Last weekend, baby girl and I took a much-needed break to some warm weather. We spent five days in Orlando, Florida with my cousin and her three kids!
Now when people think Orlando, naturally, they think of Disney World. And believe me, Disney World is amazing! And tiring! And expensive! So on this trip we took a mellower jaunt to the Greatest Place on Earth – a character meal at Chef Mickey!
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Chef Mickey Review
If you don’t have time, or you don’t want to spend a full day at Disney, booking a character meal is a great activity that will let you have a great Disney experience – and a decent meal. Of course, if you are in the throws of a longer WDW vacation, a character meal is always fun to include on your agenda as well. In a setting like a character meal, you always get a more personal experience with your favorite Disney characters!
This is an especially great tip with babies and toddlers. When little man was about 10 months, and again when baby girl was almost a year, we traveled to Orlando and only did a character meal. When the kids were a little older, we spent three whole days at Disney, and did eat at the 1900 Park Fare, Winnie the Pooh & Alice In Wonderland character breakfast at the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa.
This time we opted for Chef Mickey at the Contemporary Resort.
We booked Chef Mickey because this meal has the most iconic Disney characters – Mickey & Minnie Mouse, Pluto, Goofy and Donald Duck! I booked through the Disney Dining Reservations site. I already had a full profile set up from our 2015 trip to WDW. I booked a few weeks out, but I recommend booking your character meals as early as possible. As a non-resort guest, you may book up to 180 days prior to dining.
Chef Mickey is an all you care to eat, self service, buffet. Servers bring you coffee, water and non-alcoholic beverages. Characters circle the dining room, coming to your table to take photos and give hugs! Every 10 minutes or so, the characters dance around, waving their napkins and getting the crowd excited.
We had planned for breakfast with Chef Mickey, but the earliest reservation on a Sunday in January (for six people) was at 1:05pm. Breakfast is served from 7:00 am until 11:15 am, at which time they switch the buffet offerings to brunch. Brunch is a hybrid of breakfast foods (eggs, Mickey waffles, pancakes) and lunch foods (cold salads, chicken nuggets, tator tots, tofu scramble etc.). See the full menu HERE. Brunch is served until 2:30 and then dinner from 5:00 until 9:30.
Personally, I would recommend the breakfast buffet over the brunch, if you can get the reservation. I think the food was better for breakfast, and the cost is the same. We paid $40 for each adult, and $22 per child over the age of 2. Our baby cousin, age 10 months was free. Since we had a party of 6 or more, an 18% gratuity was added to our bill.
Baby girl said the Chef Mickey lunch was her favorite Orlando adventure. I loved seeing the smile on the kid’s faces each time the characters came around! The food was good, the tofu scramble was really tasty and the cheesy potatoes were amazing! I also had some really tasty chocolate mousse dessert. The kids had Mickey waffles, chicken nuggets and of course, ice cream!
After eating, we took a ride around the resort on the Monorail. It’s free, and there is a station right in the Contemporary Resort. The train goes in a big circle, stopping at the Transportation Station, the Polynesian Resort, the Grand Floridian Hotel and Magic Kingdom. With little kids, they were so excited about what they were doing, they didn’t even realize they weren’t actually in the theme parks!
We had a fun afternoon at Chef Mickey and Disney. I leave you with two important pro-tips:
- Brunch ends at 2:30. Our reservation was for 1:05 and we arrived right on time. We had to wait a few minutes to be seated. When we sat, we took our time waiting for characters, checking out the buffet, and going to the bathroom. BUT we then realized they do start taking the food away at 2:30 – and we were there to eat our money’s worth! So if your reservation is on the later side, don’t dilly-dally. Eat first!
- When driving to The Contemporary Resort, you come to a toll booth (there is a fee to park at the Magic Kingdom and the resorts) but if you tell the guard you are going to a character meal, they do not make you pay to park. Same as you enter the Contemporary Resort self-park.
What is your favorite Disney character meal? Any other pro-tips to share?
If someone in your party has food allergies, be sure to check out these tips from Smart Mouse Travel, 5 Minute Guide to Dealing with Food Allergies at Disney
check out this video of our trip to Chef Mickey, courtesy of BeatCreative Marketing
A Complete Guide to ‘Ohana at WDW by Five for the Road
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