This page was updated July 5, 2010
Character meals at the Disneyland Resort are one of the best, and one of the most relaxing ways to meet characters. There are a variety of locations, each with different characters in which to enjoy a meal.
For years we enjoyed character meals as a couple. Now we have a child, and the meals are even more fun than we could have thought possible. Character meals are not just for children though. If you enjoy being up close and personal with the characters be sure to try one of the places below for an experience you won't ever forget!
We highly recommend all the places we have had character meals. Different experiences yet both are totally enjoyable. Priority seating reservations are recommended for the character meals. These reservations can be made 60 days in advance, by calling 714- 781 – DINE (3463).
It is also important to note that the Children’s age for character meals is from 3 – 9. What this means is that children under age 3 eat free of charge, and children aged 10 and up pay the adult price to eat at the character meals.
Unlike running into a character in the Park, there are no character lines when at a special character meal. Instead of waiting in line, the characters will come directly to your table. Once at your table the character will take the time to sign autographs and have a picture taken. Each character will go from table to table, so be assured that you will get to see all characters while enjoying your meal.
If for some reason the characters are not making it to your table (a character you have seen in the restaurant, but that character has disappeared) and you are preparing to leave be sure to find the Character Manager. If you politely tell them where you are sitting, that you are ready to go and would like to see this character, the Character Manager is the person who could make that happen if that specific character is still in the rotation for that meal.
Character meals are designed for both children and adults and will pose with each person at the table if that is what you would like to do.
Would you like the characters to spend more than a few minutes taking pictures and signing the autograph books? Bring a small selection of toys to the restaurant. Our son has brought his Star Wars toys and ended up with a great time with Alice in Wonderland, Chip and Dale, and Captain Hook, who was upset that he didn't have any Hook toys. He brought cards once and Minnie Mouse sat down to play, Chip and Dale had a rousing game of 'cover your eyes with cards' and didn't even try to take any. Pooh, Tigger and Fairy Godmother also played. This is a great way to get the characters to spend more quality time with your child. This does not work so well at Surf's Up with Mickey. Those characters are in a bit of a hurry, similar to how they are at Walt Disney World. Princesses also move along quickly because everyone wants to see them. We have had great luck with this at Minnie's breakfast, and at Goofy's Kitchen.
When enjoying a character meal, you will have 90 minutes to enjoy your meal as the characters come calling. Be sure to take your camera because there are no Photopass (Disney photographers that take the picture and load it to a card that looks like a credit card) cast members here.
It is important to note that characters can not be guaranteed at each meal aside from the one the meal is named for at each restaurant. What you are guaranteed is that you will see a minimum of four characters at your meal.
Reservations are highly recommended, and pretty much required for the Princess meals and Goofy's Kitchen. At the Disneyland Resort, these dining reservations are called Priority Seating, and can be made 60 days in advance. To schedule a Priority Seating call 714-781-DINE.
At the Disneyland Resort in California you have the opportunity to try four vastly different character meals.
Minnie and Friends
At Disneyland, the Plaza Inn hosts Breakfast with Minnie and Friends each morning. On Magic Morning days you can even make a Priority Seating during that hour. One tip for doing that is to make your Priority Seating for the second Magic Morning of your vacation. On the first Magic Morning, use your park hoppers, go in and ride Peter Pan and the rest of the Fantasyland Attractions. You do not need to have a Magic Morning to enjoy breakfast during that time, so make that seating for the second one and you can spend that time eating, and then be in the park at opening. When doing this, you must go to Gate 1 to get into the park and you will be escorted to the Plaza Inn to check in for your meal. If your name is not on the list at Gate 1, you will not be let into the park without an available Magic Morning.
Before you are shown to your table, and before you prepay your meal, you will have your picture taken as a family. This picture is one they will later bring to your table in a package and ask if you would like to purchase the picture. There is not a character that you take your picture with. We eat here so frequently and have never bought the picture. Now we simply tell them we don't want them to take it and they let us go without taking a picture.
Characters you may see at Breakfast with Minnie and Friends are Minnie of course, usually you will have Pooh characters, including Pooh himself, Tigger and Eeyore. Piglet is very rare, but it does happen on occasion. Max (Goofy's Son) is often there as well. Fairy Godmother likes to spend her time here because she is so close to Sleeping Beauty Castle. Captain Hook is there most of the time, but occasionally there is another Villain, such as Foul Fellow from Pinocchio. Geppetto is often there as well. Chip and Dale are frequently here to join the merriment. Mickey Mouse cannot be seen here, and you will not see a Princess at this meal. You may see Mary Poppins or the Penguins though.
For your dining pleasure during Breakfast with Minnie and Friends. you can have an omelet made to order with several meat and vegetable choices available. There is also a station where you can get your choice of ham, bacon, or sausage, scrambled eggs and biscuits and gravy. In the center of the restaurant you will find pastries, fruits, pancakes and french toast. Toppings for the pancakes and french toast include maple syrup and a fruit topping, usually strawberries. Also available are a variety of cereals. This meal is an all you can eat affair so you are more than welcome to go back for seconds, or even thirds.
So that you don't rest on your laurels while here, every so often the music gets loud and it is time to dance with the characters in the aisle.
Minnie and Friends is one of the restaurants where taking your child's toys can extend the time a character will spend at your table. This happens to be one of our favorite character meals. This character meal is only offered at breakfast. The Plaza Inn itself is usually open for lunch and dinner. Breakfast prices are $27.99 per adult and $13.99 per child. Remember that at Disneyland you are an adult once you reach the age of 10 years old.
Ariel's Grotto Princess Meal
The Princess meal at the Disneyland Resort is at Disney's California Adventure. Ariel's Grotto is on the bridge to Paradise Pier and the outdoor seating overlooks the lagoon and the launch sequence for California Screamin'. The dinner meal will have a view of World of Color on the lagoon.
The Princess meal operates for breakfast and lunch with dinner being a World of Color dinner at this time. The Princesses are the most popular character meal at the Disneyland Resort. The first breakfast seating will be at 9:40am each day. Making your Priority Seating reservation in advance is an absolute must here. That being said, this is one of the best ways for your little Princess to see her favorite.
Breakfast with the Princesses will be served family style. You will be brought a selection of fresh fruit, pastries, cheeses and cold cuts as well as a platter of scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage and potatoes. Prices for breakfast are $34.99 for adult (aged 10 and up) and $18.99 per child aged 3 - 9. These prices are for July 2010.
Lunch serves a set menu for both adults and children. You will be served an appetizer family style, select one entree per person, and have a shared dessert in a family style platter. Lunch prices are $36.99 per adult and $20.99 per child. These prices are for July 2010.
Dinner does NOT have the Princesses, but is part of the World of Color dinner packages now. (More information about this is in the Entertainment Chapter)
During this meal it is essential that you remain at your table and wait for the much loved Princesses to come visit you. Each Princess will take the time to take pictures and sign autographs. If your little girl happens to be in a Princess dress and that particular Princess comes to your table, then you may be honored with some extra time at your table. Having a girl who loves Princesses will help too. With a son, we found the ladies happy to take pictures but quick to leave to visit with a little girl. Our son was fine with that as he had no interest in the Princesses.
Being a Princess meal at Ariel's Grotto, you will most likely see Ariel. Other than that you may see Princess Aurora (Sleeping Beauty), Cinderella, Belle, Snow White, Jasmine, Pocahontas, and Mulan. You will not see Tinker Bell or any of her Fairy friends at this meal, as it is strictly for Princesses. For those who would like to see the Princesses but have a young boy, don't let that stop you. For the little boys will be giving crowns of their own and just like the girls each Princess will stop at your table. So be sure to get up and have your picture taken with each Princess that comes to your table.
Chip and Dale's Character Breakfast
Chip and Dales breakfast is at the Storytellers Cafe located at the Grand Californian Hotel. This character meal is only available for breakfast. The Storyteller Cafe is then open for meals later in the day without the characters.
Chip and Dale are always at this breakfast, and usually Pluto will join those rascals. Other characters you may see here are Koda, Kenai and Baloo. The characters here enjoy getting the children up for a conga line through the restaurant.
This is the one character meal where you have real dining options. You can choose to enjoy the buffet, which will have an omelet station, fruits, pastries and standard breakfast items such as bacon, sausage, ham, scrambled eggs and other home style breakfast items. Your other option is to order from the menu. On the menu you will find various omelet selections, steak and eggs, huevos rancheros and eggs benedict for the egg dishes. There are also items available from the griddle to enjoy. Reportedly the food is better here than any of the other character meals.
When you dine at this character meal, be sure to walk through the hotel and enjoy the Grand Lobby. Prices for the buffet are $24.99 per person aged 10 and up and $12.99 per child. Again, these prices are for July 2010. If you order from the menu you will pay menu price.
Surf's Up with Mickey
Surf's Up with Mickey has taking the place of the Lilo and Stitch breakfast. This is held daily at the PCH Grill at the Paradise Pier Hotel. This is the only character meal where you can see Mickey Mouse. Mickey will not come to your table though. You will be taken to see Mickey Mouse on your way to your table. here you can pose with him and have your picture taken. They will take your picture and later try to sell it to you in a package. You can also take your own pictures. The picture package looks nice, but is very expensive.
The characters that may come to your table here are Daisy Duck, Max (Goofy's son), Minnie, Stitch and Pluto. With any character meal that is not the Princesses it is possible that you will see Chip and Dale too. Of course, the only character you are guaranteed to see is Mickey Mouse. We found the characters here did not spend time with our table even with the toys on display and our son actively playing.
At Surf's Up you will have a buffet to choose from that includes an omelet station, a selection of pastries, flatbreads, bacon, and their signature meal choice, chilaquiles with salsa verde, queso fresco and shredded beef.
Every 15 minutes there is a call for kids to join the party and play a game. Hula Hoops was one game and with a lot of kids in a little area that one didn't work so well. Stitch chose a surf board game the kids all enjoyed. These games are fun for the children, and great photo opportunities for the parents.
While the characters don't spend a ton of time at your table, this meal is still fun because of the games that do allow for character interaction. And this is the only character meal you will see Mickey Mouse at, so don't hesitate to go and have a great time. Breakfast with Mickey is $29.99 per adult (age 10 and up) and $15.99 per child.
Goofy's Kitchen, the longest running character meal at the Disneyland Resort is located at the original Disney property, the Disneyland Hotel. Your meal choices here are breakfast, brunch, and dinner. Prices are higher for dinner than they are for breakfast.
Before you are taken to your table here you are sent to see Pluto for pictures. They used to then sell the picture to you immediately. Like the other character meals they now bring the pictures to you in a package while you are dining, and you have the option to purchase the package. Like the other meals though, you can take your own pictures so don't feel obligated to purchase the package.
Pluto is usually the character out front for pictures. On rare occasions it will be another character. Goofy is the one character you are guaranteed to see at Goofy's Kitchen. The unique thing at Goofy's Kitchen is that your table cloth is covered with paper. Use the paper wisely - characters love to write on it or draw pictures, and yes, you can take those home with you!
Meals at Goofy's Kitchen usually will have one Princess. We have seen Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Belle, Jasmine and Alice there, but not at the same time. Goofy's Kitchen is for Goofy, not the Princesses there, so they are never guaranteed. Chip and Dale are often here, Baloo is sometimes there, Minnie is at Goofy's Kitchen occasionally. Max (Goofy's son) is there frequently as well. Be sure to bring your toys here because the characters will take the time to play. Also watch for Goofy when he signs the autograph books (no spoiler here).
When you eat at Goofy's Kitchen you have an incredible buffet to choose from. For breakfast you can have a made to order omelet and choose from a selection of meats. There are pastries galore, plenty of cereals and more. Pancakes and french toast are usually there for breakfast.
Brunch is much of the same with an added dessert buffet. There is also a sundae bar at Goofy's Kitchen. Kids may see peanut butter pizza at the children's buffet for brunch.
Dinner is also grand with a selection of fresh carved meats, and another entre option such as fish or other seafood. Each dinner will also have a vegetable side dish, a potato dish and a full salad bar to fill out the buffet. Children often have corn, popcorn shrimp, macaroni and cheese, and cheese pizza to enjoy. Then there is a dessert bar which includes no less than 15 dessert options.
It is not advertised here, but if you would like to enjoy a drink with dinner that can be done. This is a second bill, and you can run a tab with a credit card. Drinks are from the bar next door to Goofy's Kitchen.
There are a couple of different things that happen here that are a lot of fun for the kids. When you hear what sounds like a bunch of dishes crashing and breaking, head to the floor in front of the dessert bar. There will be a tub of various kitchen items there. Each child can grab one to use as a noise maker. This is a noisy, character filled event and great to video tape. Another one of these fun 'games' is to join the characters for the Macarena. Be sure to chant Go Goofy as he does this with the kids. A video camera is very handy to have for dining at Goofy's Kitchen.
A character meal at Goofy's Kitchen is very popular, so be sure to make your Priority Seating reservation. Prices for Goofy's Kitchen breakfast/brunch are $29.99 per adult and $15.99 per child aged 3-9. Dinner prices are $35.99 per adult and $15.99 per child.
Character meals are a blast, and watching your child's eyes light up when a character comes to the table is worth every penny. To help save those penny's though, if you are a member of AAA you can get a 10% discount on these meals just by showing your card when you pay.