Character Dining at Disneyland

I previously discussed my Top Four Tips to Maximize Your Next Disneyland Trip and a Guide for the Holidays at Disneyland.  Next up is a look at the character dining options available and some of the details you'll need to know if you plan on experiencing one during your next Disneyland visit.



There are five options available for character dining at the Disneyland Resort.  Most of the dining experiences are buffet-style, with the character dining at Ariel's Grotto being a three-course meal complete with appetizer, entree and dessert.  All of the options range from $30-40 per person, with kids around $15-20 and children under 3 free.

Goofy's Kitchen
Character Dining Name: Goofy's Kitchen

Location: Goofy's Kitchen is located at the Disneyland Hotel

Character Dining Time: Breakfast and Dinner

Hours: Hours may vary slightly, but typically are from 7:00 AM - 1:00 PM for Breakfast and from 5:00 PM - 9:00 PM for Dinner.

Characters: You'll meet Goofy, Minnie, Pluto, and Chip'n'Dale.  Every so often, all of the characters will dance and parade through the dining hall and then get back to visiting the tables.   




The characters will come to your table individually.  If you are at the buffet getting food and happen to miss one of the characters, they'll usually make their way back to you later on.  If you don't want to take a chance and miss seeing one of the characters, plan on taking turns going to the buffet.  

Photopass Picture: The photopass picture you'll get here is with Goofy, with his kitchen being the backdrop for the photo.


Read more reviews and what other travelers have to say about Goofy's Kitchen at TripAdvisor


Disney's PCH Grill
Character Dining Name:  Surf's Up Breakfast with Mickey & Friends

Location: Paradise Pier Hotel

Character Dining Time: Breakfast only

Hours: Hours may vary slightly, but typically are from 7:00 AM - 11:00 AM for Breakfast 



Characters: You'll meet Mickey, Minnie, Daisy, Pluto, and Stitch.  Every thirty minutes or so, the characters will have a dance party and your kids can join in on the fun.

Photopass Picture: The photopass picture you'll get here is with Mickey Mouse, with a surf inspired theme being the backdrop for the photo.

Read more reviews and what other travelers have to say about Disney's PCH Grill at TripAdvisor


Ariel's Grotto
Character Dining Name: Ariel’s Disney Princess Celebration 


Location: Inside Disney California Adventure near Paradise Pier.  Seating can be inside or outside on the pier area.  You may want to request one or the other when making a reservation and/or when checking in.


Character Dining Time: Breakfast and Lunch

Hours: Hours may vary slightly, but typically are from 8:00 AM - 10:00 AM for Breakfast and from 11:00 AM - 5:00 PM for Lunch.

Characters: You'll meet Ariel and other princesses which may include Cinderella, Rapunzel, Tiana, Belle, Snow White, Mulan, Jasmine and possibly others.  You will meet Ariel for sure and up to 4 other princesses during the course of your meal.

Photopass Picture: The photopass picture you'll get here is with Princess Ariel, with an under the sea inspired theme being the backdrop for the photo.

Read more reviews and what other travelers have to say about Ariel's Grotto at TripAdvisor



Storytellers Cafe
Character Dining Name: Chip ’n Dale Critter Breakfast

Location: Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa

Character Dining Time: Breakfast 

Hours: Hours may vary slightly, but typically are from 7:00 AM - 11:30 AM for Breakfast 
Characters: You'll meet Chip 'n Dale and other classic Disney characters such as Winnie the Pooh.  If you have your heart set on seeing Mickey Mouse and friends, this is not the character dining experience for you.

Photopass Picture:  I haven't had the chance to visit this character dining experience, but understand photopass service is not offered here.

Read more reviews and what other travelers have to say about Storytellers Cafe at TripAdvisor

Plaza Inn
Character Dining Name: Minnie & Friends – Breakfast in the Park

Location: Inside Disneyland on Main Street.  When entering the park, it is located just past Main Street on your right hand side. 

Character Dining Time: Breakfast 

Hours: Hours may vary slightly, but typically are from 7:00 AM - 11:00 AM for breakfast 

Characters: You'll meet Minnie Mouse and may also meet Pluto, Chip 'n Dale, Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, and other characters.

Photopass Picture:  I haven't had the chance to visit this character dining experience inside Disneyland, but would assume the photo you'll take is with Minnie Mouse.

Read more reviews and what other travelers have to say about Plaza Inn at TripAdvisor



Other General Tips:
Here are a few general tips and recommendations I would give based on my experience with character dining:

PhotoPass+:
  • I highly recommend PhotoPass+ when visiting Disneyland and covered the highlights of it in a previous post
    • If you have PhotoPass+ and go to a character dining experience, you will get digital copies of the pictures taken and also a keepsake folder with printouts.  
    • If you don't have PhotoPass+, this package will cost you around $35 if you choose to purchase it.  
  • Note that PhotoPass photographers are only available for the first photo with the character I mentioned in each dining experience above.
  • Also have your camera ready for pictures with the other characters you'll meet over the course of your meal. 
 Advanced Reservations:
  • Making advanced reservations is highly recommended and based on my experience a must if you are planning on a character dining experience during your next visit.  I saw a lot of disappointed people being turned away when they come to find out that the character meals are all reserved.  
  • You can make reservations online before you go or call (714) 781-DINE.  
  • Reservations can be made up to 60 days before your planned trip
Other Tips:
  • Meet characters during the dining experience and save time while in the park.  For example, instead of waiting in line to see Mickey Mouse in ToonTown, you could schedule a breakfast visit to PCH Grill and see him there. 
  • If the location of the character dining is inside Disneyland (Plaza Inn) or DIsney California Adventure (Ariel's Grotto), you must have admission to that park for that day
  • The characters will come to you table by table.  I don't know how many times I've seen people try to jump in front of one the characters for a photo and they have to be told to go back to their table and wait their turn.
  • And lastly, remember that the characters at all locations mentioned above for each location are subject to change at anytime.  
I've been to three of the five options available and plan on visiting the two I haven't been to on a future visit.  While the menu could be a bit pricier than a regular meal somewhere in and around Disneyland, I value the interaction with characters as its fun for kids of all ages and great to experience at least once.