Why waste time standing in line when you can meet with characters while you dine! Why character dining is one of my top time saving suggestions!

When planning a trip to Disney, most folks envision those iconic photos with characters that they can share with family and friends. There are a few options and opportunities to meet your favorite characters throughout your visit like standby lines for characters, fastpass options for certain character experiences and character dining! My personal favorite of course being the character dining options for several reasons!

Personally, I take my Disney food quite seriously. So when I think I can have a full meal AND greet with some of my all time favorite characters…..killing two birds with one stone, this is a win win situation!  When I plan for families I have some non-negotiables, one being no wasting time, the other being keeping the kiddo meltdown situation to a minimum.  I don’t know too many little ones that implode into full tantrum mode while enjoying some good ole mac and cheese! Getting little ones fed and meeting Mickey simultaneously most often a successful slaying of two goals!  Although I’m not a toddler, some may debate on that, I know that a full belly when traveling is a reason to smile, add Mickey to that smile and BINGO! Another added bonus is that seasonally the characters at some dining locations, will be dressed in their holiday best, not to mention on the off season of holidays they have specially themed outfits for each location!

Nothing makes me happier than an efficient schedule! I know when traveling, whether it’s small families or large multigenerational groups, a seamless schedule makes everyone happy! I love how a character breakfast or dinner can fit into the plan for a family’s day, bringing the whole family together to enjoy a meal and a hug from anyone from Pooh Bear to the Beast! It’s a great way to kick off the day with a fun and filling breakfast buffet or end the day having a dance party with Safari Mickey and pals in between dinner and dessert. The possibilities are endless.

While I am not a huge fan of a buffet style dining experience, most character dining locations do stick with buffet or family style dining with the exception of locations like Cinderella’s Royal Table, Artist Point, and Trattoria al Forna for example. The upside to this is choice. Most of these locations are a one stop shop for everything from pizza to pasta, carving stations, and exotic cuisine all the way to the little kid staples of chicken strips, mac and cheese, mashed potatoes and ice cream!  With a little something for everyone, it’s really hard to go wrong for both the environment and the grub!

As I mentioned before, there are a few character dining locations that are not buffet locations. I feel like these are a nice option that older kids may enjoy more than the traditional buffet character meals as well as adults. Two of my favorites are Artist Point at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge (which I have blogged about before) and Trattoria al Forna’s Bon Voyage Breakfast in the Boardwalk Inn area.  With more upscale food choices and rare character opportunities, these two locations are a step above in my opinion.  While still whimsical and fun, these dining opportunities have a whole different ambience and I always recommend these to my traveling guests for choices that are just a little different than the typical go to dining spots.

Overall I can’t say enough about character dining experiences at Walt Disney World. They are fun, yummy and entertaining and a wonderful way to bring families together to enjoy a meal and your favorite Disney pals. They are also a wonderful use of your table service credit daily while on the Disney Dining Plan (although a couple of locations do require 2 of your table service credits per meal). Dine in a royal banquet hall, an enchanted forest or an adventurous hideaway beside the water, character meals are a sure way to make little ones and adults alike feel a little bit more magic while visiting the Walt Disney World Resort!