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Old 11-01-2012, 02:09 PM   #1
dgagnon519
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Dining. To character or not?

We have always done character meals, more for the experience thn the food. I am noticing though how much money we could save by cutting some out. I am worried we won't feel as Disney if I cut them out. I would like to save the money though. I have a DD12 and a DS9.I have almost of the character meals picked out for our next trip. My kids are still into the characters (I am too). Will I regret not doing them or at least not as many. Has anyone done lots of character meals and then cut down to none or a few. Did it feel different?
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Old 11-01-2012, 02:21 PM   #2
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Have you thought about getting the dining plan so you don't have to be as concerned with the price if you decide to keep them? Also, I would keep them as long as the kids are interested. We leave and my dd is 13 and ds is 17 and they requested no character meals this trip and I was a little sad, so my advice is enjoy it while you can!
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Old 11-01-2012, 02:59 PM   #3
nansmama
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We have done a few character meals--once at CRT and twice at Akershus. They're cute but they certainly don't make or break a trip for us. There's plenty of Disney magic to be had elsewhere and other times/places to meet the characters.

We are going back to CRT this next trip because my dd14 specifically requested it. Otherwise, I wouldn't bother.
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Old 11-01-2012, 03:22 PM   #4
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My girls are 8 and 4. We are thankfully only doing one character meal this upcoming trip and that is Akershus. You see characters all day long, why sacrifice a good meal to see them? The food at most of the character meals are sub par buffets versus the rest of the restaurants.
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Old 11-01-2012, 03:56 PM   #5
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I enjoy the character meals. Its a great opportunity for photos and interacting with the Disney gang but we usually limit to 1 or two per trip.
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Old 11-01-2012, 04:18 PM   #6
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When my DD was 9, I asked her if she would rather go to a character meal and eat pudding self-served out of a vat.....or see the characters in the parks and have creme brulee at the California Grill. Let's just say that I raised a good kid!!
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Old 11-01-2012, 05:32 PM   #7
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My daughters are 8 & 9 and we are only doing tusker house and 1900 park faire, more the experience than the food.
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Old 11-01-2012, 05:35 PM   #8
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We have always enjoyed our Character Dining experiences - we have tried most of them once, and several of them many times. We have always found the food to be good to excellent and we LOVE the character interaction.
That being said, we had always used the Dining Plan until our last trip in May. We now own a *Disney Adult* - and got massive sticker shock at the price of Character Meals when paying OOP .
I took a good hard look and honestly couldn't find one that was worth the actually price it would cost us with 3 adults and 1 child. The only one I seriously considered was Tusker House breakfast (our favorite) but in the end passed on it too.
This next trip I am biting the Disney Dining Plan bullet and we are definately getting the Dining Plan.
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Old 11-01-2012, 05:49 PM   #9
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If the kids are still into the characters then I would do it, as much as I hate buffets, and the prices. Our last trip which was our first trip to WDW, every meal was character meal, this time around we are doing 3, CP, CRT, and H&V, just because the kids love the characters those places offer.
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Old 11-01-2012, 05:52 PM   #10
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I honestly don't think you need to have the character dining to get the full experience of Disney. You see the characters in the parks, on rides, and all over WDW in general. Especially since you've been to character dining for so many years, you should definitely spend the money on nice dining with better food! Go for it! There's so many other ways to get the most out of your trip
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Old 11-01-2012, 08:59 PM   #11
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You know your family best, but more than two character meals in a week would seem like overkill to me.
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Old 11-01-2012, 09:04 PM   #12
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If you feel like you've been there, done that, avoid them.

We're doing them all this year, because we're pretty sure this will be a once (or twice if we're lucky) in a lifetime trip, and our kids are still very young.
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Old 11-01-2012, 09:09 PM   #13
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We've done many character dinners, but only when on the Dining Plan. I couldn't face the OOP cost! Even though we're still paying for it in the plan, getting that bill at the end of the meal is shocking! Only done that once!
Last trip girls were 12 and 7 and they decided that we'd just do Chef Mickeys' breakfast because they love that! As far as other meals, they'd rather have more park time... Character meals seem to take up a lot of time!

Depending on how adventurous your kids are with regards to food they may like to try something different than the buffet. Mum always knows best!
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Old 11-01-2012, 10:16 PM   #14
dgagnon519
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After reading all of your post. I decided to ask them. My dd12 tells me Disney is all about the rides for her now. The only character meal she cares about is CP because she loves Winnie the Pooh. She doesn't care where we eat as long as she gets a dole whip.
D9 tells me the only character meal he cares about is chef mickeys. Lol. I guess the character meals would be more for me.
We each picked 5 table service meals for our 18 day trip and did great for my budget.
Thanks everybody for the opinions. I feel better knowing that it won't put a damper on the trip not doing a bunch of character meals.
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2013 - Port Orleans Riverside - 2 nights
Beach Club Villas - 1 night
Animal Kingdom Lodge - 8 nights
Villas at Wilderness Lodge - 2 nights
Old Key West - 2 nights
Art of Animatition - 1 night
2011- Calypso Cay (off property) - 5 nights
Animal Kingdom Lodge Jambo - 4 nights
Baylake Tower - 1 night
Saratoga Springs - 3 nights
Boardwalk - 2 nights
2010 - Old Key West - 4 nights
Animal Kingdom Lodge Jambo - 4 nights
Animal Kingdom Villas Kidani - 4 nights
2009 - Pop Century - 10 nights
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