Disneyland Character Dining
On our first trip to Disneyland Resort, we had the fortune to get reservations for three character dining experiences. We went with a cast member and his family who had discounts on dining. The food, service and experience varied greatly between them. Overall, I’m glad we did them but next trip we will schedule our character meals a bit differently.
Character Dinner at Goofy’s Kitchen
Character Breakfast at Surf’s Up! Breakfast with Mickey and Friends
The buffet food was decent. We especially enjoyed the little Mickey waffles and the fruit. I liked that they had fruit smoothies available, but the cantaloupe one I had was not very tasty. The eggs were really watery. It was then a full hour before any characters came to our table, which was disappointing. At that point, we were all done eating and wanted to head to the park, but wanted my toddler to at least see a few characters. We told our waitress who told us she had no power over character visits.
However, a few minutes later, Minnie Mouse came by followed by Stitch. Stitch actually had 2 dance parties while we were there and my toddler surprised us by rushing over to dance for a bit. It was a great way to handle antsy kids waiting for characters to come by. For this reason, we’d do this Surf’s Up! Breakfast with Mickey again.
Next trip, I think we will skip formal breakfasts (Disney character breakfasts or sit down restaurant breakfasts) on park days and just hit up Starbucks so we can get to the park earlier. We’ll save Disney character breakfasts for non-park days.
Character Lunch with Disney Princesses at Ariel’s Grotto
Ariel’s Grotto is located in Disney’s California Adventure Park. We arrived for our 11:20am character dining reservation and had to wait about 20 minutes. We were then ushered down a spiral staircase to meet Ariel. They had us all on the right side of the staircase which made it a bit tricky with a toddler since he wanted to roam around a bit.
After we met Ariel, we were seated downstairs right by the cast entrance. This was the only character meal we went to that wasn’t a buffet. I ordered the crab chowder, which was really tasty! My salmon, however, tasted really off and farm-raised. But, I’m from Seattle and am used to really flavorful salmon. The princesses started coming out right after we were seated and we saw all of them before lunch was over. We got to see Princess Tiana, Belle, Cinderella, and Rapunzel. We thought our toddler would love the princesses, but he was not interested (we discovered later that he was getting sick). The dessert platter was really impressive and came with creme brûlée, s’mores and a chocolate strawberry.
Ariel’s Grotto princess character lunch was a really fun experience for the parents. However, our toddlers didn’t seem very interested.
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