Some people might think "Oh, character meals are just for kids!" but we think otherwise. While there may be a few character meals geared more toward kids (think: Hollywood and Vine at breakfast and lunch), the majority of character meals at Walt Disney World are just perfect for "kids" of all ages!
The Crystal Palace, located in the Magic Kingdom, is arguably one of the prettiest buildings at the Magic Kingdom (aside from the castle, of course). It resembles a Victorian greenhouse and is light and airy inside. The front porch is always bustling with guests waiting for their reservations. Once inside, you'll be dining at one of the better buffets on property for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
The food on the breakfast buffet includes items such as scrambled eggs and an omelet station, and of course Mickey waffles! For lunch you'll find a fresh salad bar, seasonal fish and vegetables, pasta, carved meats and a kid's buffet featuring kid-friendly items such as pasta, chicken nuggets and mac and cheese. The dinner buffet is similar to lunch but there are often a few more options including peel-and-eat shrimp.
A highlight of the meal is, of course, when Pooh, Tigger, Eeyore and Piglet stop by your table for a hug and photos. They'll sign your autograph books too. And if you have the kids with you, make sure they participate in the parade through the restaurant - it's a great time!
For a change of pace, make a reservation at The Garden Grill, located inside The Land pavilion at Epcot. This table service location is open for dinner and features a family-style meal. And, it's the only rotating restaurant on property. That's right - one of the coolest things about eating at The Garden Grill is that it rotates so diners can see the various scenes from the Living with the Land attraction. Oh, and did we mention that Mickey, Pluto, and Chip and Dale stop by too?
The food at The Garden Grill is really exceptional. Your meal starts with rolls served with maple butter and a salad that includes vegetables from the greenhouse in Living with the Land. Talk about fresh! The family style meal also includes filet of beef with red wine butter, roasted turkey, a sustainable fish of the day, smashed potatoes, and fresh vegetables. Dessert is usually a seasonal cobbler, but that can change.
While you dine and enjoy the changing scenery, the characters stop by for photos and autographs. The layout of the restaurant - two tiers with tables and booths - makes it so diners never feel crowded together. The food and atmosphere make The Garden Grill a truly unique dining experience.
If you're thinking of character meals for your next trip, be sure to check out The Crystal Palace and The Garden Grill. You'll find great food, fun characters and a fun dining experience at both locations.
Thanks so much to our friends over at the Disney Food Blog for letting us use their images, and to Traci C. for another guest post. Have you eaten at either of these great locations? Leave a Comment below and let us know what you thought!