The Best Disney Character Dining Locations for Little Ones
Booking your Walt Disney World dining reservations can be one of the most exciting aspects of the planning process. These are an experience where your children can see their favorite characters up close, they visit your table so you do not have to wait in line to see them, and it is a great way to see several characters at once so you are not wasting precious park time. But, how do you know which Disney character dining locations are best for your young child? Having seen Walt Disney World at all the ages and stages with our kiddos, I have been able to put together a list of the Disney character dining locations that I think are perfect for littles.
The Crystal Palace at Magic Kingdom. First, this is located right inside the park, just up Main Street USA. As soon as you enter this location, you feel as if you are in a garden in springtime. The topiaries, bright windows, and happy atmosphere are the things I think make this excellent for families with young children. The decor is cheerful, and the restaurant is fairly large, so it’s easy to navigate without running into people. This location, like most character dining, is buffet style.
I like this because you can fill a plate with your child’s favorites, and go back for more whenever you want! Also, your family can focus on eating, while the characters make their rounds and the servers keep your drinks filled. This tops my list for Disney Dining with littles mostly because of the character appearances. At The Crystal Palace, you will find everyone’s favorite snuggly bear, Winnie the Pooh. Alongside Pooh are his friends Piglet, Tigger, and Eeyore. Little ones love these characters! And, this is one of the few places you can see them in ALL of Walt Disney World.
The Garden Grill at EPCOT. I love, love, love Garden Grill for so many reasons. First, it is one of the quieter character dining locations at Walt Disney World. There is not a parade with the characters that your child can participate in ~ which is great at the other locations ~ but I also think it’s a plus at this one. That keeps it quiet, less movement, and there is not loud music playing.
Secondly, the food is fantastic and very kid friendly. It is served family style. In my experience, our servers have always been very attentive, and we wanted for nothing while we were eating. This location rotates very, very slowly so you are overlooking the Living with the Land attraction as you eat. The characters here are Mickey Mouse, Pluto, and Chip and Dale. They are in their farming costumes, and so cute! Overall, I think that if you can do only one Disney Dining experience with your little one, this would be it.
Hollywood and Vine at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. If you have a Disney, Jr. fan in your family, you need to book a breakfast at this dining location. The Disney Jr. characters are only present at breakfast, and then lunch and dinner are Minnie and her friends. The Disney Jr. characters rotate, depending on who is popular at the time, and what shows are on Disney Jr. We have seen Handy Manny, Jake, Little Einsteins, Mickey Mouse, Sofia, Doc McStuffins….and recently they have replaced some with Vampirina.
So it just really depends, but you won’t be sorry! Even lunch and dinner are fun for littles with Minnie and her friends. One tip, if you are traveling during the fall or Christmas season, Minnie and her friends are in seasonal attire. So, if you have decided to skip the Halloween or Christmas parties, which can be late with little ones, you can see characters in their seasonal costumes here and have a fun meal!
Breakfast at Cape May Cafe at Disney’s Beach Club Resort. I think this makes an excellent dining experience for the little ones in your family. First, it is located outside of a Disney park, so you do not need a park ticket to dine here. This makes it wonderful for a non park day, or a departure morning breakfast. You see several classic characters during your time here ~ Minnie Mouse, Goofy, Pluto, Donald, and sometimes Daisy. This is a fantastic alternative to Chef Mickey’s, as well.
We have had the pleasure of dining at every character dining location, and I feel as if these are the most friendly toward little ones. If you are looking for a Disney character dining experience that your little one will thoroughly enjoy, you cannot go wrong with any of these!
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We LOVE Hollywood and Vine! My kids are still big Disney Junior fans. Thanks for these! We haven’t been to the one at Boardwalk yet!
Keep taking them to Hollywood and Vine as long as you can…they grow up so fast!
Love this! Just visited the Epcot Character dining in Norway and loved it!
Yes! Akershus is so fun!
I love food and definitely plan trips around meals… so this is a great post for a foodie visiting California! Thank you for sharing
Sure! You are so welcome!