Disney Character Dining Around the Globe: Disney Dining Reviews
|by Cheryl Pendry, PassPorter Featured Columnist|
Last modified 05-24-2012
PassPorter.com > Articles > Walt Disney World > Dining
If you've ever experienced dining with the characters at Walt Disney World, you'll know there's a certain way that these things are done.
Travel to another Disney park around the world, and you could be in for a shock... I know we certainly were!
For those of you who haven't been fortunate enough to dine with the characters (and if you haven't, why not? It's an amazing experience!), then let me explain how it works in Orlando. You go to a restaurant, and you'll either get your food from a buffet, as at Chef Mickey's or the Crystal Palace, or it will be brought out to your table family-style, as at 'Ohana. You may even be able to order dishes, as you do at the Princess Storybook meals at Akerhaus in Epcot's Norway.It was more of the same when we visited the Plaza Inn for Minnie & Friends - Breakfast in the Park four years later, where we encountered at least 12 different characters. And it's obviously something that other Disney parks have stolen as an idea as well. In late 2008, we went to our first character meal at Disneyland Resort Paris, at Cafe Mickey in the Disney Village. Of course, given the name you'd expect to see Mickey Mouse, and indeed there he was, but once again, he was surrounded by a complete mismatch of friends, to put it bluntly! Where else can you find Eeyore, Friar Tuck, Tigger, Mr. Smee, Gepetto, Pluto, and King John in one place? We were delighted, especially as we hadn't seen some of those characters in the parks over recent years. When was the last time you saw King John, Gepetto, or Friar Tuck out in Walt Disney World?
You'll generally have a good idea in advance of which characters you'll see at your meal, although Disney does always say that no one character is ever guaranteed. However, you can pretty much expect to see a raft of princesses if you head to Cinderella's Royal Table or Akershus, and Cinderella, her evil step-sisters, and step-mother are stalwarts nightly at 1900 Park Fare. Want to see the number one duck? Then Donald's usually around at Tusker House, while the main mouse is usually the star attraction at Chef Mickey's. There's also usually some link between the characters, with the Crystal Palace home to the Hundred Acre Wood characters, while you can often find the likes of Goofy, Pluto, Chip, and Dale around Mickey, Minnie, or Donald.
So now you know what to expect, head to another Disney theme park around the world, and you should get more of the same, right? Not one bit of it! The first time we visited Disneyland was in 2006, and I was a little surprised not to have more idea of which characters we'd be meeting at the various meals we'd booked at. As soon as we settled down to enjoy our first character meal at Goofy's Kitchen at the Disneyland Hotel, I understood why. Of course Goofy was there, but so too was a multitude of other characters, some literally related to Goofy, like Max, others with a natural link, like Chip and Dale, but others who were just completely off the wall. It was fascinating to see more and more characters emerging as the meal went on. There were so many that we couldn't keep track of them all, and almost had to start noting them down to ensure that we didn't miss any of them. We were blown away by what we'd seen.
As the meal wore on, we discovered another huge difference in character meals here, compared to Walt Disney World. At places like 'Ohana and the Crystal Palace, the characters have a regular celebration, but in truth, they don't get that energetic, not like they do at Disneyland Paris. Watching Eeyore and Gepetto, both doing high energy dancing to the music that night, was something that will stay with me for the rest of my life. It's nothing like the experience at Walt Disney World, perhaps something to do with the fact that the temperatures are a lot cooler here, so perhaps it's easier to do here?
It’s something we also noticed at Hong Kong Disneyland, when we dined at the Enchanted Garden restaurant at the Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel. Although the characters made a lot of sense--essentially the "Fab Five," i.e. Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, and Pluto--they were certainly full of energy. Pluto, like any good dog, wanted constant attention, and we had an absolute ball with them, in a way that we don't necessarily get to enjoy in Walt Disney World. It may be a cultural thing, but there's a lot more physical interaction in Hong Kong, with Goofy hitting me on the head for example, than you tend to encounter in the American parks.
Something else that's very different if you visit Disneyland in California, that we haven't seen in any other Disney theme park, is the communication with the characters. Forget sign language, these guys go one step further, writing messages to you on the paper table cloths that they have here. We were staggered when we had an entire conversation with Chip on our first Disneyland trip, carefully covered up any time his handler walked past, only to have a similar experience with Captain Hook on our return last year. It certainly makes for a lot more fun, although obviously it does slow the circulation of characters down, making for a longer meal.
If you are heading to any of the other Disney theme parks around the world, I can highly recommend a character meal at any of them. It may not be what you're used to from Walt Disney World, but that's part of the fun and entertainment of them.
Magic Kingdom - Crystal Palace
Celebrating a birthday at the Crystal Palace. - photo by chezp
|About the Author: Cheryl and husband Mark live in England and love to travel, particularly to Disney, and they have made numerous visits to destinations across America and Europe. They recently completed their tour of every Disney theme park around the world, which culminated in their visit to Japan, including the Tokyo Disney Resort. Click here to view more of Cheryl's articles!|
Recent Walt Disney World Articles:Read additional articles from PassPorter.com
Harmony Barber Shop at the Magic Kingdom - A Walt Disney World Park Review last updated 03-19-2015
The 2015 Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival - A Walt Disney World Event Review last updated 03-19-2015
Family Fashion - Matching Outfits at Disney - A Walt Disney World Planning Article last updated 03-12-2015
Walt Disney World Theme Park Traditions - A Walt Disney World Planning Article last updated 03-12-2015
Planning a Vacation to the Magic Kingdom From the United Kingdom - A Walt Disney World Planning Article last updated 03-05-2015
More Related Links:
Veggie Dining At Disney - Table Service Locations last updated 12/11/2008
Veggie Dining At Disney - Counter Service Locations last updated 12/04/2008
The Kosher Traveler At Walt Disney World - A Guide last updated 02/05/2009
Dining at Walt Disney World - An Introduction last updated 2/5/2009
Yachtsman Steakhouse From a Vegetarian's Point of View - A Dining Review last updated 5/14/2009
View all 1 comments in forum thread ridlersbaby on September 7, 2012 @ 2:28 pm
We have done Chef Mickey's twice now for breakfast and both times the food and entertainment were excellent. Pricewise it is a great deal.
The Princess Storybook dinner was what I call the best food I ever ate at Disney it was amazing. My 2 year old loved the princesses but was not too fond of the food. I think she wanted mac and cheese.
For Dinosaur fans in the family we would recommend TRex Cafe although they aren't "real" moving characters its a great experience no the less and the meteor showers every 20 minutes are neat too. My kids loved the robotic dinos...and last time we ate in the ice cave which was really cool as well. The kids thought it was actually made out of ice they kept telling me they were cold.
So what do you think? Click here to share your comments, feedback, and experiences on this article and topic!
(Note: You must be a member of our PassPorter Message Board Community to leave comments. Join today for free!)
Updated 05-24-2012 - Article #809
Subscribe to our free e-mail newsletter, PassPorter News, published for more than 58,000 opt-in subscribers worldwide.
As an added bonus for subscribing, you will receive a 20% discount coupon for the PassPorter Store -- no catch!|
We respect your privacy and never sell or rent our subscriber list. Subscribing will not result
in more spam! We guarantee it.
by PassPorter Travel Press, an imprint of MediaMarx, Inc.
| LEARN MORE|
Learn More With Our Award-Winning Guidebooks|
PassPorter Community - Boards & Forums on Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disn...
Discussion forums about Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, and General Travel provided by PassPorter Travel Press, the ultimate Disney travel guide and book series.
Should Disney bars and lounges only serve only adults?
14 Apr 2015 at 7:57pm
This was a question asked at Allears.net Should Walt Disney World bars and lounges serve only adults? (A Mom and The Magic)...
(click title above to view replies)
New Allergy free menus coming to Disney parks starting April 14th 2015
14 Apr 2015 at 2:29pm
New Allergy-Friendly Menus at Disneyland, Walt Disney World Resorts « Disney Parks Blog...
(click title above to view replies)
about MDX [do you have to have reservations to set-up My Disney Experience?]
9 Apr 2015 at 4:13pm
Do you have to have reservations to set up the MDX account?
(click title above to view replies)
Total Visits: 6220