There are many kinds of character meals to choose from, but how do you choose the best one? This is best answered by thinking through the needs of your family. Do you have children? If so, how old are they? Who are the characters that are a must see to your group?
Let’s start with the kids. There are a few things that I’ve learned by dining with small children. The biggest thing is that I am not a fan of a character buffet. This has nothing to do with the food. It is all logistics. Once you sit down, the challenge of the parent is to get to the buffet to create a plate for the children, without missing the magical moment when the kids meet their favorite character. Of course with multiple children, there are multiple trips before ever getting a plate of our own, and once we are finally able to eat, the kids are done and ready to leave.
Let me say that there are a few character meals, that are buffet, that we will not miss, simply because of the characters involved, but if I had it my way as a mom, I would have every character meal as a family style meal. What does this mean? It means that the amazing staff will bring the food to your table, and you will be able to stay with your sweet family never missing a beat. This style of dining with characters keeps the stress level down and the excitement level up.
When characters matter more than logistics, it won’t matter if it is a buffet or if you need a park admission to see them. Most of the main characters can be found at multiple character meals, but as a good rule of thumb, you will only find them at one restaurant in each park. You know, mom, Mickey cannot be in two places at one time. The best thing to do is to go through the different character dining options and see which characters are available at each restaurant. This is helpful when you have one character dining experience in mind only to find that there are no reservations available. Let’s say that you really want to see Mickey, but there are no reservations available for Chef Mickey’s. A great alternative is O’Hana’s at the Polynesian Village Resort. You will get Mickey and Pluto, but the rest of the gang will not be there. You will get Lilo and Stitch instead. Personally this is one of my favorites. The food is great, and it is family style. It’s a win-win-win.
Character dining is a great way to experience the characters without waiting in long lines for photos. You will be needing to eat anyway, so why not make it a character meal. I hope this helps you navigate the choices, and you will have some amazing memories to share.