Going to Disney World is a magical experience for everyone, from the babies to the big kids (I’m looking at you, Disney Grandma!). Naturally, families want to plan for their vacation with rides and fun resorts and Character Breakfasts! But what restaurants are ideal for toddlers and preschoolers, and what ones should families of young children avoid?
This article is going to explore the options when it comes to character dining for the little ones. We will look at the very best character restaurants for young families and the honorable mentions that could be good choices if you’re not able to book your initial selections through Advanced Dining Reservations.
In a rush? Well you simply can’t go wrong with a character breakfast at Topolino’s Terrace or Chef Mickey’s! There are quite a few other options though, especially when it comes to celebrating a first trip or a birthday!
Speaking of first trips, there’s a great packing guide for toddlers coming to Disney World (obviously for the parents, I know toddler’s aren’t packing themselves!) and a must read Toddler Disney World travel guide for planning a truly fantastic vacation! And for those of you braving the parks with a two year old, we’ve got all the best tips lined up to make your vacation extra magical.
Will Toddler like Characters at Meals?
You know how toddlers aren’t always a fan of Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny?
Well we have had some epic meltdowns over the years taking our kids to the parks and meeting the characters. Some face characters (like princesses) are too much, and sometimes it’s a fur character (like donald or mickey) that really bugs them.
BUT character meals, especially breakfast options, are the BEST time for toddlers to meet characters. It’s laid back, there’s food, and toddlers are still pretty fresh since it’s the A.M. If you need some more tips, hop over to this guide designed to help your toddlers love character meets (and you too!)
Best Character Restaurants for Toddlers at Breakfast
If I had to pick one (this list is not like that though) I would pick Chef Mickey.
There’s just something about this restaurant that is tucked into the Contemporary, with the monorail zooming overhead and the fun, yet quirky, Chef Mickey.
Maybe it’s the food (which is pretty standard American fare) or the special things they do for birthdays (it’s a very popular spot for birthday ) that make it so great. Or maybe it’s that the restaurant doesn’t require a park ticket, and it has Chef Mickey and the gang for breakfast lunch and dinner!
The newest character meal at Disney World is located in the new DVC Riveria resort. It has stunning views of Epcot and Tower of terror from where the restaurant is located at the top of the tower.
Since this is new, and they only offer character breakfast, you’ll need to be speedy with your ADR’s!
Located inside Magic Kingdom, this is a very popular place to take a toddler/preschooler (though adults are welcome too 😉) So popular in fact, that an ADR is highly recommended! It can be a very long wait without one.
This restaurant boasts a yummy buffet with Winnie the Pooh and friends.
The food is delicious and the characters are cute! Head over to the Polynesian to experience the family style buffet.
Here you can meet Lilo and Stitch as they welcome you to their O’Hana.
If you are looking for a fun place to meet Mickey and the gang, you NEED to head to tusker house!
Here you get a delicious buffet fare, while seeing Mickey, Daisy, Donald and Goofy- all in adventure safari gear. Plus you even get a cute signed postcard from all of them! How cool is that?
Hollywood and Vine
Located in Hollywood Studios, this is definitely a character meal worth considering. This is a breakfast and lunch character meal with classic American food… andddd Disney Junior Characters!
At Dinner time you can find Minnie in a number of different themes throughout the year. At Christmas time Hollywood and Vine turns into a character meal with Minnie too!
Trattoria Al Forno- No longer a Character Meal as of 2020
Head over to the boardwalk on a beautiful morning to enjoy this character meal. Available only for breakfast, you can meet Rapunzel, Flynn Rider, Ariel and Prince Eric. They do come out separate like at most restaurants, but it’s still fun to be able to meet them outside the park!
Character Restaurants not recommended for toddlers
Ok, here’s the scoop on garden grove. It’s not that it’s not enjoyable- it’s just not really a toddler atmosphere. For one, breakfast is only available on the weekends. For two, it’s not a very themed restaurant.
Sure you will get good food, and you get to see goofy and some other characters, but it is definitely not one that comes highly recommended for toddlers. It is much more suited for an older crowd that wants to get a character meal and picture in a laid back environment outside of the hustle and bustle of the parks.
See ya Real Soon
If you are interested in learning more about Character meals, check out this post on how to get character meals half off the normal cost!
Hopefully, you found this information about character meals for young children useful for your next trip. If you are looking for more information about traveling to Disney with young children, check out the recommend post section below.
Questions or comments? Drop them in the comment section below. I love helping families with their Disney World adventures.