Pin Trading Diva
Just recently I was given the opportunity to try out a Character Dining Experience at Disneyland. This is when you have a meal at a Disney Park restaurant and different Disney characters join you at your table for a meet and greet and photo op. The only other character dining experience I have had before was at Ariel’s Grotto in Disney’s California Adventure. With all the princesses in attendance, that is a big experience to measure up to! So here’s my review of the Minnie and Friends Character Breakfast over at the Plaza Inn at Disneyland.
Disneyland has a special line for early entry for those who are Dining with Characters in order for them to get to their reservation on time. This way you can bypass the long lines at the gate and hang out in Main Street until the restaurant opens. You first walk up to the classic restaurant, named as one of Walt’s favorites, only to be greeted by a friendly and courteous couple of cast members ready to start off your one of a kind Disney experience.
They take your name (reservations get to sit inside in the air conditioning while walk ups sit outside under umbrellas) and bring you up the stairs to the front door where you get your picture taken. The picture of your group is then blown up and offered in a photo package later in the meal (similar to buying pictures from a ride) however your picture is NOT with Minnie or any characters for that matter which I found a little lack luster. But, never the less, it is a great photo that you can keep in remembrance of the day. You then pay for your meal and are shown to your table. Now prices vary but keep in mind that any character dining experience is going to cost a little extra for the magic. Adults are about $26.99 per person and children range from $12.99 for kids 3 through 9 to being free for kids age 2 and younger.
As you look around you see classic southern style architecture adorned with pink and white trim, giant windows that show the outside seating area, and jeweled chandeliers hanging from above. In the center of the restaurant is the buffet, yes this breakfast is all you care to enjoy! Disney has a wide variety of food and drink to offer here and there is something for every breakfast type. There’s the classics such as a crisp bacon, egg , and hash brown plate and even a made to order omelet station with the works (mushroom and tomato is to DIE for) and a lively chef to entertain you while he cooks. Then you have French Toast and Mickey shaped waffles served with WARM syrup mmmmmmmmmm. But the piece de resistance to the sweet stuff is the homemade caramel and fresh banana syrup that you can have poured on top. Hands down that was the best part of my meal! The menu out front mentioned that Biscuits and Gravy would be available, however I saw no sight of them and they were sorely missed. Now if you’re looking for something a bit healthier, there is a fresh fruit station as well as breads and assorted pastries, such as a chocolate croissant and cinnamon roll. And for the kiddos, they have a Kellogg’s cereal station with fresh milk and a variety of juices. For drinks there is milk, water, juices, and a refillable soda machine to keep you coming back for more.
Now breakfast foods really aren’t my cup of tea and Disneyland is no exception. All the food was acceptable Disney quality with only a few items that stood out among the rest. Keep that in mind when you make reservations for a Character Dining experience, you may want to choose a lunch or dinner meal instead that way you get a little more variety for your taste buds during the experience.
DIVA TIP: Take your time eating your meal. It’s better to start small with a single plate and go back for seconds, thirds, whatever if you are still hungry. The idea is to experience everything slowly so you remember it more than rushing through this meal. Plus, the characters make trips to your table sometimes more than once so you will never miss them if you get up to get more grub!
Now that you’ve got your food all settled on the table, you’ll notice a few characters bouncing about (and yes Tigger actually bounces). There is a wide assortment of characters to see including Tigger, Eeyore, Rafiki, Chip and Dale, Captain Hook, Max from the Goofy Movie, and yes Minnie herself! This is her shindig after all! The way the character meet and greets work is that each character moves through the restaurant one table at a time, making sure to see each person individually for pictures, autographs, and neat little guest interactions. For instance Captain Hook admired my Disney Pins, Eeyore twirled me around, and Chip even posed for a selfie with me. There is no need to get up and go to them, the characters will make their way to you. Expect a character greeting every few minutes for the entire time you are seated. Some may even make a second appearance just to say hi!
DIVA TIP: Instead of just smiling for a photo with each character, try some different poses. Blow a kiss with Minnie, bust a move with Chip and Dale, or even show your villainous side with Captain Hook. This way you get a variety of pictures to keep with you on your trip.
My only complaint about the characters was that the variety of specific characters out to greet me that day were a bit hickledy pickledy. Since this was a Minnie and Friends Character Breakfast, I was expecting folks like Donald, Mickey, and Goofy. The only classic characters I saw besides Minnie herself were Chip and Dale. However this particular part of the experience seems to be a wonderful activity for children, no matter the character. Seeing the children’s faces light up when they see their favorite characters is a one of a kind thing, and great for parents and family who didn’t have to wait in line for 10 minutes just to get the snap shot of it.
So now that you’ve eaten and seen a few friends it’s time to head out into the park for a day full of fun. But before you go, you are given a special Minnie and Friends Character Breakfast button for each person in your party to wear for the rest of the day and then keep to cherish. This way you will remember all the fun you had and have a little something to take home with you from your trip.
All in all I did enjoy the Minnie and Friends Character Dining Experience at the Plaza Inn in Disneyland. The food was good, the characters were lively, and I will remember this experience for years to come. It may not have topped Ariel’s Grotto, but overall I think any family could start off their morning at Disney with this meal and have a great time doing so!
With a Tasty Toodles,
Pin Trading Diva