember that you must have a park ticket to eat at either of these restaurants.
Breakfast in the Park With Minnie and Friends
This character breakfast is located in Disneyland at the Plaza Inn at the end of Main Street. Surprisingly they only serve breakfast. We would expect that there is enough demand to serve lunch and dinner with characters here too, but they only offer breakfast.
One huge advantage with having Breakfast with Minnie and Friends is that you can enter the park before it opens. There will Winot be any rides open and you will only be able to walk down Main Street to the Plaza Inn, but it is a very different experience being in the park with only a few other people.
Another idea is make your breakfast reservation for 10.30 am. Many people enter the park at this time. If you have arrived at opening time you can enjoy the rides with shorter lines and then work up an appetite for breakfast.
The Plaza Inn has inside and outside seating. We generally prefer the inside seating as the decor is really nice, although it can get rather noisy. The Plaza Inn is beautifully decorated in an ornate Victorian style. Lots of colorful class and elaborate chandeliers.
The food is standard Disney character buffet standard. Nothing to get excited about, but it is fine. You come here for the experience, not the food.
Breakfast in the Park with Minnie and Friends is probably the best place to go if you want to meet a wide range of characters. Minnie Mouse is always there of course, but no one else is guaranteed. One of our favorites is Captain Hook. Other possible characters are Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Eeyore, Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland, The Mad Hatter and Chip and Dale.
Breakfast in the Park with Minnie and Friends costs $32 for adults and $18 for children aged 3 to 9.
Ariel’s Grotto Disney Princess Character Meal
If you want to meet Disney Princesses in California Adventure park then head on over to a character meal at Ariel’ Grotto.
The concept is different for Ariel’s Grotto as it is not an all you care to eat buffet. You choose A Starter and an entrée for breakfast and a Starter, entrée and Dessert for lunch and dinner. As this isn’t a buffet the quality of the food tends to be quite a lot higher than any of the other Disneyland parks character dining options. The cost is also higher at $37 for adults and $22 for children aged 3 to 9 for breakfast, and $40 for adults and $24 for children aged 3 to 9 for lunch.
How to Save Money on Disneyland Character Dining
A Disneyland character meal is an expensive experience and can soon add up to more than $200 for a family of 4. Some very simple advice as to how to save money on Character Dining is to have breakfast instead of lunch or dinner. Breakfast is always the cheapest Character Meal and it can also mean that you can skip buying lunch too as the buffet is so plentiful.
Another way to save money is if you have a Disneyland Annual Pass. Whilst dining discounts are not a reason to purchase an Annual Pass, if you have one always remember to ask for the discount. A Deluxe or Southern California Annual Pass gives a 10% discount, a Premium or Premier Annual Pass will get you 15% off.
How to Book Disneyland Dining
The easiest way to make reservations for Disneyland dining is to do this online. Simply go to Disney Dining Reservations
You can also call to make a reservation – the phone number is (714) 781-DINE. You can book up to 60 days ahead. You will be asked to give a credit card guarantee. If you do not show up and have forgotten to cancel within 24 hours you will be charged $10 per guest. Check with the individual Disneyland restaurant as for some the deadline to cancel without charge is 72 hours.
Is it better to call or use the online system to book Disneyland dining? We prefer the online system as it is just more convenient. It is quicker to find out if different days and times are available.
Enjoy your Disneyland character dining!