A Disneyland vacation is all about creating magical childhood memories. That first churro, a giant lollipop, or a special character encounter will live on in a child’s heart long after they’ve grown up. Disneyland character dining combines everything into one perfect moment, and it’s something we like to book at Disney parks worldwide.
Which Disneyland character dining experience you choose depends mostly on your itinerary, which favorite Disney characters you’d like to see, and whether it’s simply convenient because you’re staying in a Disneyland Resort Hotel.
Whether Mickey’s Tales of Adventure breakfast buffet, a Disney Princess breakfast, a Plaza Inn breakfast, or a meal at Goofy’s Kitchen, these character dining meals are sure to up the ante on your next Disney vacation. We have the full scoop on all your options below, plus tips for making reservations.
Eat Breakfast in the Park at Plaza Inn with Minnie and Friends
The first thing you might think of when it comes to Disneyland character dining where to enjoy it inside the parks.
There is one place where you can do this, Plaza Inn, at Disneyland Park, which is perfectly situated where the gateways to Adventureland, Frontierland, Fantasyland, and Tomorrowland meet.
At Plaza Inn, Minnie Mouse and her friends greet every guest at their table. Be sure to have an autograph book with you for signatures and, of course, a camera.
It’s no accident that Minnie’s attending friends aren’t advertised. Although most Disneyland character meals will have a standard set of characters you can reliably expect to see, there are times when characters can change without notice.
Minnie Mouse is a constant. Pooh, Tigger, and Eeyore are common regulars. However, many other classic and rare characters show up at Plaza Inn for breakfast. You may spot Captain Hook, The Fairy Godmother, Pinocchio, or Mary Poppins.
With the location of Plaza Inn inside Disneyland, we think it’s the perfect place to kick off the day with a character breakfast buffet as anticipation mounts for the day’s excitement.
Disney Princess Breakfast Adventures
Outside of the theme parks, one of the Disneyland resort hotels, Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, plays host to two character dining experiences with the popular Disney Princess Breakfast Adventures and Mickey’s Tales of Breakfast Adventure buffet.
Most Disneyland character dining options do not include Disney princesses, which is a little unusual considering how many princess character meals and experiences there are at Walt Disney World.
However, Disneyland does have one princess breakfast which makes this character breakfast a really big deal. Disney Princess Breakfast Adventures takes place at the Napa Rose, the signature restaurant in Disney’s Grand Californian. It’s not your typical character meal with an all-you-care-to-enjoy buffet.
Disney Princess Breakfast Adventures is a three-course breakfast (luncheon items are also choices), and a highlight is the three-tier tower of starters.
On arrival, your party will meet a Disney princess on a patio for a photo before beginning your adventure character meal. This Disneyland character meal is coupled with storytelling, where a Disney Princess shares her moment of courage.
You may learn about Rapunzel’s first time out of her tower or Mulan’s willingness to become a warrior, for example.
Young guests take home a premium keepsake (which in 2023 has been an autograph book and pens), and you can reserve this Disneyland character dining experience Thursday through Monday from 8 a.m. to 11 a .m.
Mickey’s Tales of Adventure Breakfast Buffet
Next door at Storyteller Cafe, another kind of adventure takes place. Mickey’s Tales of Adventure Breakfast Buffet is open each morning for breakfast, and you can also book Mickey’s Tales of Adventure Brunch Buffet brunch.
Mickey is the host, and other characters are subject to change. Usually, he’s joined by Minnie, Pluto, and Chip ‘n’ Dale.
The Farmer’s Market Buffet offers an assortment of breakfast favorites in Storyteller style, including a made-to-order omelet station, artisan sausage, waffles shaped like Mickey, and a forage platter. With brunch service, you get an enhanced menu with the addition of a carving station and rotating entrees.
Another perk of this Disneyland character meal is that kids can meet their favorite characters and get a dose of Disney Magic before they even reach the park gates. Overnight guests of Grand Californian Hotel can enter Disney California Adventure steps from the cafe.
Note that dinner at Storyteller Cafe is not a character meal.
For those seeking the ultimate Disneyland character dining outside of the park, Goofy’s Kitchen is the place to be. Goofy’s Kitchen is not a repurposed or re-themed restaurant just for a breakfast service. Goofy’s Kitchen exists as a character dining location.
This means that it’s the only Disneyland character dinner experience. Breakfast and dinner at Goofy’s Kitchen are very different buffets. The character experience changes, too, but Goofy is almost always in charge.
One year he did let Mickey Mouse take over dinners as part of his big 90th-anniversary celebration, but Goofy, along with Pluto and Chip ‘n’ Dale, are commonly in attendance.
One of the specialties they offer at Goofy’s Kitchen is “Mickey Mouse” Pancakes. You’ll definitely want to try Goofy’s PB and jelly pizza. French toast, eggs benedict, and smoked salmon round out this savory and scrumptious breakfast. The Goofy’s Kitchen breakfast menu also offers daytime cocktails, as well as a brunch service.
The experience includes a photo opportunity for a picture with Goofy with a kitchen backdrop, and they will happily take a complimentary photo with your camera or smartphone.
Donald Duck’s Seaside Breakfast (Paused)
The popular Donald Duck hosted breakfast at PCH Grill is on pause. As you may know, Disney’s Paradise Pier is currently going through renovations.
We’ll see if vacation mode Donald reappears when the dining outlets reopen.
Tip #1: You will receive complimentary hotel parking for 3 hours at Goofy’s Kitchen, Storyteller Cafe, and 5 hours at Napa Rose if you drive over for Disneyland character dining. However, if possible, we recommend staying at either Disneyland Hotel, Grand Californian Hotel, or Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel so that you can enjoy Early Entry benefits.
Tip #2: Character dining reservations open up 60 days in advance, usually at 6 a.m. To book table service at the Disneyland character dining location of your choice, log on to the Disneyland app to search for your desired time/date.
If you cannot find your date and time, keep checking back and refreshing as new slots are released when people cancel. Still didn’t get your reservation? Disneyland character dining restaurants require anywhere between 2-72 hours of cancellation notice, so again, refresh the Disneyland app for last-minute reservation openings.
Excited to plan your next Disneyland vacation? Check out our general Disneyland tips and tricks guide and also save money with help finding Disneyland tickets discount! If you purchase tickets using my links, I may be compensated.
See also: Hong Kong Disneyland Character Dining and Shanghai Disneyland Tips
Katie Dillon is the managing editor of La Jolla Mom. She helps readers plan San Diego vacations through her hotel expertise (that stems from living in a Four Seasons hotel) and local connections. Readers have access to exclusive discounts on theme park tickets (like Disneyland and San Diego Zoo) and perks at luxury hotels worldwide through her. She also shares insider tips for visiting major cities worldwide, like Hong Kong, London, Paris, and Shanghai, that her family has either lived in or visits regularly (or both).
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