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Can I do Character Dining without the Disney Dining Plan?

by Dianne

Hey Dad,
Do I have to have the dining plan in order to go to the character breakfast or can I pay out of pocket?? Also, is the 1st week of June a good time to go to Disney World? How are the crowds?

Mickey Mouse playing with a child in a stroller at Tusker House

It gets real interesting when the characters show up – Photo by Dad

Dad’s Meet and Eat Answer


Character dining is a great experience for anyone at Walt Disney World – kids, adults, and families alike! Many of these experiences are buffets with lots of choices, it’s an opportunity to meet characters without standing in a long line, and it’s a great way for parents to take a lad off and relax while letting their kids get autographs and fuel up for the rest of the day. The best part? Character dining is available to all guests (if you’re willing to pay for it).

Dad’s Character Dining Page

There is no need to purchase the Disney Dining Plan to book a character meal, all guests are able to book these sought-after reservations. If you’re on the plan, character dining is usually a good use of your table service credits since they tend to be pricey, but even if you’re on the plan you can choose to pay for a character meal out of pocket.

Character breakfasts (as well as dinners and lunches) are available throughout the Walt Disney World property, in parks and at select resort hotels. Even guests who have not purchased park tickets or who are not staying at a Disney hotel can book character dining at any resort that offers it!

Beware that character breakfasts can be a good way to get your day off on the wrong foot if you don’t have a well thought out PLAN. Typically, you’ll spend 90 minutes to 2 hours at a character meal, so if you book one for 9:30 am, you’ll miss your entire morning in the parks, which is the least crowded time of day.

On the other hand, if you book an early character meal and head to the parks right around opening, you’ll have a great start to your day! Some character dining experiences in the parks even have seatings prior to park opening, which Dad thinks is pretty neat.

If you’re planning a character breakfast at a resort that you aren’t staying at, note that it will be difficult to get to an early reservation. You’ll need to take Disney transportation from your hotel to a park and then to the destination hotel, which can take well over an hour and is only possible when busses start running about an hour before park opening. If you have a car at Walt Disney World, getting to the other resort is easy as pie.

Character breakfasts do fill up fast, so make sure you book an advanced dining reservation 180 days prior to your trip.

Now, onto your question about the timing of your trip: the first week in June is a good time to visit, crowds will be moderate and the weather is warm but not too humid yet. But if you’re planning a trip that includes June 1 or 2, you should know that Gay Days will be happening at Walt Disney World. If you do go at that time and would like to avoid the festivities, skip the magic Kingdom on June 1, and EPCOT on June 2.

Dad’s June Crowd Calendar

Destinations to Travel

Dad’s Bottom Line

Dianne, June is a great time to go to Walt Disney World, and having a character breakfast is a great way to start off your morning! Have a great trip, and enjoy one of those little Mickey waffles for me!

Comments for

Apr 02, 2019 Not eating
by: Anonymous

Can I go as a guest to the character dining if I am not eating?

Dad Answers

I don’t know the answer for sure, but my guess is yes, but you will have to pay.

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