To Buy or Not Buy: A Meal with Characters

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Making advanced reservations for sit-down meals and buffets at Disney World is a must! The question for many planners is, “Are the meals worth it?” Furthermore, many parents ask if reserving a meal with the characters merits the splurge.

For guests who have purchased either the deluxe or regular dining plans, at least one table service meal per day is included. Families with this meal plan should unhesitatingly take advantage of the opportunity to have at least one, if not multiple, character meals during their vacation.

Guests with the quick service dining plan are treated to counter service meals only; therefore, any character meals would be an additional expense. Such is the case with vacationers who have chosen not to purchase a dining plan. Therefore, a debate ensues regarding the character meals. Is an opportunity to dine in the presence of beloved Disney characters worth the expense?

The biggest hesitation when it comes to eating with the characters is probably the price. The cheapest character meals cost over twenty dollars per adult and over twelve dollars per child. With tax and tip added, the expense easily tops $80. It must also be pointed out that these “less expensive” meals typically serve breakfast.


Another negative to character meals is the constant disruption of a meal as these renowned visitors stop by the table to give hugs and autographs before posing for a picture. For those preferring a quite, uninterrupted meal, dining with famous Disney friends should be avoided.

Perhaps another reason to bypass character meals is that reservations, which tie guests to a specific time for eating, are necessary. A day at a park must be arranged around those reservations. Visitors who prefer a more flexible schedule – or none at all – may not want to be confined to a certain dining time.

Despite these few negatives, character meals are quite popular for several reasons. A meal with Mickey, Minnie, and other Disney celebrities means a few minutes one-on-one without waiting in line at a park to meet them. Typically, four or five characters are at a restaurant. The low end of waiting in a meet and greet line is around ten to fifteen minutes. Therefore, an hour of time in a park would easily be spent waiting to visit the same characters you would see during a character meal. Additionally, some characters at select restaurants are difficult to find at parks.

In addition to the opportunity to visit with adored Disney figures, the food at these establishments is delicious. Many character meals are buffets and include a large selection from which to choose, pleasing even the pickiest eater.

Above all, eating in the presence of Disney’s most loved personalities adds to the magic and memories of a perfect vacation, making a family’s time in the World a truly unique trip.

When deciding whether to make reservations at one of Disney’s character meal restaurants or not, choose to do it! The savings of time in line to see characters as well as delicious food and a fun atmosphere surpass the cost involved. A Disney vacation alone may be a splurge for some families. However, if at all possible, set aside an additional one hundred dollars and take advantage of a meal with your favorite, famous Disney friends!

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