A Complete Guide to Character Meals at Disneyland Resort

Updated August 31, 2020

For many, a visit to Disneyland isn’t complete until they share a meal with a Disney character.

I’ve researched your options, below, with details on each so that you can find the best fit for your friends and family.

If you’re considering dining with characters, read through this post and let me know what questions you have.

Basic Info

  • There are five options for character dining at the Disneyland Resort. Four are within the resort hotels and one is at Disneyland.
  • Theme park tickets are required to enjoy a dining option inside the park.
  • A hotel room stay is not required to enjoy a character meal at one of the DLR hotel restaurants.
  • Reservations are highly recommended and can be made up to 60 days in advance. All reservations can be made online or you can call (714) 781-DINE (3463) between 7:00 AM and 7:00 PM daily (Pacific Time). 
  • Cancel within 24 hours of your reservation to avoid a penalty charge of $10 per person.
  • Each meal lasts approximately an hour. (With one exception.)
  • You will not have to pay for children under the age of 3, however, include them in your party count when making a reservation. That way, the restaurant can accommodate accurate seating for your group. Children age 2 and under can eat off your plate or you can bring food for them.
  • Annual Passholder and DVC discounts are available at all meals except for the Princess Breakfast Adventures option at Napa Rose.

Tips on Dining

  • Character meals are priced a bit higher than other meals throughout the parks, however, there is a lot to be gained with these experiences. You can avoid standing in line for signatures and photos during park times, you get personal interaction with the characters and you can often achieve a more memorable experience during character meals.
  • There is no need to follow characters around throughout your meal. They come to you! Be sure to pack your autograph book.
  • Characters vary throughout meals and there are no guarantees you will see specific ones. The only absolute is that you will see the character whose name is included in your meal’s name. IE: Goofy will be at Goofy’s Kitchen.
  • Small children may be overwhelmed with life size, enthusiastic characters interacting with them. Consider this before making a reservation. I’ve been at many meals over the years with kids crying because of the characters. I recommend watching YouTube videos of character meals prior to arrival if you think this might be an issue with your kids.
  • To ensure the most time available for rides and attractions, choose one of the three DLR hotel character dining experiences (unless you time it just perfectly – more on that later), perhaps on the day you arrive or leave. This way, you don’t interfere with precious park time. 
  • Strollers are not permitted in any of the four restaurants with character meals. You may park your strollers outside and use a high chair when you dine.
  • If you are dining at one of the meals at a Disneyland Resort Hotel and driving in only for that meal, park at the hotel and ask for your ticket to be validated. You’ll receive free parking up to 3 hours with your paid meal.

Quick Reference for your Meal Options

Storytellers Cafe Breakfast – Mickey and crew in safari-esque costumes; great food

Goofy’s Kitchen Breakfast or Dinner – Your only dinner option; lots of “kid” food

Donald’s Seaside Breakfast – Your only option to meet Stitch at the Disneyland Resort (unless you’re a Disney VISA card holder)

Minnie’s in the Park Breakfast – Most diverse characters and most you’ll encounter at your meal; my favorite

Disney Princess Breakfast Adventures – New, high end experience at Napa Rose in the Grand Californian Hotel

Now, let’s compare the five restaurants in more detail……


Storyteller’s Cafe – Mickey’s Tales of Adventure

  • Location: Grand Californian Hotel
  • Menu: Breakfast every day and Brunch (Brunch is offered on select days from 11:30am-2:00pm)
  • Cost: American, Mexican fare (Breakfast: $45 for adults, $26 for children; Brunch: $47 for adults, $26 for children)
  • The main idea: Mickey, Minnie and friends wander while you dine on a lovely buffet
  • What’s unique: This option has the most high end food and it’s in the most high end setting. It’s also the only meal that has both Mickey and Minnie Mouse together.
  • Check out my most recent visit here (late February 2020). And, another visit on opening day of this redesigned meal.
  • Typical (but not guaranteed characters): Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Chip, Dale, and Pluto
  • Note: This is the only character meal option that does not include PhotoPass photographers. Use your phone for photos. Cast members can help!


Goofy’s Kitchen 

  • Location: Disneyland Hotel
  • Menu: Breakfast and Dinner
  • Cost: American fare ($55.94 for adults, $33.06 for children for breakfast; $61.03 for adults and $35.60 for children for dinner) – these prices include tax and tip
  • The main idea: With table service and a buffet, this classic Disney character experience is a favorite because of its lively ambiance and because it’s the only option for dinner with characters.
  • Unfortunately, the interaction between characters and guests is limited – I believe – due to the size of this character meal. We have had brief encounters with each of them during our visits, although they did all make it to our table once.
  • What’s unique: This is your only opportunity for a character dinner, in or out of the parks. It is also the only place to find Goofy’s famous Peanut Butter and Jelly Pizza and Mac n Cheese Pizza. Kids LOVE this option because of the huge amount of “kid food”.
  • Check out one of our visits from 2015 so you know what to expect. Another visit can be found here, which was in January 2017. Finally, I visited in September 2019. Find that review here.
  • Some people suggest that this option has gone down in quality. We had a great time at this meal, but encountered more characters at others. Other locations are more up to date decor wise, as well.
  • Typical (but not guaranteed characters): Goofy, Pluto, Chip n Dale, and Minnie

Donald Duck’s Seaside Breakfast

  • Location: Paradise Pier Hotel
  • Menu: Breakfast everyday and Brunch (Brunch is offered on select days from 11:30am-2:00pm)
  • Cost: American fare ($39 for adults; $23 for children)
  • The main idea: Donald and friends cause mischief throughout this beach-themed restaurant, stealing sips of milk and acting silly. This meal is very interactive and lots of fun.
  • What’s unique: This is the only location that you can meet Stitch at the Disneyland Resort, unless you are a Disney Visa Card Holder. For more on the Disney Visa Card Holder meet-up, visit this link.
  • Check out my most recent visit, just after this character meal was redesigned into the Donald Duck theming.
  • Typical (but not guaranteed characters): Donald, Daisy, Stitch, and Minnie Mouse


Breakfast in the Park with Minnie and Friends 

  • Location: Disneyland, The Plaza Inn Restaurant
  • Menu: Breakfast
  • Cost: American ($36 for adults, $19 for children)
  • The main idea: Minnie and friends mingle at this breakfast on-site, with seating inside and out. Most people like indoor seating better because interaction is a bit more likely and weather isn’t a factor. I’ve dined outside several times and have had great experiences each time, however.
  • What’s unique: You can enjoy a view of the entrance to Tomorrowland while you dine and the Astro Orbitor is in view. Check out out photos for more details from a recent visit. Find more photos from another visit here. And, here. And, here.
  • Most people love this meal for both the food and interaction with characters, plus the amount of characters you’re likely to see. I average 11 character interactions each time I dine here. The three previously mentioned meals include 4-5 characters.
  • Typical (but not guaranteed characters): Chip n Dale, Minnie, Hook, Tigger, Eeyore, Fairy Godmother, Winnie the Pooh, Max, and Rafiki. I saw Pinocchio last visit! Others have reported seeing the mice from Cinderella. One of the penguins from Mary Poppins can be seen here sometimes.

Disney Princess Adventures at Napa Rose

My review is posted!

Visit this link for a very detailed recap of how opening day played out.

PhotoPass at Each Meal

PhotoPass photographers are at each meal with the exception of one – Storyteller’s Cafe.

They will take a few photos as you enter the character meal, but do not follow you around the restaurant taking photos of you eating or seeing characters at your table. Use your phone or camera for that.

About 2/3 of the way through your meal, a cast member will come to your table with a keepsake folder and a few prints of the best image from that first photo op. You may purchase it for around $35. If you don’t want the prints, here’s how to get the digital image(s) included in MaxPass or any PhotoPass package:

  • If you purchase MaxPass, your digital images will be extended to you at the meal for no additional charge. Show proof of MaxPass on your device when requesting the digital images. More details on PhotoPass via MaxPass can be found at this link. That same link provides info on if you are dining prior to entering the park where you would purchase MaxPass.
  • If you do not purchase MaxPass, or are dining at a character meal on a non-park day (meaning, you wouldn’t be able to purchase MaxPass), buy the printed images offered to you at the meal if you want them. This is your only option to obtain the images unless you have purchased the One Week PhotoPass Package. I share all about the PhotoPass options in this link.

When I Recommend You Dine

Schedule your character meal for 10:00am or 10:30am. This way, after you arrive early for the morning hours to enjoy the parks with fewer crowds and less chaos, you’ll have a nice escape to a nice meal waiting for you right as the the people arrive.

You will love this break from the crowds.

This is a good way to balance out the cost of the character meals, too. Since they’re more expensive than standard dining at the parks, consider this 10:30am dining event a “brunch”. Have a granola bar/fruit/muffins, etc, on your walk to the park or in your hotel room to start the day. Enjoy a couple of hours of low lines for attractions (use my strategies here to avoid waiting more than 20 minutes for anything – with one exception) and then enjoy your “brunch” and eat lots! You’ll have worked up quite an appetite by the time you sit down.

Then, a big lunch won’t be necessary. Snack your way through the afternoon and then finish your day with dinner on site.

Add a Cake to your Experience

Celebrating? Consider adding a cake to your reservation.

This link shares more.

Some More Tips

  • Use the Disney Parks App to locate characters outside of your committed meal times if you don’t get to see the ones you want during your dining arrangements.
  • My absolute favorite character meal is the Breakfast in the Park with Minnie and Friends. Here is why: It hosts the most characters, the characters are super interactive and attentive, and it’s in the best setting, as far as I’m concerned. I also love that it’s in the park, which is super convenient.
  • My second favorite character meal is Mickey’s Tales of Adventure at Storyteller’s Cafe. I love that you can see Mickey and Minnie at this meal. It also has the best food of the four options. The setting is upscale and convenient in the Grand Californian Hotel.
  • While I list the characters you’re most likely to see at each meal, there is no guarantee that every one of these characters will greet you at your table. Characters do their best to accommodate every table, but occasionally, you might miss one. Character focused cast members are on site. If you feel that you’re not seeing enough interaction, kindly approach a cast member and ask if he or she can help. Disney wants you to have the best experience possible.
  • Each meal is set up a little differently. With some, you will check in and pay upon arrival. Others will include receiving the check at the end of the meal. I encourage you to leave gratuity at every character meal.
  • Most character meals include specific buttons designed to show you enjoyed a meal there that day. Grab one for each person in your party upon check in. If you don’t see the buttons on a basket when you check in, kindly ask a cast member for them.

Where to Go if Your Reservation is Prior to Official Park Opening

If you make your reservation prior to official park opening, you will need to take your reservation confirmation (email or via your mobile) to the gate marked for such. You will be allowed to enter for your time, even without Extra Magic Hour or Magic Morning.

Do NOT use your EMH or Magic Morning for a character meal. Save it to use another day. Find more on EMH and Magic Morning in this post.

Here is a photo of what your gate will look like:

Leave me a comment if you have any questions. Happy to help you!

Take a look at how Get Away Today can help with your vacation


  1. Hi Casey.
    I agree with the many comments about your helpfulness. Thoughts on Mother’s Day, other than prices will go up and it will be slammed. After reading I am planning on Storytellers around 10:00. I already called and they confirmed that reservations, even for that day, are 60 days out. We check into the DLR that day and have following two days in the park.

    • Hi, Tom.

      Happy to help you! Did you get a reservation? If they’re not immediately available 60 days out, check back each day.

      Mother’s Day is a busy time in the parks, but so much fun.

      Love Storytellers Cafe! You will, too.

  2. Hi,

    I’m thinking about doing a character dining experience on our last day when we do not have park tickets. Thinking this would be a great way to continue experiencing the Disney Magic before we head to the airport and go home, and also a good way to fill our time that day because we won’t fly out until the early evening. You don’t need park tickets for the character meals at the hotels right? I’m considering story tellers or the Disney Princess one.

  3. My daughter is gluten and dairy free. Based on your recommendations and her desire to see Minnie and Mickey we are thinking to make brunch reservations at Mickey’s Storyteller Cafe. The menue says they have rotating salads and entrees — do you know if some of them are gluten and dairy free?
    Thank you so much for all your help to everyone!

    • Hi, Lisa.

      There should be some that are gluten and dairy free. Disney is great at providing a good mix of options so all guests are pleased. When you check in, let the cast member know about your dietary restrictions and he or she will advise further about what’s a fit for you.

      I’m reviewing this meal tomorrow morning (2.26.2020), so check Facebook later in the day for more from this location!

  4. Hi Thanks for all the valuable insight. We are planning our 1st Disneyland trip for late April. I noticed you mention a late breakfast to not interfere with the early access hour/morning. What is your experience with a 10:30am and/or 11am (the latest) reservation in terms of actually meeting the characters at the table? The Minnie and Friends Character Breakfast looks to only be available until 11am. How does this impact actually see all the characters available? Do they stop coming out at 11am? Or does the character breakfast actually to past 11am once you’re in? Thanks for the info in advance.

    • Hi, Mike.

      I have dined several times at this meal at 10:00am. I would aim for that or 10:30am. Disney won’t book a reservation for you and have the characters take off. They hang around to ensure you get to see as many as possible.

      This is my favorite! Hope you love it as much as I do.

  5. Hi, I was just sent here from a fb group and am loving all the info! We are planning a trip for late June 2020. My husband, 5 yr old daughter and my son (will be 11 months) are visiting family in Orange County. We want to take my daughter to DL so we are only getting a 1 day ticket to DL only. A character meal sounds fun too though! So my question is..since we only have 1 park day is it worth it to do the plaza inn meal (which I know you say is your fav) and take up park time? OR we could come back for a meal outside the park on a non park day and would have the chance to bring my 11 month old who would actually be turning 1 within a few days..so maybe an early 1st bday celebration meal. And it would give the option for other family to attend as well. This obviously means we would not be able to do the plaza inn meal…what would you do in this situation?

  6. Hi! I just booked a breakfast at Plaza In for Friday, November 30. It shows that the price is $59.99 per person. is this the new prince?

    • Hi, there. Disney provides a range of pricing for character meals, as they change throughout the year. The most current pricing I have for each meal is included in this post. If it’s not exactly right, it’s very close to it, as the prices only fluctuate a few dollars. So, Minnie’s should be around $34 per adult.

  7. Hi Casey,
    Thanks for the posting. It’s really helpful. I noticed some days the breakfast time starts at 7:10 while sometimes it starts at 8:10 at Plaza Inn for the Minnie Character Dinning. And I can’t seems to link the time to a particular day of the week. Just wondering if you know why time start time are different.
    Also I booked the breakfast at 8:10 hoping to skip the line up for the main entrance. As the park opens at 8:00 that morning when would you suggest we arrive at the main entrance? I know Plaza Inn is not far from the entrance but was hoping to be able to go to the Character Dinning entrance so we can get in earlier without lining up. Thanks!

  8. Hi Casey! LOVE your tips and have been scouring your website and fb to help plan our trip for Christmas this year. We are doing DL our first (2) park days 12/23 and 12/24 and DCA our last park day (12/25)
    We want to do one character meal during our visit and thinking of Storytellers brunch on Christmas Day. Would you recommend that? Thinking 10:30am reservations… Were staying on property at PP so plan on using the EMH that morning… Im just not sure if we should risk leaving the park if it reaches capacity and we cant get back in after eating (I keep reading DL usually does on Christmas Day so thats why were doing DCA) Our other option to splurge on Christmas Day for something special is the WOC dessert party instead of Character dining. Our kids are 7 and 4 so paying $84 a person, especially for little kids, seems ridiculous but I see the value in sitting at a table and not in a crowd after a long day…

  9. Love this post! I noticed though that you don’t have Brunch listed at Donald’s. According to the Disneyland website Donald’s does brunch on certain days.

  10. Hi! I’m trying to book a character breakfast at the plaza inn online, but it’s asking for my credit card details and not listing the total cost. Will they charge me the full amount or is the credit card just to hold the reservation?

    • Your credit card is only on file in case of a cancellation, in which case you will be charged $10 per person on your reservation.

      You may pay with the card on file or any other form of payment at the actual meal.

      Nothing will be charged for The Plaza Inn until you dine.

  11. Hi, we will be at disneyland from october 14th untill october 18th.
    We were trying to make reservations for minnie and Friends but on the website there’s only a Schedule untill september 28th. Have jou tot and idea when the dates will open or if they even open?

  12. Hi there, it seems like Plaza Inn only take reservations 30 days out, compared to 60 for the other ones. Did you notice that?

  13. Hi Casey!
    We unfortunately are having to book meals, etc. last minute due to uncertainty about making the trip, and could only get a 7:50am res. For plaza inn. I know this isn’t ideal. Is it even worth it or should we give up on the idea???

    • Do it! We purposely did a 7:30am breakfast at Plaza Inn and it was fantastic! Because it was early, they weren’t overly busy and we had lots of time with characters. We noticed as it got later and they got busier, the interactions became shorter. Plus, we were done by about 8:30 or 8:45 – just in time to use the Indy fast passes I’d already pulled!

  14. Wow there are SO many comments on this page and I truly shocked that you answered ALL OF THEM! God bless you! Love your page and everything you do to prep parents. This is mine, my husband’s and our 17 month old daughter’s first time EVER to Disneyland so to say we are excited is an understatement!! With your post and blessing we booked a character breakfast at 10:30am at The Plaza Inn. We are debating on whether to buy the MaxPass; read your post on it and I love that photos from Cast Member cameras are included. Are there tons of cast members with cameras every where to make this worth it? During the character breakfast is there a cast member accompanying every character at the tables to help take photos? With an 17 month old I’m not sure we’ll take advantage of the MaxPass for rides since she won’t be able to go on any really… thoughts? Part of me wants to splurge but part of me doesn’t think we will maximize our use and get our money’s worth. Please advise!

    • Happy to help you.

      You won’t have photographers at the table with you. You’ll only have one at the beginning of your meal when you walk in.

      I would have one of you purchase MaxPass for $15 to get photos from around the park. There are more options than you might think. Totally worth the $15.


  15. Hi,

    I’m thinking about doing Storytellers on our last day before leaving for the airport. Our flight isn’t until 3:20 on a Saturday. Do you prefer the breakfast or brunch? If you prefer brunch do you know what time they start changing the food over? I want to fill bellies before that trip to the airport but I don’t want to be rushing to the airport.

  16. Hi Amie,
    Just wanted to confirm that you require park passes for the actual day you wanted to do the character dining?
    I was hoping to do it the morning we were checking out of our accomodations and not visiting the park

  17. Hi,
    Are Getaway Today still not doing the vouchers for Character Breakfasts?
    We used them last time and it was great.

  18. We are going to Disneyland, staying at the Hotel (in California) in June for my nieces 6th Birthday – she will do the Bibbidi Bobbiti Boo dress up but we have been told a benefit of staying at the hotel means you get a complimentary Character Breakfast – but you have to book…

    Can you assist us at all? The website is soooo detailed, it is hard to track down.

    We are coming from Australia, and staying 4 nights at the hotel (which isn;t cheap) so would love to take advantage of what we can whilst there to make her birthday memorable.

  19. Hi!

    We are heading out for a June 2019 trip and was looking into booking a breakfast at Plaza Inn for my Minnie obsessed 2 year old. We would be going on a day that Disneyland has magic morning hours but we will not have access to those hours due to use of military tickets. Would you recommend an early morning breakfast trip to try to get into park a few minutes early or wait until late morning?


  20. Hi Casey, this page is so useful, thank you! I am a Brit attempting to work out budgets, and confused by tax and tip etc! Can you help?!
    We went to Goofy’s Kitchen (Disneyland California) a couple of years ago and want to go again this coming Summer and I am trying to work out what it will cost now because I can’t for the life of me remember how much we paid a couple of years ago.
    We want to do breakfast, we are 4 adults and 3 kids but the kids are 9, 10 & 11 so am I right in thinking we will need to pay for 6 adults and 1 child? If so, with tax and tip, how much will it all cost? I don’t seem to be able to find prices at all on the Disney website! Thank you so much, Charlotte.

  21. Hi Casey!
    The only Minnie and Friends reservation I could get during our stay is on a Friday at 10:45, however thats the day for EMH at California Adventure. Is it even worth trying to go to DCA, do a few rides, have breakfast at DL, then go back? We plan to be at Disneyland the day prior and only have two days total at the parks. We do have park hopper so that part is a non-issue.

  22. Hi! We are having a blast at Disneyland following your plans! Thanks for all your help. I have reservations tomorrow for Disney Princess Adventure at Napa Rose and I can’t find your post, just wondering if you would recommend this?

  23. Hi!!
    My 5 year old and I are going to be in the park March 19th and snagged an 8:10 Minnie and friends reservation. Thepark opens at 8 that day and I’m wondering if I should actually try and get a 10am reservation instead. Thanks!

  24. Hi Casey,
    We are headed to storytellers cafe and I have a 3 year old. Since the eat off your plate is Cut off 3 is she free or do I have to pay a kid price for her? Wasn’t exactly sure how that age works. Thanks!

  25. Casey,
    What is the age cut off for kids pricing for character meals? Our oldest is 11 and paying for another adult vs kid is quite a price increase!

  26. You’re so amazing to answer all these questions. Here’s mine. I have a reservation at Minnie’s in the park at 8:30, the only time available, and the park opens at 9. Id really love to be done by nine, so I’m wondering how early I can show up for my reservation and maybe be seated early. Any idea?

  27. hello i have a question .
    if i have a reservation at Donald Duck’s Seaside Breakfast at 7 am but both parks open at 9 am . but one of them has extra magical hours at 8 am . can i use the benefit of the extra magical hours after my breakfast?

  28. Hi Casey

    after reading your post on character dining I want to go. so looking at plaza with Minnie. if I go around 8 when park opens after magic morning. how long should I allow for this? I see most characters are at this one and a lot are on my teenage daughters list to meet. love your posts.

    • I recommend going at 10:00am, actually, so you don’t interfere with that earlier time in the park when lines are lower.

      Either way, the meal will take about an hour. Minnie’s is the absolute best! Enjoy.

  29. Hi Casey,

    Do you have any idea if the price for the Minnie and Friends breakfast has gone up? There is another website that is saying that it is $52 dollars (I’m hoping that’s Canadian or something). I am planning on taking a party of 8 in a few weeks (and if I plan to, I better buy more Disney gift cards at Target).

    Thank you.

  30. I tried to purchase tickets from Getaway today but it says none are available. Do they often run out or do they need to be purchased a certain number of days in advance?

  31. Hi Casey, can you tell me if I can use Disney gift cards at the restaurants in the parks?? Specifically Lamplight Lounge and Goofy’s Kitchen??

  32. Hi Casey! I’m taking my two kids (5 & 6 years old) mid January for a long weekend and since it’s just the 3 of us, I want to have meal reservations all weekend to make it a little easier. I am trying to decide which character meals to do, I think we’ll do two. I for sure want to do Plaza Inn. We’ve done Storyteller’s before, so I’m trying to decide between Goofy’s Kitchen or the Surf’s Up breakfasts for the other. Also, what are your thoughts on Blue Bayou for kids? Is it as dark as it looks from the ride? I can’t decide if it would be scary at all. Thanks for all your wonderful tips!!

  33. Hello, us the minnie in the park meal at the plaza inn? Thank you for this information, I’m a bit frazzled trying to figure this all out

  34. Hi!

    Im with a large group and we all previously purchased premium character dining vouchers but there’s no reservation availability am i able to use the vouchers for food elsewhere?

  35. HI Casey,
    Do you know if California Adventure still has an entrance from the Grand Californian? We are looking at doing breakfast at Storytellers on our upcoming trip. .

    Thank you for all the awesome info!

  36. We are dining at Minnie and Friends at 7:30 on Tuesday. We do not have EMH or MM. The park doesn’t open to all until 9AM. Will we have to leave the park after breakfast and then come back again at 9 or will they just let us go into the park at 8 (during MM hour.) Thanks!

  37. Hi Casey,

    you mentioned for Mickey’s Tales of Adventures Character Breakfast it’s only from 11:30-2pm on Fridays, Sat and sunday, does that mean if I book a Breakfast there at 8:30 on friday, we wont see any character? thanks.


  38. Question, I called and was informed the price for Goofy’s Kitchen for dinner is $48/adults and $28/child. We are annual passholders this year. Is it a better deal with use my 15% discount from my pass and pay the tax and gratuity or purchase the vouchers thru Getaway Today? Is the 18% gratuity per person or group? And is the 18% required or can you chose gratuity? Thanks for the help!

    • Hi, Stacy. They might have changed pricing recently. Thanks for the info. I’ll look into it. I’m not at home, so I can’t calculate everything right now. But, do the math to find out which is a better deal. 18% is what Get Away Today adds for gratuity. You could change it if you wish, but I wouldn’t go much lower. Cast members work hard at these dining experiences.

  39. So there is some confusion on this site…Casey you state that the Mickey at Story tellers is regular, but in your September post on Facebook you state that it is premium. Can you clarify for me please as I followed your recommendation to book my REGULAR vouchers with Get Away. Thanks

  40. Hi, do you know how far in advance you can purchase the vouchers? We aren’t going to DL till next October, but I think I would be great to give vouchers for xmas presents.

  41. Hi. I just had a quick question about which times are best to do the Plaza Character breakfast. I know you said 11:00 or later is best, but I wasn’t lucky/organized enough to get one of those times haha. So I’m choosing between a 7:10am, an 8:00am, or a 9 am time during a magic morning that we aren’t planning on doing the magic morning on that day. Or I can do a 9:40 am time on a non magic morning? Thanks so much for this great post. It has so much great information.

    • Hi, Jenna. I would go with the 7:10am. Arrive early and line up at the gate pictured in the bottom of this post. They’ll allow you in a little early to get to the restaurant. Dine within an hour and then move on with your day. Enjoy!

  42. Hi Casey,

    Has the food changed at Paradise Pier’s character breakfast since it is now a premium meal? We dined at Storytellers before it changed to premium as well as right after, and I didn’t see much of a change in menu items, but we loved having Mickey there etc. Just wondering if you saw any difference at the redesigned breakfast at Paradise Pier.

  43. BTW – I see this post was updated the same day that I called. Just saw that, so I guess it could have changed re: Mickey even after I talked to the dining rep.

  44. Hello there! I’ve been to DL several times, but this December I am going for the very first time at Christmas time! I am unbelievably excited! Since we’ve been several times, this trip I want to make. Little more special by doing th things we don’t usually focus on as much. Less big rides, more experiences; parades, treats, activities, sight seeing all the decor, etc. At holiday time, do they do anything different on the character meals? More holiday themed? We only have two days at the park this trip, so I want to make them count. Usually we do 3+. Are they worth the time, or should we focus on other events?

    • Hi there.

      Character meals are the same, although the hotels are decorated so beautifully. They’re definitely worth the time and money. I love Mickey’s Tales of Adventure if you want to visit a hotel for a meal. Enjoy!

  45. Hi Casey, Thanks for all of the amazing information. I am wondering if every character dining experience is a buffet? Are there any that you can order off of a menu? My daughter has an allergy therefore often a buffet isn’t safe for her to eat at. If it is a buffet do you think they would acommodate her & make something in the kitchen for her?

    • Hi, Dana. They’re all buffets right now. Let the cast member know upon check in that you have dietary restrictions and they will absolutely accommodate you. The parks are wonderful with food allergies.

  46. Hi! Maybe you can help. I’ve been trying to reserve a character meal with minnie at the plaza but the page won’t load and I keep seeing stitch and the message “somebody ate the page”. I’m looking for reservations the last week of August. App is not working for me either. I’ve tried calling the past three days and it’s a constant hold and no answer… after 20 minutes I give up.
    How can I contact someone to make a reservation? Thanks

    • Hi, Angela.

      I have seen that error message many times before. Very frustrating!

      Call 714.781.DINE to make a reservation. Try as early as 7:00am and as late as 7:00pm PST. When I know I have to call and am expecting a big hold time, I call, put my phone on speaker and then fold laundry or something else until I get through. Hope so much you can find something to do and eventually get through. Good luck!

  47. We only have one day to visit Disneyland and would like to do a PPO meal with Minnie and friends to meet lot of characters. About how long does the meal take? We are a family of 6. Would we finish before park opening or would we be better off eating a late breakfast? Thanks!

  48. Hi Casey, I’m going to Disneyland in September, a solo mission with my 8 month old and 5 year old. I’m glad I ran into your page, I see that the character meals don’t allow for strollers. Is that a space issue? Is there stroller parking outside of the dining area? I’m a bit worried to take my baby and my 5yo to a buffet with no stroller! I may be able to pull off having him in the carrier most of the time, but it’ll do a number on my poor back! Do they have highchairs available? I’d hate for that to be a make or break for me… Thanks!

  49. Hi I see that you list $43 for adults for Goofy’s Kitchen dinner. I just went a couple of months ago and it was $57 per person. My son was 2, so he was free.

  50. Hi Casey – sorry if this has been asked before, but we want to do a hotel character breakfast on the last day of our stay but we want to get it as close to lunchtime as possible. The dining times for breakfast appear to be until 11.25 – does that mean they leave at that time and we would be asked to leave then as well or would we and they stay until everyone has finished? Would we be betterbooking for say 1030 so we could get an hour with them or can we still book the 11.25 slot and still see the characters and eat? What I mean is is 11.25 the last time to start breakfast or is that when breakfast finishes? Thanks a million ?

  51. Thanks for all the great info! Looking to book with Minnie and Friends…do you know if they do breakfasts before park opens? Hubby isn’t thrilled with the continental breakfast available at the hotel we will be staying at so I’m wondering if it’s possible to enter the park before opening to do the character breakfast and hopefully be done with it at opening so as to not lose those precious early park hours?

    This will be our first time doing a character meal and all of your info has been super helpful!

  52. Hello, so glad I found your page. I have a 3 year old daughter who’s crazy for Doc McStuffin. Do you think by any chance we would meet the character? Or any recommemdation other than using the disney app? Have you seen McStuffin lately? Your advice would be much grateful. We’re travelling from Thailand to DLR next month. Thank you.

  53. Hi! I found this really helpful, i have a question, do you know if the characters are at 7.20 am? Because i want to make a reservation at that hour but i don’t know if it will be any character. I hope you can help me. Thank you!

  54. Hello!

    We’re taking the kids to Disneyland for the first time in July! Do you know if there are any meals with princesses? We’d like to maximize any princess time/activities for our almost 4 year old daughter. Thank you for your help! So glad I stumbled upon your site.

  55. Hi I’m so glad I found your site – it’s been unbelievably useful! I have seen on the Disney site that from July, Mickey will no longer be at the surfs up breakfast. Do you think he will appear somewhere else or will it be a case of you just can’t have breakfast with Mickey anymore after that? Also if I book a breakfast online after the 60 days, do I have to pay then or can I get the vouchers from the affiliate you mentioned and pay with them on the day? Thanks so much ?

    • Hi, Deborah.

      He’s moving to Storyteller’s Cafe at the Grand Californian Hotel. I’ll be there July 10, 2018 to review this meal – on opening day. Then, I’ll update this post with everything you can expect.

      To buy the vouchers, you will need to pay Get Away Today at the time of purchase. Still make your reservation. Buying the voucher simply allows you to save a little money and pay in advance. Otherwise, you can pay full price at the meal.

  56. Hi Casey,

    We have a breakfast booked for late June at Minnie’s and I can’t decide if we should buy vouchers ahead of time or not.

    I had decided to pay at the restaurant because we will have about half the cost available as points on our Disney Visa rewards card, and I would be willing to pay a few dollars more the day of to be able to use the reward points. However, I just saw mentioned on another site that the price typically increases during the summer (up the 25%!).

    Do you know if this is accurate? I can handle it being a few dollars more without the vouchers, but an extra 25% would put a damper on our meal (family of 6).

    Thank you so much for your help!

  57. Hi Casey,

    I read somewhere (it was probably from you, but I can’t remember) that there are going to be new character dining experiences? Any idea on when those might be starting? Thanks!

  58. Love your advice. You’re awesome!!!! So thankful for it. I know this goes against your advice, but I was thinking about eating first (Minnie at Plaza Inn) and then my daughter has an appointment around 9:30 at BBB. Im trying to book too many things? Should rethink my plan? About how long do we get to stay for character dining?

    • A meal lasts about an hour. I would enjoy the attractions first….dine….and then do the BBB. You can’t get those early morning hours back. They can make a big difference in your day.

  59. Hi,
    Thankyou for all your advice, this site I see awesome!
    We have booked a character meal for our last day and had to give a credit card incase of not showing, does this mean we can still purchase the vouchers to use?

    • Exactly. Everyone has to include a credit card in case you don’t show. That card won’t be used for the meal payment itself. It’s only on file for now shows. You may pay at the end of your meal with cash, card, voucher, etc. Enjoy!

  60. Hi,
    We were thinking of going to Minnie & Friends breakfast in the park on our last morning in Anaheim, what time do you think would be best so we can still enjoy the experience and make checkout at 11am? The Getaway Today Dining Vouchers look great, are they available to purchase for Non US holidaymakers?

  61. Hi! I’m an out of town AP. I want to do Goofy’s Kitchen on the day of our next upcoming trip when we are blocked out from the parks. I purchased the yearly MaxPass when I renewed my AP. Will I be able to get my photos from Goofy’s with my MP if I am not entering the parks? In your article you mentioned that you had to get into the parks because you had to buy the MP first…wasn’t sure how it worked if MP was already bought. I know I can’t make ride selections with my MP until I’m scanned in, but maybe photos are different?

  62. We have purchased 5 day tickets with MaxPass included for everyone for all 5 days. However, we have an early character breakfast planned at a hotel before parks open. Without already having my ticket activated that day by entering the park, will I be able to get the PhotoPass pictures at the breakfast via MaxPass?

  63. Everyone will have a magic morning but I have an annual passport so I won’t. If you book a character meal for Minnie’s Breakfast on a magic morning day, can you stay in the park even though you don’t have magic morning on your ticket?

  64. Hey Casey!

    I have been looking everywhere but I haven’t found anything. Do you know if they will still have some sort of dining with Princesses once Ariel’s Grotto closes? We aren’t going until October so I am sure it will change but I am curious.

  65. We had a really nice surprise at Goofy’s Kitchen! We did the character dinner there at the end of September and Mickey was there for a special appearance! We even got special Dinner Time Magic buttons that had Mickey and Goofy on them! The food wasn’t the greatest but we had a lot of fun with the characters! We did the prepaid vouchers from GetAwayToday and it couldn’t have been easier! Your help was essential to a wonderful experience!!

  66. Hi,
    We (family of 5) are visiting Disney next May from Australia and as we will be staying offsite (Courtyard Waterpark) and will only get 1 extra magic hour in the morning, is it better for us to book breakfasts earlier so once we’ve finished we can make our way to the rides?
    Kaydee G

  67. Hi,
    We are doing Minnie for breakfast (before 10) and Goofys for dinner another day and wanted to do storytellers brunch. Do you have any info on that. is it the same as breakfast? Price, characters, food?

    We will be there during dec 27-31

    • Hi, Nini.

      The Storytellers Brunch is the same as the breakfast (if you’re wanting to do the Critter character breakfast, as described in this post). They also have a lunch and dinner option, but those times don’t include characters. All the details for each meal that include characters are in this post. Hope that helps!

  68. Just joined the breakfast this morning at Surf’s Up. The price came out to be around $92 for 2 adults, $2 less than the voucher value sold by getawaytoday.com. Thus, I guess it’s not a good idea to purchase the voucher in advance.

    • Thank you, Lytaki, for that info. Did the $92 include tax and tip? The vouchers should cover everything. They’re a small savings, but they typically save you a bit of money and provide the ability to pay in advance and have it all taken care of. Plus, you can lock in the current pricing in case the meals increase in price by the time you travel.

  69. Hey Casey- I know you’re busy right now with your family and Halloween. I’m very sorry to hear about your sister, deepest condolences.
    I was just wondering if the Photopass photographers take more than just the entrance pictures? Are they following the characters throughout the meal? If not, how likely would other cast members be willing to take pics for us on my camera? I’ve got Plaza Inn late breakfast, and Ariel’s Grotto lunch booked on our second day. It’s just going to be my daughter and I. I always struggle to get pics of us together with characters unless a Photopass Photographer is near.
    Also, I’ll have Maxpass for both days, so we should be good to go with Photopass+ right?

  70. Casey,

    First off I wanted to say that we are sorry for the loss to you and your family. Our deepest sympathies.
    We have a trip in Nov and tried to book the Plaza Inn for a character dine but they aren’t taking any reservations for Nov at all. We are within 60 days. Do you know what might be happening or when it will be available to book?

    • Thank you, Chris. I haven’t heard of any issues at the Plaza Inn for your timing. I bet it’s the usual delay in Disneyland adding dining to the reservation option. Check each day and call in if I can help! 714.781.DINE is the number.

  71. Hi Casey,
    We will be at Disneyland in the first week of October.
    I have booked Minnie’s breakfast in the Park at Plaza Inn for our second Morning. I originally booked the breakfast for 10.30am as we plan on using the EMH that day. The park schedule hasn’t been released yet, however it seems to be opening at around 9/10am each morning in September. Assuming this will be the same in October, is it perhaps better to secure an earlier reservation at around 7/7.30am?
    Thanks so much for all of your help!

    • That’s a great idea. Try very hard not to interfere with those first two hours that the park is open, regardless of the official park opening time. 10:30am is ideal for an 8:00am opening. If you can go prior to park opening, go for it.

  72. Hi! I´m going to Disney on september (and I have park hooper, because I have just one day to meet both parks). The day that we are going the DCA opens at 10am and Disneylando too (but it has magic morning at 9am at Disneyland). So, I would like to book Ariel´s Grotto or The Plaza Inn before the park opens (to try to enjoy the park a little bit earlier and after the breakfast run right trough a line for a popular attraction). So…How much time earlier (from the resevation) can I get into the park? And how much time takes to eat the breakfast? (If we are in a hurry to go enjoy the park!).

    Sorry about my english…and thanks!


  73. We have an early Storyteller’s breakfast booked for our trip. Where’s the entrance from DTD to get into the GCH for this? Silly question, I know, but in all our trips we’ve never been inside the GCH! Thanks!

  74. Hi,
    We are looking at taking your recommendation and booking the Minnie’s breakfast for 10.30am and use our Early Morning Entry that day before breakfast. If you pre book the dining can you also prebook the Early Morning Entry? As otherwise what happens if it is not available that day? And what time is it from?

    • You can’t “book” Magic Morning or Extra Magic Hour. But, a reservation for this meal or any other is separate from an early entry privilege. You don’t have to have EMH or MM to dine prior to park opening.

      If EMH or MM is not scheduled for the day you have your meal scheduled, you will still be granted entry at the gate noted for reservations. I included it at the bottom of this post. You just have to show your reservation confirmation number. Enjoy!

  75. Hi!! We are going in november for our daughters 10 th bday and Im having a hard time deciding which to go to. We have breakfast provided at the hotel so leaning towards a late lunch… thoughts or ideas??

    • Minnie’s is my absolute favorite. You don’t have to leave the park and it has a HUGE variety of characters and there are so many quantity wise compared to other character dining options.

  76. Love your site! We are heading there in September. The park opens at 10am so I was thinking of doing a character dining at a hotel before opening so we don’t waste Park time. Do you have any transportation suggestions to the character dining at hotels when you don’t have a car? We had planned to take Uber from the airport and bring our kids boosters. If we had to take Uber to the character dining, we don’t want to carry around booster seats.

    • Hi, Melissa! I recommend Lansky for travel to the hotel from the airport. They have car seats and boosters. And they stop at the grocery en route to your hotel so you can stock up on snacks and bottled water, which will save you money in the parks. And no carrying boosters! Find Lansky and other companies I recommend here:


      Which hotel are you in? I can better advise once I know.

  77. Quick question – we were planning on doing a Goofy’s Kitchen breakfast and have a 3-day park hopper ticket. We are going to visit the park on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday. Can we book the breakfast on the day we are NOT going to the park? We don’t want to waste precious time that could be spent on the rides!

  78. Hey Casey, love your articles and FB page. We’ve been to DLR twice and WDW once from Australia and heading to Anaheim again in Sept 2017!

    We’ve done the Plaza inn breakfast twice and loved it. However now we want to try something else. Do you think it’s still worthwhile doing one of the hotel breakfasts late in the morning (I also agree that the early starts in the park allow you to do SO MUCH.). What would you say is a safe amount of time to allow to get from inside a park to, say, Disneyland Hotel for Goofy’s. The nicest part about Plaza inn is that it’s right there on Main St so you don’t take much time out of your day to get there.

    Or, would it be best to tackle the hotel breakfasts first thing in the morning so that you don’t have to get into the parks, leave the parks then get back into the parks after the breakfast.

    • Hi, Des.

      Great question. I love Storytellers and it’s closer than Goofy’s Kitchen. I think I would choose that over Goofy’s. Do Goofy’s for dinner instead if you’re set on that option. It’s rare to get a dining time early enough to allow you to get to the park an hour prior to official park opening. Agree that Minnie’s is so convenient! Love Surf’s Up!, too. But, it’s also far away. September hours will give you a 9am or 10am opening for the park. With that in mind, check the schedule when it’s time to schedule the meal and see if you can get a 7am timing, which would give you time to get to park and line up early.

  79. Yikes!!! I just saw that you listed both June 9 and 10 as Grad Nights 🙁 Looks like we will be going to Disneyland and DCA on June 11 and 12. LOL. . . Thank You So Much for all the Amazing Info!!! You have been an incredible help and we all are getting more and more excited every day! THANK YOU!

  80. Hello Casey!

    It’ll be our first trip to Disneyland (we will be there June 9-10) and your website has been SUPER USEFUL! We have two daughters (age 6 and 9), and we are planning on doing the Princess Lunch at Ariel’s Grotto. Would you recommend buying the Premier Character Dining ($48 for adults, $28 for children) on the Park Savers website, or through Disney’s website directly? If we purchase the tickets using Park Savers website, do we still need to contact Disney via their website/call and reserve our date/time for lunch? I am a little confused/concerned how buying the Premium Character Dining on Park Savers will work.

  81. I read somewhere that if you bring your receipt from Goofy’s Kitchen, you can use the Grand Californian entrance into California Adventure (even if you aren’t a hotel guest). Is this true?

    • Not true, unfortunately. And, they’re working on transitioning that entrance to having even more restrictions. Plus, it gets super busy. You’re better off at the main gate.

  82. Hi Casey,
    We are coming from Australia for a once in a lifetime family holiday in July. We will have a 3 day park hopper ticket. My 5 year old daughter is princess mad and my 8 year old (and me!) is more into Winnie the Pooh and Minnie. So I was thinking, based on your wonderful recommendations, of going to Ariels Grotto for lunch one day (what time do you recommend?) and then Minnie’s for the 10.30 breakfast on the day we use our early morning entry. Are 2 character dining meals in our short time there using up to much of park (ride) time? Would one be sufficient? What would you recommend? Thanks!!

    • One or both would be fine. 10:30am is ideal for Minnie’s. I would make the lunch for around 1:00pm if possible. That way, you can focus on the morning hours that are less busy in the parks. Both are great for your family, based on what you’re interested in. Enjoy!

  83. Hi Casey,
    When planning a vacation pkg directly with Disney, they are charging $120 for 2 kids and 2 adults at a regular character dining experience and $152 for the premium experience at Goofy’s Kitchen or Ariel’s. This seems high compare doing to the prices you quote. They do not give details either on what is included (tax and tip?). Do you know anything about this?

    • Vouchers bought from Disney do include tax and tip, which will be added on at the time you pay at each meal. I encourage you to do the math to see if it’s worth buying the vouchers. Some people like that they’ll be paid for before their visit. I would rather not spend the extra money.

  84. We went to Minnie’s Breakfast last November and sat in the worst spot in the place. We were tucked in a corner to the left and EVERY character passed my son up. He was so sad and didn’t now why they were not seeing him. I was so angry my blood was boiling, my husband went and spoke with a Cast Member and they were VERY sympathetic. They specially escorted every character to my sons table first and Chip even brought him a rose. It sucked that we had to waste a hour + waiting to make sure we seen all the characters, especially since theres a few not in the parks (Pearla, Suzy, Geppetto ect) but I’m glad they made up for it. I wish after the second character we would have said something.

  85. Hi Casey,
    I’m in all out planning mode for our DLR trip from Australia in May, and am planning on following your advice to book Minnie’s Breakfast at 10:30am to make the most of the park beforehand. As it’s my daughter’s 11th birthday the day we are planning our character meal, my sister’s family will be joining us. What I wanted to know is – do you have to reserve a place for infants? There will be a 1 year old and a 3 year old included in our party of 8.
    Many thanks! Now off to scour your site for more planning 🙂

    • Hi, Brooke. Make the reservation to include the infant, but you won’t have to pay. Only children 3 and up require payment. Always make the reservation count to include everyone , though, so that seating is accounted for. Hope that helps!

  86. Thanks for the update to this topic! We dined at Surf’s Up Mickey in June 2016, and we saw Mickey, Minnie, Stitch, Pluto, Donald and Daisy! It was a fabulous experience. Character dining is probably one of my favorite attractions at DL and DW. My 3 yr old was so in awe of Mickey…and the attention he gave all of my children will be remembered forever by me. I think we’ll check out Minnie’s breakfast and Ariel’s Grotto our next trip! Love your blog!

  87. Great overview! We did Ariel’s Grotto last year and had lots of fun. This year (we’re going on two weeks) we have Blue Bayou reservations, but now it says Pirates is going to be closed so I’m worried it won’t be the same atmosphere. I’m thinking about maybe doing another character meal instead, but it’s too late for Minnie’s breakfast reservations. It looks like Storytellers still has openings? Can you acces the hotel entrance/exit that goes right into CA Adventure to eat there, or can you only use that entrance if you are staying at the hotel? In other words, would we have to completely walk around in order to get to breakfast there, or could we go through the park? Thanks for any insight!

        • Hi, Larry. I’m not sure what you’re asking, but I’m happy to help. The turnstiles to DCA from the GCH are for all park guests after 11:00am. Cast members may stop you before that time if you do not have an activated key from a DLR hotel.

          You may get to Storyteller’s via the entrance to the hotel from downtown Disney between Anna and Elsa’s Boutique and Sephora. Security changes went into effect 12.15.2016.

          • That’s what I was asking. I’ve never tried to use that turnstile before 11:00am so I was asking if it was no longer available. You answered that is is, after 11:00am, but for breakfast folks, or diners before that time, entry is only from Downtown Disney unless you are a hotel guest. Thanks for the heads up.

  88. Great post! We’ve done both Minnie’s Breakfast and the Princess Celebration at Ariel’s Grotto. They are both wonderful, although I like the food quality at Ariel’s Grotto a little more, personally. We were at Ariel’s Grotto in late December and the characters included were Ariel (photos at entrance only, she doesn’t come around to the tables), Aurora, Cinderella, Tiana and Belle. At Minnie’s last summer we saw Minnie, Chip & Dale, Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother, Tigger, Captain Hook and Eeyore. It was easier to move around at Minnie’s, since it’s a buffet, whereas with Ariel’s Grotto, if you’re up from your table much you’ll be in the way of the characters and servers. Something to consider with small kids. We had a wonderful time at both experiences and would definitely do them again.

  89. Hi! My family is planning a trip in March to Disneyland, and we have the 3 day hopper tickets. Is it possible to book a breakfast at plaza inn before the park opens? We are Not staying at a Disney resort so will not have early entrance to the park. But is it possible to take advantage of an earlier breakfast reservation? I note in other comments it is beneficial to eat breakfast later, and enjoy the rides when it is less busy – but if I don’t have early entry privelidges, does that still apply? Thanks!

    • I always recommend a later breakfast so that you can enjoy the earlier hours – regardless of whether you have extra magic hour or magic morning. The initial hours after regular park entry are good, either way. But, if you want to go early, you may make a reservation at either park, even if you don’t have the early entry privilege. Just show your reservation confirmation at the gate noted for such when you arrive. Once they confirm your reservation, you’ll be let in. Enjoy!

  90. Hi Casey! Planning a trip for September 2017. I want to eat an early “dinner” at Ariel’s Grotto and am wondering what is the latest lunch reservation we can book to still see the princesses? Thanks!

  91. We’re planning a day at DL in April. The park hours haven’t been released yet but it’s a “value” day which seems to indicate the park won’t open until 10am that day. If that’s the case would you recommend skipping Minnie’s breakfast at the Plaza Inn? Or do they normally have breakfast times available for before the park opens? Thanks for all the helpful info!

    • Hi, Jessica.

      April typically has hours before 10am. I would plan on a 9:00am opening, in which case I would make a 10:30am reservation. With a 9:00am opening, you’ll likely be allowed in by 8:30am to browse Main Street. Then, Rope Drop will happen at 9:00am, officially opening the rest of the park. Spend 1.5 hours getting stuff done and then break for breakfast at Minnie’s.

      Another option is to dine before park opening, as you suggested. If that’s available, go for it. Just try to avoid missing that first true hour after official park opening. You can get so much done at that time.

  92. Hi!

    I’ll be visiting the parks around Valentine’s Day next year and the only thing my 5yo wants to do at Disneyland is meet Ariel. So I have been stalking Ariel’s Grotto online reservations each day when the 60th day out’s availability opens to get an idea of how quickly I need to be there to purchase. But everyday, they only offer me 11:30am or 1pm with nothing in between. Are there people out there with seriously fast fingers or are those times just not available for online booking?

    • Hard to tell. Have you called? I would try to call to see if there are other options if you want to know now. Or wait for your timing and definitely call if your time is showing online. Not sure why, but they often have more availability when you can than what shows online.

  93. Hi, I was just wondering if I book an early morning breakfast such as 8:30 on a magic hour day do I need to use my magic hour for this or will they let me in without it. Was looking at going to Plaza inn for breakfast with Minnie. Thanks

    • Hi, Sarah. You do not need a magic morning or EMH to visit the park for a character meal. There is a gate noted for reservations. Just have your confirmation with you and they’ll let you in a few minutes prior to your reservation time.

  94. Hi!

    This post is great! I’m curious though how I can get the price you quoted for Minnie’s Breakfast. Looks like it should be $100 for 2 adults and 2 kids, but when trying to add that onto my GetAwayToday reservation, it says I’m “saving $20” but the total still comes out to $116. Not quite as good as yours 😉 I’m not necessarily asking about my reservation lol Just curious if I’ll find discrepancies like that based on where I purchase tickets. Where can I purchase the tickets for the best deal?

  95. Love this breakdown of the dining options! Thank you so much! I was curious what the best plan of attack is for those of us with infants? No stroller + a buffet meal seems like mom isn’t going to get to eat. Lol. Help!!

    • Good question. I recommend bringing in the carrier of your travel system stroller if you have that. Give the baby a place to rest so you can maybe have a bite or two. 🙂 I’ve even used an ergo before. Hope you enjoy it!

  96. There are no more reservations available at minnies for breakfast. What would be your second option for these same type of characters? Thanks!

  97. Hi Casey,

    I love your website and feel so prepared for our trip to Disney Land. It will be my first time (30 yrs old) and my son’s (3 yrs old). I have even used your info to create our “Disney” binder. We signed up for the Minnie Mouse breakfast in the park per your recommendation but wondered if you had any other suggestions for dinner options. Where would you suggest we eat and what time? Note that we will be there for 3 days and will utilize the nap in the afternoon. Thanks again for all of your helpful tips!

  98. Hi!y I am a 26 year old and going to cali with my husband.I am looking to do Chip n’ Dale breakfast, and was wondering if you suggest doing it at 7AM right before we go to Disneyland or try to do it at 11:15 so we can go to the park in the morning when it opens to do Indiana Jones, Pirates and Buzz lightyear? Also we are celebrating my birthday there and am unsure how to let the dinning people know since I did the reservations through the Disney website.

    • Hi, Gaby. I recommend the later time. Don’t miss hours early in the day with less crowds. Break as late as possible for your meal to escape the crowds when they get busy. You’ll get lots done at park opening! Buzz Lightyear currently has the only “disconnected” FASTPASS, meaning, you can hold it and any other in the park, so don’t miss that opportunity. And, definitely let Storyteller’s and any other restaurant know that you’re celebrating your birthday. Enjoy!

  99. I have booked reservations for 10 at the Minnie & Friends Breakfast. I was wondering, does the Disneyland park restaurants charge gratuity for a party that large? I am trying to get a better idea of how much everything will cost for my daughter’s Sweet 16 at Disneyland.

    • Great question. Gratuity is added for tables of 8 or more at table service restaurants. Minnie and Friends at the Plaza Inn is completely self-serve. While you don’t actually have a “server”, you are not expected to leave a tip. I still do each time, especially if I make a connection with the server, but it’s not required and shouldn’t be included in a reservation of any size.

      Servers at meals like this don’t have formal roles such as table service restaurants, but they still work hard to clear tables and keep guests happy. You’re a good egg in my book for asking such. Hope you enjoy your visit.

  100. Hi Casey, thank you for all of your amazing tips! Quick question: we will be traveling to Disneyland the week of 11/21-11/25 – we will purchase either the 4 or 5 day hopper and are bringing our 2.5 year old. We want to do the character breakfast – given the park will be busy (Thanksgiving timeframe) would it be best to do the breakfast on Thanksgivng day or would recommend another day? How busy is it on the holiday? We plan to arrive 1 hour before opening to take advantage of the morning hours. We will also have 1 magic morning and was wondering if I should use that for Thanksgivng day?

    • Magic Morning on Thanksgiving will help with the crowds. It’s very busy that day, but fun! I recommend scheduling character meals on busy days to escape the crowds. Use your Magic Morning on Thanksgiving at Disneyland and then schedule the latest time possible at The Plaza Inn for Minnie’s Breakfast in the Park. Enjoy!

  101. Hi Casey! I’m wondering how you feel about the character dining add-ons to the reservation package. The cost of those seems to be about $10 or so higher than what it would cost to eat at those restaurants without the add-on, going from the pricing that you listed for each meal in this post. Is it just the difference in tax, do you think? Do you suggest adding on one of those meals to our package before going? Thanks!

      • I wonder if she means the one character dinner you can add to a reservation. I was wondering the same thing: the character dining voucher doesn’t seem like a good deal unless it includes tax and tip and the regular prices don’t.

        • Are you buying a character dining voucher from an agency? Many increase the prices on them. Check the fine print to see what that includes. No reason to buy anywhere but through Disney unless it’s a better deal.

  102. Help! I’m so excited but also overwhelmed. We bought a package that includes one character dining experience. I really want Ariel’s Grotto, but I’m concerned about timing. We are coming from Central Time Zone, so if we do a breakfast and it doesn’t start until 10am, that’s like noon for them, but I don’t know how psyched they’ll be about a “second breakfast.” I would love to do an earlier character breakfast at Paradise Pier, but I’m trying to work out the logistics. We are staying in a Good Neighbor Hotel near the main park entrance. Would we have to drive over and park in downtown disney for the breakfast? And if we drive over, do we have to drive back to our hotel before entering the park or can we enter from the paradise pier?

    • You can walk to any locations. So don’t worry about driving. Just choose what works best for your family. Minnie’s is my favorite, but they all have advantages. Could you do an Ariel’s Grotto lunch?

      • Maybe. I’m struggling to plan for how the kids will do with a 2 hour time change. By the time it is noon in Anaheim, it’s 2pm in Kansas. Perhaps with the right snacks mid morning.

        • Amanda – a couple tips… 1st – don’t worry about the time difference. We come every year from out east and the kids forget the 3 hr time difference within 36 hours of landing. 2nd – check whether your package comes with premium character dining or regular character dining. Ariel’s Grotto is a premium character dining. The food is good – especially at lunch. We do it every year, as you get to meet with each of the princesses at your table (however you can do this without the meal over at Disneyland and the line is usually fairly short). Our kids prefer the Breakfast with Minnie in the Disneyland Park over this one, many more characters stop in. And in case your package does not have the premium character dining, Breakfast with Minnie is a regular character dining. Lastly, as mentioned – don’t drive. Most hotels are within a 20 minute walk and the resort area is very walkable – it is NOT like Disney World. If you simply can’t walk it, take ART. If you drive, you still have to get parked and take a tram or bus to the park gates. ART picks up at most hotels and drops right at the Disneyland gates. Hope this helps.

  103. Hi Casey! Thanks so much for the great info on your website and FB page. Would love your recommendation – I am taking my 6yr old daughter for one-day whirlwind visit on a weekday in early Nov. My plan is to go to DCA – we missed Anna & Elsa when we went to MK during Easter this year and I hoped to squeeze it in before she outgrows princess magic. Plus, DCA is brand new to me! I’d like to do one add-on but am having trouble choosing between a character meal at Ariel’s Grotto or getting the Park Hopper option so we can check out DL as well. Which extra would you recommend? One note: she’s not a fan of fast motion-rides, so our must-see attractions is probably shorter than most.

      • Thanks so much! Maybe we’ll aim to come back to watch the World of Color show at the end of the night. Thanks again for your help and very valuable insight!

  104. This post helped me to decide to do the Chip ‘n Dale critter breakfast. It was FANTASTIC! We did it late on departure day, and characters visited our table multiple times. The chipmunks played with my daughter so much. After 3 days in the park of not speaking to a single character ( not even her beloved princesses), she would not stop talking to them! I have the best photos and videos from our entire trip of this breakfast. I’d say recommend to those even if they haven’t done the classic meals. My daughter said she liked this better than Ariel’s a Grotto! Also, we saw Pluto and Kenai in addition to Chip ‘n Dale.

  105. Hi there. Check out this post for all you need to know regarding parades:


    Take a look at the Disneyland website for what is playing during your visit.

    This post shows you all of the dining options with tickets for reserved viewing for the shows:


    California Adventure hosts Ariel’s Grotto, which has characters at breakfast. Those details are in this post. No dinner option available at California Adventure.

    • I’m not sure about other meals, but they charged automatic 15% at Ariel’s Grotto for our party of 4. We weren’t charged any automatic gratuity for party of 4 ar Storyteller’s. I don’t know about Disneyland, but I think automatic 18% for parties of 6 or more is standard at many restaurants.

  106. I have a trip planned for November with a 2 year old. We have character dining reservations at Ariel’s Grotto and we still have to decide on another. My question is if two year old are free then how do they eat? Are they expected to share with us or will we be able to order her a meal? I know Ariel’s Grotto is not a buffet so I was just a little confused on how this works. Thanks!!

  107. I’ve heard that some people pre-purchase tickets for character meals (eg through Get Away Today). But based on your post, it seems that these pre-purchases tickets are more than what they charge at the restaurant. I’m confused, why would anyone pre-purchase and what are your thoughts on doing that versus just going and paying the price at the restaurant? Thanks!

    • As I have seen for adults its about $33-37 per adult and about $19. I would of made sure they were similar prices before purchasing from other agencies.

        • Hello Casey, Regarding ‘hiked up prices’ – Because Get Away Today states that Tax and gratuity included. Wouldn’t that be the price difference reason? Or could you maybe clarify? Help! Thank you.

          • Most often, the vouchers from Get Away Today will save you a few dollars per person at each meal. Occasionally, you’ll break even. Most guests buy the vouchers for the small savings and then also to have this part of your trip paid for in advance. It’s nice to have each meal already paid for prior to entering and it’s lovely to not have to fuss with the tax and tip.

            Also, buying vouchers ahead of time locks you into the pricing that you pay now…….and if the character meal pricing increases prior to your visit, it’s no problem for you since you’ve already paid.

            Hope that helps!

  108. Casey really sorry as I know you’ve covered this but am panicking! We are thinking we’ll do the Minnie breakfast at the Plaza at 8am on a day the park opens at 9am (we won’t have early entry tickets as we are just getting two day tickets). Will we be okay to get in? Thank you.

    • Hi, Victoria.

      You don’t need magic morning to enjoy Minnie’s Breakfast. As long as you have your dining reservation confirmation, you will be allowed in for your dining time. No worries!

      • Thanks Casey. We’re also considering late lunch (pre-schooler dinner) at Ariel’s Grotto at 4.40pm on one of our days. Would we still see plenty of princesses at this time and how long will we have? Thanks again.

  109. Hi Casey, so sorry if you already answered this but I wanted to clarify. Since Goofy’s Kitchen is in Disneyland Hotel can we go there on a day we are not using our park ticket? We get there on Thursday afternoon but will be using our park tickets Friday-Sunday. We thought it would be fun to have one of our Character meals on Thursday evening. Thanks!

  110. We are going to DLR this Thanksgiving, Black Friday and that Saturday. We want to do a Minnie and Friends, Goofy’s for Dinners but not sure which day. Any recommendations? I was thinking EMH on Thursday and do a late breakfast at Minnie’s. I know it’s gong to be crowded and wan to make the most of our time.

    • I agree with a late breakfast plan. I always recommend 10-10:30am so that you take advantage of the early hours. Then, take a break when everyone else shows up around 10am. Enjoy it!

  111. If you go to a character meal toward the end of the time the restaurant is open, will character interaction be limited or is that built into the timing? We are contemplating a late afternoon Ariel dining reservation, which should work as dinner for my kids who are 2 hours behind time-zone wise. At WDW, we noticed that a very early Akershus breakfast reservation was way more fun than a late lunch one, but we also showed up a bit late for lunch due to Soarin’ taking a bit longer than we anticipated (which we should have known, having ridden the ride several times before).

    • If you are on time, regardless of when your time is, the character interaction should be good. They won’t set your time when characters are on their way out. I typically do the latest option at Minnie’s and always see everyone. You’ll be just fine!

  112. Hi, Casey,

    I’m very excited to be heading to DLR for the last week of the 60th celebration in August and am working on touring and dining plans. I’m wondering if the prices listed here are current – they seem so much lower than prices at WDW character meals! Any updates on the pricing would be much appreciated. Ariel’s Grotto is a must, and I’ve booked the Frozen pre-show package, so wondering how much more we could squeeze out of the budget.

    Thank you!

    Thank you!

  113. Hi Casey,
    We will be visiting for the first time in late September and celebrating our son’s 5th birthday there on our second day (plan to get a 3 day park hopper with first day at CA, second – his birthday at DL and third doing whatever the kids want to do again) I really want to book a character dining experience on his birthday. Initially thinking of doing this for dinner at Goofy’s Kitchen. Do you have any better suggestions for a special character filled birthday dinner? We are staying close by but off site and our hotel provides breakfast so we are not interested in doing any character breakfasts. Would it be wiser to do a character lunch and then something else like the blue bayoo package for dinner instead? Or Minnies for ‘brunch’ and then dinner at Goofy’s? What would you do dining wise if you were celebrating a child’s birthday? I have also read somewhere that you can pre arrange a birthday cake to be brought out too. Is this correct? Thinking of doing Ariel’s grotto for lunch on day 1 when we are at CA as our older child (daughter) loves the princesses. Day 3, we have no dining options planned as yet. Thank you 🙂

    • Goofy’s Kitchen is actually your only dinner character dining option at Disneyland. The others include breakfast or lunch. I highly recommend a Paint the Night package like Blue Bayou, so that dining package would be a good option to pair with a character meal another day. I also love Aladdin’s Oasis for Paint the Night, but that wouldn’t be a big birthday celebration spot.

      My favorite character meal is Minnie’s in the Park and I think it’s the best spot to celebrate a birthday. If I were to pick for you, I would choose brunch at Minnie’s (10:30am) and dinner at Blue Bayou for the Paint the Night package. You can find more on the PTN packages in this post:


      Ariel’s Grotto is lots of fun, too. All good options…..really just depends on what your preference is.

      You can find more info on birthday cakes from Disney at this link:


  114. Which of the character dining experiences are premium and which are regular? I wanted to attend Goofy’s Kitchen (since I’m considering staying at that hotel) and thought it would be a good thing to do the night we got in. Is that a regular character dinner or a premium one? I was considering buying tickets in advance from the Get Away Today site but I wasn’t sure which was which. 🙂

    • Premium meals are Goofy’s and Ariel’s Grotto. I actually prefer Minnie’s more than any. Check the pricing on Get Away Today, too, and compare with the parks. I’ve had a few readers tell me that the park price was actually less expensive.

  115. Hi
    I tried to book a table at Plaza Inn and no times available would we still be able to potentially get a table without a reservation. Taking a 3 year for the first time. Or would you recommend Goofys Kitchen?

    • It’s possible to get a table without a reservation, but I wouldn’t count on that entirely. Goofy’s Kitchen is a great option. I prefer Surf’s Up, though, instead. Mickey is there! Great option to see him. And they have a dance party.

  116. Hi There, i am looking where on the disney website i can book the Minnie and Friends breakfast, are you able to help?

  117. I just tried to make a reservation for the Minnie and Friends breakfast but there isn’t any time slots available. What is your second choice? I have 2 year old and 3.5 year old boys, so they’re not into princesses. This is our first trip and want a character meal. We are staying at the Grand California. Thank you!

    • Hi, Melissa! My second choice is Surf’s Up! with Mickey and Friends at the Paradise Pier Hotel. Mickey is there and they do a dance party. The energy is lots of fun. This is also the only option with Mickey. Hope that works out!

  118. Hi Casey,
    I am considering doing a second character dining at Surf’s Up with Mickey and Friends but because this is off site, I do not know if it is still quite a walk to get to/from the park? I have read people crossing over and going through GCA but do you know if non guests will be able to go through here if we have a scheduled character breakfast or have finished our character breakfast. I have a 7 yr and a 2 yr old and can expect end of Aug to be super hot and crowded. Thanks in advance!

    • Hi, Heather!

      Surf’s Up! is in the Paradise Pier Hotel. You may absolutely walk through the Grand Californian to get there and back. No one will know if you’re a hotel guest or not. That will certainly cut down on your walk time, too. Just an fyi, though….August is not always super hot here like most other parts of the country. Our high is 89 and low 65 and the mornings and nights can be chilly, so be sure to look at the weather before you arrive and pack sweaters for morning and night. Enjoy your visit!

  119. Hi Casey!

    We are coming end of October & we are DW veterans, so DL is new to us. Does the Minnie breakfast give an option of early entry to the park if you have “early” reservations like DW does? We love entering MK with early breakfast reservations to take pics w/o zillion people around and would love to do the same at DL. 😉

  120. Hi. Can you please tell me if the character dining meals are set times or can you book in at any time during the breakfast/lunch services times?

  121. Hi Casey. Your website is so helpful for planning our August 2016 trip with our 3 year old, thank you. I have read the post and the comments and still have a question for you. Have you done dinner at Goofy’s character meal? I am trying to maximize our park time and maybe go on one of our off days for dinner. What are your thoughts? One other question, I see you really favor Minnie in the park, but what would be your favorite between Goofy and Mickey at PCH? Thanks for your help!!

  122. Hi Casey! im planning our first trip to Disneyland and your site has been so great! What is the schedule like for the Minnie breakfast? What I mean is, do they clear out the dinning area and then let the next group in, or is it just like a regular restrant where you leave as you’re done eating? Also what is the timing like? Do you get an hour from your reservation time? I was looking at doing the 10:30am breakfast like you suggested, but I want to have plenty of time for eating and greeting. 🙂 Thank you!!

    • Hi, Ashley. I’ve done all the character meals at Disneyland and the only one that I’ve seen on a schedule is Ariel’s Grotto. The princesses are quite a production and are introduced before mingling. So, those times are more staggered and your time slot is designed to work with their appearances. The others are more laid back and the characters come and go while you dine. There is no strict time limit that I’ve seen really. I love the 10:30am time slot because most breakfasts end around 11:30am. 10:30am gives you enough time to get a lot done in the parks prior to dining and then you’re left an hour before the characters take off. If you are concerned with that time frame, make it 10:00am. Minnie’s is the best! Enjoy it.

  123. Trying to plan Christmas Eve and Christmas Day dinners…

    Anything special?
    We want to do Napa Rose for one of them (likely Christmas Eve). The other we would like a character meal outside of the parks. We are doing Storyteller for Christmas morning breakfast. So either Goofy or PCH. Do they have special meals?

  124. Hi Casey! I’ve heard rumors that recently DL has decreased both the number and the “randomness” of characters at meals. We were really looking forward to a character meal in Disneyland and were considering Plaza and Goofy’s, but we didn’t want to waste a park day for breakfast on our last day at Plaza. If we do Goofy’s, will we have that true Disneyland experience? Character meals at Disney World (where we’re used to going) are so pre-set in terms of characters. TIA for your advice!

    • DLR is just as set on the characters that appear at meals as WDW. So you should be ok there – expecting those I list with each option in this post. DLR character meals are superior to WDW in my opinion, with much better interaction. I recommend the Plaza for the best experience. Don’t waste early hours with the meal. Instead, schedule it for around 10:30am and break when the crowds start to arrive. You will love the escape and won’t miss out on too much park time. Grab a FASTPASS before sitting down! Regarding the random characters, most have been spotted in the parks, in an attempt to keep guests happy during all the refurbishments and changes with Star Wars Land construction.

  125. Hi Casey,

    I was wondering if you can help me with some suggestions, regarding that Im traveling with my 2 years old girl on march. I have these questions -and it would be super helpful your oppinion-:
    1. definitely im going to Disneyland, its better to go one day or two days, for this park only??
    2. would my daughter have fun in the other park CA? its worth it FOR HER?
    3. which dinning experience would you reccomend for her? she loves princceses and the mickey mouse typical characters.

    thank you so much!!!


    • I always recommend 2 days at Disneyland and 1 at California Adventure. Both parks are great for her. Favorite character dining in DLR is Minnie’s Breakfast. Your daughter will enjoy Ariel’s Grotto, too. Enjoy it all!

  126. I have been trying to estimate the costs we will have in two weeks for food expenses. I have a couple character meals planned and prepaid for one through Getawatoday. Comparing what I paid and what their cost is for the meals and what you have posted here, I overpaid! Just wondering how recent the cost of the meals was updated. Thanks.

  127. Hi Casey,
    Thanks so much for putting up this information – it’s great!
    I’m heading to Disneyland this May with my partner, it’s my 28th birthday while we are there and I was wanting to do a character breakfast – for the older age would you suggest one over the others? I have always loved princesses so would Ariel be best?
    Also would there be a dinner suggestion you would suggest for my birthday night – Blue Bayou?
    Thank you!

    • I recommend the Paint the Night Blue Bayou dining experience for you on your birthday. Enjoy Blue Bayou and then get premier seating for the parade. Perfect night! My favorite character breakfast is Minnie’s in the Park, for young and old. Ariel’s is fun, too. Enjoy and happy early birthday!

  128. Hi Casey,

    Firstly I wanted to thank you because your blog is so informative.

    I am going to Disneyland with my partner only (no children) in May this year – 4 days hopper pass. One of the days is my birthday (28 but still Disney obsessed). I was thinking about doing a character breakfast on this day, I have always loved the princesses but it seems that you think the wider character group would be better? It might be better to get the wider experience?

    Also a bit off topic, but would you recommend somewhere that would be lovely for a birthday dinner?

    Thank you!

  129. Hi Casey! I LOVE your blog- so helpful! We will be in DL 1/18-1/22 and would love to schedule one more character meal. Kids are 5 and 15months. I have already booked the Story Tellers character breakfast for the day we leave as we do not have DL tickets for that day. What would you recommend for a second CM? And is there a particular day you would recommend going? Thanks!

  130. Help what is the best character meal for boys 9-11yrs. They want Avengers not princesses or what my son would call “baby” characters. (Please don’t hate on me for the baby remark. It is a tough age) I did waffles with. Pooh and Tigger last time and I loved it. But he also metioned he is scared of the non person characters. Please help! Should I just take him to the Medieval diner down the street?

    • Hi, Nikki. I won’t hate you! I understand. I recommend Minnie and Friends as the most convenient and easiest breakfast due to its location. It also has the best character interaction. There are no meals with Avengers so far. Wish there were!

  131. We are coming January 13-15 and don’t see how I can reserve Minnie’s breakfast in the park???? Sounds to me like that is the one to get if that is the only character meal I am doing. My son is 7 and we are going with my parents.

  132. Hello thank you for this article. We are going January 10th, 11th and 12th. I have a regular character meal ticket I already bought. I was thinking of doing the Minnie and friends breakfast in the park. Do you need early morning tickets for the meal if I get there when they first open in the morning? And is that a good character meal for a 3 year old boy and a 3 month old boy?

  133. Great info! I’d prefer to have a character breakfast that is NOT breakfast since breakfast is included at my hotel. Sounds like Goofy’s Kitchen may work best. I have 5 kids (11, 9, 6, 3, 3)… my worry is that a buffet may be tough with so many little kids. 2 adults carrying 7 plates? Advice?

  134. Thank you for your posts! You helped so much with our first Disneyland vacation (I’m actually blogging about it now and referencing this post!). I wanted to let you know that the Surf’s Up! Breakfast with Mickey and Friends link isn’t working. Thanks again!!

  135. Hi Casey! I am suprising my daughter with a trip to Disneyland in a little over a week. I just finished reading your “How To… For princess lovers” I would love to take her to Ariel’s Grotto for lunch but we aren’t getting the park hopper passes. Do we have to get the hopper passes to go to ariel’s grotto since its in California adventure?

    Also, I have been looking at your day plans for little kids and bigger kids. Just wondering if by little kids you meant toddlers/pre-schoolers? While my daughter LOVES the princesses, she also quite the thrill-seeker and is quite tall for her age. 49 inches. Would the big kids day plan work better for her? I just want her to have the ultimate Disney experience 🙂

    I’ve never been to Disneyland and your website has really helped a lot but, I still feel a little panicked!

    Any advice you could pass along would be sooooo helpful. In the meantime I will keep reading 🙂

    • Hi, Jen!

      Yes, you’ll need a park hopper to get into California Adventure to eat at Ariel’s Grotto.

      I would definitely do the big kids’ plan and then omit anything that might not be of interest to her or you.

      Please let me know what other questions you have!

      If you have not already bought tickets and need hoppers, check out my discounted seller here:


      Otherwise, you can upgrade your tickets at the ticket booths in the esplanade between the two parks when you arrive.

  136. Casey, this site is fantastic! You’ve answered questions I didn’t even know I had, and alleviated a lot of the stress of planning a trip. Me and my best friend (both girls in our 20s), are going to Disney for her birthday in March. I’ve been considering character dining, as this is something I’ve never done before, but I’m concerned that we won’t get to interact with the characters as much as families with small kids. Should we skip the characters and do something aimed more toward our age group, like The Blue Bayou? Thank you!

    • I think character meals are good for all ages. They don’t discriminate. You’ll get plenty of interaction. I actually did one breakfast by myself and had every character at my table! Blue Bayou is lovely, too. I’d consider both options and do both if you can.

  137. Hi Casey!!

    I know there isn’t a guaranteed list of characters at the meals, but can you tell me who is pretty consistent at the Minnie Breakfast at the Plaza? Besides, and this is an assumption, Minnie 🙂

  138. Hi there. I loved reading your article. We are going to be going to Disneyland over Christmas this year (Christmas Eve and Christmas Day). We would love to do at least one if not more character breakfasts. Are there any that you would recommend for Christmas morning? Thanks so much.

    • Minnie’s Breakfast in the Park is my all time favorite. It has the most characters, the best character interaction and the setting is lovely. Recommend! Book it as soon as your 60 day mark arrives. Those days are super busy.

  139. My wife and I are flying in and have goofys kitchen already planned… we are wanting to do 1 more charachter meal and are trying to figure it out… we have done breakfast at the plaza in before so leaning toward chip n dale or Ariels grotto…. we are celebrating our 5th anniversary so we want it to be super special… got photo pass plus, doing Halloween tour and party… excited for Disney Starbucks swag as we are from Seattle area!! What do you think?? Love the princesses, but also b love all the other characters… not sure what to do!?! How to make this the most spectacular anniversary trip yet!!

    • I LOVE Storytellers. The setting is gorgeous, the food is divine (try the French toast) and the characters are unusual and interactive. Very different from the standard line up. I recommend Chip n Dale!

  140. Hi. This is a great website to seek for advice for a real Disneyland Experience.
    I am taking my 4yr old girl for her first time, and I want to make it really special for her. Just mom and daugther. The day will be December 05 of 2015 (Saturday).
    I am going to get the PhotoPass+ and the Minnies and Friends Character Dinning at 10:30am. I would like to ask for tips to enhance this day.
    Oh. And prices. How much is the dinning? For Fantasmic, do I really need to get a fastpass? Is it best to get me the Grab-and-go Oasis restaurant to get a fastpass and see fantasmic?
    Thank you in advance. You are all so kind.

  141. Hi Casey!
    I love reading all of your posts and they have been so helpful in our planning for our upcoming trip. I do need some expert advice. We will be in DLR the week of Thanksgiving, we leave back home on Friday afternoon, so I am trying to make the most of our last day there. We already pre-purchased our character meal through disney travel and are staying in the DLH. This being said, I know we should get a magic hour that friday. My question is: which would be the best option for a breakfast that morning, 7am @ Storytellers and then spend the day in CA, or enter park early and eat breakfast @ 9:30 at Ariel’s grotto.

    Thanks for any help you are able to give. I appreciate your time.

    • I love Storyteller’s (my favorite), however, I think it’s best to take advantage of early hours and ride, ride, ride before you dine. So, my vote is for Ariel’s Grotto. That’s about when the crowds arrive. You’ll enjoy the reprieve and love to sit down for a while. Enjoy!

  142. Hi we went to Ariel’s Grotto this past March and were surprised, but they’ve actually change the way they do the lunch menu the appetizers and desserts are not family style anymore?. Not sure when this changed we previously went two years earlier and it was amazing I don’t really like the change and from what I understand the cast members don’t really like the change it’s more difficult for them because they have to give everybody individual desserts and take orders and everything the old way was much better. The princess experience was still amazing we got to see Tiana and Pocahontas which are to that we had never seen before. If you ever see Mérida anywhere please let us know she is the only one we have not seen throughout the park.

  143. Casey, I’m thinking about reserving a dining package for Fastamic! Is it worth the money and is one restaurant better than the other. I’m leaning towards the Blue Bayou. How far is the viewing area from the restaurants? Is it standing? thx again! b

  144. Hello,
    I have another question for you! If dining at the Disneyland Hotel and not going into the park, do you have any recommendations for parking? My Mom has issues with walking too far and usually rents an ECV in the park, so the closer the better. I saw that you can park at the hotel for a fee, do you know if a premium annual pass would cover that fee? Downtown Disney is an option but with it being a Sunday night that we are going, I feel like that parking lot would be pretty full.

    Thank you,

    • Passholders have no benefits for parking other than in the designated lots – Premium passholders can park for free at any of them. I usually park at Mickey and Friends and then you could walk over to the Disneyland Hotel. However, if it’s full, you’ll be pushed over to Puumba or Toy Story and have to shuttle in. Here’s another option: park in Downtown Disney for free for up to 3 hours. You’ll be surprised at how people come and go. Or, even better, Uber! Forget about parking and Uber instead.

  145. I am looking into Goofy’s Kitchen and Minnie’s Breakfast. I have a 4yo girl and 2yr boy, my daughter can tend to be a little wary when it comes to costume characters. I’m wondering if you think it would be best to start out our trip with a character meal to get her familiar with them or wait until middle or end of our trip when she has had a chance to see them from afar first. We will have a 5 day pass, staying 7 days total.

    • I recommend Minnie’s at the latest possible….after the kids become familiar with the park and characters…..usually around 10:30am. This will also allow you a break from the crowds that arrive at that time. Enjoy!

  146. I am looking for info on pre-park opening character breakfasts and there are so many contradicting websites out there. Someone mentioned they could dine at Plaza Inn at 7:00am but when I look online the earliest res is for 8:10 which wouldn’t allow enough time for park opening at 9 I don’t believe. What are my options at ANY character breakfast and are there any that would get us into the park to get pics with the castle without the crowds? Thanks.

    • Your best bet for trying to accomplish this is to call into the dining line and let them know what they’re trying to do. They have hours that are not published yet. The websites you’re reading are not entirely wrong, but the hours change throughout the year. Here is the phone number and times for the dining line. Call them and speak to them directly about what time/date/etc you’re wanting:

      (714) 781-DINE (3463) between 7:00 AM and 9:00 PM daily (Pacific Time).

  147. Hello,

    I love character breakfasts but I always tend to go with the cheaper ones since I’m on a budget. I know the prices are never quoted exact, but I would love to go to Goofys Kitchen next time I am there. Do you know if there is a better time of day to go to get the lower end of the price?

  148. hi Casey, I love all your information. We are going in mid-dec this year for 3-4 days with4 adults (1)1 y.o. (1) 2y.o (1)3y.o and (2) 7y.o all girls! So we’re definitely looking for the princess/frozen things among everything else. Would you help me pinpoint a few things for our itinerary that you think we’d enjoy? Thank you

  149. Thoughts on Fantasy Faire vs. Ariel’s Grotto in terms of meeting princesses? I’m just a little hesitant to put a character meal in the middle of our day at the park. I’d rather bookend our trip with a character meals (ie the night we arrive and the morning we leave) which means I’d have to only pick places in the hotels. But if the princess interaction is good at Fantasy Faire (plus seeing Anna & Elsa) I *think* my 6 year old will be good. But wanted your professional opinion.

    • Hi, Kali.

      I recommend – if you want to do Ariel’s Grotto – scheduling it for the latest breakfast time available. That way, you can arrive to the park and enjoy the early hours with less crowds….then settle in to a meal once the people arrive. It’s a great way to enjoy a meal onsite without missing premier times for taking advantage of attractions. Fantasy Faire is a ton of fun and I encourage you to do this with or without the meal. Both parks have great options!

  150. I think I read the the PCH is only doing characters for breakfast… Is this this true? Are any of the other restaurants like this? Thanks!

    • Yes, each option has limited meals…….I’ve listed what is available for each in this post. I recommend doing a late breakfast at PCH or Minnie’s in the Park and arriving before the park opens, enjoying the lower crowds and then relaxing for a meal at the latest time available. Make it a “brunch” if you can.

  151. Is there a place to find the exact prices for the character meals? The menus/info on the Disneyland site is not helpful. We are thinking of the Surf’s Up Breakfast (do they do character dinner there by the way?), but your site says pricing can range from $15-$60. That’s a huge price gap, so we’re just trying to figure out what to expect for adults and kids. Thanks again!

    • Good question, Megan.

      Surf’s Up! only does breakfast, but it’s also the only one where you can see Mickey (most likely), so I suggest it as a good one.

      I went to the Disneyland page and didn’t see exact pricing, either. I recall Surf’s Up! adults paying around $30 a meal. I’ll be looking for pricing for each of these now during one of my future trips to include exact dollar amounts. Thanks for the idea.

      Until then, you can call the dining line to hear more details.

      • Thanks Casey. We’re mostly just trying to figure out if the character meal vouchers are a better way to go. It’s hard to tell based on the information that Disney provides.

        • My favorite is Minnie’s Breakfast in the Park. Schedule it for around 10am and enjoy the early hours without the crowds and then dine once everyone else arrives. Lots of classic characters and great interaction. If you must see Mickey Mouse, he’ll only be found at Surf’s Up! at the PCH Grill and that’s never a 100% guarantee.

  152. I have scheduled a Surfs up character breakfast, is it a far walk from there to the entrance of DL? or could we take the monorail from Downtown Disney?

    • It’s not too far of a walk, but you can take the monorail in from Downtown Disney and land in Tomorrowland if you prefer not to walk the entire way. I always like to start at the main entrance, but some people want to avoid the walk.

  153. Hi Casey,
    My family is going to DL near the end of September and I wanted to do a character dinner during our stay. We have to 2 boys ages 4 and 8 and the youngest likes the classic characters but does know all the rest too. Where do you suggest we go?

    • Hi, Nola.

      My favorite is Minnie’s in the Park. Schedule it for the latest possible during your visit and enjoy the early hours and then escape to the breakfast once the crowds arrive. Enjoy!

  154. Hi Casey,
    Awesome site!!! Your info is super helpful.
    I’m trying to decide between Goofy’s Kitchen breakfast and the PCH Surf’s Up breakfast. The link on your site doesn’t seem to be working. Could you please advise?
    Thank you!

    • My favorite is Minnie’s Breakfast in the park. Schedule for 10am and ride attractions prior to that…..and then eat once the crowds start arriving – right around 10am. You’ll enjoy the break from the chaos at that point. Enjoy!

  155. Hi there! I have 3 boys, ages 3 (birthday boy), 7, and 10. Is the food selection for breakfast Buffett the same between goofy a kitchen and PCH grill? What time do you suggest I make reservations for on a Saturday?

    • Hi, Laya.

      Goofy’s Kitchen has more “kid” food…..like hot dogs and chicken nuggets and such. A bigger selection, too.

      I recommend visiting the parks super early and then scheduling the latest breakfast/early lunch possible to make your most of your early hours. Hope that helps!

  156. Hey, this is our first trip to Disneyland. We have a 6yr. old princess and are trying to decide b/w goofy’s kitchen and ariel’s grotto. We are Disney vets and have done CRT in May and were very pleased with that experience. We would like to have an awesome time and great food, any suggestions? Oh and we would only be at the parks for 2 days without the hopper option. Love, Love your website keep up the great work:) Thanks!

      • Hey Casey, thanks for answering my previous question. My next question would be if we want to do the World of Color with fast pass(not dinner package) what time should we make our reservations for. We are thinking a late lunch that would be our dinner. Any suggestions on times for Ariel’s Grotto? We would be going Tuesday Sept. 22. I read that tip on one of your other post:)
        Thanks for all you do!

        • Allow 1.5 hours for Carthay Circle Restaurant. All other dining options can be about an hour. So, whatever works with your family. I’d call to see what the latest they have for the day you want to visit.

  157. HI! We’re going in July with 4 kids and I made a reservation with the one inside Paradise Pier Hotel. Do you think that is a good one? We’re going the first day we arrive at 8:20 am.

  158. Hi! We are going in October for our anniversary and taking our girls with us – 4 and 20 months, and I originally wanted to do the princess meal bc my 4 year old is obsessed with them- and let’s be honest- I love everything Disney- but I’m not thinking Minnie’s dining experience at the 1030 time slot… Thoughts? I know your blog was about character dining but do you think taking her to the royal hall later to meet princesses will be a good experience but without the mega cost of a meal?

    • I vote for the princesses upon arrival (Pixie Hollow, too) and then do the character breakfast at 10:30am. You’ll enjoy low lines with the princesses and then get a break once the crowds arrive!

  159. Thank you for such great info! I have 2 girls, 8 and 5. I was thinking of the Surf’s up and then Chip and Dale breakfast’s on separate dates. They have done the princess brunch in Orlando before. Do you think these are good options for that age range?

    • I do, however, I love Minnie’s Breakfast in the Park more than anything. I think both of your other choices are good, though. The Storyteller’s one is unique with unusual characters. It’s not for everyone, but it’s another of my favorites. Beautiful setting, too.

    • I love reading your site. Super helpful. I am planning a trip with my boys – 3 and 6 for Jan 2016. It will be their first time going to Disneyland. I am trying to see which character meal would be best. Both boys love Disney and know the characters. I was trying to decide between Goofy’s Kitchen and PCH. I have also been reading a lot of good things about Minnie’s Breakfast recently. I am looking for the best character experience. Thanks. Any suggestions?

      • Minnie’s is my absolute favorite. It has the best character interaction, it’s conveniently located in the parks and the food is good. Schedule it for about 10am and enjoy your morning hours prior to when the big crowds arrive. By 10pm, the park will be filled and you’ll have a nice escape. Enjoy!

  160. We are thinking of going to goofys kitchen on the day we arrive for supper (heading to the park the next day) i keep seeing varying prices online, how much is it for dinner for adults and a child? is it all buffet food? I’ve seen some tickets for character dinners on third party websites, any suggestions?

  161. Hi. Super informative website. I a interested in character breakfast but late in the morning, like 10:30 at Plaza Inn. Do you think it is still worth it for such a short time?

    • Thank you! I think this is the best time possible. Be there prior to open and enjoy a quiet park and then take a break at 10:30am to eat and escape the chaos that arrives at that time. 10:30-11:30 can work as Brunch and an hour is plenty of time for characters. Arrive 10-20 minutes early, just in case, so you get the full hour because they close down at 11:30am.

      • Thanks Casey! I made reservations at 10:20 and meeting the entire group (7 people) at 10am. I’m looking forward to the character breakfast!

  162. Your website is incredible!! We are going towards the end of July for 4 days and it will be our first visit. It will be me, my 7 year old daughter and my 18 year old cousin. I will also be celebrating my 30th birthday there and was thinking of doing Goofy’s Kitchen on my birthday but after reading your recommendations I am not sure I want to miss park time so I may switch it to the day before, will they do something special for the birthday or would going a day earlier make a difference? Also, I was just curious if there are there special presentations when the characters enter? is a better time to go to the meals during the character times? Are the characters there for the entire breakfast and lunch times?

    • Thank you, Kristy!

      Characters will rotate around wherever you dine for autographs and photos. If you don’t want to miss park time, I suggest Minnie’s Breakfast in the Park at Disneyland. Schedule the 10:30am time and enjoy the meal after being at the park before opening and riding rides when it’s less crowded. Then, when lots of people start to show up, you get to escape for a fun meal in the park! Minnie’s has the most characters and the best interaction that I’ve encountered.

      No special presentations. They just wander in. It’s a ton of fun!

  163. This will be our first character dining…2 adults, 17, 14, & 12 yr olds. Which dining experience do you recommend?

    • Hi, Grisel.

      I recommend two options for your family. First, Minnie’s Breakfast in the Park is a classic character experience and there’s a lot of interaction. If you’re OK with non-traditional characters, I LOVE Storyteller’s Cafe in the Grand Californian – the Chip n Dale Critter Breakfast features some unusual characters like Meeko and the Brother Bear bears. Let me know if you have any questions!

  164. Can I schedule a Character Meal at Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel and not have a ticket for either park that morning? I was going to schedule a breakfast on our last day there before we left but we don’t have park tickets for that day. Thank you.

  165. Hi! We are coming to the park in July, and excited to enjoy our first character dining experience. Our party consist of one 4 yr old, two 6 year olds, a 12 year old (all girls!) and four adults. We were leaning toward the PCH Grill breakfast, but now I’m wondering if we should switch to the Plaza Inn. Thoughts?

  166. Heading there with a bunch of teens and a 5 year old in October. What do you recommend?? Teens are excited about the character meal, but I wanted one that would be good for a wide range of ages, male and female. We have park hopper tickets so we can get to any of the restaurants. Thanks!!!

    • I go back and forth on my favorites, but I think Surf’s Up is fun for all ages and Minnie’s in the park is, too. Ariel’s would be too princessy and Storyteller’s has unique characters, so for a classic experience, avoid those two. Goofy’s Kitchen at the Disneyland Hotel is good.

  167. When I went to Disneyland I had to have breakfast with Chip & Dale I am named after Dale even though I am a girl I also had a birthday party with Mickey & Minnie I was 42 years young I flew from Perth Australia so I had to do it all best holiday ever

  168. Hi, we are scheduled to arrive in early June. I’ve heard of a princess breakfast experience and have seen little girls dressed as princesses on previous trips. Can you please tell me more about these?

  169. we’re planning 3 days at DL and 1 day at CA. We have two character meals (one regular and one premium) We wanted to do Ariels Grotto on a day that we will be at DL, not CA. Will that be a problem? Meaning do we have to be attending the park where the character dining is located on the day of of our character dining?

    • I have been to Ariel’s grotto 2 and I love the food, and the characters. We went last year and saw Minnie mouse, mulan, ariel is before u sit down, and snow white, and Cinderella. The restaurant is at California adventure. I love this park. Going again in July 2015

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