Should You Book Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel Character Dining?
Character dining at Hong Kong Disneyland (a must-do when in Hong Kong with kids) is actually located at the park’s two hotels which are a 5 minute shuttle ride away from the Disneyland MTR (train) station. Guests choose between Chef Mickey at Disney’s Hollywood Hotel or the Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel’s Enchanted Garden restaurant. Reservations are an absolute must as well as researching the dates and times that character dining is offered at each hotel, because it isn’t always all-day or daily. Here’s what else to expect and though I tire of theme parks, I really enjoyed this experience.
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Characters at Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel’s Enchanted Garden Restaurant
I made a booking about a month in advance of our August 2013 trip to Hong Kong, only because I’ve been disappointed in the past by lack of last-minute availability (we used to live in Hong Kong). Call as soon as your trip is confirmed.
Location in the Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel
Enchanted Garden restaurant is located down a flight of stairs from the lobby at Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel. It also happens to be right next door to Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, where girls can dress up like princesses, Minnie Mouse or Tinkerbell. Lunch and dinner are available, but if not staying at the hotel, consider booking the dress up and lunch or dinner back-to back. If you do this, allow for about 75 minutes. The Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique usually takes about an hour, but sometimes there’s a wait or it takes a while to receive your professional photos. A little buffer is nice.
An International Buffet with Cocktails
The Enchanted Garden has a Victorian feel accompanied by a ton of odd faux vines and plants near the entrance. The food was much better than I anticipated with a heavy emphasis on fresh seafood from crab legs to conch. The sashimi at the Japanese station was excellent and the chef there prepares custom sushi roll orders for those willing to ask and wait a little bit. Of course, dim sum, stir fry and other Chinese favorites compliment Indian curries, fresh salads and more. There were delicious (small) lobster tails and even a fun make-your-own soft serve ice cream station. Regardless of cuisine preference, I do think it’s possible to find something to nosh on here.
Wine and cocktails are available at an additional charge but you might need to flag a server for a refill as they aren’t constantly checking. Grab a plate of food shortly after seating as after about 20 minutes or so, the characters emerge. Do note that if you happen to be refilling plates during the time they arrive to your table, in our experience, they’ll come back. It’s sort of a flawless operation in the character department.
There is plenty of time for character interaction, actually, as they diligently visit each table (sometimes more than once). Goofy and Pluto were the first to come out and they each spent a few minutes with us, allowing for multiple photos. Minnie Mouse and Mickey Mouse each had handlers that would take group photos with guest phones and cameras so everyone at the table was in the photo.
Sure, there’s a professional photographer should you like to purchase a photo to take home at the end of the meal, but there was absolutely no pressure to do so. I appreciated how generous they were with allowing photos using guest cameras and phones—even repositioning us if the shot wasn’t right.
You may also order birthday cakes and favors in advance to jazz up a special occasion.
The kids love it and some of the best photos from my trip are of my daughter’s ear-to-eat grins while she and her friend hugged a variety of characters. Perhaps it’s because we went for dinner between the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique and Disneyland causing the kids to experience Disney overload, but we had a blast.
Though we were staying in Central where prices can be higher than the rest of Hong Kong, I thought the buffet was excellent value for money. More importantly, none of us felt rushed to finish and leave the restaurant. Is it Michelin-starred cuisine? Of course not, but it’s pretty good for a Disney buffet. Actually, really good. Would I do it again? Absolutely.
Price: $488 HKD for adult and $318 HKD for kids during dinner on a weekday. Expect to pay $40-$50 more on weekends and holidays, and less for lunch. Kids under 3 years old eat free.
Chef Mickey at Disney’s Hollywood Hotel
We haven’t done this yet but here are the details. As far as I can tell, the only character you meet is Mickey Mouse dressed up in a chef’s costume (please share if you’ve experienced different). Kids receive a chef hat signed by Mickey, too, and an opportunity to take photos with the famous mouse. The buffet is international cuisine.
The reason why we haven’t been is that I (and my local Hong Kong friends) prefer Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel as it’s a bit nicer, though the prices reflect that on occasion. But, you can eat breakfast here daily ($148 for kids and $198 for adults) with lunch ($158 kids and $268 adults) and dinner ($268 for kids and for $438 adults) served on the weekends and holidays only. Kids under 3 years old eat for free. Do check the dates for availability and note that this is your only option for breakfast character dining at the moment.
Have you been to Hong Kong Disneyland character dining? What did you think?