Let’s all just be honest for a minute.
Food is important.
And people like food.
And people vacationing at Disney like to eat.
And people vacationing at Disney like to interact with characters.
So…BOOM! The genius, Disney powers-to-be created character dining and ever since it was born, we are all on this autograph-seeking, picture-taking, get-a-hug-from-a-stranger-in-a-costume expedition and quite honestly, it can be a little nutty at times.
But, like most Disney guests, I truly enjoy the rush and thrill of meeting my favorite characters. I mean, seriously…where else can you take a selfie with the Mad Hatter?!?
The pure joy my children have experienced upon seeing a princess or character for the first time is second to no other memory. Seriously. It’s like Christmas morning!
And that my friends, is why Disney restaurants with character dining are super popular and on the non-negotiable, must-do Disney vacation list, especially if you have children.
This is a review of one of our family favorites.
The Grand Floridian Resort and Spa is Disney’s flagship deluxe hotel located in the Magic Kingdom resort area and serviced by the monorail system. It was built in 1988 and it’s grand theming is reminiscence of a beautiful Victorian seaside retreat.
Nestled up to the shores of Seven Seas Lagoon, the Grand Floridian is pure opulence, luxury and romance. The expansive and ornate lobby is breathtaking to see in person.
Inside the magnificent Grand Floridian Resort and Spa is one of the best character meals offered at Walt Disney World.
Welcome to 1900 Park Fare
The 1900 Park Fare restaurant is a bright, clean, bustling and crowded restaurant, decorated with pastel colors and soft patterns. Paintings, wallpaper and carpets are beautiful, ornate and feminine.
Large and fanciful carousel horses are playfully placed between the buffet and guest seating areas. Big Bertha, an enormous, turn-of-the-century organ from France, sits high above the busy dining room.
Serving traditional American-style buffet breakfast, brunch and dinner, all meals at the 1900 Park Fare are character dining at the time of this post. And, that is why it is one of our favorite restaurants.
And, that is also why it is crowded.
Let’s start with breakfast:
Breakfast/brunch is served from 8:00 a.m. to 11:50 a.m. The breakfast is usually referred to as the Supercalifragilistic Breakfast because…you got it! Mary Poppins is a regular.
(Just FYI–no specific characters are guaranteed.)
(But, just FYI–Mary Poppins has been there every single time we have visited for breakfast.)
I told you we like 1900 Park Fare. And we love Mary Poppins.
Breakfast is a large buffet full of expected traditional American fare. There is a custom omelet station, fluffy pancakes with warm syrup, Mickey waffles (YES! PLEASE!), fresh fruit, a variety of muffins, gooey sticky buns, breads, smoked salmon and lox, creamy oatmeal, yogurt bar, scrambled eggs, French toast, crispy bacon, biscuits with sausage gravy, and a ham carving station.
The guava-orange juice and the Floridian Strawberry Soup are the signature offerings, but our fav treats are the eat-as-many-as-you-can Mickey Waffles and gooey sticky buns. We eat A LOT of Mickey Waffles.
The buffet set-up is designed with two separate starting points and that helps keep the lines manageable and people moving in the right direction. There is always a wait for the omelet station and everything offered is all-you-can-eat. Feel free to make multiple trips, but always get a new plate. That is just good buffet etiquette.
The breakfast food is good, hot and fresh for a buffet, but it is far from gourmet. This is a character dining experience, so the focus is certainly on the character interactions.
For breakfast, we have seen Mary Poppins, Alice, the Mad Hatter, Winnie the Pooh and Tigger every time. Characters are always subject to change.
In 2014, my family and I were the first to arrive for breakfast at the 1900 Park Fare restaurant. The hostesses invited my daughters to “open” the restaurant by shouting, “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!” Then, Mary Poppins appeared and personally lead us to our table. Pretty magical.
Dinner at 1900 Park Fare is called Cinderella’s Happily Ever After Dinner and is served from 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Can you guess who you might meet at dinner?
Always a buffet offering, dishes for dinner include a variety of salads, fruit and mixed greens, several rotating soups, key lime ginger grilled chicken, fresh salmon, crispy catfish, mojo roasted pork loin, butternut squash ravioli, mixed sautéed vegetables and creamy mashed potatoes.
Kid-friendly fare is also available such as pizza, chicken fingers, hot dogs and mac-n-cheese.
Desserts are varied and can include mini cheesecakes, fruit tarts and chocolate mouse.
The characters we saw at dinner were Cinderella, Prince Charming, Lady Tremaine, Anastasia and Drizella. Like always, characters are subject to change. Have I said that enough?!?
Lady Tremaine and the wicked step-sisters were the most entertaining character interactions we have EVER experienced at Walt Disney World. They never broke character, yelling at each other across the restaurant and vying for Prince Charming’s attention.
It was HILARIOUS! My husband and I actually laughed out loud several times during the meal!
Prince Charming was super charming, of course. My youngest daughter was tired and just doodling pictures during most of the interactions. She was TOTALLY not interested in taking a picture, so Prince Charming sat next to her, talked about her drawings and coaxed out a little smile. I thought it was very sweet.
Quick family review for 1900 Park Fare:
The breakfast food is a decent variety of expected American dishes. It is hard to mess up breakfast offerings, right? Also, we are firm believers in eating a large breakfast and having just a small snack before dinner time. We definitely prefer the breakfast food found at 1900 Park Fare over the dinner dishes. The dinner buffet was bland, not very fresh and offered nothing I wanted to eat again.
It is an unanimous vote from my family: The breakfast food at 1900 Park Fare beats out the dinner buffet.
We all LOVED the character interactions at the 1900 Park Fare dinner! The characters during breakfast are delightful and sweet and the Mad Hatter is my fav, but Lady Tremaine and her daughters OWN the dinner buffet crowd. No doubt. Anastasia’s and Grizella’s antics were so entertaining, the quality of the food wasn’t the main focus.
The service has been top-notch every single time. The wait-staff is friendly, quick, personable and the restaurant is clean and organized.
I would recommend this restaurant for guest with children and those who wish to meet characters outside of the theme parks. 1900 Park Fare is a fabulous opportunity to interact with characters, take pictures and get autographs.
However, it is very noisy and very crowded. Tables can accommodate large and small parties, but the tables are placed extremely close together. It is a character meal, so obviously most guests are families with young children–not the best option for date night.
Final Family 1900 Park Fare Suggestion:
Go ahead and book this character dining meal twice–once for breakfast and once for dinner. Get the best of both worlds!
Friend-to-Friend, I want you to know:
I highly, highly, highly recommend advanced dining reservations (ADR). Yes, booking meals 180 days before you plan to eat is crazy, but do it. Just. Do. It.
1900 Park Fare breakfast pricing ranges from $15.00-$34.99 and dinner ranges from $35.00-$59.99. Yes, prices fluctuate at Disney according to season and crowd levels. Plan accordingly and discuss such changes with your wallet.
1900 Park Fare does accept some dining plans and is considered 1 table service credit.
A theme park ticket is NOT required.
Because the 1900 Park Fare is a restaurant inside the Grand Floridian Resort, getting there can be tricky, but it isn’t difficult. At the time of this post, Disney does not offer direct transportation between resorts. However, you can travel to 1900 Park Fare by using complimentary Disney transportation.
The easiest way to travel to the 1900 Park Fare restaurant is to take Disney transportation to the Magic Kingdom and then board the monorail and ride along to the Grand Floridian Resort. Feel free to ask any cast member or concierge for the best route.
If you have advanced dining reservations (which you most certainly should), you can park your vehicle in complimentary self parking lots or use valet parking for $20-$25.
Remember: Character meals ALWAYS cost more than regular table service meals. You are paying for the time and interactions with the characters. If you have children or if you love Disney like we do, book character dining! It is soooooo much better than waiting in lines at the theme parks to meet your favorite movie figures and the character interactions aren’t as rushed.
Extra hint: While dining at character meals, the characters COME TO YOU. There is a pattern all characters follow, visiting tables in a certain order. Your party is free to enjoy the meal, as the characters make their way around the restaurant. Every character will eventually get to your table. If you have a concern, ask the wait-staff for assistance. It is very much so frowned upon if you send your child over to a character during a character’s interaction with another table. Wait your turn, my friend. That is just good character dining etiquette.
Extra Extra Hint: 1900 Park Fare also offers a Wonderland Tea Party for children (ages 4-12). It is hosted by Wonderland characters and includes a craft, games, stories and cupcake decorating. For more information and to make reservations, call 407-939-3463.
If you only learn one thing from my blog posts, I hope it is the fact that Disney changes every day. That is exactly why Disney is so popular–there is ALWAYS something new for junkies like me to experience! It is also why I always say everything is subject to change.
Photo Pass photographers have been available at 1900 Park Fare for many years and in the past, was offered as parties entered the restaurant, before eating. No characters for the Photo Pass shoot, just the people in your dining party. All characters were found inside the restaurant.
On New Years Day in 2017, the Photo Pass process at 1900 Park Fare changed. There were no pictures taken before breakfast. At the end of the meal, we took a picture with the Mad Hatter once we exited the dining room. See…everything is subject to change.
Last Extra Extra Extra Hint: Character dining takes time. Schedule at least 1 hour for travel to the Grand Floridian and at least 1.5-2 hours for dining. If you are in a hurry to get to the theme parks or to catch an airplane, I do not recommend a character meal.
Our tradition is to enjoy breakfast at 1900 Park Fare on our check-out day. It is our last little dose of Disney magic and it helps ease the sting of having to start the long trip home.
Consider 1900 Park Fare for your arrival day, check out day or rest day.