How many character meals?
Going to WDW in March for 5 days with a five year old son and daughter. This will be our first, and possible last, trip there. How many character meals do you recommend? 1 a day or less? Is price the #1 factor or something else that affects your opinion.
Which meals are best? lunch? dinner?
I'm just trying to figure out my best timing. My daughter likes princesses, but isn't all princess all the time. Also, can anyone tell me about the pirate and pals fireworks dinner?
I would definitely splurge for Cinderella's Royal Table. The princesses will fawn all over your son. Plus, they could say that they ate in the castle.
The fireworks experience you're talking about is not a meal. It's a trip on a boat. You meet Hook and Smee, eat some snacks, GO TO THE BATHROOM BECAUSE THERE'S NOT ONE ON THE BOAT, watch the fireworks, and then meet a special friend when you come back. This was great!!!! We had a lot of fun on this one.
Our favorite character meals are: Garden Grill (dinner in Epcot with Chip, Dale, Mickey and Pluto), Crystal Palace (any meal in the Magic Kingdom with Pooh, Tigger, Piglet and Eeyore), 'Ohana (breakfast at the Polynesian Resort with Mickey, Pluto, Lilo and Stitch). We also love Cinderella's Royal Table for breakfast and 1900 Park Fare for breakfast (Mary Poppins, Alice, Mad Hatter, Pooh and Piglet) at the Grand Floridian Resort. There's also Chef Mickey's (breakfast and dinner with Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Pluto and Goofy) at the Contemporary.
If money is no object, or if you are on the DDP, then go ahead and schedule one character meal every day if you want to. More than that would probably be taking way too much time out of your park hours, IMO. If cost is a factor, you can see the princesses at Akershus instead of at CRT. Our family enjoyed character meals as a special treat rather than a steady diet, so we only ever did one per trip. But I know lots of parents who suck it up and do one every day. Different strokes and all that...
We almost always did character meals either for early breakfast (before the park opens) or for dinner. This way it didn't interrupt our park touring too much. I can't ever remember doing a character lunch, precisely for that reason.
Our first time, we did 1 character meal - lunch at The Crystal Palace (Pooh etc.). The food was good (esp. for buffet) but certainly not great. The characters made one pass around the room to visit all the tables for autographs and photo ops and then there was a parade at the "end." We didn't know how our 3 1/2 yr old would like the character interaction so that was a test. She loved it.
Our second time, we again did 1 character meal but it was Cinderella's Royal Table after visiting Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. The castle is nice but the princess interaction is minimal (I hear Akershus is much better for the princesses) and the food is okay but not as good as even Crystal Palace IMO. I was most disappointed in the kids' meal considering what you pay. Both of these times, we were doing all dining OOP.
This time, we're going to be on the dining plan so what the heck! We're doing 4 character meals b/c our daughter LOVES to see and interact with the characters and I am NOT standing in autograph lines this time (did pretty much ALL of them last trip).
So, if your child is all about the autographs, some character dining is probably worth it, even OOP because it will save you tons of line time. If you're looking for a great dining experience, character meals are probably not the best way to go. It's definitely a trade off, although I can't say any food I've had has been absolutely lousy (and I'm pretty picky). Nor have I had anything outstanding yet, but this will be our big table service dining trip so we shall see...
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