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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.)
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
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!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
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.
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!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
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.
Disneyland Character Dining MenusDISNEYLAND 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
A choice of chicken, beef, fish and pasta entrees
Disneyland Character Meal pro's and con's
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 leisurely...like 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 InformationYou 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.