Disney Character Dining – Is it worth it?

One of the biggest questions you can ask a person who is planning their Disney vacation is “What Disney Character Meals are you doing?”  However, this simple question brings up a whole lot of different perspectives, and opens up the discussion towards the ultimate question: “Are Disney Character Dining meals at Walt Disney World worth it?”  In this post, I will be presenting several vital pieces of evidence to illustrate why Character meals are a great value for you and your family.

When my family plans it’s Walt Disney World vacations, one of the key components of our planning is deciding what table service restaurants we want to eat at.  For us, most of the time we will choose a character dining restaurant over a casual dining location for the following reasons:

  1. By choosing a character dining restaurant, we are able to get autographs from our favorite characters while we enjoy our meal — and that is one less line we need to wait in!
  2. Often, the character dining restaurants offer the characters in unique costumes that is related to the setting that you find them at — for example, Mickey and Minnie in their western getups at Mickey’s Backyard BBQ.  This adds a dimension to your pictures that might be missing otherwise.
  3. Often, it can be hard to find a particular character at a location other than the restaurant they are featured at.  For example, when Sophie was younger, she had very little interest in Epcot, but she loved Winnie the Pooh.  Booking a meal at The Crystal Palace allowed her to see Pooh without having to go over to the United Kingdom just to find him in the back of the pavilion (and then having to wait in line to see him!)
  4. I know that a lot of people think that all that is served at character restaurants is the standard Disney buffet — but I say why is that a bad thing?  I pay a fixed amount, I get all I can eat, we see our favorite characters, and perhaps most importantly based on our travel schedule — we get out of the summer heat for a while to relax as we eat!
  5. Lastly, at some of the better character restaurants, you also get a special photo package with your favorite character.  At Cinderella’s Royal Table your party will get a photo package with Cinderella, and at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall (Princess Storybook Dining) your party will get a photo package — usually with Belle.  These pictures are incredibly good, and are included in the price of your meal, so enjoy them!

So there you have it, my top five reasons why Character Dining is worth it for your family!  I’ll leave it to another of the Chip and Company writers to offer rebuttal.  I hope that you have found this helpful!  What are your thoughts about character dining?  Yay or Nay?  Let us know in the comments, please!


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  • http://www.facebook.com/corey.applegate1 Corey Applegate

    My first character dining experience was at the Crystal Palace when I was 17. A character meal had been included in the package my grandparents bought, and I think they arbitrarily picked a restaurant. Since then, my family has mostly stayed away from them because it was kind of noisy in there, and it just wasn’t our thing. Fast forward a bit, and we get to last spring. My daughter was 3 years old, and she was (and still is) obsessed with Cinderella. I didn’t really have the money for Cinderella’s Royal Table, so we decided to give Akershush a try. We went for breakfast because we knew most of the family wouldn’t eat the lunch/dinner menu, and breakfast looked like a good idea. This experience was 10 times better than the last one. With enthusiasm from the kids, and even the adults, this ended up being one of the best decisions we ever made. If we can’t get to CRT next time, you can bet Akershush will be back on the list.