Did you know that you can have character dining meals at Disney World without a ticket? Yes! It’s true. One of the cool perks of Disney World!
This is a secret hack for Florida residents and for people who are planning a Disney World “OFF” day (where they don’t buy a ticket and do whatever else they want!).
This is especially useful for planning a character meal as a great way to surprise your family on arrival or departure day (typically when you don’t have tickets) and you can still use your Disney Dining plan these days!
I’m sure you’re wondering- “Where do I go to find these awesome meals?” And “Are they the same quality as inside the park?”
Let’s Dive into the details, shall we?
How to Reserve Character Meals without a Ticket
Are you familiar with Disney’s Advanced Reservation System? If you are, then you can skip this section and reserve it like you normally would, but I wanted to explain for anyone that isn’t familiar.
Disney has several ways that you can reserve a meal at one of their restaurants. I HIGHLY recommend doing this, because it is very hard to get a same day reservation if you have more than 2-3 people in your party.
Tickets and Resort
So when you book a resort through Disney you get 180 days before your trip to start booking your advanced reservations or ADR. You want to do this at the 179 day mark because spots and times can fill up fast! This is why its so helpful to know what your plan of attack for Disney is months in advance. Many resorts will give you an additional 10 days- so 190 days to reserve your restaurants.
To make the reservation you can go online, go on the app, or call into the automated-then person phone line to select your choices. If you booked through a Free Disney Travel Agency, then you might want to reach out to them.
If you DIDN’T book through Disney, you can plan ADR’s 180 days in advance as long as your tickets are uploaded to their site or if you have an annual pass.
No tickets at all
If you have NO tickets of any kind you can still make a reservation! You will need an account online since you have to have a credit card to reserve the restaurant. You can learn about making reservations here.
Character Meal Options at the Resorts
So you know how to book the restaurant, now you need to know where to go and what your options are! This is the fun part, seeing which characters you want to meet outside of the parks. There aren’t many opportunities like this- so take advantage of the ones you can.
We love Dining without a Ticket because it is so much more low key and stress free!
The newest Character Meal
This is perhaps the most popular one among the under 10 crowd. It is located at Disney’s Contemporary Resort and does breakfast, lunch and dinner.
If your lucky you’ll be able to see most of the Mickey Gang, like Minnie Mouse, Pluto, Donald Duck and Goofy.
Plus you get to see the monorail go through the resort, or you can even take the monorail to your meal! This is a super fun way to add some Disney Magic to your day.
Arguably the next most popular- Located at the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa- this restaurant boasts the most character options!
You can have a Supercalifragilistic Breakfast Buffet with a round table of guests such as Mary Poppins, Alice In wonderland, Tigger and Winnie the Pooh! Or Maybe you’d like to enjoy a tea date with crafts and cupcakes?
You can also hang out with the members of Alice in Wonderland for an hour of “unbirthday” celebrations. Then for Dinner you can enjoy a Princess themed, Happily Ever After Dinner. These characters are also on a round table rotation, so no guarantees on who is present.
Want to Eat with Minnie Mouse for Breakfast? Hop over to the Disney’s Beach Club Resort for a yummy character breakfast. This isn’t one of my favorites- but the theming and the characters beach outfits are so cute!
We got to meet Minnie, Goofy, Daisy and Donald in their swimming outfits- and parade around the restaurant!
‘Ohana is a fun family style buffet complete with Stich from Lilo and Stitch. This Fun Character meal is at the Polynesian Village Resort (located on the monorail loop). They do Breakfast only with Characters (though they have a show at night for dinner!)
We had so much fun at this breakfast meeting Hawaiian Mickey, Lilo and Stich!
Garden Grove- Does not do Disney Dining Plan
On most Nights and some mornings, Garden Grove comes alive with characters. Located at the Swan Hotel, you can dine in a tranquil garden setting. Most of the time you will see Goofy, Pluto and Chip n’ Dale.
This is another Breakfast only character meal (though its open all day and makes a great date night!) It’s located at Disney BoardWalk and features the lovable couples, Rapanzul and Flynn Rider and Ariel and Prince Eric.
This is one of our favorites- but the reservations can be hard to get (especially since you dont need a ticket!)
They do have a cart with lots of cool souvenirs (like a pascal!) so be prepared to get some other cool goodies!
The Good Morning Breakfast with Goofy and His Pals
This Delightful Character Breakfast is a fun way to spice things up in the morning. This is located at the Ravello Restaurant and is only available certain mornings. This breakfast is located at the Four Seasons Resort in Disney.
StoryBrook Dining at The Wilderness Lodge
This is a character dinner set to Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (this was previously a sit down table service restaurant without characters that got a remodel a few years ago!) Snow White, Dopey and Grumpy. With a special appearance by the Queen herself!
As you can see Disney likes to prioritize the breakfast, most likely so that you can catch one more character event before you leave on your departure day (how thoughtful of them!).
Then Chef Mickey is a popular Dinner on your arrival day – not going to lie, we love to do Chef Mickey after we get settled in. It’s relaxed but still lots of fun. We normally try to plan something in the late afternoon so we don’t rush over to check in. Normally we get a 2-3pm lunch and get to see Mickey. Then head to the resort to relax and grab a quick snack at the resort around dinner time.
Just make sure you give yourself plenty of time on arrival and departure day!
Another great option to know about are the Freebies at Disney World!
So are you planning to enjoy one of these fun character meals without a ticket? Or will you stick to the options in the park to get your specific character fix? Let me know in the comments!
And if you interested in learning how I save Hundreds on Food at Disney, check out my Ultimate Guide Here!