I hear it all the time from clients planning their first trip to Walt Disney World, “We want to see as many characters as possible! My kids just love Mickey/Cinderella/fill-in-your-favorite-character here.” And I agree – character interactions are one of my favorite parts of visiting Walt Disney World! But did you know that you can see the characters without having to pay admission to the theme parks? It’s true!

Character meals can be found at multiple restaurants at Walt Disney World resorts. These restaurants are the perfect alternative to waiting in line at a character meet and greet in the parks. In fact, a character breakfast is the perfect way to end a Disney vacation on your last morning. Spend some time with your Disney friends before boarding the Magical Express bus back to the airport!

Here are our top five favorite character meals at Walt Disney World resorts.

Cape May Café at Disney’s Beach Club Resort – Breakfast Only
We all know that Disney’s Beach Club Resort is my personal favorite resort. But Cape May Café is also my favorite character meal! The Minnie’s Beach Bash Breakfast features Minnie Mouse and friends ready for for fun in the sun in their swim suits. This buffet breakfast offers a full spread of hot and cold breakfast items. From Mickey waffles to cheese blintzes, there is something for everyone! DPP Tip: Book this breakfast for early on your Epcot park day. Once you finish eating, you are just a short walk to Epcot’s International Gateway to start your day! 

walt disney world beach club cape may cafe

My son with Chip at Cape May Café

1900 Park Fare at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa – Breakfast & Dinner
Disney’s Grand Floridian is home to one of the most eclectic character meals at Walt Disney World. At breakfast, 1900 Park Fare is a whimsical start to your day with the Supercalifragilistic Breakfast. Mary Poppins, the Mad Hatter, Alice, and other friends greet guests while they enjoy a buffet breakfast. (Try the strawberry soup!) At night, Cinderella’s Happily Ever After Dinner features Cinderella and Prince Charming greeting their guests while other characters mingle with guests enjoying a buffet dinner. The Evil Step-Mother and Step-Sisters from Cinderella often attend in their never-ending quest to find the sisters their own Prince Charming. Gentleman – you have been warned!

walt disney world grand floridian 1900 park fare

The Mad Hatter from Alice in Wonderland greets guests at 1900 Park Fare

‘Ohana at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort – Breakfast Only
“‘Ohana means family. And family means no one gets left behind. Or forgotten.” – Lilo and Stitch.
There is no danger of anyone being left behind at this popular character breakfast! The Best Friends Breakfast featuring Lilo & Stitch at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort is a family-style feast. Platters of food with Polynesian-inspired breakfast favorites are brought to your table and replenished as needed! Scrambled eggs, island-style potatoes, and ham with pineapple compote fill your bellies for a busy day while Lilo, Stitch, and other friends entertain you. Keep an eye out for Stitch – he can be trouble! The main mouse himself often makes an appearance at this meal as well.

walt disney world polynesian ohana

Another excuse to post a photo of my kid… Checking out Mickey Mouse at ‘Ohana!

Trattoria al Forno at Disney’s Boardwalk Inn – Breakfast Only
A relative newcomer to the character meal scene at Walt Disney World, Trattoria al Forno is host to the Bon Voyage Adventure Breakfast. The menu allows guests to choose from a variety of plated breakfast entrées while fruit and a pastry basket are brought for the table. Rapunzel and Flynn Rider from Tangled, Ariel and Prince Eric from The Little Mermaid, and other famous Disney pairs are frequent guests at this breakfast.

Chef Mickey’s at Disney’s Contemporary Resort – Breakfast, Brunch & Dinner
You’ve been waiting for this one, haven’t you? Chef Mickey’s at Disney’s Contemporary Resort is arguably the most popular meal at Walt Disney World. (Cinderella’s Royal Table is the other contender for the title.) So why is Chef Mickey’s so far down on my list? Disney describes Chef Mickey’s as “a lively, all-you-care-to-eat buffet with Disney Friends in a bright, happy space.” Lively is the key word here! While all character meals are energetic, there is just something about Chef Mickey’s that feels more chaotic than other locations. But since this is the one location where you can see the “Fab Five” – Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Pluto, and Donald – it is definitely worth visiting! DPP Tip: To make this meal extra special for the Mickey or Minnie Mouse fan in your family, consider adding on the “My Storybook Moment” to your meal. Mickey or Minnie will personally visit your table and deliver mouse ears, a “Best Friends” lanyard, and an exclusive autograph book which they will sign right there and then. 

As you can see, there are many ways to enjoy a character meal without ever entering a Disney theme park. Whether this is a “no parks trip” (yes, there is such a thing!) or just a break in the middle of your vacation, one of these character meals is the perfect way to bring some Disney magic in to your day. What are your favorite character meals? Let us know in the comments!

walt disney world resort character dining

Save this article to Pinterest so you can find it later!