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Old 02-13-2013, 04:01 PM   #1
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Character dining every day?

I am starting to rethink several parts of my vacation. Planning on doing the DDP and currently have ADRs for 5 character meals. How much time is usually spent in each meal? Is the experience worth it? We are also purchasing PP+. Trying to determine if I need to reexamine dining.
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Old 02-13-2013, 04:04 PM   #2
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Every day might be a bit much... and I love some character dining.

You're going to probably spend a solid hour and a half every time, give or take. Only you can decide how well that fits your trip, of course.
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Old 02-13-2013, 04:06 PM   #3
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By meeting the characters at a meal you wont have to stand in line to meet them in the parks = time savings!
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Old 02-13-2013, 04:09 PM   #4
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We do a character meal just about every day, but we do a lot of TS and I really like the characters. Most are about an hour, sometimes close to an hour and a half if things are going slowly. It's worth it to us, but it depends on your touring style.
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Old 02-13-2013, 04:11 PM   #5
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It depends if you mind having 'interruptions' at all of your meals. We break up the character meals with non-character ones purely so that we can sit and enjoy our meal. I find at buffet restaurants the length of time required to eat can be longer because we're trying to be at the table when the characters arrive. Table service is a little easier as the food is brought to you.

That being said, we lurve character meals both table service and buffet!
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Old 02-13-2013, 04:13 PM   #6
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It goes by so fast that multiple ones makes a lot of sense. As it turns out that was the favorite part of the trip for our youngest kids.

The characters make rounds and this is during your meal, then that part of the room tends to wrap up eating and leave and another group is ushered in for the next rounds. I'd say it lasts anywhere from 45 minutes to 1 1/2 hours. Be aware that your reservations do not guarantee that you will be seated at that time.... there will still be a wait (and you are given a beeper). This was true at Chef Mickey's, Tusker House, Hollywood & Vine, and Cape May.... not sure of the one with the Chipmunks at the Poly.

You'll love it. Here's a little hint though. If you are seated behind a pillar at the Hollywood & Vine meet, speak up and get reseated. The characters won't realize that you are seated in that section and will literally ignore your attempts to approach them. We were persistant, Special Agent Oso asked his handler about us, and he realized that we were not stalking him and were part of that section to be greeted. It wasn't the best situation. (Kids were like "why is he ignoring us?")
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Old 02-13-2013, 04:18 PM   #7
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Thanks everyone That doesn't sound too bad, though I didn't know about the reservations not being exact. We will be doing a breakfast at Hollywood and Vine, will definitely remember that tip!

I know my daughter is excited to eat with Mickey, though she doesn't seem to be as excited about the others. But this is pre-trip talk and she has 1 thing set on her mind so that is how it must be!
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Old 02-13-2013, 04:21 PM   #8
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We really enjoy character dining, it is a part of our vacation.
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Old 02-13-2013, 04:25 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by TygerHawks View Post
I am starting to rethink several parts of my vacation. Planning on doing the DDP and currently have ADRs for 5 character meals. How much time is usually spent in each meal? Is the experience worth it? We are also purchasing PP+. Trying to determine if I need to reexamine dining.
I don't think so at all. I think better food can be found at other table service locations and better character interaction can be had at the meet and greets.
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Old 02-13-2013, 04:46 PM   #10
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For kids meeting with the characters is a big deal. I think everyday is a bit much but it will save time waiting on the characters. I personally wish that they would offer more of a variety at the character meals. Honestly who really cares that much about Chip and Dale? Sorry if they are your favorite character but I would love one with Rapunzel and Flynn or Toy Story characters or something like that.
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Old 02-13-2013, 05:15 PM   #11
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It's going to depend on what you want out of your trip. If your group is very interested in meeting characters, collecting photos and autographs, then it makes sense to do a lot of character meals. Nobody really goes to these for the food though - so you're making kind of a tradeoff if you decide all your meals will be character meals. And the variety of characters is somewhat limited. You won't find any of the newer princesses like Rapunzel or Tiana at meals, for example.

I once saw someone post that for a week's trip they had booked sixteen character meals, so there are folks who want to do at least one character meal every day.
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Old 02-13-2013, 05:53 PM   #12
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We booked 2 on an 8 day trip and I felt that was plenty. But, I think the kids would have happily eaten with characters every day if the meals were quicker. That said, their favorite place was Via Napoli because our server was so engaging. That is the one restaurant they always talk about

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Old 02-13-2013, 05:54 PM   #13
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We just got back from our first trip, and we did character meals every day. They were one of the best parts of the trip for our kids! We did an early breakfast every day (Tusker House, CRT, Hollywood and Vine, and Crystal Palace). We were out everyday within an hour. We also did Chef Mickey's and 1900 Park Fare for dinner. They took a little longer, but probably still right around an hour. Hollywood and Vine was the BEST! Great food on the buffet, and the character interactions (especially with Oso) were great. The dance parties were so much fun, too. Our worst experience was 1900 Park Fare - I was really disappointed after hearing so much about the great character interactions there. I'm thinking we may have just hit a bad night.

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Old 02-13-2013, 06:22 PM   #14
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It's all about getting a balance that's right for you. Personally 5 would be too much for us. We have been to a good number of character meals but over a number of years. These have included Cinderella's Royal Table, Crystal Palace, 1900 Park Fare, Chef Mickey's, Garden Grove and Akershus. Most are very rushed affairs and you don't get a chance to settle down to eat. However, the exception to this is the Garden Grove in the Swan hotel (near Epcot). The breakfast at weekends 6:30 AM to 11:30 AM had Pluto, Goofy, Chip and Dale. These characters all want to have fun with the children. It is much more relaxed than the other places and Pluto and Chip even came back round again to see the children. The photos we have are priceless - they are having a really good laugh. You do not need prior reservations. We had a horrible experience at Chef Mickey's the other year which at the time damaged my children's love for Mickey Mouse. I have found that often the characters interact better at the park Meet and Greets. Some of the characters love it if the children have plush toys they can play with. King Louie had my daughter's toy wolf holding it up like Rafiki did in the Lion King to the reprimands of the cast member only for him to put it up a tree. Chip and Dale played with my son's toy beaver for about 10 mins. I kept trying to hurry them on but they were having too much fun! The character greetings are still an important part of the holiday even though they have met most of them before. This time we have booked Crystal Palace for breakfast on our first morning as I love walking up Main Street without the crowds. I may yet book Garden Grill as my children do love Chip and Dale. We like to have a mix of restaurants and last time my children preferred restaurants like Sanaa, Boma and The World Showcase restaurants. It is nice to sit and chat about the day and make plans for the next day. Enjoy your holiday whatever you decide.
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Old 02-13-2013, 07:08 PM   #15
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I'm going to preface this by saying that our only trip was just my husband and me. No kids. I had scheduled the Crystal Palace for dinner our first night because I LOVE the Pooh characters. DH was not excited and wasn't sure he wanted to do any character meals. By the end of the dinner he was so happy to hear we would have a character meal the very next day for breakfast. He actually asked if I could change our reservations so we would have a 3rd character meal which we ended up not doing. We would have been happy, as 2 adults, doing 3 or 4 character meals during a 6 night trip. Akershus was good but not a favorite and we plan to skip it next time in favor of trying something new. We were crazy about Crystal Palace for dinner. The food was quite good we thought and the character interaction was outstanding. I don't know if that is the norm but here is our experience. We were there for dinner one night during the Halloween party. We had a late seating and by the end of the dinner there was hardly anyone in the restaurant. We saw each character 2-3 times and at the end of the night we had 3 characters just hanging out at our table for 10 minutes easily. Yep, just us two adults. From that point on DH couldn't wait to meet any character around! As 2 adults we wouldn't choose to do it every day but definitely most days!
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