I learned my lesson the first time around with Disney Dining Reservations. For our first trip to Walt Disney World, my husband promised our then-two-year-old daughter that she would have dinner with Cinderella. Then I tried to make reservations about three weeks before our trip, thinking of course how on the ball I was for booking so far in advance. And then I learned you can reserve restaurants at Disney up to SIX MONTHS in advance. I wasn’t certain we’d be dining with Cinderella at 1900 Park Fare, but the concierge at the lovely Boardwalk Inn where we stayed was able to get us a last-minute reservation.
Character Dining Tip #1:
Book WELL in advance or stay on property at Walt Disney World as your concierge may be able to pull a few strings. And no promises until you get a booking number!
On this last trip to Walt Disney World, our concierge at the Polynesian was able to get us a last minute booking again at 1900 Park Fare for dinner with Cinderella. Hey,
moms who leave things until the last minute beggars can’t be choosers. I was hoping for dinner at Cinderella’s Royal Table inside Cinderella’s Castle, but we were lucky to have been hosted for the Princess lunch at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall, at the Norway pavillion in Epcot, so we at least got to experience a few different restaurants at Disney
Character Dining Tip #2:
With toddlers in tow, give yourselves plenty of time to get the the restaurant and get organized. Out of all our character dining meals, lunch was the easiest to get to and the one meal where we felt the least rushed – either getting to the restaurant, or having to leave.
After having attended 2 dinners at 1900 Park Fare, the Princess lunch at Akershus in Epcot AND the Sesame Street character breakfast at Beaches Turks & Caicos (what? you think Disney is the only game in town when it comes to character dining? ) I can say with certainty, that regardless of how delicious the food is, your child will eat very little or possibly nothing. Character dining is great fun, and I was actually surprised at how much
he who has trouble sitting still for ten seconds my son enjoyed it **see above video**, but neither of my kids ate very much. And sadly, my husband and I didn’t get to eat much either as we seemed to be either trying to convince the kids to eat OR attempting to rescue the characters from the condiments the kids somehow managed to get on their hands in spite of not eating.
Character Dining Tip #3:
Bring a doggy bag or plastic container to at least save some food for snacks you will inevitably need very soon.
Be it Disney dining or a special meal at Beaches Resorts, Character meals are not cheap, but they are definitely fun. Plan for one or two as a family treat, and if you make like a boy scout and “Be Prepared”, you’ll all enjoy them that much more.