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:
- Chef Mickey’s
- The Crystal Palace
- ‘Ohana Best Friends Breakfast
- 1900 Park Fare
- Liberty Tree Tavern*
- Cinderella’s Royal Table
- The Garden Grill Restaurant
- Akershus Royal Banquet Table
- Cape May Cafe
- Play and Dine at the Hollywood and Vine
- Mickey’s Backyard BBQ
*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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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!
Great post, Mike! We have several favorites. I think we’ve tried almost every character dining experience EXCEPT Chef Mickey’s – so we’re fixing that for our next trip!
Thanks, Heidi! I prefer Chef Mickey’s for breakfast — so I hope you have that restaurant planned for a breakfast!
Such a hard choice. I chose Crystal Palace (which I’ve always done for breakfast) because you can book it before park opening & walk down a mostly empty Main Street.
I’ll take Akershus over the Castle any day (even if the castle was also 1 dining credit). BTW, the castle now has princesses all the time not the Cinderella characters. Last time I was there they made us sit the kids with the setting sun behind them & our pictures were horrible.
I miss Liberty Tree as character dining. Chip & Dale used to get into such mischief there. I remember them sliding across the floor one night (late reservation, restaurant was almost empty). Although we’ve had some good Goofy interactions at Chef Mickey. He’s taken my daughter’s camera, signed his name 20 times in her book, and more. And my favorite Pluto and Donald pictures are from Chef Mickey.
Thanks for commenting, Anna Mae! I know what you say about Akershus, and I generally agree with you — but in 2012 we had a later reservation at CRT (8:40PM, which I thought was terrible!) but it ended up having it’s own Disney Magic because we were in the Castle when Wishes was about to start, and we were able to watch the fireworks from inside the Castle! Plus, they had the audio in the dining hall also. That was a great meal and a great event!