How many people have never done character dining?

Discussion in 'Disney for Families' started by bobgobblin15, Jan 5, 2018.

  1. Danadanes

    Danadanes Mouseketeer

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    We are doing our very first this trip. My kids don't really like characters. We are doing pre park opening at garden grill, mainly for soarin'.
     
  2. BLAZEY

    BLAZEY DIS Veteran

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    We have been to WDW twice and Disneyland 4-5 times. We did a pre-park opening breakfast buffet at Crystal Palace with Pooh & Friends. I was nice and all, but we most likely won't do it again. DD was 6.5 at the time, and liked the characters, but isn't a big breakfast eater. We could have eaten 2 or 3 other meals for what we paid for that 1 meal. We met more characters at DL just roaming in the parks. I agree with Klayfish , money could be better spent elsewhere. The most impressive thing was I had noted that i have a fish and seafood allergy, which for the most part easy to avoid. The Chef came out and explained what I could eat and the which of items to avoid due to seafood in them or possible cross contamination.
     
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  4. katyjeka

    katyjeka DIS Veteran

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    We love Garden Grill and Crystal Palace and make them a must every trip. We recommended them to our neighbors and they hated them. They went in July and it took too much time out of their day.
     
  5. Carlymouse

    Carlymouse Earning My Ears

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    We went on our first trip with 2-yr old (turned 3 over trip) and did 3 character dining experiences over the course of 6 park days. I don't see a need to do more, and probably 1-2 still would have been fine. We did Tusker House, Chef Mickey's and Crystal Palace, evenly spaced out. My daughter LOVED seeing the characters this way. I will say that depending on how willing to wait your child is, there are plenty of opportunities to meet characters in the parks, too. My daughter didn't have the patience to wait long, but we used fast passes to meet Mickey and Minnie in AK and talking Mickey in MK. We also got lucky one day in AK and snagged a meet and greet with Pluto and Christmas Goofy right when they started it so we were first in line. Flik was around AK, too, with no wait. Between those and 1 or 2 meals, we had TONS of direct character interaction, which she loved. So perhaps what to consider would be, which characters would you or your family like to meet most? To what extent are you willing to wait in lines in the park during the day, or use fast passes, for other character interactions? We saw moderate lines for Buzz Lightyear, Winnie the Pooh and Tigger, Merida, Snow White, Pluto, Donald and Chip and Dale (okay, that line was a bit longer right in Town Square), but my daughter had no patience to wait in those lines.
     
  6. HuskieJohn

    HuskieJohn 3/2015-BLT & planning for 3/2020-AKL

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    Only pay attention to extremely recent reviews for character experience meal quality trends. WDW is constantly changing things and getting a review/opinion from someone from Spring of 2016 could be different than what you are getting into.

    That being said from my trip in Spring 2015 with the 3 kids (5, 5, & 7) Wife and my Dad...

    Chef Mickey...fun experience BUT expensive, loud/crazy and the food was bad. This is a one and done IF you are willing to spend the money but don't think about how much you spent afterwards.

    Ohana...great breakfast & atmosphere but only 3 characters. We will likely return on our next trip.

    Hollywood & Vine lunch...enough characters and was not loud/crazy like CM...also despite the reviews when I was researching our food was outstanding. Likely wont return only because kids arent into these characters an more.

    BOG dinner...not sure if this is considered a character meal or not with Beast at the end but...the meal was great the West wing was great. We will likely return on our next trip but not because of Beast.
     
  7. bobgobblin15

    bobgobblin15 I've got the disney fever!!

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    I have definitely read some people like the food some don't. Some like the character dining some don't. But the way I see is we have to eat lunch. We can eat lunch and see characters. Im not big for standing in lines in the heat. Kids get aggravated and thats never a good thing
     
  8. hsmamato2

    hsmamato2 <font color=magenta>Tink in Training-Good Girl,Bad

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    this. You have too many IMHO...pick 1 or 2 and enjoy them! I feel like they're a waste of money and time personally- even when my kids were little we'd do maybe one per trip at best. (to avoid meet and greet lines)
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2018
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  9. KenHutch

    KenHutch DIS Veteran

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    We did our 1st trip when my daughter was 5 (17 now) and have done 4 trips together, Since then I have picked up a 7 year old god daughter (her half sister). I don't think there has been a character meal that we haven't done at least once. I look at it this way, we have to eat and a character meal saves hours of standing in some of the lines at the parks.
     
  10. Freather

    Freather The Lost Mouseketeer

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    One of my fondest memories as a kid, when my parents took my sister and I to one. Its something every kid should do once.
     
  11. NotUrsula

    NotUrsula DIS Veteran

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    We are big Disney parks fans; I long ago lost count of our trips, but we average at least 4 short visits per year, and have done for about 23 years now.

    We tried a character meal in Liberty Square when our eldest was about 3 and then vowed never again-- he spent the entire meal hiding under the table whimpering because he was terrified of having characters approach the table. The youngest one actually likes characters, but she doesn't like waiting for them anymore, so we still almost never do the character meals.

    We never, ever would do the breakfasts -- dinners are the only situation where the food served might come close to being worth the cost.
     
  12. mickeymaker2003

    mickeymaker2003 DIS Veteran

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    If you are staying on site and your kids are under 10, the regular dining plan may save you quite a bit of money. It is generally not a great deal for Disney adults - (AKA anyone 10 and older), but you can buy dining plan for the whole day for a child for less than the cost of the one character meal.
     
  13. Oshay1

    Oshay1 Earning My Ears

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    I am more pragmatic than most so I always look at things as does it make sense from a time standpoint, as that is really the big question. If by doing Character Dining you will be able to save some time and meet some characters you were going to wait in line for anyway, this is a good idea. We find that there is so much we want to do but not be stressed out about it, so I can do something that will kill two birds with one stone, then I am up for it.

    We have probably done most of the Character Dining meals and I really think it depends on your kids. It is a great way to get autographs and pictures without having to wait in line, so if you are planning on doing a lot of autographs and pictures, then it is worth it and since you do not go often then Character Dining may be worth it for your family.
     
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  14. kboo

    kboo DIS Veteran

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    I agree with @Oshay1 - generally the character interaction is better at character dining, plus you get to meet characters you may not be able to find in the parks. I think we have reserved 7 character meals for our upcoming trip. Some are old favorites, and only 2 (H&V and Cape May) are new to us. We tend to do breakfast instead of lunch, and kill 2 birds with 1 stone: 1) meeting characters without standing in line, and 2) we eat enough for breakfast - which is usually cheaper than lunch - so we don't eat much of a lunch. Usually a CS place or a snack for the kids, while we adults skip lunch entirely. You can book a pre-park opening breakfast and get pictures in the park before there are too many people around; alternatively, you can book a late breakfast time at some of these places and take a break, pay a lower breakfast price, and get both breakfast and lunch food.

    I had no desire to do H&V, but we are doing the Fantasmic package so that's the bonus. If you were considering dropping 1, I'd drop that one first unless your kids love love love love Disney Jr. Garden Grill is very relaxed and the food is good, and the characters interaction is excellent. Also maybe the only place you see Chip and Dale. Plus if you don't have Mickey lined up for a meet and greet, he's there. Cinderella's table - to me, this was fun even as an adult. because it's IN Cinderella's castle. That said, it is $$$$$. If you wanted to save a little $ and still see a lot of princesses and eat in a castle, Akershus is a little more affordable. But the setting at CRT is pretty awesome. Crystal Palace is decent and the restaurant is pretty. BOG dinner is the only place to see the beast, and he's pretty fun. Plus the food is pretty good.

    My 6yo's favorites are - CRT, Akershus, BOG dinner (not always in that order).
    My and DH's favorites are: Tusker house (better food), BOG, and 1900 Park Fare. We also like CRT and Akershus because we like the food.

    I went to WDW as a kid and we never did a character meal, and didn't interact a ton with the characters that were walking around the parks. My kids, on the other hand, LOVE the characters, and meeting characters is as big a part of the trip as doing the rides. As a 4yo my daughter willingly waited an hour to meet Joy and Sadness and another 20 minutes to meet Baymax. You can certainly have a great time at WDW without doing any character meals, and you can also do a WDW trip where you meet ALL the characters, and anything in between.
     
  15. nesser1981

    nesser1981 DIS Veteran

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    On my daughter's wish trip, we did 4 character meals and to be honest, I wasn't impressed with the food at any of them. That included Cinderella's Royal Table. I did like Tusker House, I thought they had the best buffet that we went to. I'll admit, I did love all the character interaction. We're doing one this time, Chef Mickey's for breakfast and we've done it before, but not on a park day, just a separate event.

    I think as long as you're going for the character fun, you'll love them and if we did the dining plan, I'd totally do it, because why not! But it's harder when you see how much they all cost. Maybe try just one with the favorite characters.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2018
  16. friedela

    friedela Mouseketeer

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    This is just my opinion but from what I have heard disney food for the most part isn't AMAZING (with the exception of maybe a few places?) So it is REALLY hard to justify paying top dollar for food to see characters that you can also see around the park for free (such as Minnie, Mickey, Pluto, Donald, and most of the princesses.) My way of going about it was we decided to do 2 character dining meals and to just hit up the other characters through fast passes or standing in line. So do your research.. if there is a specific character that you can't see anywhere else? (like Lilo and Stitch for example) Then book a character meal with them at Ohana and just hit up the other characters around the parks and don't spend the money.

    That's just my way of going at it.
     
  17. friedela

    friedela Mouseketeer

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    Interesting. We booked CRT because we want to see Aurora ad Jasmine and we aren't doing Epcot. If you could do it again would you have done CRT? The money is frightening. lol
     
  18. DLgal

    DLgal DIS Veteran

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    Never done one. If we want to see characters, we see them in the parks. We are not big on meeting the characters anyway, but I would never over pay for mediocre food just to see characters while I'm eating. The whole concept seems strange to me. I don't like being interrupted during meals.
     
  19. nesser1981

    nesser1981 DIS Veteran

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    It was for my daughter’s Make A Wish trip, so we didn’t pay. I’m not sure I would pay for it myself.
     
  20. WonderlandisReality

    WonderlandisReality Mouseketeer

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    Never done it. In fact, only TS meal I've ever eaten at was Liberty Tree Tavern. We always ate quick service as a kid and I truly didn't know there was a difference until I was older.
    But I'm in charge now and since I have kids I am going to live vicariously through them and eat at all the Character meals I want. Just because it's my vacation too. We are going to do them in lieu of character meet and greets. Plus taking an hour out of the day to actually sit down will probably help us all.
     
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  21. MJB62676

    MJB62676 Earning My Ears

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    We did CRT for a LATE dinner during the xmas party in December. We were on Meal plan, so it didn't "hurt" as bad. The princesses were really cool and were great.

    The food...less than what i would expect for the prices listed.
     

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