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Character Dining - Bane or Boon?

 
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Do you like character dining?
Yes - I love the ability to interact with characters during meals.
46%
 46%  [ 7 ]
Maybe - I'm not crazy about it, but the kids love it.
20%
 20%  [ 3 ]
No way - Keep those creepy rubberheads away from me!
20%
 20%  [ 3 ]
Other (Specify below)
13%
 13%  [ 2 ]
Total Votes : 15

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UncleDick
Airplane Inspector
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Joined: Aug 11, 2009
Posts: 145

PostPosted: Sat May 05, 2012 10:03 pm    Post subject: Character Dining - Bane or Boon? Reply with quote

I'll just come right out and say it: I hate character dining.

I've only done it once, at the old Goofy's Kitchen (since demolished) at the Disneyland Hotel, but I hope to never do it again.

Why do I dislike character dining so much?
  1. It's expensive. Character meals add a premium cost to dining options that are pricey to begin with.

  2. It contributes to the "toonification" of the parks. The most egregious example is Akershus, which has been transformed from a celebration of Norwegian cuisine to another outlet for the Disney Princess franchise. The elegant Crystal Palace (why is Pooh there, anyway?) has also been compromised.

    Fortunately, the Liberty Tree Tavern was recently liberated, and I enjoyed a delicious, character-free lunch there a couple of years ago.

  3. It ruins the ambiance of the meal. I'm just not thrilled with the prospect of a sweaty guy (or gal) in a full body costume hovering around the table while I try to enjoy dinner. Disney restaurants are already well-themed enough to provide an unusual and interesting experience.

    A perfect example is the Garden Grill at EPCOT Center. You're in a rotating restaurant with amazing views of the "Listen to the Land" biospheres, so why does it need the added distraction of wandering characters? Would the Blue Bayou at Disneyland be improved if Mickey and Co. wandered around in pirate garb?

I suspect that most people endure character dining for the sake of the kids, and the characters probably keep squirrely children distracted long enough to sit through a meal without running amok. Then again, some people just really love those Disney characters.

So what say you? Vote in the poll to express your opinion. I suspect that most will disagree with me, but I'm curious to see how the UABers come down on this.
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brendafitz24
Airport Engineer
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Joined: Jun 05, 2006
Posts: 118
Location: Massachusetts

PostPosted: Tue May 08, 2012 7:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Funny you should mention Akerhaus. Just this morning I made an ADR there for the princess breakfast. I don't mind the character dining but I don't seek it out either- except now I have a 5 year old little girl who LOVES princesses so seek it out I must Very Happy
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pugmalion1
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Joined: Mar 25, 2010
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PostPosted: Tue May 08, 2012 8:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

When we tour the parks, it's just my girlfriend, me and no kids to speak of. Even when I was a kid, I wasn't really interested in the characters. I never thought that they were real, so always knowing that they were just some poor kids sealed in suits, I was indifferent to the entire experience.

Nowadays, I find them a little more tolerable, at least for the kitsch factor (especially the characters who actually interact with you and do it well; we encountered a quite charming Alice in the UK pavilion in Epcot, once). That being said, there's no way I'm paying the exorbitant prices for sub-par dining just so I can be bothered at my meal by a potentially obnoxious experience, especially breakfast, when I can be exceptionally cranky.

So, no, neither of us really care for character dining. Give me a good table service spot serving good food over the character experience, any day.


Last edited by pugmalion1 on Tue May 08, 2012 9:08 am; edited 1 time in total
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ocmsma
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Joined: Nov 13, 2005
Posts: 9885
Location: Arizona/Colorado

PostPosted: Tue May 08, 2012 9:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well if we are going to do a "character" meal my first choice is Breakfast with Minnie at Plaza Inn - characters are always very interactive with adults as well as children and the selections are always good and service is also good - however if we are looking for the "better" buffet we will choose Storytellers at the Grand Californian - different theme and different characters - still interactive and catering the the kids with parades and other activities - we usually do one or the other - not booth and I find it to be entertaining and worth the price Smile
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daveypoo
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Joined: Jun 22, 2005
Posts: 4438
Location: MA

PostPosted: Tue May 08, 2012 9:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I love the character meals. All of them. Although I prefer a variety of characters and would LOVE more villains than princesses. In DL, Storyteller's Breakfast is my favorite. Goofy's Kitchen is too much where Storyteller's is more low-key. In WDW, I love Crystal Palace for any meal, but love breakfast there. I also love 1900 Park Fare for breakfast.
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onecutemoose
Bouncing Between Wonderland & Neverland


Joined: Nov 09, 2005
Posts: 6730

PostPosted: Wed May 09, 2012 5:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I always plan one meal-a breakfast. I like storytellers best I think, but breakfast with Minnie is always a good time- just a little louder due to the venue--design, no other reason really--I like both meals & experiences Smile

: )
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WDWFan
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Joined: Mar 01, 2006
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 08, 2013 11:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Would have liked to have tried this with my children, but could never justify the cost.
Nothing against the characters, but it is just more cost effective to walk to the food court to get coffee in aresort mug, and then return to the room to have a bowl of cereal before hitting the parks. Ok it may not be the most Disney thing to do, but it costs less than $2 and it was less stress than getting he kids up and out quickly.

Now that it is just me and the wife, I can't see doing it.


Last edited by WDWFan on Fri Aug 09, 2013 4:28 am; edited 1 time in total
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daguru
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Joined: Feb 21, 2006
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 09, 2013 4:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My wife and I are not the biggest fans of character meals either... We can tolerate them if we need to, but not our favs...

The bad thing is that all of the buffets, including some of our favorite restaurants like Hollywood & Vine) are all character now, so if you want to eat there, you have to deal with the characters and the big bump in price because it is a "character, premium" meal...
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Figmentathm
UAB's 1st Boston Marathon Finisher


Joined: Nov 09, 2005
Posts: 1995

PostPosted: Fri Aug 09, 2013 4:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Character meals are fun once in a while. The kids and kids at heart like them. The only meal that I was sorry to see remove the characters was Liberty Tree. We went there because my father is a big fan of Goofy, and Goofy always paid alot of attention to him.
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WDWFan
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 09, 2013 4:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would think in a situation like a breakfast where folks are dining face characters would have an advantage over the non-face characters.

Do they? Have folks that tried the meals had beeter interaction with the face characters?
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GrumpyDaddy
UAB's 1st Goofy Challenge Finisher


Joined: Nov 09, 2005
Posts: 10426
Location: Swansea Mass.

PostPosted: Fri Aug 09, 2013 9:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We do a few character meal each trip. I like then but my DW + DD love them.
Its always a good time and the food is good. Very Happy

Our trip coming up we are taking my neice who has never done character dining
so this should be fun! Very Happy
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Disney3xJC
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Joined: Nov 10, 2005
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Location: Orlando, FL

PostPosted: Mon Aug 19, 2013 3:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I recommend 1900 Park Faire at the Grand Floridian. Great food, beautiful restaurant, and great characters... °o°
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JTToad
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Joined: Feb 15, 2006
Posts: 417
Location: NY

PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2013 7:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm in the "OTHER" camp.

I have kids, and of course they LOVE it. We always make sure to get Chef Mickey's in when we go. And the breakfast at the Crystal Palace with the Pooh folks, which is also a pretty great breakfast buffet.

Buuuut, they are really expensive. That makes it rough.

All that being said, one of the best meals I ever had there was the character breakfast at Cape May Cafe with my wife (then girlfriend). It was great food. Not overwhelming with the characters - just enough of them and they had the time to stay and play and really interact with us. Unlike the Princesses at the castle who are always on the move from table to table.

I guess I lean more towards a "YES" then a "MAYBE".
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CAIRat
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Joined: Oct 15, 2013
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 18, 2013 6:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm generally not a fan of character dining unless you have small children. The exception to that is the Garden Grille. The layout of that location allows the characters to come by the same table 3-4 times and develop far more meaningful (and humorous) interactions.
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bison74
Air Cargo Agent
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Joined: May 21, 2013
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2014 6:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We've always had a blast, we try to do at least one character meal whenever we do WDW at least - not so much at Disneyland. The best has always been The Land restaurant in Epcot. My daughter looooooves Chip and Dale and they're always there.

One year at Disneyland, we did a breakfast with Belle and Gaston - and Gaston was a riot. He would be a couple tables away from Belle and would constantly try to get her attention, and she asked my daughter "Is he still trying to get my attention?" and they had the cutest interaction.

One last thing about characters - at Disneyland once we stood in line for an hour to meet the princesses - one of whom was Aurora. After we had left, we were hanging out in front of the meeting place trying to figure out where to go next and the princesses were leaving (they were swapped out). As Aurora passed, she said hello to my daughter, calling her by name. My daughter was dumbstruck - truly like having the greatest celebrity you can think of casually saying 'hi' to you as they passed. One of my fondest memories!
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