One of the great things about Disney Parks is the varying dining options available. The Disneyland Resort is no exception. The Disneyland Resort offers a number of quick service, table service and quick bite/snack carts throughout the resort fitting everyone’s needs and budgets. But what makes Disney great, is the magical experiences that are hard to find elsewhere. And when you are talking about Disney dining, character dining is one of those magical experiences. Character dining should be on everyone’s to-do list. Especially those with kids.

The Disneyland Resort has several different character dining options throughout the resort. Each has its own theme and each provides meet-and-greets with a number of Disney Characters. Now, to be honest, character dining is not cheap and gratuity is usually included with the price. However, the real value from character dining is found in the overall experience, food quality and service.

As I said earlier, Disneyland offers a wide variety of character dining options. It’s always good to research the price, and menu before making a reservation. And, yes, a reservation is a must due to the huge popularity of character dining, but I have been able to make reservations a day prior to and the same day as my trip in the past. Be aware though, that your preferred time might not be available if you wait that long to make a reservation. So, if you know you want to experience character dining, try to make a reservation as soon as you can.

You can find a wealth of information about character dining online in a number of places. Disneyland’s own website is a great place to find the menus and a brief description about the characters at each restaurant. Keep in mind that the characters rotate, so each visit might be a little different. YouTube is also a great way to get a feel of what the experience is like before you try it. This is especially important if you have younger kids that might be a little wary of the characters. Lastly, check out blogs, and reviews for more information. I’ve never met anyone, especially families, who hasn’t enjoyed their character dining experience. However, it is important to find the right experience for you. Taking the time to do your research before your trip will allow you to enjoy the experience even more.

So, now let’s actually talk about the restaurants. I will start with my personal favorite, Goofy’s Kitchen. Goofy’s Kitchen is located in the Disneyland Hotel and offers character dining for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Reservations are strongly recommended. Goofy’s Kitchen is a buffet with a number of options for everyone in your family. I highly recommend the peanut butter and jelly pizza. It’s better than it sounds.The variety of characters is great and offers something for everyone as well, making Goofy’s Kitchen great for both boys and girls.

The other restaurant that offers character dining for all meals is Ariel’s Grotto, located in California Adventure. Ariel’s Grotto is perfect for girls, and boys, young and old who love princesses. Ariel’s Grotto offers the opportunity to meet several of the Disney princesses, including Ariel herself, while enjoying a three course meal. The menu is small, however the menu options for kids are perfect for even the pickiest eater. What kid wouldn’t love a hot dog shaped like an octopus paired with cheesy mac and cheese.

If you are looking for something a little different, character-wise, try Storytellers Cafe at the Grand Californian Hotel. At Storytellers, you’ll get the chance to meet Chip and Dale and many of their fellow animal character friends. Storytellers Cafe is open for all three meals, but only offers character dining during breakfast. Like Goofy’s Kitchen, Storytellers Cafe offers a breakfast buffet with a number of great options for everyone. The buffet at Storytellers Cafe is much smaller, but the atmosphere at Storytellers is also much more cozy and intimate than the other character dining experiences.

If you are looking to meet the man himself, Mickey Mouse, then you’ll want to head to the Paradise Pier Hotel for breakfast at the PCH Grill. There you will find Surf’s Up and have the chance to enjoy a breakfast buffet with Mickey and his friends. This is a smaller restaurant and buffet, but again Disney offers food items for everyone. Don’t forget to get up and burn some of those calories by dancing with Stitch.

Lastly, one of the most popular, if not the most popular, character dining options is at the Plaza Inn in Disneyland. As with Goofy’s Kitchen, reservations are highly recommended and should be made well in advance. Plaza Inn only offers character dining during breakfast where you’ll get the chance enjoy a breakfast buffet with Minnie and her friends. Your little one will love getting to meet some of the most popular Disney characters while dining on a Mickey waffle just a few steps from Cinderella’s castle.

I know this all sounds like a big sales pitch. I actually resisted character dining for a while myself. But after seeing the magic and joy that the experience brings to families, I was hooked. Although they are pricey, the overall experience is well worth the price. And that’s the magic of Disney.

Published by Get Out and Have Fun -