Character meals are bustling affairs, held in hotels’ or theme parks’ largest table-service or “buffeter” restaurants. Character breakfasts (there are five) offer a fixed menu served family-style or as a buffet. The typical family-style breakfast includes scrambled eggs; bacon, sausage, and ham; hash browns; waffles, pancakes, or French toast; biscuits, rolls, or pastries; and fruit. The meal is served in large skillets or platters at your table. If you run out of something, you can order seconds (or thirds) at no additional charge. Buffets offer much the same fare, but you have to fetch it yourself.
Whatever the meal, characters circulate around the room while you eat. During your meal, each of the three to five characters present will visit your table, arriving one at a time to cuddle the kids (and sometimes the adults), pose for photos, and sign autographs. Keep autograph books (with pens) and cameras handy. For the best photos, adults should sit across the table from their children. Always seat the children where characters can reach them most easily. If a table is against a wall, for example, adults should sit with their backs to the wall and children should sit nearest the aisle. You will not be rushed to leave after you’ve eaten. Remember, however, lots of eager children and adults might be waiting not so patiently to be admitted.
You can dine with Disney characters at the Plaza Inn in Disneyland Park, Goofy’s Kitchen at the Disneyland Hotel, Ariel’s Grotto at DCA, the Storytellers Caf. at the Grand Californian Hotel, and Disney’s PCH Grill at the Paradise Pier Hotel. For information about character meals and to make dining reservations up to 60 days in advance, call ☎ 714-781-dine (3463).
Ariel’s Disney Princess Celebration
Overlooking Paradise Bay, Ariel’s Grotto hosts breakfast, lunch, and dinner (until 5 p.m.) with Ariel and friends daily. Breakfast costs $42.10 for adults ($22.60 kids), and lunch (or early dinner) is $48.58 for adults ($26.98 kids). Fixed price dinners include World of Color reservations but no characters.
Disney’s PCH (Pacific Coast Highway) Grill
PCH Grill at the Paradise Pier Hotel serves a Surf’s Up! Breakfast with Mickey & Friends buffet 7–11 a.m. that features traditional Mexican breakfast items such as chilaquiles in addition to the usual American fare. Prices are $35 for adults ($21 kids). Mickey (wearing beach togs), along with Stitch, Minnie, and Pluto, entertains you. This is usually the least crowded of the hotel character meals.
Located at the Disneyland Hotel, Goofy’s Kitchen serves a character breakfast buffet 7–11:30 a.m. (until 1:15 p.m. Saturday–Sunday) and a character dinner buffet 5–8:45 p.m. Breakfast is $35 for adults ($21 kids). Dinners run $39 and $23, respectively.
For a review of all Disneyland Resort restaurants and much more check out The Unofficial Guide to Disneyland by Seth Kubersky with Bob Sehlinger, Len Testa, and Guy Selga Jr.