Character Dining… in my opinion what’s not to love? I love the atmosphere and the joy of watching children and adults light up at the sight of one of their favorite characters. It is one of the many magical things to do at Disney. Meeting the characters is one of my favorite things to do and this is hands down one of the easiest ways to do it- but not necessarily the cheapest.
My family loves to just keep going when we are Disney, like a bunch of energizer bunnies until our batteries die. Then all of a sudden, we’ll notice that we are grumpy and hungry and man do our feet hurt. At this point, standing in one more line seems like the end of the world. Cue public meltdown. This is where it comes in handy to make advanced dining reservations. This is a scheduled break, and even though it doesn’t seem like you should have to do this, you should take advantage of it if you can. It is beyond easy to get distracted at Disney, you might be wandering past a ride and the line is incredibly short, or you might be walking along Main Street just as the Dapper Dan’s come out, or maybe the Parade is coming by and you just want to catch a glimpse (or the whole thing). This gives you an opportunity to sit and rest those aching feet and eat something delicious and while you do that you get to skip some of those awful lines that you have to wait in to meet the characters. (30-45 minutes for some of the most popular ones)
Here is my take on these two Character Dining options which are both breakfasts.
Goofy’s Kitchen-Premium Character Dining
Buffet Style (all you can eat)
Includes: Mickey Mouse pancakes and waffles, French toast, scrambled eggs and eggs Benedict, sausage, bacon, as well as fresh fruit.
Create your own omelet station.
You can also find a variety of muffins, pastries and desserts
Frozen yogurt station
Goofy’s famous PB&J Pizza as well as a Mac and Cheese Pizza
Plus even more.
Meeting the Characters
Photo with Chef Goofy
The characters were friendly and all came over for a minute to pose.
All together we met 8 characters, Snow White, Cinderella, Baloo, Rafiki, Chip and Dale, Pluto and of course Chef Goofy.
The price per meal on this is a little steep. I have a family of what is considered 4 adults. Even though most of the time my son (who is 13) just picks at his food and is as picky as most 5 year olds. The adult price is $50 per person ages 10 and up and the kids price is $26 for ages 9 and under. Same as park tickets. Keep in mind that tax and gratuity are not added into the price
This is a great opportunity to take advantage of the Photo Pass Plus. When you walk in for your Character Dining experience the will have you family pose for a photo with Goofy (or whomever the main character for that meal is for example: Ariel, Mickey, Minnie, Goofy. That all depends on which meal you choose. They will bring those photos around and they are oh so temping. You want to savor every special memory from your trip. Then you find out that the photo is $35 and you start to waver. But there is no need to waver if you purchased the Photo Pass Plus because those printed photos are included in your $99 price tag.
Surf’s up Breakfast with Mickey and Friends- Regular Character Dining
Buffet Style (all you can eat)
Mickey Mouse waffles and pancakes, scrambled eggs, bacon sausage and fresh fruit as well as hot and cold cereal. (Are you seeing a pattern here?)
Create your own omelet station
A wide variety of pastries and desserts
Some extras include beef chilaquiles, salsa verde, queso fresco, as well as smoked salmon.
Meeting the Characters:
Photo was with Mickey
Mickey’s friends included Minnie, Daisy, Pluto, and Stitch
Stitch was amazing! Fun and very interactive dancing around teasing. One of the best character interactions we have ever had.
The kiddos also have the chance to sing and dance in a surf style sing-a-long.
In case you didn’t notice the food was almost the same, except for a few specialties from each restaurant. The adult price is $38 for ages 10 and up and the kid’s price is $20 for ages 9 and under. Just like buying tickets folks.
Which one is the better deal?
Usually for me it all comes down to dollars and cents. I want the most for my money and the best fit. My choice for the better bargain is Surf’s Up. I found that our family liked the Surf’s up atmosphere a little more. With the chance of meeting some of the main characters like Mickey and Minnie who have line waits of 30-45 minutes on a regular basis. The vibe was fun and laid back and since the food was a lot the same I really liked the $40+ dollars that I saved. But I have to say of all 3 Character meals that I have been to Surf’s Up was the most fun. See my review on Ariel’s Grotto here.
BONUS DIVA TIP!
If you have food allergies take note. Disneyland is really good about catering to you needs. The first step is letting them know when you make your reservation. You can make yours up to 60 days in advance. To do that click here or call 714-781-DINE or 714-781-3463. When I arrived they asked me about my allergy and then sent the chef out to speak with me personally. They then take you around the buffet and show you which menu items will be safe for you to eat. They also offered to go back and make me my very own gluten free Mickey Mouse pancake. How could I say no to that?! So keep that in mind as you plan your next trip. If you would like to find out more about how to deal with food allergies while you are at Disneyland click here.