A Guide to Character Dining at Disneyland Paris
Sure, the rides are great, the themed areas and landscaping looks incredible and there’s excitement and adventure at every turn, but a trip to Disneyland Paris wouldn’t be complete without a face-to-face encounter with Captain Jack Sparrow, Ariel or the main man himself, Mr. M. Mouse.
Though it’s possible to bump into your and your family’s favourite characters throughout the Disneyland Paris parks, there are a couple of drawbacks to searching for Cinderella or waiting until the parade time to get a glimpse of Beauty and the Beast. Not only will you be sharing the experience with the crowds who are desperate to meet their heroes too, but you may not get to meet your favourites at all – which could potentially be a disaster for smaller guests.
One of the easiest ways to ensure some one-on-one time with the right characters is to book breakfast, lunch or dinner with them!
Here are our top tips for booking character dining at Disneyland Paris and getting the most out of the experience.
Book well in advance
With many visitors making character meet and greets a major part of their trip, and character dining being one of the most popular ways of doing it, character dining experiences book up fast. If you’re very, very lucky, you may be able to book Disneyland Paris character dining at the beginning of you’re trip, but in most cases you’ll need to have booked character dining at least six months’ in advance!
Don’t forget to keep an eye out for deals on character dining when you book your Disneyland Paris tickets. We often have offers that include extras like the Disneyland photo pass and the vouchers for Planet Hollywood, so make sure you get a deal when booking!
Take loads of photos and videos, or pay for a Disneyland Paris photo pass
Every character dining experience at Disneyland Paris is an incredible experience no matter how old the diners are, so make sure every moment is captured. Younger children especially may not remember their visit as well as teens or adults, so videos and photos of their encounter can be watched again if they’re missing their pals at Disneyland!
If you don’t want to spend the meal staring at a phone screen or with your eye down a viewfinder, you can also take advantage of the Disneyland Paris photo pass. At various points throughout the park, as well as at the restaurants where character dining is available, professional photographers will snap special moments. At the end of your trip, the photos are then collated and you can print them or save them digitally. The photo pass costs extra, but it may be worth it if you’d prefer to be in all of the important pictures alongside your family or friends!
If you don’t fancy the photo pass, then you can always ask your server to take pictures. They’ll be more than happy to get a group shot and they’ll help to get as many characters as possible into the photo.
It isn’t just for kids
If you think character dining is only for small children, you’re mistaken! Whether you are 8 months old or 88 years old, the staff and characters will tailor the dining experience to the group, so expect funny moments, maybe a joke or two and plenty of Disney references. All ‘actors’ (shhh, everyone knows that they are actually the real character!) are clued up on the movie they’re from, so ask any question and they’ll be able to give all the right answers!
If you’re heading to Disneyland Paris with younger children, check out our tips for visiting Disneyland Paris with kids article. By planning ahead and following a little bit of advice, you can turn an amazing trip into an unforgettable one!
Consider booking character dining for departure or arrival days
You’ll want to make the most out of your park tickets when visiting Disneyland Paris, so it may be worth booking your character dining experience on the first or last day if you don’t have enough time to visit the parks. Just make sure you leave plenty of time to both enjoy the experience and catch the plane or train back home!
If you’re trying to jam-pack a character dining experience in on leaving day, then let your server know that you’re in a hurry before the meal and they’ll do their best to get everyone fed as soon as possible.
Leave at least two hours for your meal
Although two hours sounds like a lot, bear in mind that the breaks between courses are the opportunities for photos and interactions with your new friends! Character dining tends to be a fairly big affair too with a starter, main course and dessert, so make sure everyone is hungry.
If you’re going back to the parks after your meal, remember to leave some time between eating and hopping on the more intense rides like the Rock ‘n’ Roll Rollercoaster or Star Wars: Hyperspace Mountain.
Consider breakfast over lunch or dinner
Character dining is available throughout the day, but the price of each meal type varies depending on both the restaurant and the time slot. In most cases, breakfast is usually the cheapest option and is still plenty of fun, so bear this in mind if you’re doing Disney on a budget.
The other advantages to having a Disney character breakfast are that you’ll likely only need a light lunch and you may even end up closer to the parks or particular rides than if you’d chosen to eat breakfast at the hotel.
If you’re still keen on dinner, then Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show is a brilliant option. As well as a delicious American-style BBQ meal, you’ll see truly amazing stunts, tricks and entertainment Wild-West-style, with horsemanship, gunfights and an explosion or two providing plenty of excitement for adults and older children.
Pick the right restaurant
At Disneyland Paris, there are four locations where character dining is possible:
Auberge de Cendrillon is a regal banquet hall which you may recognise if you’ve seen Cinderella. Expect stained glass windows, stone and long medieval dining tables, along with fine French cuisine. Auberge de Cendrillon is also the best place to dine with Disney Princesses, so fairy tale fans should go for this restaurant. There are five reservation times available, ranging from 12pm to 3.30pm.
Inventions is a fun and unique restaurant located in the Disneyland Hotel at the front entrance to the Disneyland Park. With an incredible Victorian theme and amazing inventions from a bygone era, this open-style kitchen on Main Street USA offers buffet dining and a chance to meet a wider range of Disney characters, so expect to see a real mixture ranging from the Toy Story gang to Jack Sparrow from Pirates of the Caribbean. Inventions also offers lunch and early afternoon dining slots.
Café Mickey is an Italian restaurant with a twist – you’ll be greeted and maybe even served by Mickey himself! Tuck into pizzas, pastas and maybe even some ice cream, with Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, Pluto and other ‘main cast’ Disney characters interacting with guests at lunch and dinner time. As you can imagine, Café Mickey is extremely popular, so try and make your reservation at least six months’ in advance!
For guests who are looking to enjoy breakfast with their favourite characters, Plaza Gardens on Main Street USA is the only participating restaurant that offers character dining first thing. We’d recommend booking the earliest time slot possible (8am) so you can make the most of your day in the park afterwards!
Don’t worry too much if you can’t get a reservation
Even though character dining is a truly amazing experience for any Disney fan, don’t get too downhearted if you’re too late to get a slot. There are plenty of great restaurants within both the Disneyland parks and at the Disney hotels that provide amazing entertainment as you eat. In some cases, characters and entertainers will make appearances as part of their normal routes around the park, so you may still get the chance to see some famous faces even if you weren’t able to get a character dining reservation.
Another thing that you won’t need to worry about when it comes to character dining at Disneyland Paris is special dietary needs. Disney on the whole are exceptionally good at providing enough variety and ensuring each and every intolerance, allergy or preference is catered for. As long as you make staff members aware of any requirements, you won’t have any issues.
That’s it from us, now it’s over to our friends at Disneyland Paris
Hopefully you’re now armed with all of the information needed to make the most of your character dining experience. If you still need to book Disneyland Paris tickets, then check out our latest deals on both parks, as well as single tickets and dining experience. Don’t forget to bookmark and subscribe too to get the latest deals and discounts straight to your inbox!