Character Dining with Toddlers

Once upon a time, a hungry family wondered if it would be worth it for the time and expense to book a meal with actors dressed up as their children’s favourite animated movie characters. The answer is yes. Character dining with toddlers is definitely worth the effort. Some toddlers actually eat!

One of our favourite memories of visiting Walt Disney World 🙂

Character dining is a thing

Character dining at Disney World is kind of a big deal. I learned my lesson for our very first visit. 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 how on the ball I was for booking so far in advance. And then I learned you can reserve restaurants at Disney up to TWO MONTHS in advance. (It used to be SIX months!)

I wasn’t certain we’d be dining with Cinderella at 1900 Park Fare. However the concierge at the lovely Boardwalk Inn where we stayed was able to get us a last-minute reservation.

1900 Park Fare, disney dining, meeting cinderella
Everyone’s fave princess…

Character Dining Tip #1:

Book WELL in advance. Or, stay on property at Walt Disney World. Your concierge may be able to pull a few strings. And no promises to your kids until you get a booking number!

On another trip to Walt Disney World (yes, my kids are spoiled), 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

epcot, walt disney world, princess lunch, character meal
Meeting Aurora at Epcot’s Princess Lunch…

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. It was also the one meal where we felt the least rushed – either getting to the restaurant, or having to leave.

To eat or not to eat

We attended two dinners at 1900 Park Fare, the Princess lunch at Akershus in Epcot, AND the Sesame Street character breakfast at Beaches Turks & Caicos. So I can say with certainty, 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**, neither of my kids ate very much. And sadly, my husband and I didn’t get to eat much either. We were busy either trying to convince the kids to eat OR trying to rescue the characters from condiments the kids somehow managed to get on their hands in spite of not eating.

Beaches, character breakfast, turks & caicos, the count, sesame street
ONE Uneaten Breakfast, AH AH AH…

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, 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.

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3 Responses to Character Dining with Toddlers

  1. Great tips! I would totally be that mom who expects I can call the week before and get a reservation. SO great you were able to deliver. I suppose it’s no surprise that kids don’t eat much with all that excitement.

  2. Jenn at #

    thanks for the info/tips! We’re off in a few weeks with hopes to eat with a few characters at Disney (reservations WERE made months ago!!).
    Looking forward to it!

  3. Corinne at #

    Also might have something to do with being afraid of spilling food on her princess gown…

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