Sunday, March 3, 2013

Character Breakfasts at the Disneyland Resort

I’ve been lucky enough to experience every character breakfast offered at The Disneyland Resort at least once. So I figured I’d post some pictures and give some basic info and a description of each one. Knowledge is power!

First things first. I hesitate to call this a “review” of the different breakfasts because I am a sucker for both characters AND breakfast buffets. I’ve liked every one I’ve been to! Secondly - You never know which characters you’re going to meet at a character meal. If the character’s name is in the title, you’ll for sure see them, but anything else is up in the air. Sometimes the theming of each meal gives a general guideline of the type of character you’ll see. If you see a character across the room you’d REALLY like to meet, you can wait it out (you’re normally given a 90-minute meal time limit, but I’ve never seen it enforced) or ask a cast member if they could stop by your table before you leave. It’s not good etiquette to follow a character around to other tables. I’ll include everyone I’ve seen at each one here, to the best of my memory! Thirdly, I am “reviewing” these as a single girl with no kids, who usually visits The Disneyland Resort with other adults, but I do work with kids and have attended character meals with families as well, so I’ll try to provide helpful information for all.


Minnie & Friends – Breakfast in the Park


Minnie & Friends is the character breakfast I’ve gone to the most. Located right on Main Street at the Plaza Inn, the location is convenient and there are always a lot of characters inside. The Plaza Inn is the most beautiful location in my opinion – the interior is so pretty and your view is Main Street USA! It’s also the cheapest option at $23.99/adult $11.99/child (as of 2/13 – the price changes seasonally). Out of all the character meals, I think the quality of the food is the “lowest” at Minnie & Friends, but I’ve never been disappointed with my food there – they have all the breakfast staples (eggs, potatoes, bacon, sausage, biscuits), an omelet station, pastries, fruit, cereal, drinks, waffles, and so on. It’s all-you-care-to-eat. Like I said, I am a breakfast buffet lover, so it’s hard to disappoint me, haha.

If I were taking someone who had never experienced a character meal, Minnie & Friends would probably be my first suggestion, if that someone wanted to “have it all.” The reason this has been my most frequented character breakfast is because of the price, number of characters, and location. Kind of a perfect combination – you get a lot of bang for your character buck. Once you’re done you can just walk right out on to Main Street and begin your day – or continue it, if you’ve perhaps done Magic Morning and then breakfast. Depending on the Park Hours, sometimes you can make a reservation before Park Opening and get in earlier than anyone else, which is great if you’re trying to maximize your Disneyland time. It gets a little cramped in there sometimes – the tables and chairs are all close together and the characters (and patrons!) have to be careful in their maneuvering.
Characters I’ve seen: Minnie, Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Eeyore, Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother, Captain Hook, Chip, Dale, Brer Fox, Honest John, the mice from Cinderella, a penguin from Mary Poppins, Rafiki


Ariel’s Grotto – Princess Character Breakfast


Ariel’s is also very beautiful and in a cool location – on Paradise Pier in Disney California Adventure. This is another opportunity to get in to the parks before everyone else, which is always on my agenda. The interior has a lovely under-the-sea theme, and if Princesses are a must-see on your list, this is a perfect alternative to waiting in the Fantasy Faire line. You are guaranteed to meet Ariel (it IS her grotto, after all) and four other princesses, who are introduced every 10 minutes or so and make their way to every table. The dining area feels calmer and quieter than some of the other meals, and instead of a buffet, food is served family-style. Cost: Adults – peak season $35.99, non-peak $29.99. Children – peak season $19.99, non-peak $17.99. Tax and gratuity is added later. At that price, I don’t know if it’s an amazing value for what you get, since it’s basic breakfast food – potatoes, eggs, meat, cheese, waffle, fruit, pastries and drinks – served on plates delivered to your table. However, it may be worth your money if you want to avoid standing in the Princess lines outside. Also, you don’t have to worry about a character coming to your table while you’re off getting food. I’m fairly sure you can’t meet Merida or Rapunzel here, but any of the others are possible.

(Ariel’s also has a Lunch/Dinner character meal, but I’ve never been. The price is higher –highest of all the character meals – but I think the food is fancier.)
Characters I’ve seen: Ariel, Cinderella, Mulan, Snow White, Aurora


Goofy’s Kitchen Breakfast


At Goofy’s Kitchen they call it a “Brunch,” but anything that starts at 7AM is breakfast to me. They also have lunch and dinner character meals (at a slightly higher price) available. This seems like the most “family” friendly meal to me – well, all of them are, of course, but the dining area is spacious and has plenty of big tables to accommodate big families, there is a LOT of variety in food (lots of one-of-a-kind silly stuff that would be appealing to kids), and different characters who would appeal to both boys and girls. I feel like Goofy’s Kitchen has the most risk of either seeing a LOT of characters or only a few, but the food is good – different and plentiful, and it’s fun to check out the location (The Disneyland Hotel) if you’re not already staying there. The prices (for breakfast/brunch) are $32.99 for adults and $16.99 for kids. Other than your normal all-you-care-to-eat breakfast fare (eggs, potatoes, bacon, sausage, biscuits, waffles, fruit, cereal, pastries) they offer salads, eggs benedict, omelets, and French toast, as well as the “Goofy” peanut butter and jelly pizza, macaroni and cheese pizza, “worms in dirt,” and chicken nuggets.
Characters I’ve seen: Goofy, Alice, Gideon, Aurora, Pluto


Storytellers Café Chip & Dale Character Breakfast


Located in the Grand Californian Hotel, the Storytellers Breakfast is both delicious and beautiful. You have the option to order off the menu or enjoy the (all-you-care-to-eat) buffet, and all the food is incredible. I, of course, chose the buffet, but at $25.99 for adults and $11.99 for kids (as of 1/13) it’s not much more than ordering off the menu. Either way you’ll be getting a high quality, not-your-run-of-the-mill breakfast (the menu offers huevos rancheros, steak and eggs, and banana-stuffed French toast, among other things). It’s probably the best breakfast food I’ve had at a character meal – I particularly enjoyed the salad, eggs benedict, and the (made to order) mickey waffles. The meal is Critter-themed, and I had really hoped to meet some Jungle Book characters as I’d heard they were sometimes present, but that didn’t happen. Maybe next time! My sister Maddie was VERY happy meeting Meeko and Terk, though.

I LOVE the Storytellers Café no matter what, so of course I enjoy the quiet atmosphere of this particular character breakfast. It has the potential to get a little loud with all the small children, but that happens everywhere! The location is super-convenient, and a good way to experience the grandeur of the Grand Californian if you have young kids and/or can’t spend a lot of time there. I’ve only been once, but would definitely go back!
Characters I’ve seen: Chip, Dale, Brer Fox, Terk, Meeko, Koda


Surf’s Up! Breakfast with Mickey & Friends


This breakfast is located in the Paradise Pier hotel, so it requires a little more legwork to get there, but it’s worth it. I have a special place in my heart for this one. Maybe it was luck, but when I attended (with my sisters and best friend) it wasn’t crowded, the food was fresh and tasty, and we got tons of character interaction, particularly from Stitch! As far as I know this is the only place you can meet Daisy (actually, it was Bert who told me that, so helpful!), and since I’d been wanting to meet her since I was four, I was thrilled! I think this is the only character meal that promises Mickey, too, so if you’re really not about standing in line (even though Mickey’s house is super cool!), it might be a good option. It has a lot of family fun – every now and then they call the kids over for a mini dance party, and if there aren’t too many kids (like when we were there) they might join you for a dance at your own table! It was a calm atmosphere and we LOVED the food – particularly the potatoes, waffles, tomato and avocado salad, and chilequiles. They offer all the classic breakfast foods, too, as well as special things like smoked salmon and parfaits. It is all-you-care-to-eat, and we cared to eat a lot, haha! Prices are (as of 1/13) $31.99 for adults, $16.99 for kids over 2. We loved the island theme. Because of the atmosphere and fantastic character interaction this was my favorite to attend with my sister Caitlin, who has some special needs. We would go again anytime!
Characters I’ve seen: Mickey, Minnie, Pluto, Daisy, Stitch


Whew! So, those are some opinions I’ve formed over the past few years. I think luck factors in to a lot of these experiences. Maybe the food is better, fresher if you go earlier in the morning…maybe you get more characters if you go later, when it gets busier. Maybe it depends on who you're with! My best advice is to manage your expectations and know that no matter what, you’ll get a filling, yummy meal and some great pictures and memories. And if it seems like paying that much will make you stressed out about having the “perfect” experience, maybe consider one of the cheaper options, or just meet characters in the parks instead. It sounds corny, but it’s all about spending time at a sit-down meal with your family. Aww.

Okay, now I wish I was at one of these right now! Have a magical day!

1 comment: