Today’s post by guest author AJ Wolfe from The Disney Food Blog takes a look at three popular character meals in Disneyland Resort. The Disney Food Blog offers reviews, photos, news, and information on all things Disney food!
Three of my favorite character meals in Disneyland Resort — Goofy’s Kitchen, Minnie’s Plaza Breakfast, and Ariel’s Grotto — are tough to choose between. So let’s do a little breakdown to check out the differences between them and determine which might be best for your family!
Minnie & Friends Breakfast in the Park
Held at the Plaza Inn on the corner of Main Street and Tomorrowland, Minnie’s Breakfast is a buffet meal in a lovely turn-of-the-century inspired setting. Pink, white, and green gingerbread decor covers the outside of the restaurant, while the inside is light and bright. Of course, Disney spares no themeing detail, so even the soda pop machine is “bronzed” to look the part. For Disney World fans, this meal and location will most closely resemble Crystal Palace.
Because the breakfast is a buffet, guests are welcome to enjoy several trips to the food stations. Menu items vary daily, but usually include pastries, cereals, pancakes and Mickey waffles, french toast, cream of wheat and/or oatmeal, eggs, bacon, ham, sausage, and potatoes. Also available is an omelet station, where a cast member will create an omelet to your specifications. We enjoyed the separate small bottles of milk and juice available.
Characters at this location are a confusing bunch! If you’re used to Disney World where characters are grouped together with purpose at character meals (all of the 100 Acre Wood characters, the fab five, etc.), this restaurant will keep you guessing. While you’ll usually find one or two 100 Acre Wood characters (we had Tigger and Rabbit at our recent breakfast), you’ll also often see the Fairy Godmother here (no Cinderella, incidentally), along with Captain Hook, Chip and/or Dale, Geppetto, and, of course, Minnie.
Note: Guests have a family photo taken before entering the restaurant and have the option to purchase the photo package during their meal. No characters will be in this photo.
Pros: A panoply of characters, in-park location, ability to eat before the park officially opens, all-you-can-eat
Cons: Expensive, no guaranteed characters (except Minnie), only available for breakfast (lunch and dinner are counter service, non-character meals at the Plaza Inn)
Cost: Adults: $27.99, Kids: $13.99
Located in Disney California Adventure’s Paradise Pier, Ariel’s Grotto is a served meal where guests are surrounded by under-the-sea decor and themeing and treated to a Royal meal attended by Ariel, from Disney’s The Little Mermaid, and her Princess friends. The murals and bubbly light fixtures are fun and will surely capture the attention of any little ones, and guests have the choice of sitting inside or out on the deck overlooking Paradise Pier (seating subject to availability).
This meal is a bit more formal than Minnie’s. At breakfast, food is brought to the table family-style, and at lunch guests order entrees from the menu. Also at lunch, a three-tiered appetizer platter is brought to the table, complete with jello and string cheese for the kids, and veggies and salad for the adults. Entrees are mediocre in quality at best; you’re clearly not paying for the food in this character meal. However, the lunch dessert platter is quite exquisite. The table will receive several mini-desserts to nosh on after finishing the meal.
Characters here include princesses galore; you may see Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, Belle/Beauty, Jasmine, and others. Of course, Ariel is at the front of the restaurant taking photos with every guest (you will have the opportunity to get the photo package during your meal).
Note: Ariel’s Grotto is now part of the World of Color dining package for dinner. No characters appear during this meal.
Pros: Interesting location, opportunity to meet multiple princesses, “served” meal means not having to chase after kiddos in a buffet line.
Cons: Expensive, only available for breakfast and lunch, food quality is mediocre (except for dessert)
Cost: Breakfast = Adults: $34.99, Kids:$18.99, Lunch = Adults: $36.99, Kids: $20.99
Goofy’s Kitchen, the longest-running character meal in Disneyland Resort (and my favorite), can be found in the historic Disneyland Hotel. This unassuming room decorated in geometric shapes and modern colors will remind many of Chef Mickey’s in Disney World, and, of course, these are often compared to one another. This restaurant is an all-you-can-eat buffet for breakfast/brunch and dinner.
Goofy’s is my favorite character meal on property for two reasons: first, the character mix is fascinating, and second, the food is delicious. Characters at Goofy’s kitchen are similar to Minnie’s Breakfast in the Park because they’re a mish mosh. While Chef Mickey’s in Disney World (the most comparable restaurant to Goofy’s Kitchen) is known for having the Fab Five, Goofy’s Kitchen can have anyone from Baloo to Minnie and Jasmine to Chip and/or Dale. It’s a free-for-all, and you’ll never know who you might see. On our last visit, Pluto was taking photos in the front of the restaurant, while Baloo, Chip, Aladdin and Jasmine, and Goofy himself were touring the tables saying hello.
The food, as I mentioned, is excellent as well. I’ve never in my life seen such a huge display of food options at a Disney buffet. We were there for brunch, which meant we had access to made-your-way omelets and other standard breakfast items, but also to lunch items like salads, pizzas, desserts, sandwich fixings, hot dogs, and more. The amount and variety of food was endless here, and it was all of good quality.
If you only have time for one character meal in Disneyland, make it Goofy’s!
Pros: All-you-can-eat, good mix of characters, top notch food selection with lots of choices
Cons: Located outside of the parks, dinner is expensive
Cost: Brunch = Adults: $29.99, Kids:$15.99, Dinner = Adults: $35.99, Kids: $15.99