Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Character Breakfasts in Walt Disney World ~ Part 3: How To Find the One That's Right for You

As you can probably tell from this series, our family loves character breakfasts (really, any character meal!).  Before each trip, we choose just one or two that we want to experience.  The process of deciding takes some time with five of us, including two princesses and one who wants nothing to do with a princess meal.  There are many factors that come into play when we are trying to narrow down our choices.  From the restaurant location to the characters we can find to the food options, there is much to think about before making our final decision!

Location, Location, Location
I use the Touring Plans Crowd Calendar to determine which parks we head to on which days.  Once we know which days we will visit each park, we then determine our dining options based on the park we will be in.  If we are going to be in Epcot or Disney's Hollywood Studios, we have always chosen to have breakfast at Cape May Cafe at Disney's Beach Club Resort.  With its close proximity to both parks, we can finish breakfast and walk to Epcot through International Gateway or hop on a friendship boat to Disney's Hollywood Studios (or take the boat to Epcot if we are too full to walk!).  With my children being early risers, we can get an early breakfast time and still be in the parks by the time they open.

1900 Park Fare at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort, Chef Mickey's at Disney's Contemporary Resort and the Lilo and Stitch Best Friends Breakfast at Disney's Polynesian Resort are a quick monorail ride (or walk from the Contemporary) to the Magic Kingdom.  These resorts also have boat launches that will get you right to the Magic Kingdom.

Now there is something special about dining INSIDE the parks.  Each park hosts a character breakfast (or two). These restaurants take reservations that begin prior to the park opening.  That means when you arrive for your dining experience, you get to walk through the parks with only other guests who are headed to breakfast.  This allows for some great photo moments when you have Main Street, U.S.A. and World Showcase to yourself.  In order to have this opportunity, in Disney's Animal Kingdom, you can make a reservation at Tusker House, in Disney's Hollywood Studios, Disney Junior's Play N Dine, in Epcot, Princess Storybook Character Breakfast at the Norway Pavilion and in the Magic Kingdom, Crystal Palace and Cinderella's Royal Table.  These are not necessarily easy reservations to get, depending on the time of year you visit, but definitely worth it!  Even better, are you trying to get to Disney's Hollywood Studios early to secure a spot in the Jedi Training Academy?  Try to get an early morning Disney Junior Play 'N' Dine reservation, so you are already in the park before other guests who are waiting at the turnstiles for the park to open.

The Food
Character breakfasts offer three types of meals: buffet/all you can eat, family style/all you can eat and plated meals.  We have experienced all these (though not all necessarily at breakfast).  Buffets offer enough variety that even the pickiest of eaters will find something they like.  When my children were smaller, buffets were a bit tough for us.  Trying to get three children plates of food, while they were worried they were going to miss a character made for a lot of stress when all we wanted was fun.  Of course, if you ever miss a character, you can just tell your server, and he or she will be sure that character will return.  There are plenty of breakfast options is you are looking for a buffet in the parks and at the resorts.  Family style is my favorite.  You do not have the variety you do at a buffet, but you also can sit, relax and wait for the characters to come to your table.  The food is served on a large platter in the middle of the table and the servers keep the platter full.  There is no stress about missing characters at these meals.  The Lilo and Stitch Best Friends Breakfast is the only Family Style character breakfast.  Cinderella's Royal Table offers the only pre-plated breakfast, and this is the only breakfast that is not an all you can eat affair.

Each location is host to their own menu of items with Akershus having a Norwegian twist, Lilo and Stitch serving up some Stitch Juice and much more.  But no matter which buffet or family style experience you choose, Mickey waffles are a staple.  Who can leave Walt Disney World without a Mickey waffle or two or three ... or ten?

For my children, it doesn't matter about food or location.  All that matters is who they get to meet while they are eating breakfast.  Disney offers many of their favorites, though so far the Fab 5 are a must see at least one of our meals.  Where we have some tough decisions is when it comes to the princesses.  Joey has absolutely no desire to meet the princesses, particularly after Anastasia attempted to get a marriage proposal from him until he told her he did not own a castle!  In the end everyone gets a meal with their favorites from Stitch to the princesses to the Fab 5 to Pooh and Friends.  Now if they had a Toy Story breakfast somewhere, we would probably never get our children to eat anywhere else!

When it comes to deciding which character breakfast is right for you, take a look at your reason for the breakfast.  Is it solely to meet a special character?  Do you prefer a buffet, family style or pre-plated meal?  When you are finished breakfast, where are you headed next?  Only you can decide which option is best for you and your vacation.  Either way, we have found every character breakfast, regardless of characters, food and location, to hold some of our most special Disney memories!

If you missed any of the previous posts in this series, you can find them here:

How do you decide which character breakfast is best for you?
Which character breakfast is a "must do" on your trip to 
Walt Disney World?


Tami said...

I loved this post! We are big fans of character meals, too. I had never thought about it... but you are so right - with small kids, the family-style is much more relaxing than buffet! I think the only one we having tried yet is Lilo & Stitch, and I just can't wait to do so. Didn't realize it was family style... that's going on the 'next trip' list!!

And boy, you are really on to something with that 'Toy Story' idea... ;)

Beth D. said...

I can only imagine how quickly a Toy Story meal with book up! :-) We loved the Lilo and Stitch breakfast. It was so fun and though it didn't have the variety of a buffet, it had what we loved - eggs, sausage, bacon, Stitch juice, fruit, bread and Mickey waffles! I highly recommend it! We will definitely go there again.

MouseFanDiane said...

So many great points, I love the characters breakfast. We base it on characters with Crystal Palace being one of our favorite. I love the buffet style it makes the event much easier. All your pics are so cute too ;-)

Beth D. said...

Thank you, Diane!! The buffets certainly have plenty of variety and can feed anyone! Last time my daughter got cereal!! :-) Though luckily she had Mickey waffles too or that would be quite the costly bowl of Fruit loops! LOL!

Michele Clauser said...

This is my first year splurging on Character meals and I asked my daughter who she would like to see and she choose 1900 Parkfare with Mary Poppins & Alice. So we are going although I have seen great videos of their dinner.

Beth D. said...

I have heard great things about that breakfast! We will definitely be trying the breakfast one of these trips. Even better, after you eat, the Magic Kingdom is just one monorail stop away! :-)