Eat + Drink

Eat and Greet: Where Kids Feast With Fantasy Favorites

Cinderella’s Royal Table (Photo: Courtesy Disney)

If you’ve come to Orlando with the kids, you’ve probably come to experience a little magic. And, nothing could be more magical than seeing your little one’s eyes light up upon seeing their cartoon idols come to life. Character dining experiences within Walt Disney parks are a one-stop shop for perfect photo ops and childhood memories they’ll talk about for years after. Here are four of our top spots to eat and greet with popular Disney characters and princesses from Mickey to Mulan.

Akershus Royal Banquet Hall at Epcot

disney-character-kids-dining-asherkus-royal-banquet-restaurant.jpgSnow White at Asherkus Royal Banquet Hall (Photo: Courtesy Disney)

As you’d expect, Disney is in the midst of turning the classic Norway pavilion at Epcot into a Frozen extravaganza. The mammoth dining hall, Akershus Royal Banquet Hall, transports your family to Elsa and Anna’s castle in the frozen wonderland. Choose a character experience for either breakfast (where traditional American morning favorites are served) or a Norwegian-inspired lunch experience if you’ve got adventurous little eaters on your hands. Kids will get to dine with Disney Princesses in a medieval castle setting, and special guests can include Anna, Elsa, Snow White, Cinderella, Belle, Princess Aurora, Ariel and Mary Poppins.

Cinderella’s Royal Table at Magic Kingdom

disney-character-kids-dining-cinderellas-royal-table-restaurant-02.jpgCinderella’s Royal Table (Photo: Courtesy Disney)

Very few things could be more magical than sitting down at the dinner table inside Cinderella Castle with your family and some of Disney’s most famous faces. The interior of the castle is grand, to be sure, so tiaras and gowns are optional, but after all, you’re in a castle, so dressing up is certainly encouraged. Take the gilded elevator up to the dining room and then greet Cinderella as you enter. Choose an appetizer, a steak and shrimp entree and share a trio of desserts amongst the stone columns and medieval decor.

Tusker House Restaurant at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

disney-character-kids-dining-tusker-house-restaurant.jpgDonald Duck at Tusker House Restaurant (Photo: Courtesy Disney)

If you’ve got a brood with big appetites, you might be looking for a buffet that’ll still be kind to your wallet. The breakfast and lunch buffet at Tusker House Restaurant at Animal Kingdom is Donald Ducks’ base camp for safari, so you and your little cheetahs can join him and other Disney characters for a quick bite (or a loooooong lunch) before or after hitting the roller coasters or piling in the Jeep for an animal-spotting adventure. Dine on African-inspired dishes like curried rice pilaf, spit-roasted carved meats and hearty stews.

Hollywood & Vine at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

disney-character-kids-dining-hollywood-vine-restaurant.jpgHandy Manny at Hollywood & Vine (Photo: Courtesy Disney)

Disney Junior favorite characters from shows like “Doc McStuffins,” “Sophia the First,” “Jake and the Never Land Pirates” and “Handy Manny,” put on two musical meals at the classic Hollywood & Vine diner, where there’s (get this) a giant chocolate fountain with sweets like fruit, cake pops and marshmallows perfect for dipping. There’s a bonus appearance during Star Wars Weekends (every May through June): Mickey and his pals will appear dressed as their favorite Star Wars characters — Han Solo, Chewbacca, Princess Leia and, of course, Mickey Mouse as Luke Skywalker.