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Disneyland Character Dining

Grab the kids & join the fun!

What could be more fun than a Disneyland Character Meal when you're visiting the theme park with children who love meeting the Disney characters? In the pictures of Disney character dining in this slide show, you can see that you'll get some actual close-up, face-to-face time with the Disney Characters when you choose to dine at one of the Disneyland restaurants featuring character meals.

My daughter, who took many of the photos in the slide show, chose to attend 2 character meals to ensure that her children would get to meet some of the Disney characters---without having to wait in long lines to see them. It was a time-saving ploy, since she lives far away from either of the US Disney theme parks...and had a one-shot chance to both meet characters AND have time for all of the rides and attractions at the Disney Resort theme parks (all in the space of just a few days.)

Photo: Exterior of the Storyteller's Cafe at the Disney Grand Californian Hotel (Anaheim, California)

Other visitors use character meals to enjoy a dining experience they can't have "back home." They satisfy their hunger at a large breakfast, lunch or dinner buffet...and throughout the meal, watch Disney costumed characters stroll between the tables in the dining room. Plus, they even get character visits at their very own table. What a photo op!

On this page, you'll discover the different choices in character dining options at Disneyland Park in California. We'll talk about the foods available at the buffets, and the prices you'll pay. You'll find out how to get more information on the Disney Character Buffets, and how to make reservations. And, of course, you'll get to see some photos of the Disney Character Dining restaurants!

Disneyland Character Meal Prices

Picture of Ariel's Grotto, a character meal restaurant at Disney's California Adventure Park Disneyland's Character Meals charge according to the season. Not only do prices change throughout the year, but the amount may vary quite a bit, as well--as much as a $10 per plate difference between the slowest seasons of the year and the busiest!

Therefore, don't be surprised if the character meal prices you read on this page are different than what you're actually charged during your particular vacation time. The Disney character breakfast, lunch and dinner prices bounce around like a ping pong ball. Unless you visit Disneyland Park frequently, you simply have to enjoy your character meals at the prices you find them during the time of your visit.

What about reservations? It's ALWAYS a good idea to make reservations for any character meals at the Disneyland Resort. However, during the slower seasons of the year, you're quite likely to find that you can just "walk up" to a character meal and get in. If you don't have reservations, be sure to give it a try, since you just might be able to be seated. On the other hand, if attending a character meal is really important to your kids, it only takes a bit of time to make the reservations before leaving home. The Disneyland Character Meal reservation phone number is (714) 781-DINE.

Disney Character Breakfasts

Start your day with Minnie Mouse, Goofy, Mickey, Chip & Dale or Disney Princesses!

Photo: Minnie and Friends character dining takes place at the Plaza Inn in Disneyland Breakfast is the most popular meal for Disneyland Character Dining---All of the 5 Disneyland Resort restaurants which offer character meals serve breakfast! (Only 2 of these Disney restaurants serve lunch and dinner.)

Here's a list of the Disneyland Resort restaurants where you may dine with Disney character for your breakfast meal---

1.) Minnie and Friends Character Breakfast
The Minnie and Friends character meal is the only one of the 5 Disneyland Character Breakfasts located inside of the Disneyland theme park itself. You'll find the Minnie and Friends character breakfast at the Plaza Inn. You won't have a problem finding the Plaza Inn---it's directly on Main Street USA, the themed area that you'll enter directly from the Disneyland turnstiles.
Character Breakfast Hours: Park opening time until 11 am (at 11 am, the Plaza Inn begins to serve lunch; it's not a Character lunch.)
Character breakfast prices: $30+/Adults and $15+ for children. Babies and toddlers ages 2 and under dine free.

2.) Goofy's Kitchen
This VERY popular and crowded Disney character dining location is at the Disneyland Hotel. It's not located within one of the 3 Disneyland Hotel towers; it's in a seperate restaurant-and-banquet-room building on the beautifully landscaped grounds of the hotel.
Goofy's Kitchen Hours: You may enjoy Disney Character Brunch at Goofy's Kitchen beginning at 7 am. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are ALL character meals at Goofy's Kitchen, so no matter what time of day you make your meal reservations, you'll be enjoying Disney Character dining!
Goofy's Kitchen Prices: The character brunch at Goofy's Kitchen costs $38+ for adults & teens, and $20+ for kids. Higher prices for dinner are in effect at this restaurant, and will be discussed in the "character lunch & dinner" section of this page.

Picture: The Mad Hatter greets diners at  a Goofy's Kitchen character meal 3.) Mickey and Friends Surf's Up Breakfast
If you're a Lilo & Stitch fan, you'll be sad to know that The Lilo and Stitch Character Breakfast is now gone from the Paradise Pier Hotel. However, Mickey Mouse-lovers will be all smiles, because a new Mickey & Friends breakfast has replaced it!

Mickey & Friends Surf's Up Breakfast Hours: The Mickey Mouse Character Breakfast is served from 7:00 am to 11:00 am. After that time, the PCH Grill (the restaurant within the Paradise Pier lobby where the breakfast is held) begins to serve lunch. Lunch at the PCH Grill is NOT a character meal.

Mickey's Surf's Up Breakfast Prices: The Mickey & Friends Breakfast runs $33+ for teens & adults and $19+ for kids. Babies and toddlers ages 2 and under eat free.

4.) Chip and Dale Critter Breakfast

The Chip and Dale character meal is held in the Storyteller's Cafe at the Disney Grand Californian Hotel. The Storyteller's Cafe features a rustic-themed the forest characters of Chip and Dale (who are chipmunks) fit right in at this Disney Character Dining venue.
Chip and Dale Breakfast Hours: The Chip and Dale Critter Breakfast is held from 7:00 am until noon. At that time, the Storyteller's Cafe begins to serve lunch. Lunch at the Storyteller's Cafe is NOT a character meal.
Chip and Dale Character Breakfast Prices: Chip and Dale character dining costs $30+ for adults & teenagers and $15+ for youth. Toddlers under age 2 eat free.

5.) Ariel's Grotto character breakfast: Ariel, the Little Mermaid, is one of the popular Disney Princesses. Therefore, this is the breakfast where princess-fans should eat. Ariel herself will greet you and your children, plus several of the other Disney Princesses will be on hand to pose and sign autographs with your family. (There is no guarantee which Disney Princesses will be appearing on specific dates, however.)

Ariel's Grotto character breakfast prices: The Disney Princesses are very popular, and the higher price of this brunch reflects that. Adults pay $40+ at Ariel's Grotto; and children pay $20+ for breakfast.

Disneyland Character Lunch and Dinner

Head to Ariel's Grotto or Goofy's Kitchen for a fun lunch or dinner with Disney characters!

Photo of a whimsical sign for Goofy's Kitchen character meal specialty restaurant Do you want to enjoy lunch or dinner with Disney Characters? If so, you'll be able to enjoy character dining at Ariel's Grotto Restaurant and Goofy's Kitchen...which are both dedicated ONLY to character dining. There are no "regular" meals served at either of these Disneyland Resort restaurants. While other character restaurants open their doors to non-character dining after breakfast is over, Ariel's Grotto & Goofy's Kitchen serve character meals...and ONLY character meals...for breakfast, lunch and dinner! Here's the scoop---

1.) Ariel's Disney Princess Celebration
If the Disney princesses are your daughter's favorite Disney characters, then this is the character dining experience you may be most interested in attending. At the meal, you'll be able to see either Ariel, Cinderella, Belle (from Beauty and the Beast), Aurora (from Sleeping Beauty), Jasmine (from Aladdin), Snow White and/or Tinker Bell. (You will not see all of the Disney Princess at any one meal. The selection of Princesses rotates; and, unfortunately, the park won't guarantee in advance which of the princesses you'll be able to meet on the day of your visit. Princess Ariel, however, is certain to attend every meal; after all, this is HER restaurant!)
Ariel's Grotto lunch & dinner hours: Ariel's Disney Princess character lunch begins at 11:30 am and continues uninterrupted until an hour before the Disney California Adventure's closing time.

Ariel's Grotto Lunch & Dinner Prices: Both lunch and dinner meal pricing is $$44+ for adults and $23+ for children. Toddlers aged 2 and under eat free.

2.) Goofy's Kitchen: Goofy's Kitchen (which we already talked about in the "character breakfast" section above) also serves lunch and dinner. In Goofy's Kitchen at the Disneyland Hotel, dinner prices are higher than the breakfast prices. Goofy's Character Dinner Prices: Goofy's Kitchen character dinner costs $46+ for adults and $22+ for kids. This price includes tax and tip. Babies and toddlers age 2 & under eat free.

Disneyland Character Dining Menus

Photo: Serving area at the Lilo and Stitch Character Meal, Paradise Pier Hotel DISNEYLAND CHARACTER DINING BREAKFAST MENU

All of the Disneyland character breakfasts serve more or less the same foods. You won't find an exact menu of each day's breakfast meal because the selections are rotated daily to give new choices to those lucky folks who vacation at the park and enjoy a character breakfast every morning of their stay. (Sigh! Wouldn't it be nice!) Nevertheless, the breakfast foods you'll encounter on the morning of your character dining experience will fall into these basic categories:

Mickey Mouse-shaped pancakes, waffles, or both
French toast and toppings
Scrambled eggs, other egg choice, omelets
Bacon, sausage, ham
Fresh fruit selections
Roll/muffin/croissant/sweet roll selections
Selection of beverages, including milk and juices

Likewise, luncheon and dinner food selections rotate daily at the Disneyland character buffets. Nevertheless, you can expect to find dishes that have a broad appeal---at least to North American diners, who make up the bulk of the character meal guests! Since families with children are the "target audience" of Disney character lunches and dinners, familiar foods that many kids like are featured over exotic or novelty entrees. The character meals are not the places to dine if you favor gourmet dining or non-American dishes. (Of course, in the California, both Mexican and Italian entrees are included in the list of "American" foods because of their great popularity here.) At the Disney Character lunches and dinners, you may expect to find---

A choice of chicken, beef, fish and pasta entrees
A vegetarian choice
A choice of several soups
A salad bar featuring fresh fruits, fruit salads, tossed salads, meat salads and pasta salads
Several vegetable selections, including several potato choices
Choice of several bread rolls
Wide selection of fancy desserts
Selection of beverages, including coffee, tea, sodas, milk and juice

Disneyland Character Meal pro's and con's

Picture of Ariel's Grotto Restaurant; princess character meals are held here Don't plan to rush through your meal if you choose to enjoy a Disney character dining experience. If you're in a hurry to rush to the theme park's rides and attractions, it's a good idea to save visiting a character meal until another day. While you WILL get to meet 'n greet Disney characters, they do not wave at you as you head to your table and hop right over to you. You can't do a "quick in & out" at a character meal and meet all of the Disney characters you've paid to greet.

All characters reach every table, but if you're in a rush, their pace will seem too they're "holding you up" from doing other things. The Disney characters' motto is "make every kid at every table feel special." And, that's GREAT while they're at YOUR table; in fact, the time seems to fly. But when they're visiting other tables, time drags if you're in a hurry. They stop to sign autographs, pose for pictures, and hug every child. You may leave at any time, of course, but if you're planning to efficiently "eat & run," you might leave before all the characters have a chance to reach your table.

For those (like me) with "ants in their pants," it invariably seems like the whole restaurant will be filled with large families and birthday parties on the day you visit. And that you must wait while the characters meet all of those people...ahead of you & your child visiting in a party of 2. (It also seems like if you attend a character meal in a small group, you'll end up with less actual "character time." Larger groups often have a greater percentage of children at the table...and characters DO spend more time with kids than they do with adults, despite the fact that Disney Character-loving adults have paid their money just like anybody else.)

Best stategy: Come to the character meal with no other particular plans in mind. Eat a full, leisurely meal so that all the characters can make it around to your table. Bring a camera and an autograph book (even if you're not a collector) so you can get the maximum amount of time with each character. And, don't expect a show. I had expected that the characters would perform together at some point...but they don't. Character meals are for meeting & greeting, not entertainment.

Disneyland Character Dining -- Contact Information

Photo: One of the several buffet tables at the Lilo and Stitch Aloha Breakfast You may ask questions about any of the Disneyland Character Dining restaurants by calling the Disney Reservations Line at (714) 781-DINE. (Although this seems, at first, to be just an automated, pre-recorded phone answering system, you'll soon reach a "live" representative.) The representatives I've talked with know all about Disneyland Dining at a wide variety of venues throughout the park---Disneyland, Disney's California Adventure, Downtown Disney, and the Disneyland Hotels. They're also well-versed on any special dining events which will take place at the park...for example, the Alice in Wonderland Easter Brunch Buffet which is held every year on Easter Sunday.

You may make reservations for your desired Character Meal before you even leave home. (But, walk-up seating may be available, as well, if you'd rather not make reservations. During busy periods at the Disney resort, don't risk missing your character meal because you didn't want to reserve ahead.) A pre-recorded message says that you'll have to take the first available date and time which will accommodate a party of your size. This simply didn't seem to be true. When I called, I asked to make reservations for a particular day, and the representative said, "Yes, that will be fine. And, what time would you like?" No deposit is necessary to make a reservation for Disneyland Character Dining.

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