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View Full Version : Character Meals if you can't eat?


Kala
04-20-2012, 10:40 AM
I know a very special Princess who will be making her first trip to WDW later this year and she is SO excited to meet all of her favorite characters, especially the princesses. Mom wants to take her to one (or both?) of the Princess breakfasts, but is not sure how that will work since she can not eat orally, but receives all of her nutrition via G Button, mostly at night. Will they still need to pay for her meal so she can meet the princesses? If not, will she still receive the gift that the other kids get? I think they are still giving the little girls a wand? (I assume if she will have to pay, she will get the wand) In their party will be Mom and Dad, infant baby brother, and Princess Reese.

Thanks!

princess:

Mrsjvb
04-20-2012, 10:55 AM
this is something that will be at the discretion of management when you arrive.

she will either be charged full price, regardless of what she does or does not eat, or be charged an entertainment fee.

part of the buffet cost is to cover the character meet n Greet/Photo Ops.

lanejudy
04-20-2012, 11:13 AM
I suggest they look into non-buffet character experiences, though admittedly there aren't many of these. I haven't experienced either of these but it looks like the Garden Grill and CRT are not buffets, and the Wonderland Tea Party is a "snack" (not a full meal) character dining experience. At a buffet, they can probably expect to be charged buffet price, though as PP mentioned there is some discretion there. For a non-buffet, probably as long as "something" is ordered (can she drink?) in her name - maybe even an appetizer that the family shares - they might not charge the "entertainment fee."

Keep in mind that if the family plans to utilize the Disney Dining Plan, this child will be required to have the DDP along with the rest of her party. At regular TS meals, she'll be ok and her credits can be split among the rest of the party for more meals. Character meals may charge the credit for her.

Instead of character dining, the family might prefer to look into other character opportunities. Character meals are fun, but IMHO they are overpriced and each character barely spends 2 minutes at your table before moving on. Considering a meal is likely to last an hour, depending on how many characters are in attendance you really only get a total of less than 10 minutes of character time. That said, we usually do plan one character meal for our DD.

Good luck! I'm sure she'll have a magical experience! princess:

Kala
04-20-2012, 11:41 AM
Thank you so much for your quick answers.

:wave2:

crashbb
04-20-2012, 11:50 AM
I suggest they look into non-buffet character experiences, though admittedly there aren't many of these. I haven't experienced either of these but it looks like the Garden Grill and CRT are not buffets, and the Wonderland Tea Party is a "snack" (not a full meal) character dining experience. At a buffet, they can probably expect to be charged buffet price, though as PP mentioned there is some discretion there. For a non-buffet, probably as long as "something" is ordered (can she drink?) in her name - maybe even an appetizer that the family shares - they might not charge the "entertainment fee."

Keep in mind that if the family plans to utilize the Disney Dining Plan, this child will be required to have the DDP along with the rest of her party. At regular TS meals, she'll be ok and her credits can be split among the rest of the party for more meals. Character meals may charge the credit for her.

Instead of character dining, the family might prefer to look into other character opportunities. Character meals are fun, but IMHO they are overpriced and each character barely spends 2 minutes at your table before moving on. Considering a meal is likely to last an hour, depending on how many characters are in attendance you really only get a total of less than 10 minutes of character time. That said, we usually do plan one character meal for our DD.

Good luck! I'm sure she'll have a magical experience! princess:

I'm not sure about Garden Grill, but CRT is a set price (though, as you note, not a buffet).

LilyWDW
04-20-2012, 11:52 AM
I suggest they look into non-buffet character experiences, though admittedly there aren't many of these. I haven't experienced either of these but it looks like the Garden Grill and CRT are not buffets, and the Wonderland Tea Party is a "snack" (not a full meal) character dining experience. At a buffet, they can probably expect to be charged buffet price, though as PP mentioned there is some discretion there. For a non-buffet, probably as long as "something" is ordered (can she drink?) in her name - maybe even an appetizer that the family shares - they might not charge the "entertainment fee."


Garden Grill is an All You Can Eat Family Style meal. Everyone is expected to pay. It is also not a Princess Meal.

CRT is a prepaid one price meal and everyone will be expected to pay.

I don't think there is a character meal that is not a buffet, family style, or a prepaid one price meal.

I would suggest to budget that they will have to pay. They may or may not get a bit of pixie dust and won't have to pay for the child, but do not count on that happening. It is at the digression of the manager on duty at the time of the meal. It seems mixed on if they will take the person who can not eat off the bill, charge an "entertainment" fee, or make them pay full price.

lanejudy
04-20-2012, 12:48 PM
...I don't think there is a character meal that is not a buffet, family style, or a prepaid one price meal. ...

Thanks for the clarification! :thumbsup2 I must have been using an old reference which indicated those 2 restaurants are considered "plated" meals. Like I said, I haven't eaten at either for a character meal.

ElizabethG
04-20-2012, 01:17 PM
All of the charater meals are fixed price. I think they would be great because the child can be entertained while mom and dad are eating. Personally, I like the plated meals because it is easier with the kids. If she likes the classic characters, Garden Grill is our favorite. The character interaction is great and Chip and Dale (along with Mickey and Pluto) are really funny. Additionally, the restaurant itself is entertaining since it rotates. Similarly, we like breakfast at Ohana to see Lilo and Stitch, along with Mickey and Pluto.

For princess meals, I like the castle. I like the introduction they do for each princess as she comes out. I also like 1900 park fare dinner. The only princess there is Cinderella, but the step sisters are so funny that it is entertaining just to watch them walk around and visit with the other guests.

Mickey's Backyard BBQ is also a fun experience for kids. My DD lists it as her #1 must do. There is a dance party and rope tricks. It is hectic, however, so many children may not like it.

tinkerbelllacey
04-22-2012, 03:38 PM
My dd who has charge syndrome,is deaf blind and is j tube fed and does not eat orally and loves disney and the princesses.we have gotten the dining plan including the free dining.we have free dining again and are going to disney on august 25 for 10 nights.we have eaten at the charachter buffets many times including crt and we do not pay for her at all .we have not been charged any fees.we use all her credits towards ours and are able to go to some signature restaurants like the castle.i let them know when we made our reservations that she does not eat orally and i let my server know at the restaurant also.i know your princess will have a wonderful time.my dd gets so excited and is so happy at disney.she has been through alot including numerous surgeries,illnesses and hospitalizations.when we are at disney we forget about these worries especially when i see her so happy.

dclfun
04-23-2012, 02:56 PM
I wanted to also mention the princess meet/greet at the MK in Town Square. They have FP available and she'd be able to see all the princesses there. Of course you could do this in addition to your meals, but it's a great option now.

EEyorelover22
04-23-2012, 08:13 PM
I was told I would be charged a fee if there was entertainment. This was about a month ago. Not at just a buffet though...only one where there are characters or other entertainment. I would not be charged at Boma, but would at say Crystal Palace.

dreamsofdisney
05-01-2012, 01:41 PM
Thanks for asking this question! My DD is a former 1 lb 2 oz preemie with mild cerebral palsy, autism, a glottal gap, dysphagia, and has a g-tube. She can take about 15-20 oz. per day via bottle if she is in a reclining position, with her head turned to the side, but only will take the bottle at home. She receives the rest of her nutrition via feeding tube, and takes nothing else by mouth - no solids and doesn't drink from a cup.

We travelled to WDW last April when DD was 2, so we didn't have to worry about being charged or having her on the DDP with us. She had her tube feeds at meal times and/or in the baby care centers.

We are planning a trip for April 2013, when DD will be 4. We are planning on using the DDP (NOT during free dining) and I've been trying to figure out how this will work. We stay DVC on rented points and add the DDP. I'm planning on adding DDP for all of us, and then letting the server/manager know at each meal that DD doesn't eat by mouth. My hope is that *maybe* some of the non-character meals (Le Cellier, Boma, Raglan Road, etc.) will not charge a credit for her meal, and that perhaps *some* of the character meals will only charge an entertainment fee. (although on the DDP, I don't know how that would work anyway...) With the regular DDP, I don't mind if we get charged for her, as the fee for 3-9yo is relatively small, and we can still pool her snack credits. I had thought about purchasing DxDP, but it seems silly to be charged that much for meals she can't eat. We will be there for 9 nights and plan on 6 additional TS meals OOP, which is why I'd thought about upgrading to DxDP. It's not a huge savings for us, but that way there's not the sticker shock when you get the bill and have to hand over the credit card each time!

I'm very curious to hear what other people's experiences have been with paying for DDP for children who can't eat. I've heard arguments from people who say "well, my 3-year-old eats like a bird" or "my 5-year-old only eats a nugget or two" but that's different than a child who CAN'T eat. I'd give anything fo my DD to be able to eat a nugget or two! Maybe someday...

To the OP: I hope the little princess has a magical vacation!

:wizard:

EEyorelover22
05-01-2012, 02:52 PM
Thanks for asking this question! My DD is a former 1 lb 2 oz preemie with mild cerebral palsy, autism, a glottal gap, dysphagia, and has a g-tube. She can take about 15-20 oz. per day via bottle if she is in a reclining position, with her head turned to the side, but only will take the bottle at home. She receives the rest of her nutrition via feeding tube, and takes nothing else by mouth - no solids and doesn't drink from a cup.

We travelled to WDW last April when DD was 2, so we didn't have to worry about being charged or having her on the DDP with us. She had her tube feeds at meal times and/or in the baby care centers.

We are planning a trip for April 2013, when DD will be 4. We are planning on using the DDP (NOT during free dining) and I've been trying to figure out how this will work. We stay DVC on rented points and add the DDP. I'm planning on adding DDP for all of us, and then letting the server/manager know at each meal that DD doesn't eat by mouth. My hope is that *maybe* some of the non-character meals (Le Cellier, Boma, Raglan Road, etc.) will not charge a credit for her meal, and that perhaps *some* of the character meals will only charge an entertainment fee. (although on the DDP, I don't know how that would work anyway...) With the regular DDP, I don't mind if we get charged for her, as the fee for 3-9yo is relatively small, and we can still pool her snack credits. I had thought about purchasing DxDP, but it seems silly to be charged that much for meals she can't eat. We will be there for 9 nights and plan on 6 additional TS meals OOP, which is why I'd thought about upgrading to DxDP. It's not a huge savings for us, but that way there's not the sticker shock when you get the bill and have to hand over the credit card each time!

I'm very curious to hear what other people's experiences have been with paying for DDP for children who can't eat. I've heard arguments from people who say "well, my 3-year-old eats like a bird" or "my 5-year-old only eats a nugget or two" but that's different than a child who CAN'T eat. I'd give anything fo my DD to be able to eat a nugget or two! Maybe someday...

To the OP: I hope the little princess has a magical vacation!

:wizard:

I know part of this answer: I called Special Diets and they told me that only at buffets with characters or a dinner show would they charge me if I were not eating. She said that if I ate anything at the buffet without characters I would be charged the full price....even a drink. Order off the menu places would not be an issue at all.

I would call them and ask at Special Diets. It was a long wait time when I called. I am not sure what they would do with the dining plan.

dclfun
05-01-2012, 06:28 PM
Part of the reason they are strict on their policy is that people *would* claim that their children hardly ate a bite and if you give someone an inch...well, you know what happens. I actually like that it's up to the discretion of the restaurant server or manager. They need to wait and see the person who is unable to eat and make the judgement call during the meal and not over the phone beforehand. I've heard of adults being charged a child's price at buffets when they ate mostly from the kids' section and for others to be charged only an entertainment fee at the dinner shows and character meals when they were unable to eat. I trust Disney to do the right thing for people who truly cannot eat and are totally tube fed.

tinkerbelllacey
05-01-2012, 10:24 PM
My dd age 13 is tube fed.We have been on the dining plan three times.we were not charged any credits for her at all even at the many character meals we went to.We also were not charged any entertainment fees. I told the waitress or waiter that she was tube fed and did not eat by mouth.they all were very nice and we had no problems.

mayaflysmama
05-19-2012, 08:32 AM
My DD is on IV nutrition and does not eat by mouth other than a sip of water sometimes. Last year we did have to put her on the DDP as part of our package, but were only charged for her twice. Once in Norway at the Princess breakfast which since there is a photo package included I understood and we were charged at Park Fare for breakfast, but not dinner?! We just went with the flow and were grateful when they didn't charge, but understood it is policy when they did. No DDP this time so I'm interested to see if there is a difference.

Mousequake
05-23-2012, 03:49 PM
I'm glad this thread is here-- I've only been to DLR, and my four-year-old daughter is G-tube fed as well due to some very severe sensory processing problems early on. I often wondered how this would affect any future trips to WDW since I'm sure we'll be making that trip within the next couple of years.

DizNee Luver
05-26-2012, 03:28 PM
I had emailed WDW a few months back to ask this very question. If you use the DDP, then you have to have it for every single person on your package. So we're just planning for her to be charged. I have our credits figured out & if she doesn't get charged for a meal here or there....we'll end up with extra credits that will probably go un-used. Luckily the plan for a child really isn't very expensive.....not sure what will happen when she hits the Disney Adult age of 10. :scared1:

Our daughter is 5, doesn't eat or drink orally, but has on occasion taken a spoon & taste tested soft foods like applesauce & yogurt.

I hope you have a magical trip!! :wizard: