As a Disney travel agent, and someone who visits Disney multiple times a year, looking for information in the current climate is what I do just about all day.
Not only am I planning a few client trips for June of 2021, but I am going myself. I am taking a huge group of family members with me that haven’t been to Disney in a while. Meaning I want to make sure it’s the best time it possibly can be.
Since the reopening of Walt Disney World, there have been various attractions and experiences that did not open or had delayed openings. For example; large parades, nighttime shows, and in-person character meets are not available to this day.
We aren’t surprised that character dining has been modified but oh boy are we happy that it’s still offered…at select locations of course.
Hollywood & Vine
Location: Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Currently servicing “Springtime Dine,” here you will join Minnie and here friends for lunch or dinner. Starting June 2021, the event will be called “Summertime Dine.”
The experience has been modified to include plexiglass windows around the restaurant to create barriers between guests and Cast Members. Check-in has been moved outside or can be done on your phone via My Disney Experience (what I suggest).
Vampirina and Doc McStuffins will now be found driving their hot rods in a Hollywood Studios cavalcade. These were the previous characters at Hollywood & Vine.
Though this used to be a buffet, to limit people moving around and spreading germs, it’s now a table service dinner. You get a salad or soup, an entrée, and a dessert.
The characters include the following stars: Minnie, Mickey, Goofy, and Pluto.
Garden Grill Restaurant
Location: Epcot’s The Land Pavilion
We love this experience because it includes Chip n’ Dale! On top of that, the entire restaurant slowly rotates which makes it an extra special experience.
Dining here is family-style with an amazing selection of farm-fresh recipes like mashed potatoes, vegetables grown in the Land Pavilion, Turkey, and more.
The characters include the following stars: Chip n’ Dale, Mickey, and Pluto.
Location: Disney’s Riviera Resort
You really can’t go wrong with this French and Italian fare at one of the newer resorts on Disney property.
The dining experience is Breakfast a la Art. It start with fresh pastries and bread and the entrée options are amazing. Including smoked salmon, sour cream waffles, and more.
What we love is that it’s located on a rooftop and the characters are all dressed in special outfits.
The characters include the following stars: Mickey, Minnie, Donald Duck, and Daisy Duck.
Location: Disney’s Contemporary Resort
Another previously buffet style character meal, it’s now a family-style meal to keep folks in their seats. But no worries, because it’s still all you can eat.
This one is a favorite of mine during or before COVID. The Contemporary Resort is right next to Magic Kingdom making it’s location super convenient.
I love the atmosphere as it’s full of excitement. Once you step off of the monorail or go up the escalators, you can smell the great food hear all of the families having a great time.
The characters making experience include Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, and Pluto.
Cinderella’s Royal Table
If you’ve been to Magic Kingdom, you know all the warm feelings we get from the castle. And who hasn’t dreamt of going inside the castle?
If you’re looking to dine at the most magical restaurants that exist, then Cinderella’s Royal Table is for you.
When you check-in downstairs of the castle you are whisked to an elevator or a set of stairs that take you to one of the dining rooms.
You really feel
The characters for now only include Cinderella.
Disney Character Dining Reservations
All guests can make advance dining reservations for these character dining experiences up to 60 days in advance.
Disney resort hotel guests can start making reservations 60 days in advance, plus up to 10 days into the length of their stay.
You can use My Disney Experience to book dining through the mobile app or on the computer.
If you want to have a more hands off approach, hire a Disney travel agent who not only is an expert but they will try to get you the best reservations available.
Since character dining is limited and the advance dining reservation window is now 60 days, from the previous 180 days pre-COVD, it’s important to start reserving as soon as you can.
If you are planning a Disney trip, make sure to stay on top of exactly when 60 days before your dining date or you will not be able to book anything.
How Long Do Character Meals Take?
If you’re anything like me, and plan your day down to the minute, you probably want to know how long to plan for these meals.
You want to allocate enough time to be checked in, seated, time for your meal, any character interactions, and maybe some coffee at the end. I’d say at least 90 minutes is safe to plan for. You should also add any commuting time to this estimation.
If you’ve made it this far, I can safely assume that experiencing character dining is something you definitely want to do.
I hope that with this post, you feel fairly informed and comfortable moving forward. But I did want to mention one thing.
Character dining will not make or break your vacation. It is a great experience for sure but you won’t necessarily miss it while you are at the most magical place on earth.
You’ve done your due dilligence to be repaired. I am proud of you, and you should be too.
I appreciate the Walt Disney company for taking precautions but also still giving us the opportunity to experience this entertainment.