Written by Jennifer Jamieson – Magical Tripcations Travel Planner
Disneyland Character Dining: A How to Guide to Magical Meals
For some, enjoying a meal while hobnobbing with Disney Characters ranks pretty high on the list of must-do experiences when heading to Disneyland! Not only do you get to enjoy a tasty meal, you get to hug and playfully interact with some of the most beloved Disney Characters. Many magical moments await you in each of the Disneyland Character Dining opportunities but there is a bit of necessary planning involved so that you maximize your time and ensure you get a reservation. So, let’s take a look at Disneyland Character Dining in our how to guide to magical meals!
5 Magical Meal Options
There are currently five Disneyland Character Dining meals offered at the Disneyland Resort. One in Disneyland Park, one in Disney California Adventure Park and three located in Resort Hotels. Let’s take a look at each one to help you find the right one for you and your travel party.
Disneyland Character Dining: Disneyland Park
Minnie & Friends – Breakfast in the Park
Location: The Plaza Inn Restaurant
Character Meal Option: Breakfast Buffet – all-you-care-to enjoy breakfast buffet featuring Mickey waffles, made to order omelets, French toast, scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, biscuits and gravy, pastries and a variety of hot and cold cereals and more!
Featured Characters: Characters vary but you can count on Minnie being there since it’s her party (and her name is in the name of the meal). Rare and classic Disney Characters pop-in to meet you during your meal and they are attentive, playful and super interactive.
Located at the corner of Main Street and Tomorrowland, the Plaza Inn Restaurant is one of the original landmarks of Disneyland Park opening in 1955! Set in Victorian style and décor, The Plaza Inn (formerly Red Wagon Inn) is one of the original restaurants to Disneyland and one that Walt Disney was quite fond of! His lovely wife Lillian designed the interior, hand-picking many of the 19th century interior furnishings that can still be enjoyed today.
Minnie & Friends – Breakfast in the Park is the only character meal located in Disneyland Park and is just charming! It’s a smorgasbord of food and characters. Characters visit each table and are able to sign autographs, take pictures and interact with you and your family! Learn more here https://disneyland.disney.go.com/dining/disneyland/plaza-inn/
Hot Magical Tripcations Tip: The Plaza Inn offers quick service meal options for lunch and dinner and we hear the restaurant’s Specialty Chicken (herbed seasoned fried chicken) is not-to-be-missed!
Check out this video of Walt Disney introducing the restaurant!
Disneyland Character Dining: Disney California Adventure Park
Breakfast and Lunch at Ariel’s Disney Princess Celebration
Location: Ariel’s Grotto
Character Meal Option: Breakfast or Lunch
Featured Characters: Ariel and typically/possibly Snow White, Aurora, Cinderella, Belle
Breakfast Celebration: Breakfast pastries, fresh fruit and an entrée of choice—select from fresh berry Belgian waffles, an egg-avocado-bacon breakfast croissant or an egg white frittata. Little ones enjoy chocolate chip pancakes, scrambled eggs or pastries and fruit.
Lunch Celebration: Corn cakes, pan-roasted chicken breast, grilled lobster tail salad, sautéed shrimp and angel hair pasta and more. Selections differ for little ones with choice of a turkey sandwich or chicken nuggets.
Inspired by the Little Mermaid, Ariel’s Grotto is a fun and yummy under the sea adventure and filled with princess fun! Following the Disney Princess Parade, each of the princesses will visit your table, pose for pictures, sign autographs and interact with your family. This meal is a Princess fan favorite and is the only character meal at Disney California Adventure Park. The meal presentation and atmosphere are “fancy” and fit for royalty of all ages. A specialty souvenir photo will be available for purchase but also don’t forget your camera to capture all of the magical moments and tales from faraway lands! Learn more here: https://disneyland.disney.go.com/dining/disney-california-adventure/ariels-grotto-restaurant/
Disneyland Character Dining: Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa
Chip ‘n Dale Critter Breakfast
Location: Storytellers Café located inside the Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa
Character Meal Option: Farmer’s Market Breakfast Buffet – all-you-care-to-enjoy home style breakfast buffet featuring made to order omelets, Mickey waffles, fresh baked goods and seasonal fruit.
Featured Characters: Chip ‘n Dale and a variety of woodland creatures
Celebrate the art of storytelling in this beautiful California inspired café! The breakfast buffet features rarely seen woodland characters and is sure to provide a lot of fun and surprises for your family! Adorable Disney critters, including Chip ‘n Dale, pop by your table for autographs, photos and lots of hugs! This is a lively and energetic Disney Character meal and will have you and your family entertained and on your feet. Don’t forget your camera! Learn more here: https://disneyland.disney.go.com/dining/grand-californian-hotel/storytellers-cafe/
Disneyland Character Dining: Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel
Surf’s Up! Breakfast with Mickey and Friends
Location: Disney’s PCH Grill located inside Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel
Character Meal Option: Californian Vibe Breakfast Buffet – all-you-care-to-enjoy spread featuring Mickey waffles, Minnie pancakes, frittatas, parfaits, smoothies, signature flatbreads, omelet station and more!
Featured Characters: Mickey and possibly Minnie, Daisy, Stitch and Pluto
Catch the wave of fun at this energetic and delightful Disney Character beach-themed breakfast! Mickey and friends are decked out in their surfing best and are so excited to welcome you to sunny California! Be prepared for fun character interaction as each one stops by for pictures, autographs and more. Also of note: this is the only Disney Character meal featuring our best pal, Mickey Mouse which makes this meal also a fan favorite! Learn more here: https://disneyland.disney.go.com/dining/paradise-pier-hotel/disneys-pch-grill/
Hot Magical Tripcations Tip: the author’s dear husband claims this as his favorite meal and asked for a reservation on our upcoming holiday trip! Don’t miss the breakfast flatbreads and the chance to get a hug from Mickey Mouse!
Disneyland Character Dining: Disneyland Hotel
Location: Inside the Disneyland Hotel
Character Meal Option: Breakfast or Dinner Buffet
Featured Characters: Goofy and possibly Pluto, Chip ‘n Dale and Minnie
Breakfast: all-you-care-to-enjoy breakfast buffet featuring 5 food stations with options of omelets to chicken enchiladas to Mickey waffles and pancakes, eggs, breakfast meats, frittatas and more!
Dinner: all-you-care-to-enjoy dinner buffet featuring 5 food stations with options of a meat carving station, fresh catch of the day, seasonable vegetables, chilled tossed salads, hot dogs, pizzas and more! Fan favorite is Goofy’s very own peanut butter and jelly pizza!
Come prepared for a zany and crazy character meal featuring Goofy and friends! This is a lively and fun environment filled with photo ops, autographs and awesome character interactions. Characters also stop by your table. Learn more here: https://disneyland.disney.go.com/dining/disneyland-hotel/goofys-kitchen/
Tips for Meeting Characters:
- For little ones who haven’t interacted with any Disney Characters – both those with large paws or gloves or those more human-like – approach cautiously with your little one as they may not be as enthusiastic about meeting your beloved Disney Characters! Test the waters and the characters are wonderful with how they interact accordingly.
- Since the characters come to you, there is no need to follow them around the room. Have your camera ready and autograph book with pen out ready for their signature when they arrive at your table.
- Have fun & don’t be shy! Strike up a conversation with your favorite Disney Princess and ask her about her faraway land! Interact and play with the character for some adorable, spontaneous photos and magical memories!
- Take your time when taking your photos of your loved ones with the characters. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and “star” struck as you frame the shot! You want to make sure you walk away with a few precious photos to remember the day so make sure the camera is on and ready to go when the character approaches your table.
Know Before You Go:
- Advanced Dining Reservations are highly recommended by Disney! Depending on the time of year you visit, it can be very hard to get a table or you could experience a very long wait.
- Dining reservations can be made 60 days in advance of your arrival date either online or by calling (714) 781-DINE (3463). As soon as you know your travel dates, we recommend that you make your dining reservations or of course, your Magical Tripcations Travel Planner will do this for you!
- Disneyland does not offer a Disney Dining Plan for purchase like Walt Disney World. However, Character Dining vouchers are currently available to add to your vacation package. Two types of Character Dining vouchers are offered and prices include tax and gratuity:
Premium Character Dining – $47 per adult meal/$28 per child (3-9) meal and can be used for one breakfast or dinner at Goofy’s Kitchen located at Disneyland Hotel OR one breakfast or lunch at Ariel’s Disney Princess Celebration located at Ariel’s Grotto in Disney California Adventure Park.
Character Dining – $37 per adult meal/$22 per child (3-9) meal and can be used for one breakfast at either of these locations: Minnie & Friends Breakfast in the Park at the Plaza Inn in Disneyland Park; Chip ‘n Dale Critter Breakfast at Storytellers Café in Disney’s Grand Californian or Surf’s Up! Breakfast with Mickey and Friends at Disney’s PCH Grill located inside Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel.
Of note: Not valid for alcoholic beverages, tobacco products, room service, holiday buffets and merchandise. No change given.
- A credit card is required to hold your dining reservation at the time of booking even if you have purchased meal vouchers. If you do not cancel your reservation per the restaurant’s cancellation policy and/or “no show”, your credit card will be charged a $10 fee per person so, pay close attention to each restaurant’s cancellation requirements. Most require a 24-hour cancellation notice.
- Valid theme park admission is required to dine at any of the restaurants located inside Disneyland Park or Disney California Adventure Park.
- You do not have to be a Resort guest to dine in the hotel restaurants or to make a reservation.
- If you have difficulty finding restaurant availability, keep checking the website or calling Disney as cancellations happen all the time. If you’re flexible, you could call the morning of and check for openings.
We would love to help you plan a Magical Tripcation to Disneyland filled with magical meals and memories! Our team of Travel Planners can provide you with a seamless vacation by doing all of the research and reservations saving you time and stress. Who is on your Disneyland Character Dining bucket list? Let us know if the comments below and check out our blog post about what we love about Disneyland here!
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