Disney Favorite Character Dining Restaurant?

Disney Dining Review


Hello everyone!  I hope you all have had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday, and are tackling your leftovers with gusto!  Since much of America was focused on dining this past week, I thought it would be fun to explore the different dining options at Walt Disney World to try and figure out what my favorite is — and for you to figure out what your favorite is also!  So, without further ado, let’s get cracking on it!

Here is the list of all of the character dining restaurants that I and my family have eaten at for Walt Disney World:

*Liberty Tree Tavern used to be a character dining restaurant — but isn’t anymore.

In order for me to determine my favorite — if I can, I might add, I fall back to some of the pictures I have of the dining experiences we’ve had at the restaurant, so let’s take a look at each of these with a favorite picture.

Favorite Character Dining Restaurants — the Resort Restaurants

Chef Mickey’s

The look on Sophie's face is priceless in this trip to Chef Mickey's in 2007!

The look on Sophie’s face is priceless in this trip to Chef Mickey’s in 2007!

We’ve eaten at Chef Mickey’s twice — this time in 2007 for dinner, and in 2012 for breakfast.  I totally think that breakfast is a better time to eat here, but I’ve got to say, when I came across this picture of Sophie watching Mickey sign her autograph book, the look on her face said it all.  That look of adoration towards Mickey is just priceless!

‘Ohana Best Friends Breakfast

Sophie is pleasantly surprised by Stitch at 'Ohana Best Friends Breakfast!

Sophie is pleasantly surprised by Stitch at ‘Ohana Best Friends Breakfast!

We have eaten at ‘Ohana just one time — but it was a lot of fun!  We had breakfast there in August 2009, and we traveled to the Polynesian Resort by way of Water Taxi from the Magic Kingdom, and loved our trip over.  The food was incredible, Lilo and Stitch were fun, as were Mickey and Pluto, where were there that day, and we will definitely eat there again!

1900 Park Fare

Sophie poses with Cinderella for a picture at 1900 Park Fare!

Sophie poses with Cinderella for a picture at 1900 Park Fare!

Of all our character dining experiences, probably our least favorite was 1900 Park Fare. Sophie liked meeting Cinderella, and enjoyed seeing her and the Prince dancing, but she most definitely did not like the stepmother and stepsisters!

Cape May Cafe

Stephanie and Sophie hugging Goofy at the Cape May Cafe in 2010!

Stephanie and Sophie hugging Goofy at the Cape May Cafe in 2010!

Cape May Cafe was another of our character dining restaurants — this time, we went in 2010.  We really enjoyed it, with Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, and Goofy entertaining us!  We will definitely eat there again!

Mickey’s Backyard BBQ

Over at Mickey's Backyard BBQ, Sophie gets her picture taken with Mickey & Minnie!

Over at Mickey’s Backyard BBQ, Sophie gets her picture taken with Mickey & Minnie!

We ate at Mickey’s Backyard BBQ in 2010.  I thought the food was just okay, but I really enjoyed the show and seeing Mickey & Minnie and the other characters all decked out in their western garb!  I think next time we need to see about the Hoop Dee Doo Revue!

Favorite Character Dining – Magic Kingdom

Liberty Tree Tavern


If the Liberty Tree Tavern was still a character dining restaurant, it would probably rank up there right at the top of my list — but it was discontinued as a character dining restaurant not long after we ate there in 2008 for Sophie’s birthday with her best friend Riley.  I loved the period clothing, and love the food too, but miss that it isn’t a character dining restaurant anymore.

Crystal Palace

Sophie at the Crystal Palace, loving on Winnie the Pooh.

Sophie at the Crystal Palace, loving on Winnie the Pooh.

I love this shot of Sophie hugging Winnie the Pooh at the Crystal Palace.  We have never been here for breakfast (yet), but I have never had a problem with the food at the buffet for either lunch or dinner.  As you can see, this restaurant features the characters of Winnie the Pooh, so you’ll meet Pooh, Piglet, Tigger, and Eeyore when you eat here.  This picture was also taken in 2007.

Cinderella’s Royal Table

Mary at Cinderella's Royal Table

Mary at Cinderella’s Royal Table

We’ve eaten at Cinderella’s Royal Table a few times, and have enjoyed it.  I thought I would share a not often seen photo of Mary from Cinderella.

Favorite Character Dining – Epcot and Hollywood Studios

The Garden Grill Restaurant

Here are Mickey and Sophie at the Garden Grill Restaurant!

Here are Mickey and Sophie at the Garden Grill Restaurant!

The Garden Grill Restaurant is a great character dining restaurant.  Hosted by Chip and Dale, you will often find Mickey and Pluto here too.  What makes this restaurant cool is that is spins in a slow moving circle, and you can see the different seasons from the Living with the Land ride below.  I really enjoy this character dining restaurant!

Princess Storybook Dining at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall

Here are Sophie, Stephanie, and Cinderella at Princess Storybook Dining

Here are Sophie, Stephanie, and Cinderella at Princess Storybook Dining

We often visit Princess Storybook Dining, it is such a good location to enjoy great food — and it has Princess appeal that ranks up there with Cinderella’s Royal Table!  This one is definitely high on our list of character dining restaurants!

Play and Dine at the Hollywood and Vine

Sophie whispers to June at the Play and Dine breakfast

Sophie whispers to June at the Play and Dine breakfast

The breakfast here is like a normal Disney breakfast, so the food is good.  We enjoyed our time here the one time we ate here, but Sophie has outgrown this now, so it’s not one that we have been back to.  If you have young ones, I would recommend it once for them — and the characters have been updated to also include Jake, Handy Manny, and Special Agent Oso.

So, after all of this, what is my favorite Character Dining restaurant?  Well, I think that I have more than one favorite.  Truly, it really comes down to the memories for me, so, because of that, almost all of them are favorites because of the different memories that they invoke from the times we ate there.  Do you have a favorite?  Well, how about picking one from our poll below, and thanks!

Epcot Future World — The Land


Hello everyone, and welcome back to our look at the pavilions at Epcot Future World!  The first pavilion we took a look at was Spaceship Earth, and now, we’re moving on to look at The Land, which is my second favorite pavilion in all of Future World!  This location has some of the best attractions, food, and decor, and it’s a great place to hang out and just people watch!

Garden Grill Restaurant


The Garden Grill Restaurant is, without a doubt, one of my favorite restaurants in all of Walt Disney World!  This circular restaurant is on a special platform that slowly rotates while you eat, showing you a view of all of the scenes in the boat ride “Living with the Land”.  The menu consists of a family-style layout featuring the following great dishes:

  • Char-grilled Filet of Beef
  • Roasted All-Natural Turkey Breast
  • Sustainable Fish of the Day

In addition to that, you also get warm bread, a special salad, and side dishes of garden fresh vegetables, butter mashed potatoes, and Artisan bread pudding.  Lastly, to top off the meal, a harvest skillet cake is served.  All told, it is a yummy dining experience, and even includes visits from Chip & Dale, Mickey, and Pluto!

Sunshine Seasons


Rounding out the dining options at The Land is Sunshine Seasons, an absolutely incredible quick-service dining option.  Within this market setting you’ll find hot meals, sandwiches, sushi, salads, kids meals, and on and on and on.  They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  Some of the incredible options include the following:

  • Chicken, Fish, and Pork Chop offerings
  • Asian cuisine including Mongolian Beef, Sweet and Sour Chicken, and Spicy Cashew Chicken
  • Turkey, Vegetable, and Steak sandwiches.

The offerings at this location are incredible, and well worth visiting.



In addition to the great dining options, my wife’s favorite ride at Walt Disney World is located at The Land Pavilion.  Of course I’m talking about Soarin’.  The funny thing about Soarin’ is that it used to give me the worst case of motion sickness — not necessarily a sickness like I need a bag, but I definitely felt like something was wrong.  As a result, I didn’t ride this great ride very often.  Now, though, I’m over whatever it was that was bothering me, and I have no problem riding Soarin’ — even from the highest seat!  Let me know what you think of Soarin’ in the comments below, and thanks!

Living with the Land



In Living with the Land, this boat ride takes you through some great scenery, but also explores all that The Land does to improve on how crops can be grown throughout the world.  My friend Joy was a part of the Disney College Program way back in the 1990s, and she was actually one of the boat narraters back when they had Cast Members accompany the boats.  This is certainly not a thrill ride like Soarin’, but it definitely is up there on my list of things to do once because of all the neat things you learn — and who knows, you might even see this big pumpkin!



Circle of Life



The Circle of Life is a short documentary film that incorporates the characters from the Lion King, Simba, Timon, and Pumba, and talks about all of the things that we humans do to pollute the environment.  I’ve seen this film a couple of times, but truth be told, it isn’t something I’m all that interested in simply because it opens a whole in the Disney World and takes me right back to the real world — and that’s not what I want to do when I visit Walt Disney World!

I hope you have enjoyed your look at The Land Pavilion in Epcot’s Future World!  For those unsure where it is, here is an image of where it is located so you can find it!

The Land location

Disney Dining Review: Mickey’s Backyard BBQ

Mickey’s Backyard BBQ is one of the Walt Disney World Dinner Shows that you can see while on vacation.  Located at Fort Wilderness Campgrounds, the pavilion where the BBQ is held is not far from the location for the Hoop Dee Doo Review.

We took Sophie and my niece Stephanie to the Backyard BBQ for Sophie’s 9th birthday when we were at Disney World celebrating.  We were on the Disney Dining Plan for this visit, and Mickey’s Backyard BBQ counts as 2 Dining credits and also required us to guarantee it with a credit card.  This requirment isn’t as big a deal now, as Disney has started requiring a credit card guarantee on many of their table service restaurants.

Mickey’s Backyard BBQ has many great things going for it.  Here is my list of the things that we enjoyed the most:

  • The setting is rustic, and while this isn’t for everyone, it was great for me.
  • Sophie had some really great quality time with Mickey and Minnie, as well as Chip, Dale, and Goofy.
  • The stage show with all of it’s country influence was great.  There was a lot of energy involved with everything here, and we enjoyed it quite a bit.

In fact, I enjoyed our experience quite a bit.  There were only two things that I think should be changed, but I will understand if they aren’t.  The first is the 2 TS credits required.  I love the show, and all of that, but I just didn’t feel like it was worth 2 TS credits.  The other thing that I wasn’t crazy about was the food.  The big buffet was BBQ food, which wasn’t a problem; it’s what you expect.  On tap were burgers, hot dogs, ribs, chicken, and all the fixings.  The problem I had with the food was the temperature.  I know that this is something that is hard to control in what is basically a covered outdoor pavilion, and is also something that can be totally different the next time we eat there.  I think if I were making the decision on how to conquer the temperature problem of the food, I would make smaller quantity, and replace it more often.  For example, instead of making 100 burgers and replacing them every 20 minutes, make 50 burgers and replace them every 10, or something along that nature.

However, all in all, I really enjoyed the BBQ, and would consider it again.  If you decide on eating at the Backyard BBQ, I highly recommend that you give yourself plenty of time to get to the pavilion.  We elected to drive to Fort Wilderness, then we parked, but then we had to wait on the bus to take us through the campground to where the pavilion was.  All in all, I think it took at least an hour to get from our hotel at Port Orleans French Quarter to dinner.

One last thing that I’ll mention was that all the people that were celebrating something, whether it be a birthday, anniversary, or other special occasion, you can write down the name of the person celebrating, and they will announce it as part of the show.  So if you are celebrating, this is one of the places you can go that you can get your celebration announced.  I hope you enjoyed the review, and that it helps you to decide whether or not to make a reservation at Mickey’s Backyard BBQ!  If it doesn’t, maybe these pictures will!

Sophie (with her self-created Minnie shirt) with Minnie and Mickey!


The Stage Show


Sophie loves corn on the cob!


Goofy leading a dance line

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Magical Blogorail

Magical Blogorail – Favorite Character Dining!

MBRed Logo 2013

Welcome to those of you joining me from Growing Up Disney and those of you just hopping aboard. I am the 4th stop on our Magical Blogorail.

Normally when we travel to Disney parks, we travel to Walt Disney World — so I was all set to write about my favorite character dining restaurants there.  But then, when I started thinking about it, I decided that I would write about the two character dining restaurants that we did at Disneyland.  Those were Ariel’s Grotto and Storyteller’s Cafe.

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New Free Dining and Resort Room Only Discounts!


Hello everyone, and welcome to the madness that comes with the introduction of Free Dining for Walt Disney World vacations!  The rumors, it turns out, were true, and Disney has offered up a new set of free dining promotions for those of you that are considering taking a Walt Disney World vacation!  There is a lot of detail here, so if you have any questions — or if you want me to get a quote for you, just click on the image above and fill out our quote request form today, and thanks!

Walt Disney World Free Dining Offer

From today, August 1st, 2013, until Sunday, September 15, 2013, you can get the Disney Dining Plus Dining plan — or the Disney Quick Service Dining Plan — for free with a 6 night/7 day room and ticket package.  The Plus Dining plan will be free for stays at a Moderate level resort or greater, and the Quick Service Dining plan will be free for stays at a Value level resort.  As with all things, there are some restrictions, as outlined below:

  • The offer is valid for arrivals most nights September 29 – October 2nd, October 18 – November 2nd,  November 11th – 23rd, and December 12th – 22nd, 2013.
  • You MUST book by September 15, 2013!
  • The number of rooms allocated for this offer is limited.  Excludes Disney’s All Star Movies Resort, Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, Disney’s Port Orleans French Quarter Resort, The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa, ALL 3-Bedroom Villas, and campsites.

Walt Disney World Room Only Discount

If you are unable to take advantage of the Free Dining offer listed above, you may be eligible to take advantage of a special room only discount that could save you as much as 30% off per night on your Walt Disney World accommodations!  In some cases, it is actually a better deal to some family to use the room only discount as opposed to the free dining offer, so I will, of course, check both promotions for you to see what works out best for you and your family.  Here are the details on this offer:

For stays most nights September 29 – November 22, 2013, and November 30 – December 23, 2013:

  • Save up to 30% at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort, Disney’s BoardWalk Inn & Villas, Disney’s Polynesian Resort, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge (standard and pool view rooms), Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa, Disney’s Old Key West Resort and Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort (including Villas)
  • Save up to 20% at Disney’s Contemporary Resort (including Bay Lake Towers), Disney’s Beach Club Resort (including Villas), Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort, Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter and Disney’s Fort Wilderness Cabins
  • Save up to 15% at Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort, Disney’s All-Star Music Resort, Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort and Disney’s Pop Century Resort

For stays most nights September 29 – October 5, October 20 – November 2, November 10 – 22, and December 15 – 23, 2013:

  • Save up to 15% at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort – Family Suites

If your travel is between September 29 – November 9, 2013, you must book between August 1st and September 15, 2013.  If your travel is for November 10 – 22, and November 30 – December 23, 2013, then you can book between August 1st – November 3rd, 2013.

Lastly, here are the final details about this offer:

  • The number of rooms allocated for this offer is limited. Length-of-stay requirements may apply. Savings based on the non-discounted price for the same room. Additional per-adult charges may apply if more than two adults per room at Disney Value, Moderate and Deluxe Resorts. No group rates or other discounts apply. Advance reservations required. Offer excludes campsites, 3-Bedroom Villas and is not valid at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort – The Little Mermaid Standard Rooms or The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa. 30% savings for select Disney Deluxe and Deluxe Villa Resorts; lower savings for other Resorts.