Celebrating Thanksgiving at Chef Mickey’s in Disney’s Contemporary Resort

Celebrating Thanksgiving at the Walt Disney World Resort is a great time to start new family traditions and let someone else do the cooking. On our recent Thanksgiving-week vacation we spent "Turkey Day" visiting two theme parks, lounging by the pool, and we let Chef Mickey and pals handle the big meal.

Thanksgiving Dinner at Chef Mickey'sThanksgiving Dinner at Chef Mickey's

Chef Mickey's is located in Disney's Contemporary Resort and it's a fan favorite, especially with the kids. When dining at Chef Mickey's you'll get to watch the Monorail glide by and you'll have a chance to meet Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Minnie Mouse, Goofy, and Pluto.

Way back in May when we had to book our Advance Dining Reservations I knew it might be a challenge to get reservations for Thanksgiving dinner. Our first choice, the Whispering Canyon Cafe at Disney's Wilderness Lodge, was completely booked. And so when Chef Mickey's popped up as an option I took it.

A fun character meal for kids of all ages!A fun character meal for kids of all ages!

I like Chef Mickey's for the simple fact that it's a character meal and even though all the kids in our party of 10 are past the "getting autographs stage" it is still fun to snap some pictures with the Fab Five. On Thanksgiving Day the standard buffet also included traditional Thanksgiving Day items such as turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, and mashed potatoes and gravy.

Our reservations were early for dinner (4:30!) and as soon as we arrived and checked in we were seated. Another benefit of Chef Mickey's is this: it's a good place to eat when you have a large group. Our party of 10 was seated at a round table near the buffet and we were in a good spot for the characters too. Plus, no one minds if your party is a bit loud since it's always a bit noisy in the restaurant.

Just goofing around with Goofy at Chef Mickey'sJust goofing around with Goofy at Chef Mickey's

Before heading to the buffet I had to speak with the chef about food allergies and as is the case with any buffet on property, the chef took my daughter and I through the whole buffet line and explained what was safe and what wasn't. Thankfully there were more "safe" items on the buffet than "unsafe."

The buffet was rather standard for Chef Mickey's and we started with several assorted salads, peel-and-eat shrimp , and even a couple types of sushi. Next up was the kid's section of the buffet which included "Minnie" corn dogs, meatballs with marinara, and the standard nuggets and mac and cheese.

Thanksgiving Day menu at Chef Mickey'sThanksgiving Day menu at Chef Mickey's

The non-Thanksgiving fare included Lobster Mac and Cheese (it looked good but was a bit too rich for my taste), Kielbasa which was actually just smoked sausage, short ribs with polenta, Mango BBQ Pork Ribs, and a few other items that we admittedly skipped.

But Thanksgiving is all about turkey and all the trimmings so let's focus on that part of the buffet. After a slight hiccup (the turkey wasn't quite ready!), it was time to fill our plates with Thanksgiving goodies. The traditional items included mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, cornbread stuffing, gravy, turkey, and cranberry sauce. I also skipped the beef at the carving station as I heard several guests complain that it very well done.

Chef Mickey's carving station on Thanksgiving DayChef Mickey's carving station on Thanksgiving Day

Overall it was an OK meal. It wasn't bad but it wasn't lick-your-plate-great either. The turkey was only turkey breast and being a fan of dark meat I was a bit disappointed with that choice. However, with just enough gravy I was able to get over my disappointment. The mashed potatoes were a bit too lumpy (as in there were actual chunks of potatoes in several bites), but the stuffing and sweet potatoes were spot on.

One issue with the buffet was a slow "refill response time." The buffet was consistently busy and it seemed that the cast members were slow to refill the bowls, especially when it came to the salad bar and the gravy. And we all know there's nothing worse than an empty gravy bowl on Thanksgiving.

Turkey and some of the trimmings at Chef Mickey'sTurkey and some of the trimmings at Chef Mickey's

The dessert buffet featured mini pumpkin pies, mini pecan tarts, mini cupcakes, krispie treats, and a few other sweet items. The pumpkin pies were good but the mini pecan tarts were a miss. The chocolate tart shells were very hard but the filling was good. The only thing missing was a dollop of whipped cream. Of course the self-serve soft serve ice cream was a hit with the kids at the table.

Mini pumpkin piesMini pumpkin pies

In the end Chef Mickey's was a fun place to celebrate our Thanksgiving away from home. The food was good, everyone had a fun time, and you can't beat a visit from Mickey Mouse when you're celebrating a holiday with the family.

Where have you celebrated Thanksgiving at the Walt Disney World Resort? Let us know in the comments.

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