Disney’s Modified Character Dining Experiences: What To Know

Credit: Disney

Walt Disney World has been opened to guests now for a few months, but not all experiences are exactly the same as they were before.  One of the great experiences guests can choose to have at Walt Disney World is character dining; however, this is one encounter that has been slightly adjusted since reopening.  We look at what you need to know about charactering dining now at Walt Disney World.


Disney has brought characters to guests in a variety of ways through dining experiences. From the iconic Chef Mickey’s at the Contemporary to new, unique experiences at Topolino’s Terrace at the Riviera, character dining has become a staple for many when visiting Walt Disney World and it can still be one even today.

What is Available?

The first thing to know is that not all character dining experiences are open at Walt Disney World currently.  Luckily Disney seems to be constantly updating and changing these options.  Each week it seems they are opening more options, but make sure to check the Know Before You Go guide from Disney to get the latest update.

Right now, guests have a few great options when it comes to dining.  Garden Grille at Epcot, Chef Mickey’s opening soon with characters at the Contemporary Resort, Topolino’s Terrace (breakfast) at Riviera as well as Minnie’s Halloween Dine at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.  

Credit: Disney (Topolino’s Terrace)

For a no obligation, FREE Quote with new bookings contact our sponsor Magical Vacation Planner by calling: 1(407)442-0289 Or for a free no obligation quote with new bookings you can fill out the form by Clicking HERE!

What Characters Do I See?

Right now, at Walt Disney World most character dining experiences are focused on what they call “fur” characters.  This unfortunately meals no princesses at the moment.  At Garden Grille, those crazy chipmunks can be seen as well as Mickey and Pluto.  Chef Mickey’s hasn’t officially opened yet, but previously this was a great spot for the Fab Five and we don’t expect that to change.  At Topolino’s, guests can enjoy some adorable costumes with Mickey, Minnie, Daisy and Donald.  Finally, at Minnie’s Halloween and Dine, guests get to see Minnie and friends in their fantastic Halloween costumes.  Even though the princesses aren’t currently out, guests have a lot of options to meet the main mouse and friends.

Credit: Disney

Modified Interactions

In order to keep guests and our favorite pals safe, Disney has modified how guests interact with characters during these meals.  Characters will now parade around the dining area multiple times allowing guests to take photos, videos, blow kisses and interact all from a distance.  Characters won’t stop at each table for a 1:1 interaction, but instead do more of a wave and walk as they pass by.  The good thing is they do this multiple times which allows guests to have multiple opportunities to take pictures.

Food Options

Another thing that has been adjusted during character meals is how food is presented. Those meals that used to be buffets have been modified into a family style meal or other option.  Know ahead of time that buffets aren’t happening right now in Disney.


Guests are also being asked to use mobile check-in for most dining experiences in Disney.  Guests can sign into their dining experience through the My Disney Experience app on their phone.  This is a great way to prevent guests from gathering at the host stand.  Guests can instead chill until being notified their table is ready for them.  It is fun to see how Disney is using technology to help keep guests and cast members safe.

Character dining is a must for many guests when heading to Walt Disney World and it still can be something that is on your list when visiting.  There are many great options that allow you to see and interact with your favorite characters from a distance.  Don’t hesitate to try out these character meals during your next visit to Walt Disney World, they are sure to be magical.

About Jennifer Retzlaff

My name is Jennifer Retzlaff and I became a lifelong Disney fan during my first trip to Walt Disney World in 6th grade. From that moment, Disney became a big part of my life. I live in Iowa with my husband and two kids who are growing up too quickly for my liking. I started introducing my love for Disney early to my family with a Disney honeymoon and then trips when our youngest of 18 months. Since then, our family has been to Walt Disney World over five times and we continue to plan and dream for the next trip. I love the magic that Disney brings to people through the theme parks, cruises, adventures and movies they create. As a teacher, I try to bring that magic into my classroom to help kids believe that “If You Can Dream It, You Can Do It.” I recently reached a dream of mine as I joined Magic Vacation Planner as a personal travel advisor. With this team, I can now help others plan magical vacations. As a passionate writer, I also have my own blog at magicalvacationsbyjen which is also where you can follow me on instagram for trip reviews along with tips and tricks for your next magical vacation.