Disneyland Character Breakfast Reviews and Guide:
One thing that has changed over the years at Disneyland is that it's not as easy to meet and get pictures with all the Disney characters like it was a few decades ago. When I was a child you would walk into the park entrance and into the Main Street area and instantly see lots of characters walking around. My family photo albums have me in dozens of pictures with Mickey Mouse, Goofy, Pluto, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Snow White, the 7 dwarfs, and countless others. We didn't pay a penny and we didn't have to wait in line to get the pictures. Disney has now caught on to the idea that people will pay to get one on one time with their most prized characters and they have turned it into a very profitable part of the business. Parents today must decide on if they want to attend a Disney Character Breakfast or meal and sit in a room with other families who are also paying to get alone time with the characters. You still see characters walking around both Disneyland and California Adventure Park, but they are few and far between. You also may end up in a line that ultimately leaves you with zero pictures with the character. We found that several times we waited in a short line only to have the character wisked away by a personal assistant to another location before we could even say hi (try explaining that one to your kids).
The fact that Disney has really forced parents to pay for these character meet and greet meals shows just how far they are willing to take the marketing efforts. These breakfasts, lunches, or dinners are not cheap and most families can not afford the extra money to get into these exclusive events. My daughter (and wife) have been begging me to agree to one of these breakfasts dates and I reluctantly agreed before setting off to Disneyland recently. I don't like supporting things like this, but I figured I would do it once to see what it was like. We bought into the Ariel's Grotto Princess Breakfast character meal and hoped for the best. The food I must say was pretty darn good. They served it family style with eggs, bacon, sausages, fresh orange juice, and on the side were items of fresh fruit (strawberries, melon, etc) and bagels/muffins along with salami and cheese. The five princesses (Snow White, Cinderella, Ariel, Jasmine, and Belle) all passed by our table and made my daughter feel very special and we were able to get some great photos. The only downside to the whole event is that the bill is over $80 for 3 people for breakfast. We never saw Snow White around the park except in the Parade of Dreams and that goes for the other princesses as well. I guess if you want to see them you will have to pay for the experience beyond your ticket price. You should make reservations in advance to guarantee a spot at the breakfast - you can call 714-781-DINE (3463) up to 60 days in advance. Kids under the age of 3 eat free and those over 9 pay the same as an adult. Pricing varies from place to place and from meal type (breakfast, lunch, dinner). Our price included gratuity, but not all places are the same. I would recommend a character meal once if you have never done it, but for the price you pay it's hard to justify thinking about this again any time soon.
Ariel's Grotto - Princess Breakfast:
Ariel's Disney Princess Celebration is held in Ariel's Grotto in California Adventure Park near Paradise Pier. You enter the top level and are directed downstairs to the main eating area. Ariel is waiting all by herself where you can get a photo opportunity. You are then escorted to your table where you get your food and wait for the princesses to come out. One at a time they are introduced to the families and they start their way around to everyone in the room. We were fortunate to see Jasmine, Snow White, Cinderella, and Belle. Each was in full costume and very polite and cordial to us. The food was great but definitely overpriced. We have both photos and video of the moments. Prices for breakfast are about $26 per adult and $17 per child. If you have never been to this particular character breakfast before make sure you give yourself plenty of time to get there. We showed up at 8:50 at the front gates to California Adventure Park and were told that Ariel's Grotto is in the very back of the park. Our reservation time was for 8:55 and we were late getting to the restaurant as it took a good 10 minutes to walk all the way through the park. Overall a good experience, but not something we would do again.
Goofy's Kitchen is in the Disneyland Hotel and a great spot for a character breakfast, lunch, or dinner with Disney characters. The meals are served buffet style with lots of food for all ages. The characters are not always the same at this meal but Goofy is a constant. Minnie Mouse can sometimes be seen at the breakfast and at least there will be 2-5 characters for each sitting. While you sit to eat your meal, the characters take time to visit each table and let you take photos with them. You can also get your autograph book signed. The breakfast will cost you over $32/each (kids 10 and older and adults) and $17+ for little ones. Ages less than 3 are still free. Dinner is closer to $40 per adult and children are still a touch over $17. Reservations are recommended as this place does fill up. You can still get in without an reservation but wait times are often over 1 hour. Food items include items like Mickey Mouse shaped waffles, omelets, peanut butter & jelly pizza, Goofy's hot chocolate cake, fruit yogurt, and much more. Don't forget your cameras for some great photo ops.
Minnie and Friends:
The Minnie and Friends breakfast is served inside Disneyland park at the Plaza Inn. The food is done buffet style and many people say the selection is not as good as that at Goofy's kitchen but it is better quality. The breakfast is served from the parks opening until 11 AM and you are guaranteed to see Minnie Mouse. Other characters can include Winnie the Pooh, Chip and Dale, Eeyore, Tigger, Captain Hook, or Pluto. Prices are around $32 per adult and just over $17 for kids. Kids under 3 are free. Cameras are mandatory here and I would suggest even bringing your video camera for memories to share with friends and family.
Lilo & Stitch Aloha Breakfast:
You can find the Lilo & Stitch breakfast at the Paradise Pier Hotel in the PCH Grill. The all you can eat buffet has a "party" atmosphere with characters like Daisy Duck, Pluto, Minnie Mouse, and of course Lilo & Stitch. Prices are $32 per adult and $17 for kids. Pricing has continued to increase for all these character meals and who knows if it will ever stop. We have friends that went to the Lilo and Stitch breakfast and said it was well done.