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by Daisy Diva

When it comes to restaurants that are “iconicly Disney,” Chef Mickey’s ranks pretty high on the list.  It’s the ONLY restaurant in Walt Disney World where you can meet all five of the original, main characters—or the Fab Five as they are sometimes known—Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy, Pluto, and of course Mickey Mouse himself.  The characters are dressed in their kitchen clothes (i.e., chef’s hats, aprons, etc.), and come to each table ready to visit and sign autographs, but more on that later.

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Chef Mickey’s is located on the fourth floor of Disney’s Contemporary Resort, just a hop, skip, and a jump (or a quick monorail ride) from the Magic Kingdom.  It’s a fairly large restaurant with partial walls separating it from the Contempo Café and the rest of the fourth floor where you can watch the monorail sail by overhead.  Upon arrival, you check in with the hostess who gives you a buzzer and invites you to sit in the waiting area where Mickey Mouse Clubhouse is playing on the tv.  Once your buzzer goes off, a cast member will take you to your table and explain the buffet and the character interactions to your group.

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Chef Mickey’s is an all-you-care-to-eat buffet for breakfast and dinner daily.  Brunch and lunch are also offered occasionally during busy seasons.  And unlike some restaurants that have characters for some but not all meals, the Fab Five can be found at Chef Mickey’s anytime it’s open.  Since this is a breakfast review, I will give you the details of the breakfast buffet.  Once we were seated and greeted by our server who took our drink orders, we were invited to visit the buffet as often as we liked.  There are two sides of the buffet that are identical that meet in the middle at an enormous pancake griddle  complete with April 2015 037a chef pouring up, flipping and serving plain and chocolate chip pancakes.  The buffet is pretty standard breakfast fare—scrambled eggs, bacon, breakfast potatoes, biscuits and gravy, Mickey waffles (naturally), and the like.  There are plenty of healthy options such as fruit, yogurt, granola, hard boiled eggs, cold cereals and milk, as well as a less healthy assortment of pastries like muffins, croissants, danish, donuts, etc.  There is also a carving station with ham and sausage, and some special items like cheesy potato casserole, frittatas, and breakfast pizza.  And unlike most breakfast buffets, there is a dessert buffet as well—only at Disney!!!  Basically, whatever kind of eater you are, you will find something you like on the buffet.  There was one item on the buffet that nearly caused a riot from my husband—turkey sausage.  For my pork-loving husband, this was a travesty.  Honestly, the quality of the food is just so-so.  Personally, I enjoyed my breakfast buffet experiences at Crystal Palace, Tusker House, and particularly Boma much more.  But let’s face it, if you’re dining at Chef Mickey’s, it’s probably not for the food—it’s all about the character interactions!

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April 2015 029As I mentioned, a meal at Chef Mickey’s comes complete with the Fab Five and plenty of them.  During our family’s experience, Minnie and Goofy were almost to our table when we were seated, so we waited at the table for a few minutes to get autographs and pictures before getting up to fix our plates at the buffet.  My almost four-year-old daughter (who ADORED the characters as a two-year-old) was terrified of any and all fur characters we encountered during that trip.  So she adamantly refused pictures with the characters at Chef Mickey’s.  My six-year-old son, however, was loving every minute of it.  After getting our plates, we got to see the remaining characters, Mickey, Donald, and Pluto.  We also got to take part in the dance party where everyone sings, claps, and spins their napkins overhead.

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One of the most common questions regarding Chef Mickey’s is:  Is it worth the cost?  Chef Mickey’s is pricey, there is no doubt.  For our family of four (2 adults, 2 kids), breakfast was $140 including tip.  Not.  Cheap.  So here’s a breakdown of the pros and cons.  The pros are obvious—as much food as you can stand with five of the most popular characters in all of Disneydom.  Having the characters come to you while you nosh on a waffle instead of having to stand in line for each of these characters separately is a definite plus.  As is watching theApril 2015 031 characters be themselves, like Goofy here who is taking a nap at a family’s booth while they get food at the buffet.  And the restaurant’s close proximity to the Magic Kingdom makes it a great place to grab a late breakfast or lunch and escape the heat of the central Florida sun while enjoying some air conditioning before heading back out for more rides.  The cons are more complicated and really depend on your particular travel party—the food is nothing to write home about, especially when you consider the price.  A meal at Chef Mickey’s can be lengthy, so you could potentially be spending an hour to an hour and a half at a meal.  I also found that the characters seemed to move on pretty quickly after snapping a picture and signing an autograph.  At times, the restaurant was pretty loud, so it’s not the place to be if you are looking for a nice, quiet meal, but let’s be honest, what buffet is?

My overall thoughts on Chef Mickey’s are that it is a really fun dining experience with decent food and a high price.  If you are on the dining plan (especially when the dining plan is free), then give it a shot.  It’s sure to be a good time as long as your kids aren’t terrified.  But if you are paying out of pocket, you might not feel like it’s worth the money.

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Regardless of the price, Chef Mickey’s is a popular spot, and reservations fill up fast.  If you are planning a visit to Chef Mickey’s, you will need to score that ADR as close to 180 days in advance as possible.  If you find that there are no reservation times left, don’t worry.  Cancellations happen all the time, and you may be able to find a time slot that opens up closer to your vacation time.  Keep checking online—once or twice a day–through the Disney website or the My Disney Experience app on your phone until you find the time that fits your vacation schedule.  Once you secure your ADR, relax and look forward to a fun time spinning your napkin and scoring autographs at Chef Mickey’s.

To book your magical vacation and dine with Mickey, contact Patricia at All For Dreams Travel.

I am a Disney-loving former second grade teacher turned stay at home mom of two kids whom I homeschool and the wife of a Disney-tolerating husband. (But I think I am slowly starting to convert him!) If I'm not at Walt Disney World, you can probably find me planning my next Disney vacation or day-dreaming about being in the Magic Kingdom. I also love monograms, reading, Sonic Cherry Limeade's, autumn, and teaching kid's church.