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Old 03-17-2013, 08:27 PM   #16
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Our favorites are Garden Grill for dinner with Chip and Dale (Mickey and Pluto are there too, but we love the boys best!), 'Ohana, CRT and Crystal Palace. Really, we like all of them a lot. We've had some less than wonderful experiences at Tusker House and Akershus, but there are lots of people on the board who like those two.

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Old 03-18-2013, 07:01 AM   #17
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'Ohana breakfast is our favourite character meal as well. We like dinner at CRT as well, but it is just because we love eating in the castle, and has less to do with the princesses.

We also like Mickeys Backyard BBQ, but we are probably in the minority on that one. MBYBBQ character interaction is different from a regular character dining experience. My kids love the BBQ atmosphere, and they love dancing with the characters.
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Old 03-18-2013, 09:34 AM   #18
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Great recap! Thanks for the information. We did Chef Mickey 3 years ago and the interaction was good and the food plentiful but we wanted to try something different. Looks like Tusker for us this time.
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Old 03-18-2013, 10:51 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Saratoga Goofy View Post
We are going at the end of May with a group of first timers (ages 3, 6, 12, and 17), what's the best character meal? We want good food, but more importantly great character experiences?
Definitely pick which characters you really want to meet then pick a restaurant they are at with food you like. Definitely check out the menus. Big help to me.

We have 3 kids...13, 9, & 6.....

My family insists on Chef Mickeys every visit. We have always had great food & great character interaction. We had great character interaction during dinner at 1900 Park Fair but mediocre food & wait service. So we haven't wanted to go back. CRT or Akershus has great princess interaction and ok food. But we go to one or the other every time because of the princesses.

For a non character meal that my family loves, go to Tepoan Edo at Japan in Epcot. Very entertaining & great food.
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Old 03-18-2013, 02:09 PM   #20
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You didn't mention whether the kids are girls or boys, but I'll throw in a plug for 1900 Park Fare dinner. When we went with my kids (dd 6, ds 3) they both adored Cinderella, but loved loved loved the Stepmother and Step Sisters. We spent most of our time watching the Stepmother and Stepsisters interact with other guests - keeping true to their characters, the stepsisters were flirting with every male over the age of 12, and the stepmother was "interviewing" every male of appropriate age as a potential son-in-law. They were really hilarious and 1900 Park Fare is the only restaurant my kids have put on their "Must List" for when we return.
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Old 03-18-2013, 07:11 PM   #21
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Another vote for 1900 Park Fare. The dinner food is delicious, there's a large variety, and it's very fresh tasting. We really liked the carved meat station and the station where the chef prepares pasta in front of you with ingredients you choose. The character interaction is by far the best on property. The stepsisters are an absolute riot! We also really love Akershus. You can't go wrong with either.
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Old 03-18-2013, 07:33 PM   #22
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LMAO! hilarious!
Originally Posted by chefheidit
Haha. Autocorrect said Obama. Clearly I meant Ohana!
Tusker, Crystal Palace, Cape May and Ohana are are great. Very delish. Tusker and CP are my faves.

1900 bfast isnt bad. But not my fave.

The worst dinner buffet I think is 1900. Awful food. Quality and selection were awful. Even desserts were lacking. The only saving grace were the step sisters. They were so funny.

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Old 03-21-2013, 01:59 PM   #23
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WE have 3- Crystal Palace (MK), The Tusker House (AK) and 'Ohana (Poly). I would say that those 3 have the best food and character interaction. What's nice about 'Ohana is that the food is served family style at your table, so you don't have to stand in line at the buffet. However, Crystal Palace and the Tusker House do have a wider selection of food to choose from.

I think it also depends on what characters you want to see

Crystla Palace- Eeyore, Winnie, Tigger and Piglet
'Ohana- Lilo, Stitch, Mickey and Pluto
Tusker House- Donald, Goofy, Daisy and Mickey

Have a great time!

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Old 03-21-2013, 02:07 PM   #24
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Chef Mickey is the best experience but Crystal Palace has the best food....
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Old 03-21-2013, 02:08 PM   #25
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We had a great meal at Garden Grill back in January. We sat down at about 7:00 when the restaurant wasn't quite as busy. The characters came to our table 3-4 times over the course of the meal. At least once they sat right down at the table and joined us! Even if you go during a busier time, the dining room is small so you're still bound to get lots of attention. The food was simple but good too. I'd definitely recommend it!

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Old 03-21-2013, 02:15 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by TheRustyScupper View Post

Best Food (quality first, then variety):
. . . Tusker House
. . . 1900 Park Fare
. . . Ohana
. . . Garden Grill
. . . Garden Grove
. . . Akerhus Royal Banquet
. . . Cape May Cafe
. . . Hollywood & Vine
. . . Crystal Palace
. . . Cinderella Royal Table (since new menu)
. . . Chef Mickey's

Best Character Interaction (time with guest first, then friendliness):
. . . Tusker House
. . . Akerhus Royal Banquet
. . . 1900 Park Fare
. . . Garden Grill
. . . Ohana
. . . Garden Grove
. . . 1900 Park Fare
. . . Chef Mickey's
. . . Cape May Cafe
. . . Hollywood & Vine
. . . Cinderella Royal Table
. . . Crystal Palace (barely enough time for a photo)

Best Atmosphere (surroundings and ambience):
. . . Cinderella Royal Table
. . . Tusker House
. . . Akerhus Royal Banquet
. . . Ohana
. . . 1900 Park Fare
. . . Garden Grill
. . . Crystal Palace
. . . Hollywood & Vine
. . . Cape May Cafe
. . . Garden Grove
. . . Chef Mickey's

NOTE1: Results are listed from best to worst. Overall, Tusker House
wins due to best food and the length of time the characters stay at
each table. A close second is 1900 Park Fare. By far, Chef Mickey's
is the loser, due to mediocre character interaction and almost terrible
food quality. The very distant second worst is Cinderella Royal Table,
due to the brief time at tables for charcters and the new menu.

NOTE2: Characters
. . . 1900 (Breakfast): Alice, Mad Hatter, Mary Poppins, Pooh & friends
. . . 1900 (Dinner): Cinderella, Prince Charming, Lady Tremaine, Step Sisters
. . . Akershus Banquet : Belle, Snow White, Aurora, Jasmine
. . . Cape May Café : Mickey, Minnie, Pluto, Goofy
. . . Chef Mickey : Mickey, Minnie, Chip-n-Dale, Goofy
. . . Crystal Palace : Pooh, Tigger, Eeyore, Piglet
. . . Hollywood and Vine : Disney Junior Characters
. . . Ohana : Lilo, Stitch, Mickey, Pluto
. . . Tusker House : Donald (outside, only), Mickey, Gooffy, Daisy, Pluto
I saw that you rated the food at CRT next to last since the menu change. We've been to CRT many times - the most recently in September 2012, but we haven't been since the menu change. When I looked at the new menu, I was actually a little excited about the changes (especially breakfast - but we're doing dinner... LOL!). In your opinion, why is the food worse now after the menu change?

Also, have the characters changed at Chef Mickey's? I thought the characters at Chef Mickey's were Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, & Pluto & the only character meal w/ Chip & Dale was Garden Grill. Is this a recent change? One of the reasons we have breakfast at Chef Mickey's is it's a "one-stop-shop" for all of the Fab 5 characters.

OP - Our current "must-do" character meals are breakfast at Chef Mickey's (love that we can see the Fab 5 characters & the setting is just so "Disney" to me), Cinderella's Royal Table (it's our "first MK night" dinner - you just can't beat eating in the castle!), lunch at Crystal Palace, & dinner at Garden Grill.
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Old 03-21-2013, 08:06 PM   #27
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My vote is definitely Garden Grill for the food, atmosphere and characters. Other places like Chef Mickey's have great character interaction, but the food is REALLY average.
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Old 03-21-2013, 09:07 PM   #28
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Chef Mickeys breakfast is one of the best! I wouldn't do dinner there again though. Crystal Palace is a very close second!
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Old 03-21-2013, 11:14 PM   #29
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Ours are ohana, chef mickey and crystal palace.
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Old 03-22-2013, 09:56 AM   #30
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Agree with others that your family's favorite characters make a difference. Kenny the Pirate has what I consider the definitive character-finding site, with a page on character meals.

kennythepirate (dot) com/disney-world-character-schedules/disney-world-character-meal-list/

I loved both the food and the characters at the Crystal Palace in the MK.
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