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Old 02-02-2010, 04:10 PM   #1
dmked
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Are character meals worth it?

Are character meals really worth it? I have 2 girls, 2 and 4 and my mom wants to do a character meal (not sure which one) but they all seem to be in the $40 price range per person, that seems like an awful lot! So to everyone who has done them...are they worth it and were you able to get good pictures during the meal?
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Old 02-02-2010, 04:12 PM   #2
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Are character meals really worth it? I have 2 girls, 2 and 4 and my mom wants to do a character meal (not sure which one) but they all seem to be in the $40 price range per person, that seems like an awful lot! So to everyone who has done them...are they worth it and were you able to get good pictures during the meal?
It was to us. You can buy a lot of food for $40, so just depends on where you want to spend your money.

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Old 02-02-2010, 04:14 PM   #3
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I kind of wonder if it is because of a certain expectation
I'd say go for it!
 
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It totally depends on you. Lots of people will tell you they're totally worth it, but for our family, absolutely not...we won't ever do another one.
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Old 02-02-2010, 04:40 PM   #4
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If it helps, your 2 yr old is free. We love GK brunch and Ariels dinner. Good food and lots of fun.
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Old 02-02-2010, 04:48 PM   #5
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If it helps, your 2 yr old is free. We love GK brunch and Ariels dinner. Good food and lots of fun.
Oh, that is nice that my 2 y/o is still free, I didn't even think to check ages! Is there a price list for all of the character dinings? Is it more since we are going in the peak season (July or August)?
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Old 02-02-2010, 04:51 PM   #6
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It's totally a personal decision. If we can afford it then we do it. If it's something that's going to cause us to be tight in money then we don't. You will get good pictures. Each character comes to every table and signs autographs and takes pictures with the kids. If your kids really want to collect autographs character meals save you a lot of park time that you would be spending chasing the characters down. They also have small activities for the kids to participate in. Like at Goofy's all the kids come up and do the pots and pans dance with Goofy. I've also seen them do a conga line. Ariel's they had the kids come up and dance as well.
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Old 02-02-2010, 04:53 PM   #7
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Oh, that is nice that my 2 y/o is still free, I didn't even think to check ages! Is there a price list for all of the character dinings? Is it more since we are going in the peak season (July or August)?
Yes, peak season is more. Here is a link to a site with a full range of menus with prices for all of the food service locations at DL and DCA including character meals. They update it whenever there is a reported price or menu change.

http://allears.net/dlr/din/menu/menus.htm#dl
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Old 02-02-2010, 04:55 PM   #8
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Oh and also if you are a AAA member you can save 10% at Goofy's, Minnie's, and Ariel's.
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Old 02-02-2010, 04:57 PM   #9
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I found them to be worth it (I've done 4 to date and had an absolute blast at all of them). If timing and money works out I can't imagine going and not doing one anymore. The interactions that you get with the characters plus the sheer amounts of food make it worth the money for me.
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Old 02-02-2010, 05:19 PM   #10
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Another option to lower the cost is to do a late breakfast. And don't forget that you can walk out of the restaurant with a drink (ask for a drink togo) and an apple or banana. If you're buying snacks while your in the park, this can also save a few of dollars.

Unless you are going during peak season, late breakfast isn't usually as crowded, which could give you more time with the characters.
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Old 02-02-2010, 05:23 PM   #11
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As far as character interactions go we are big fans of Minnie's Breakfast. We love, love, love it. (okay and we liked the food too). You are guaranteed to have 8 characters there, sometimes more. They will come and stop by your table more than once. We ended up going there twice on our last trip because we had so much fun. We saw Minnie of course, Eeyore, Chip and Dale, Tigger, Fairy Godmother, Captain Hook, Max, Terk and Winnie the Pooh.

We have only had supper at Ariel's and it is okay. You don't have as much time with the princesses and once they leave your table, that is it. Princesses, Ariel, cinderella, snow white, Belle, Jasmine and Aurora. You will get any 4 princess in addition to Ariel.
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Old 02-02-2010, 05:30 PM   #12
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We have done trips to WDW with character meals and without. The first yr. we did them, it was really great (Jan. 2008). It was our first trip so it was all so new and exciting. But, we went back the next yr (Jan 2009) and the character visits seems so quick and fast at your table. Maybe it was b/c we'd done it just 12 months before. We went this year( Jan 2010 ) and budgets did not allow for lots of dining. So, we stood in line to see characters instead at their "spots"...the princesses in toon town and Mickey and the gang at Epcot Character Spot. Honestly, you get more time with them by standing in line and those pics are really great. But, we were there in January each year where the lines were not really long. I could see the advantages of doing the dining visits if it was really crowded while you were there. Also, if you are dining plan, go ahead and book some character dining...the food is indeed good and you payed already
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Old 02-02-2010, 05:46 PM   #13
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It is absolutely worth it. You will get lots of time w/ the characters for photos and the food is great, depending on which one you go to. My personal fave was always Lilo & Stitch, but someone told me they closed. Goofy's Kitchen also gets good reviews.
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Old 02-02-2010, 05:48 PM   #14
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We really enjoyed our character meals at Goofy's and Ariel's. Ariel's was worth it for me because my daughters (4 and 5 at the time) were sooo into the princesses and they really liked the underwater look of the place. Since I book my trips through Costco, we get 1 character meal free (Goofy's), so I didn't pay separately for it, but we really liked the food and since it was the first time for the girls being around characters it was a nice and relaxed setting for them to get into the idea without being rushed or having a big crowd around. It was included in my package but I would have paid for it.

I think that whether or not it's worth it varies for each family.
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Old 02-02-2010, 06:48 PM   #15
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Even though Goofy's Kitchen breakfast is my favorite (because the serve yourself, all-you-can-eat buffet has a very wide variety of things to choose from for adults and kids and classic Disney characters running around), it is very costly (at its absolute cheapest point, which would be an off-peak season breakfast, the total with tax and tip included is about $32 per adult, and at its absolute most expensive point, which would be a peak season dinner, it is well above $40, but under $50, per adult), and it is hard to convince people that paying that much for any meal is worth it. (My friend, who was a Goofy's newcomer, looked at me like I was nuts for suggesting we pay over $30 for breakfast in December, but I was SO relieved that she loved it.)

However, I think that the Minnie & Friends meal may be a great way for you to start off in the world of character meals because of the abundance of characters and the cheaper price tag. The price for Minnie's, last time someone posted it, is something close to $25, I believe, give or take a dollar or two. In any case, it is well below the price of Goofy's and Ariel's Grotto. Goofy's and Ariel's are both considered by DLR to be "premium dining," while the other character meals are not, for some reason (perhaps because of the selection of food at Goofy's and the more unique specialty items at Ariel's??). So I think you get a lot of bang for your buck at Minnie's with the characters alone.
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