Guide to the Best Character Dining in Disneyland!

 I have officially (as of yesterday) tried ALL of the character dining options that at Disneyland park in California. As they weren't sponsored, I can give you the real deal on which Disneyland character dining experience you should choose for your next Minnie and Mickey Mouse vacation. I will even break them down by which ones require a park ticket and which ones you can do outside the theme parks. Be sure to grab an autograph book, my older kiddos love to collect autographs of their favorite characters. While I included all the the current pricing, be aware that children under three are free. By reading beyond this point, you are agreeing to my updated privacy policy, found here, and my use of commissioned links.

Family with Minnie Mouse
The Plaza Inn was so fun!

Here is the Ultimate Guide to Character Dining in Disneyland California!

Character Dining Outside of the Parks (no park ticket required)

Goofy's Kitchen

Smores Pzza at goofy's kitchen
Here are the PB & J, and smores pizza my kids love.

Goofy's Kitchen is located outside of the park in the Disneyland Hotel. This one is the resounding favorite of my kiddos. The price is $35-60 per adult. They offer discounts for Magic Key Passholders and DVC members. My two oldest love the festive atmosphere and quirky food options like peanut butter and jelly pizza, dirt with worms dessert, and ice cream all day. It is a buffet-style restaurant with great food for adults too. I particularly like the chilaquiles and pozole stations. All of the menu items change regularly, though they do have a carving station for dinner. Alcohol (limit two drinks per guest) is an extra cost, but soft drinks, milk, juice, tea, and coffee are complimentary. If you are looking for specific characters like Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Donald, and friends, Goofy's Kitchen is probably the right choice for you. You can make reservations via the Disneyland website and the Disneyland app.

Ice cream cone at Goofy's Kitchen
Ice cream all day!

Storyteller's café

Minnie Mouse signing a book
The autograph books are handy!

Storytellers is an adventure breakfast buffet with chef Mickey located in Disney's Grand Californian hotel. The price is the same as Goofy's Kitchen at 35-60 per adult. This is MY favorite lesser priced outside-of -the-park Disney character breakfast. Here you will see some of your favorite Disney characters doing periodic parades around the restaurant. Before the world shut down, they invited the kids to join in the parade with instruments, and I hope they bring it back soon. It is always so fun to see the younger children dancing around with different characters. I feel like the food quality is better here than at Goofy's kitchen. The pastries are more varied, and they have the most delicious homemade salsa at the end by the carving station. While my kids prefer Goofy's Kitchen, Storytellers is always much loved.  They have never met a Mickey waffles they don't like, and each of the Disneyland character dining options has them!

Napa Rose

mom and daughter at the napa rose entrance
The Napa Rose is very close to the entrance to California Adventure!

Napa Roseis the place for your Disney princess breakfast adventures and is one of the best restaurants in all of the parks. Not only are the character interactions unlike any other I have experienced, you don't have to wait in long lines to see rare characters. My daughter still remembers Tiana telling her about someone stealing her beignets. When you arrive, a princess personally greets you. Photos are taken throughout the experience by a Disney PhotoPass photographer with free access to the digital images. 

Beautiful desserts at the Napa Rose
Every dessert is so beautiful!

They also greet each child with a special gift! When we went to our dining reservation there, the cast member gave my girls crystal necklaces in the shape of a tiara! The experience includes an autograph book and special Disney pen! Upon entering the dining room, each table is served with a three course meal. It is without parallel the best Disney character dining experience. Every detail is perfection! That of course comes with a steep price ($125 per person) but if you are looking for a princess splurge, this is the place. After dining, you will go into a separate area for story time with different princesses. We had story time with Pocahontas and a photo with Aurora. It was so so special.

family with Princess Tiana
She still talks about this experience...

The PCH Grill inside of he Paradise Pier Hotel is not open at this time.

Click here for my must try Disneyland foods and treats!

Character Dining Inside of the Disneyland Park (you must have a park ticket)

Plaza Inn

breakfast food at plaza inn disneyland
With options like made to order omelets, the food is adult friendly too!

The Plaza Inn is currently the only in-park character dining option in Disneyland. Located right off of Main Street, the Plaza Inn breakfast ($35-60 dollars) is an all-you-can-eat buffet filled with delicious breakfast pastries. Characters from the Hundred Acre Wood, like Tigger and Winnie the Pooh, come by each table during your breakfast. Be aware that thought they have dining all day, they do NOT have characters for the lunch and dinner services. My kids loved the hot chocolate station, french toast, bananas foster, and (insert eye roll) red-jello with "fancy whipped cream."  Quite frankly they could eat everything on the buffet. I really liked the original recipe for Walt's favorite fried chicken. The chicken had a tried-and-true recipe taste to it. The biscuits and gravy were also a high point. The Plaza Inn dates is one of the original structures in the park, so the décor dates back to 1955! According to the website, Lillian Disney (Walt's wife) chose the furnishings that are still there. Do NOT miss the chandeliers. My kids thought they were spectacular!

girl with winnie the pooh
Never too old to hug your favorites!

When you are staying at any of the resort hotels, character dining is always a great way to say hello or goodbye to Disneyland after your park tickets are spent. As a family, we love to eat there for special occasions too. It will be interesting to see if they add any character dining inside of Disney California adventure, currently there are none in that park. Do you guys remember the princess dining at Ariel's Grotto where Lamplight Lounge is now? I always loved that one!

When to book your reservations!

The best time to book your character dining is 60 days from your park visit. That is when they open all of the reservations! That said, they do offer a limited number of same day reservations. It does happen! People cancel and they will update any free spots in the app. I always check my app frequently before a visit, because sometimes you get lucky. Don't give up! Which is your favorite character experience, and which one are you hoping to visit? Let me know if I can help or answer any questions.

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