When going to the parks, one of the main goals (or at least mine) is to meet as many characters as possible. One of the most helpful ways to achieve that goal is the character dining experiences that Disney offers throughout the parks and hotels. I personally really enjoy character dining and recommend it if it’s in your budget to do so. Here are my top three character dining experiences at the Disneyland Resort.
Ariel’s Grotto: I put this restaurant on top of the list for two reasons. The first reason being that I am a sucker for princess meet and greets and the second reason is because I love the view you get from this restaurant that you don’t get in the other character dining experiences. Located in California Adventure right as you step on Paradise Pier boardwalk, this restaurant overlooks the water and is a beautiful setting for a sit down meal. The food is very good and the menu has been updated in the last couple of years to make it even better. Seafood is of course on the menu as well as chicken and steak, to accommodate different taste preferences. Make sure to go for Breakfast or Lunch because the princesses are not there for dinner, however you will get a preferred seating ticket for World of Color if you go for dinner.
Goofy’s Kitchen: Unlike Ariel’s Grotto, Goofy’s Kitchen is a buffet style dining experience. Also, this restaurant is not located inside the parks but at The Disneyland Hotel which makes getting to your meal a little more of a walk since it’s at the far end of Downtown Disney. I recommend taking the monorail if you are in the parks to make your dining reservation, it drops you off very close to the Disneyland Hotel. They serve breakfast and dinner at this location and the food has always been pleasing when I have visited. There are a wide variety of characters that visit your table unlike Ariel’s Grotto that is just specifically princesses.
Plaza Inn’s Breakfast in the Parks with Minnie and Friends: This is the only character dining experience in the Disneyland (the park itself), and it’s a very quaint and pleasant experience. My daughter had her 2nd birthday breakfast here and they did a great job with the food as well as making her experience extra special. This restaurant is also a buffet style dining experience like Goofy’s Kitchen. Minnie is always present for a meet and greet and many of her other friends are as well such as Tigger, Pooh, and Rabbit. The Mickey waffles were my absolute favorite and my daughters as well. This is a great stop for breakfast and the least expensive of the three dining experiences I have listed.
It is highly recommended to make a reservation for all of these restaurants. These character dining experiences are a great addition to your vacation and help you see as many characters as you possible without chasing them all over the resort. They are more expensive than some non-character dining restaurants but the quality of time you get is priceless.