Our character dining experiences have always been full of treasured memories. Once, my 6 year old received a marriage proposal from Drizzella at 1900 Park Fare. Stitch insisted on sitting down and holding my 6 month old son while we enjoyed breakfast at Ohanas'. And yet another child basked in the glow as Chip and Dale argued over which Chipmunk was more loved by my 12 year-old.
Before you head to your Character Dining reservation, check out our tips for making the most of your character meals.
- Bring an autograph book. You can buy one at your resort or make one before your trip! (Check out the Me and The Mouse Pinterest board for ideas) Have your autograph book with you at all times. Your children will love collecting signatures from all their Disney friends. Some characters have large hands or paws, we a large, chunky pen works great! Retractable sharpies are my recommendation as you don't have to keep track of a cap.
- Have your child write their name inside their autograph book. Sometimes, characters will look inside and call your child by name! You will also love looking back and seeing your child's signature from that year.
- Select dining locations will take a family photo before seating you at your table. The photo will show up in your My Disney Experience account. Photopass Photographers will not be present when the characters greet you at your table, so you'll want to have your camera or cell phone to capture your special moment with your favorite Disney characters.
- The characters will stop at every table (no need to get up and look for them). A cast member accompanies your Disney friends and helps them navigate the around the restaurant in a well established pattern. If you miss a character while you are getting food at the buffet, not worry! Just let your servers know and they will make sure that the character stops by to visit before you are done dining.
- Don't be afraid to "ham it up" with the characters. They love it as much as you do. Show Ariel your dinner fork and ask her about it. Wear your Mouse Ears when you meet Donald and see what he does. *Check out our blog for more ideas on unique character encounters*
- Consider dining at off hours. the characters will have more time to spend at your table.
- Seat your children near the aisle so they can get a great picture with their favorites characters. By sitting near the aisle, your child can move more easily to give a hug, a "high-five" or simply be closer to their special visitor. This location also makes it easier for the characters to maneuver around.
- It's okay to check in early. If you are running late, Disney will hold your reservation for about 10 minutes past your reservation time. Please note that Disney recommends allowing up to 60-90 minutes of travel time within Walt Disney World property and your dining location.
- Cancel any dining reservations you don't need! Most reservations require 24-hrs notice of cancellation. If you do not cancel within 24-hrs or "no show", a $10/person fee will be charged to your credit card on file. Some restaurants require more notice of cancellation and the full cost of the meal may be charged.
Character Dining is just one way to add even more Magic and Memories to your next Walt Disney World vacation.