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A Year with Minnie Mouse at Walt Disney World
DisneyDan  Wednesday, August 5, 2015 11:17:45 AM
Hello everyone,

Throughout the years at Walt Disney World, Minnie Mouse has appeared in hundreds of costumes, making her wardrobe one of the most diverse in the world! From shows, to parades, and character greetings, Minnie has an outfit for every occasion! I thought it would be fun to take a look at the outfits you can meet Minnie in throughout the year at Walt Disney World.

The costumes below are based on our most recent experiences at Walt Disney World, however, as always, schedules, events and greetings are subject to change and cancellation by Walt Disney World, without prior notice.

Let's start with Minnie's regular locations around the four Walt Disney World theme parks.

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A Year with Mickey Mouse at Walt Disney World
DisneyDan  Thursday, July 30, 2015 9:58:38 AM
Hello everyone,

Mickey Mouse has a vast collection of costumes from many years' worth of parades, shows and greetings at all the Disney Parks and Resorts around the world. I was thinking recently about how many different outfits you can meet him in at Walt Disney World during any given year (Christmas, Halloween, etc), and I thought it would be interesting to share with you all my thoughts and experiences on this.

The costumes below are based on our most recent experiences at Walt Disney World, however, as always, schedules, events and greetings are subject to change and cancellation by Walt Disney World, without prior notice.

Let's start with Mickey's regular locations around the four Walt Disney World theme parks.

  [ Read More... ]
Your Frequently Asked Character Questions Answered! - Disneyland Edition
DisneyDan  Friday, July 24, 2015 10:39:19 AM
Hello everyone,

Here at Character Central we always strive to have good, reliable and up-to-date information, which is why I don't tend to use the blog to make these kinds of posts usually. Character locations and information are usually updated via the individual location and character profile pages on this site, as it is easier to control. However, following on from the success of my previous Walt Disney World article on the same subject, I felt I needed to write a guide to characters at Disneyland Resort, too.

Please remember that these are the most frequently asked questions that we get for Disneyland Resort only.

Where can I find Mickey Mouse?


Mickey Mouse

One of the top questions for guests to ask is, "Where can I find Mickey Mouse?" Well, Mickey has several permanent locations at the Disneyland Resort theme parks. The top place to meet Mickey Mouse is at his very own home, in Toontown. Here, you can meet Mickey Mouse while he films scenes from various cartoon shorts. Sometimes he might wear his "classic" outfit, and on other occasions you may be lucky enough to find him dressed in his Sorcerer's Apprentice, Steamboat Willie or Band Concert costumes!
Other great locations to find Mickey Mouse include in Town Square on Main Street USA, intermittently throughout the day, or on Buena Vista Street at Disney California Adventure, where he wears his cute Buena Vista Street outfit.

Who else appears besides Mickey Mouse? Can I meet the Disney Princesses, for example?


Meeting the Princesses

Across Disneyland Resort theme parks, you can nearly always meet Minnie Mouse, Goofy, Pluto, Donald, Chip and Dale. All six of those have regular locations across both parks, but times and availability may change depending on the day of your visit. The Disney Princesses appear at Disneyland Park at various locations, such as Royal Hall at Fantasy Faire, Pixie Hollow, and on Main Street USA. Royal Hall is home to a multitude of princesses who rotate throughout the day, including Cinderella, Rapunzel, Ariel, Merida, Belle and Snow White, although of course Disney could change this at any time. You can also meet Anna and Elsa at the Animation building in Hollywood Land, or Lightning McQueen and Tow Mater in Cars Land, all at Disney California Adventure. Other characters, such as Peter Pan, Mary Poppins, Winnie the Pooh and friends, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, and many more, all appear throughout the theme parks. You should check the schedules for the day of your visit (see further below for more information).

Do the Disney characters appear randomly at the Disney Parks?


Meeting Flik

Many of the character appearances at the Disney theme parks are on the published schedule, which can be picked up upon entering the theme parks. There are some that are not always listed though, depending on whether there are other events happening, and how much space is dedicated to the characters on that schedule. If a character does appear that is not on that day's schedule, chances are they nearly always out in the parks anyway. Disneyland Park especially, more than Disney California Adventure, will often feature characters on Main Street, near the Castle and around Fantasyland that are not on the published schedule. It is quite common (though never guaranteed) to see Peter Pan, The Queen, Mickey and friends, and even Disney Princesses on Main Street and around the Castle. Their locations can be changeable, and they may not even appear in the same place twice on the same day.

Do the Disney characters walk freely around the Disney Parks?


Character fun in Fantasyland

Many of the unpublished characters mentioned above do not have a host with them, which guests who frequent Walt Disney World often may find strange. There is a certain calm and laid back approach to character greetings at Disneyland Resort that Walt Disney World seems to lack. More often than not, when meeting characters such as Mary Poppins and Bert, Peter Pan, The Queen, Alice and the Mad Hatter and the Princesses on Main Street, there will be no host, but guests will form an orderly in anyway. Characters such as Peter Pan sometimes wander and run around having fun rather than stopping for photos. This is quite normal for Disneyland, and the local guests seem to get a lot out of it. If a character is roaming and doesn’t look as though they are stopping, you probably shouldn’t harass them by asking them for individual photos with your entire family.

Do the Disney characters visit the Disney Resort Hotels?


Meeting Santa

Unfortunately the Disney characters rarely make hotel appearances at Disneyland Resort. In the past, around Christmastime, Santa Claus has appeared at the three Disney hotels, but as with everything, this is subject to change.

Do rare characters appear at the Disney theme parks?


Big Thunder Ranch Springtime Roundup fun

This one is a tricky one to answer, but overall the answer is, "no, not nearly as often as we'd like!" Of course, the definition of "rare" can change considerably from one year to the next, but generally speaking, if a character has not appeared in over a year, and show no signs of returning, then they are pretty "rare". Characters at Christmastime and during the Halloween parties, although not appearing daily, aren't so much rare as they are seasonal or event specific. For two years running Disneyland Park has held the popular Springtime Round-up event at Big Thunder Ranch in Frontierland, which starred Roger Rabbit, Br’er Rabbit and other more common bunnies. Although Roger Rabbit appeared (almost) daily at this event, it is never guaranteed that he, or even this event, will return again. Roger Rabbit hadn’t appeared for many years before his return for this spring happening, so you could say he’s pretty rare.

Do you have any tips for a better experience when meeting the characters? Do the characters sign autographs, for example?


The Tsums adventures in Disneyland

This one is pretty open ended, but I would say that if you're going to meet a character, be sure to know who they are! Before your trip, if you think there is a chance you may meet one particular character, watch their movie before you visit. When you visit them, you can ask them about their adventures, their friends and families, etc. For example, if you are going to meet Aladdin, ask him how Abu is and if he has gotten into any more trouble lately. Characters also love seeing themselves on clothing and accessories, bags, pins and lanyards, etc. Be sure to have your cameras ready to capture any cute moments, and buy an autograph book and a pen that works, so they characters can sign their names. Something which we have taken to doing recently, which both us and the characters really enjoy, is taking along our Disney Tsum Tsums to meet the characters. If we know we are going to meet a specific character on any given day, we try to take with us the Tsum Tsum of them, or someone related to them. They’ll often (though not always) pose with the Tsum Tsums, making for super-cute photos!

Do the characters appear in shows and parades?


Mickey and the Magical Map

The Disney characters appear in many shows and parades across the theme parks. Disneyland is well known for the sheer amount of entertainment they offer, which can change frequently. Currently, and always subject to change, the most popular shows and parades include (but definitely not limited to): Mickey’s Soundsational Parade, Paint the Night parade, Mickey and the Magical Map, Aladdin - A Musical Spectacular, the Frozen Sing-Along and the PIXAR Play Parade.

Can I dine with the Disney characters?


Breakfast at the Plaza Inn

Yes! You most certainly can! Character dining is a fun way to meet the Disney characters while enjoying a great meal at one of Disney's fabulous themed restaurants. Currently, you can dine with the Disney characters at five locations at Disneyland Resort. These are: Minnie’s Breakfast in the Park at the Plaza Inn, Ariel’s Grotto at Paradise Pier, Chip ’n’ Dale’s Critter Breakfast at Storyteller’s Cafe in the Grand Californian, Goofy’s Kitchen at the Disneyland Hotel and Surf’s Up with Mickey and Friends at the Paradise Pier hotel. What's fun about these meals is that at many of them, the characters wear special themed outfits for the occasion, for example at Storyteller’s Cafe, Chip ’n’ Dale wear cute scarves, at Goofy’s Kitchen Goofy and friends wear chef outfits, and at the Surf’s Up breakfast, Mickey and friends wear beachwear.

Where can I find more information?


Wandering around the Esplanade

Here are some of my suggestions for finding out more about how and where to meet the Disney characters. Words highlighted in blue take you to that specific link.

  • The official Disneyland Resort website has some limited character greeting information, however, I personally have found this to sometimes not have all the information I want.
  • Here at Character Central we have a vast guidebook for all the Disney parks, locations and characters. A good start for a good general overview would be what we call our "cheat sheet" for finding characters at the parks. On this cheat sheet we list the characters we have seen at Disneyland Resort, rate the chances of you finding them, and the general location you might spot them.

These links are of course only my recommendations, and should be used as a guide for planning only. Anything can change at any time, without notice from Disney.

If you have any further questions, you can join our friendly forum, and us or our members will happily help you out!

Have a great day everyone,

Dan.
Walt Disney World Photo Trip Report, May 2015 - Part 2: Character Fun at the Parks
DisneyDan  Thursday, June 11, 2015 10:17:24 AM
Hello everyone,

This is the second part of my Walt Disney World trip report for May 2015. Part one covered the Four Season character breakfast, the 24 hour event at the Magic Kingdom and Star Wars Weekends. In this part we'll be covering everything else from around the parks.

This report is very photo-heavy, so be sure to have a good connection before continuing.

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Walt Disney World Photo Trip Report, May 2015 - Part 1: Star Wars Weekends
DisneyDan  Wednesday, June 10, 2015 11:15:22 AM
Hello everyone,

At the end of May we spent ten days at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, where we attended (part of) the 24 hour event and two Star Wars Weekends. In this first part of my photo trip report, I'm going to cover the 24 hour event, the Four Seasons breakfast and Star War Weekends. The second part of this report will cover everything else.

This report is very photo-heavy, so be sure you have a good connection before clicking to continue.

  [ Read More... ]
Your Frequently Asked Character Questions Answered! - Walt Disney World Edition
DisneyDan  Thursday, March 19, 2015 11:59:40 AM
Hello everyone,

Here at Character Central we always strive to have good, reliable and up-to-date information, which is why I don't tend to use the blog to make these kinds of posts usually. Character locations and information are usually updated via the individual location and character profile pages on this site, as it is easier to control. However, recently we have received a lot more requests for information about how to find characters at the Walt Disney World theme parks. The reason I don't like to make blog posts about this is because things can change frequently, and I don't want to mislead anyone, especially when our location and character pages are updated often.

With that said, and I realise that was quite a detailed reasoning, I thought that it wouldn't hurt to answer some of the questions we get asked. Please remember that these are the most frequently asked questions that we get for Walt Disney World only.

Where can I find Mickey Mouse?


Meeting Mickey Mouse

Mickey Mouse appears at set locations at all four of the Walt Disney World theme parks. His appearances are daily, and usually hold long hours (often, though not guaranteed, from around opening to just before closing. Check on the day of your visit). At the Magic Kingdom, you can meet magician Mickey near the park entrance, where talks and interacts with guests at Town Square Theater (on Main Street USA). At Epcot, he wears his classic outfit at the Epcot Character Spot in Future World. At Disney's Hollywood Studios, Mickey dons his Sorcerer's Apprentice robes to greet budding sorcerers. At Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park, Mickey wears his safari outfit at the Adventurer's Outpost on Discovery Island. The Magic Kingdom, Epcot and Animal Kingdom locations all offer Disney's Fastpass+ service, which allow you to make your greeting reservation in advance of your visit.

Who else appears besides Mickey Mouse? Can I meet the Disney Princesses, for example?


Ariel

Across all four Walt Disney World theme parks, you can nearly always meet Minnie Mouse, Goofy, Donald Duck, Chip, Dale and Pluto. All six of those have regular locations at all four parks, but times and availability may change depending on the day of your visit. The Disney Princesses appear at the Magic Kingdom at various locations, such as Princess Fairytale Hall, Ariel's Grotto, around the Fantasyland walls, the Fairytale Garden and, schedule depending, in the garden next to City Hall on Main Street USA. Princess Fairytale Hall is the current home of Cinderella, Rapunzel, Anna and Elsa, although of course Disney could change this at any time. Princess Fairytale Hall accepts Disney's FastPass+ reservations. You can either reserve Cinderella and Rapunzel OR Anna and Elsa. If you want to meet all four, you need to make separate reservations. Other characters, such as Peter Pan, Mary Poppins, Winnie the Pooh, and many more, all appear throughout the theme parks. You should check the schedules for the day of your visit (see further below for more information).

Do the Disney characters appear randomly at the Disney Parks?


Merida

Most of the character appearances at the Disney theme parks are on the published schedule, which can be picked up upon entering the theme parks. There are some that are not always listed though, depending on whether there are other events happening, and how much space is dedicated to the characters on that schedule. If a character does appear that is not on that day's schedule, chances are they nearly always out in the parks anyway. Infrequently, characters may appear at other locations around the parks, and these are not scheduled. For example, when we were a recent trip, Peter Pan, Merida and Ariel all appeared at the International Gateway at Epcot's World Showcase. These greetings are not scheduled, and are not repeated regularly.

Do the Disney characters walk freely around the Disney Parks?


WDW Dec 2010 - Meeting Tiana and Naveen

The short answer to this, really, is no. The Disney characters at the Walt Disney World theme parks nearly always have set locations that have a queue line in order to meet them, even the randomly appearing ones that I described above. Sometimes, however, you may be walking around and suddenly a character will appear, and they may not form a line. This is fairly unusual, but it can happen. Experiences like this can actually be fun, as sometimes the characters will take the opportunity to roam and explore the park. Like I said though, for Walt Disney World, this is pretty unusual.

Do the Disney characters visit the Disney Resort Hotels?


Meeting Mr Easter Bunny

The Disney characters do not regularly make appearances at the Disney Hotels. In the past, Easter Sunday has seen the Easter Bunnies and some other characters appear at the deluxe resorts (such as Mr Easter Bunny and Chip 'n' Dale at the Contemporary). Around the week of Halloween and the week of Christmas you may also find characters in themed outfits at any number of the resort hotels, deluxe or otherwise. None of these appearances are ever guaranteed and you should not expect to find them during your stay.

Do rare characters appear at the Disney theme parks?


Characters come out to play at the American Adventure!

This one is a tricky one to answer, but overall the answer is, "no, not nearly as often as we'd like!" Of course, the definition of "rare" can change considerably from one year to the next, but generally speaking, if a character has not appeared in over a year, and show no signs of returning, then they are pretty "rare". Characters at the Christmas and Halloween parties, although not appearing daily, aren't so much rare as they are seasonal or event specific. We would not consider Scrooge McDuck to be rare, since he appears almost nightly for two months at the Christmas parties, but he definitely is not a regular. Mr Walrus from Alice in Wonderland however, who hasn't appeared in around seven years, is considered rare.

Do you have any tips for a better experience when meeting the characters? Do the characters sign autographs, for example?


Character Autograph

This one is pretty open ended, but I would say that if you're going to meet a character, be sure to know who they are! Before your trip, if you think there is a chance you may meet one particular character, watch their movie before you visit. When you visit them, you can ask them about their adventures, their friends and families, etc. For example, if you are going to meet Aladdin, ask him how Abu is and if he has gotten into any more trouble lately. You could ask Mickey - when he's feeling talkative at the Magic Kingdom's Town Square Theater - to perhaps send a special message to your friends back home; be sure to have your camera recording, because you never know what he might say! Characters also love seeing themselves on clothing and accessories, bags, pins and lanyards, etc. Be sure to have your cameras ready to capture any cute moments, and buy an autograph book and a pen that works, so they characters can sign their names. Something which we have taken to doing recently, which both us and the characters really enjoy, is taking along our Disney Tsum Tsums to meet the characters. If we know we are going to meet a specific character on any given day, we try to take with us the Tsum Tsum of them, or someone related to them. They’ll often (though not always) pose with the Tsum Tsums, making for super-cute photos!

Do the characters appear in shows and parades?


Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade

The Disney characters appear in many shows and parades across the Walt Disney World theme parks. Currently, and always subject to change, the most popular ones include: Disney Fantasy of Festival Parade, the Main Street Electrical Parade, and Dream Along with Mickey at the Magic Kingdom, Festival of the Lion King and Finding Nemo - The Musical at Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park, and Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage, Voyage of the Little Mermaid and For the First Time in Forever - A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration at Disney's Hollywood Studios.

Can I dine with the Disney characters?


Play N Dine at Hollywood and Vine

Yes! You most certainly can! Character dining is a fun way to meet the Disney characters while enjoying a great meal at one of Disney's fabulous themed restaurants. Currently, and again, always subject to change, the most popular ones include: Chef Mickey's at the Contemporary (Mickey and friends), Ohana at the Polynesian Village (Stitch, Mickey and friends), 1900 Park Fare at the Grand Floridian (time of day depending, Cinderella and friends or Pooh, Alice and friends), Cape May Cafe at the Beach Club Resort (Minnie and friends), Cinderella's Royal Table at the Magic Kingdom (princesses), Garden Grill (Mickey and friends) and Akershus Royal Banquet Hall (princesses) at Epcot, Hollywood and Vine at Disney's Hollywood Studios (Disney Jr) and Donald’s Dining Safari at Breakfast and Lunch (Donald and friends) at Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park. What's fun about these meals is that at many of them, the characters wear special themed outfits for the occasion, for example Hawaiian shirts at Ohana, chef outfits at Chef Mickey's and safari gear at the Tusker House. Reservations are essential, and should be made well in advance of your visit (nearly all Walt Disney World Resort dining locations open their availability 180 days in advance).

Where can I find more information?


WDW Oct 2011 - Spaceship Earth

Here are some of my suggestions for finding out more about how and where to meet the Disney characters. Words highlighted in blue take you to that specific link.

  • The official Walt Disney World Resort website has some limited character greeting information, however, I personally have found this to sometimes not have all the information I want.
  • Here at Character Central we have a vast guidebook for all the Disney parks, locations and characters. A good start for a good general overview would be what we call our "cheat sheet" for finding characters at the parks. On this cheat sheet we list the characters we have seen at Walt Disney World, rate the chances of you finding them, and the general location you might spot them.
  • I cannot endorse the accuracy of this next one, but it has not failed me yet, but take note I have no control over it. WDWEnt is a good source for all current Walt Disney World theme park schedules, and at the time of writing the person who runs it seems to update it frequently.

Those last two links are of course only my recommendations, and should be used as a guide for planning only. Anything can change at any time, without notice from Disney.

If you have any further questions, you can join our friendly forum, and us or our members will happily help you out!

Have a great day everyone,

Dan.
Trip Report: Christmas on the Potomac at the Gaylord National, Maryland
DisneyDan  Monday, November 24, 2014 2:38:06 PM
Hello everyone,

This past weekend Jon and I visited National Harbor in Maryland to experience their Christmas season, which has become something of an annual tradition for us. The Gaylord National Resort there holds its very festive 'Christmas on the Potomac' which includes the very popular ICE! event, and of course, characters!

We started the day with breakfast at the "Madagascar Crack-A-Lackin' Cook-In Breakfast". The restaurant is on the lower level, with the entrance right in the main square area near the fountain. The restaurant is a buffet restaurant and offers everything from waffles, French toast, fruit, cereal, yoghurt, pastries, hot food (eggs, bacon, etc), custom omelets and more. The restaurant is divided into two areas, one for those who do not want to meet characters, and those who do. The character dining part is out the back in a separate dining space. The character dining was available from 8am until 11am, and we called ahead to make reservations because we didn't know how busy it would be. You do not need to be staying at the hotel in order to make a dining reservation.

Now to the important part, the characters! Being a Madagascar themed breakfast, I was expecting at least the core characters from the movie such as Alex and King Julien, and I wasn't disappointed! We got five characters at our meal in total. In attendance were Alex, King Julien, Skipper, Private and Mort. I would have liked to have seen Gloria there, as I know that she exists as a character at other resorts around the world, but I wasn't really complaining. Five characters is fairly standard for most Disney character dining experiences, so this really wasn't any different.

When we arrived it was very early, and the restaurant was empty! Alex and Skipper were pretty much having a party of their own when we arrived! We took a lot of photos, and they were very willing to pose for the cameras!

Madagascar Crack-A-Lackin' Cook-In Breakfast

Madagascar Crack-A-Lackin' Cook-In Breakfast

Madagascar Crack-A-Lackin' Cook-In Breakfast

Madagascar Crack-A-Lackin' Cook-In Breakfast

In the second rotation were Private, Mort and King Julien. Throughout the morning the characters would hold dance off competitions and dance parties around the dining room. It was very lively, in good spirits and definitely a lot of fun. All the staff really got into it and were dancing fiercely around the dining room too! It was hilarious!

Madagascar Crack-A-Lackin' Cook-In Breakfast

Madagascar Crack-A-Lackin' Cook-In Breakfast

Madagascar Crack-A-Lackin' Cook-In Breakfast

Madagascar Crack-A-Lackin' Cook-In Breakfast

Madagascar Crack-A-Lackin' Cook-In Breakfast

Madagascar Crack-A-Lackin' Cook-In Breakfast

Overall we had an excellent experience at the breakfast. We paid $70 total for the two of us, which by all accounts for a character buffet breakfast, especially compared to Disney prices, was very reasonable.

Next up, we wanted to meet Gingy the Gingerbread Man (from DreamWorks' Shrek) who holds his own gingerbread decorating experience upstairs from the restaurant.

Gingy's Gingerbread Decorating

Gingy's Gingerbread Decorating

Gingy's Gingerbread Decorating

Gingy's Gingerbread Decorating

Hanging around on the lower level and the mid-level we also found some other characters! Princess Fiona and Puss in Boots from DreamWorks' Shrek and the penguins from Madagascar were all greeting fans. We were told that Shrek also appears, but he wasn't out when we were there.

Meeting Princess Fiona

Meeting the Penguins of Madagascar

Meeting Puss in Boots

After the character greeting fun, it was finally time to head into the ICE! exhibit, which this year featured Frosty the Snowman. We always enjoy coming to this. It's a very unique experience. However, not to be too critical, I will say that it seems to have becomes shorter and shorter each year while the price increases. Anyway, you enter the ICE! exhibit, hand over your ticket, pick up your none too flattering Parka jacket (to protect from the cold), and prepare to enter the Arctic... Well, not really, but it
is extremely cold inside!

ICE! featuring Frosty the Snowman

ICE! featuring Frosty the Snowman

ICE! featuring Frosty the Snowman

ICE! featuring Frosty the Snowman

ICE! featuring Frosty the Snowman

ICE! featuring Frosty the Snowman

ICE! featuring Frosty the Snowman

ICE! featuring Frosty the Snowman

Every year they have an ice slide inside the exhibit, which you can ride as many times as you like. I always have to do it! It's really great fun, and surprisingly fast!

ICE! featuring Frosty the Snowman

ICE! featuring Frosty the Snowman

ICE! featuring Frosty the Snowman

ICE! featuring Frosty the Snowman

ICE! featuring Frosty the Snowman

ICE! featuring Frosty the Snowman

ICE! featuring Frosty the Snowman

ICE! featuring Frosty the Snowman

ICE! featuring Frosty the Snowman

ICE! featuring Frosty the Snowman

ICE! featuring Frosty the Snowman

ICE! featuring Frosty the Snowman

ICE! featuring Frosty the Snowman

ICE! featuring Frosty the Snowman

ICE! featuring Frosty the Snowman

ICE! featuring Frosty the Snowman

ICE! featuring Frosty the Snowman

ICE! featuring Frosty the Snowman

ICE! featuring Frosty the Snowman

ICE! featuring Frosty the Snowman

ICE! featuring Frosty the Snowman

ICE! featuring Frosty the Snowman

As you come to the end of the Frosty the Snowman part, you enter a room where you can see a real ice carver at work.

ICE! featuring Frosty the Snowman

ICE! featuring Frosty the Snowman

ICE! featuring Frosty the Snowman

ICE! featuring Frosty the Snowman

ICE! featuring Frosty the Snowman

ICE! featuring Frosty the Snowman

There was a random ice carving of Turbo, too.

ICE! featuring Frosty the Snowman

In the final room is a traditional Nativity scene all carved from ice.

ICE! featuring Frosty the Snowman

ICE! featuring Frosty the Snowman

To finish, a shot of the Christmas Tree at the Gaylord National, and one of the Christmas Tree outside in the "downtown" area of National Harbor.

Christmas Tree

Christmas Tree

Overall, we had a great day, and I look forward to seeing what ICE! feature they have next year, and which characters will appear.

Dan.
Chef Mickey Character Dining at Tokyo Disney Resort - A Review
DisneyDan  Friday, June 6, 2014 9:06:50 AM
Hello everyone,

Chef Mickey is a buffet service character dining restaurant located at Disney's Ambassador Hotel at Tokyo Disney Resort.

Reservations are always required, but sadly can only be made on the Japanese Tokyo Disney Resort website or by calling their reservation line, both of which are in Japanese language only. Fortunately we have some very good Japanese friends who are able to make the reservations for us. If you are able to get someone to make reservations for you, or you can read Japanese (which if you're reading this report is unlikely), then you should ensure that you do it well in advance of the date and time you want. In our experience, reservations for table service and buffet dining at Tokyo Disney Resort sell out virtually instantly, unfortunately.
On the plus side, the respectful and thoughtful nature of the Japanese means that if they cannot make their reservation they usually call to cancel it, which means times can show up at any moment. We have actually gotten several reservations this way in the past, so it's definitely worth checking back everyday before your trip to see if the venue you want has any availability.

Tokyo May 2014 - Eating at Chef Mickey

The Japanese are very particular about details, and so once you have your reservation there is no need to show up any more than a minute before your scheduled time. You won't be allowed in at least until your time, and in our experiences here, you'll nearly always have to wait ten minutes anyway for a table even once you check in.

The restaurant is located on the ground level of the Ambassador Hotel and can be reached by bus from the two theme parks, by walking from Tokyo Disneyland through Ikspiari, or via the bus station and across the street from Tokyo DisneySea.

The restaurant has some elements that I find reminiscent of Cafe Mickey at Disneyland Paris, as well as the Hollywood Hotel (and indeed its own Chef Mickey) at Hong Kong Disneyland.

Dinner at Chef Mickey

Once you have checked in and eventually got to your table, you'll be served your drinks, which are refillable, and you can start on the buffet. The variety of food here is actually pretty good. There's a wide variety to chose from, with the desserts selection being especially generous.

While you dine Mickey, Minnie, Pluto and Donald will make their way around the tables, dressed in their cute Chef Mickey outfits.

Dinner at Chef Mickey

Dinner at Chef Mickey

Dinner at Chef Mickey

Dinner at Chef Mickey

The restaurant closes at 10pm, but if you have a late reservation and are already inside, the food will not be taken off until 10.30pm and the characters also stay until this time.

The good thing about character dining in Tokyo is that the characters are very efficient at getting around the tables. Even when they go to take their quick break, they are only gone for a moment and return to the table they left and carry on with excellent time keeping. This past trip when we ate here, we had a late reservation and I was thinking that the characters would not get to us before 10.30pm, but the cast members were doing a great job at pacing the greetings and we were one of the last tables before the characters had finished everybody left in the dining room, minutes before their set ended at 10.30pm.

If you are vegetarian, there are a few options, such as vegetables, potatoes, rice etc, but unfortunately nearly every menu item in Japan has some sort meat, seafood or poultry in it. Chef Mickey was no exception to this, and so we asked a manager about what options were available to us, and what we could eat (as the signs aren't always clear, and even something that shouldn't normally contain meat, for some reason does in Japan!). The restaurant cast were amazing to say the least. We were walked around the buffet by the manager and the chef, and they told us what was in every item, pointing out what we could and could not eat. They were very helpful and friendly, and to cap it all they offered to custom prepare a pasta bowl with vegetables for us, and a vegetable pizza each! We were there pretty late and it was about 25 minutes before closing, yet they still cooked for us a huge bowl of pasta and a vegetarian pizza each! I cannot thank them or commend them enough on their efforts to accommodate us!

Tokyo May 2014 - Eating at Chef Mickey

Tokyo May 2014 - Eating at Chef Mickey

Dinner at Chef Mickey

Dinner at Chef Mickey

One final note; you pay at the end of the meal at the cash register. At time of writing, it costs 4740 Yen per adult. Your server will bring the bill early in the meal usually, but they aren't trying to get rid of you! The servers don't accept payments, and nor should you leave them a tip as this is actually against custom in Japan. Simply take the bill to the desk at the end and pay what is owed.

Overall our experience this time at Chef Mickey was excellent. The food was very good, and we were exceptionally impressed with the service we got when asking about vegetarian options. The characters are always fun and we love their costumes here. If you can make a reservation then I'd definitely recommend it, just remember that to do so will require someone who reads or speaks Japanese.

Dan.

Dinner at Chef Mickey

Dinner at Chef Mickey
The Crystal Palace Character Breakfast at Tokyo Disneyland - A Review
DisneyDan  Thursday, June 5, 2014 4:05:18 AM
Hello everyone,

The Crystal Palace is a restaurant at Tokyo Disneyland that for some reason is technically listed as being in Adventureland. However, the only way to access the restaurant is from the front entrance on Central Plaza, just the same way the Crystal Palace is located in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World in Florida.

Tokyo Aug 2010 - Wandering past Adventureland

First thing in the morning the restaurant offers character dining with the 100 Acre Wood friends. There are no reservations for the Crystal Palace, and it is only offered on a stand and wait basis. Although it doesn't get immediately full, if you wish to dine here them you should definitely get here right after park open to ensure you actually get in. When we were here this past trip we were in line right after park open at 8am, and it still took us 20 minutes to get seated, and by the time we were eventually at a table, the line I think was closed and guests were being turned away. The restaurant only offers the characters for 90 minutes, and only on days that the park opens before 10am. No character dining is available if the park opens at 10am, as this would conflict with their preparations for lunch (which does not feature characters).

The Crystal Palace Restaurant

Their setup is interesting, and is not a system which I've seem anywhere else before.
Once you enter the restaurant you will have to pay right away. Once you have paid you enter a line to collect your food - you cannot get a table as this has to be assigned by a cast member.
When you get to the serving area you are personally attended to by a cast member for your group. The odd thing is that there are no options. Everything is a set menu item, and while it's prepared in front of you, everybody gets the same things.
Pancakes, fruit, eggs, sausage, potatoes, orange juice, salad and a hot drink.
We are vegetarian and asked our cast member to tell the person preparing the plates to leave the sausage off, which they did with no problem.

The Crystal Palace Restaurant

Once the cast member has your tray in hand (yes, they carry it all for you), then they show you to a table. From here you are left to dine in peace (as much as one can have peace at a character meal!). If you want water there are taps with cups in the corners of the dining rooms where you can help yourself.

The seating arrangement is odd though, and I can't seem to fathom why this system is in place. You don't chose your own food, it's a set menu, so why have your entire party stand in a long line with all their bags while the characters bypass empty tables? Surely it'd be easier to seat you, then while they are getting the food for you, you could at least be settling in (taking jackets off etc), and possibly saving time by meeting a character who may be passing by.

The Crystal Palace Restaurant

Anyway, odd setups aside, the food is pretty good, though the eggs were a little runny (which seems to be the case in Japan in general, to be honest), and the overall service was friendly and efficient. The cast had no problem in accommodating our "no sausage" request, and there was plenty else on the plate so we weren't completely wasting our time or money.

Breakfast at the Crystal Palace

Characters in attendance are always the same. Winnie the Pooh, Eeyore, Piglet, Tigger and Rabbit will make their way around to you with the usual Tokyo speed and efficiently. It should be noted though that they seem to rotate through entire dining rooms all at once, and it you just miss the rotation then all five will move to the other room, and you'll have to wait for all of them to finish on that side before they all come back to your side (by which time you'll probably be sitting with an empty plate, but the cast know you're there for characters, so don't panic - it just feels odd!).

Breakfast at the Crystal Palace

Breakfast at the Crystal Palace

Breakfast at the Crystal Palace

Breakfast at the Crystal Palace

Breakfast at the Crystal Palace

The meal costs 1850 Yen per adult, which is about US$19 (making it one of the cheapest character meals we've ever had anywhere!), and this is the only time you will need money as tips are not accepted in Japan. As I mentioned above, you pay upon entering the restaurant and should not leave a tip at your table as this is not Japanese custom - you wouldn't want to offend them.

Overall we had a pleasant experience at the Crystal Palace, and because there are no reservations it is one of the easier character dining experiences to get into at Tokyo Disney Resort.

Dan.

The Crystal Palace Restaurant
NEWS! Star Wars character meals now available for limited time in May and June at WDW!
DisneyDan  Wednesday, March 26, 2014 9:50:58 AM
Yesterday various Disney travel agency websites started reporting that from today (Wednesday 26th March) Disney would be accepting bookings for Star Wars themed character dining opportunities at Disney's Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World. This morning guests have started calling the reservation line, and indeed Disney are now accepting reservations for these meals! Some people are reporting having to wait for an hour on hold, so if you want to stand a chance of experiencing them, then it's best to call as soon as possible!

Of course, in order to help you make your decision though, I have details of both meals, right here!

Both meals are being offered from 4th May through to 15th June inclusive, including weekdays, according to those who have already booked this morning. The meals are of course to coincide with the immensely popular Star Wars Weekends at the park, held Friday to Sunday from 16th May through 15th June inclusive this year.

Star Wars Galactic Dine-In Breakfast at the Sci-Fi Dine-In.

May the Force Be With You event

Held from 8am to 12 noon inclusive, you will get the opportunity to have breakfast with Stormtroopers, a Jawa, Greedo, Boba Fett and Darth Vader! Darth Vader will reportedly be at a set location when you enter. Included in the price is a digital download photo of your party meeting Darth Vader. The restaurant's big screen will be playing Star Wars clips and trailers, and Star Wars music will fill the air.

Prices are $47.99 for adults, and $29.99 for children aged 3-9. Prices are not inclusive of taxes or tips.

Jedi Mickey's Star Wars Dine at Hollywood & Vine

May the Force Be With You event

Jedi Mickey, Princess Leia Minnie, Ewoks Chip and Dale, Stormtrooper Donald and Darth Goofy will be serving up dinner from 4.15pm until park closing (times vary depending on the day) every night at a special meal at the Hollywood & Dine Restaurant! Chip and Dale will be at a photo-location at the start of the meal, and the photo will be available as a digital download for free (included in the price of the meal).

There is a Fantasmic! Package, which includes Fantasmic! priority seating: Prices are $59.99 for adults, and $36.99 for children aged 3-9. Prices are not inclusive of taxes or tips.

Regular package (no priority seating): Prices are $55.99 for adults, and $33.99 for children aged 3-9. Prices are not inclusive of taxes or tips.

As far as we are aware, the regular Play & Dine meals with the Disney Junior characters will still feature during breakfast and lunch at this restaurant.

Although these meals are a little expensive, they do have their benefits. The best thing about them is that you get to bypass the ridiculously long lines in the hot, Florida sun. The lines to meet Jedi Mickey, Ewok Chip and Dale, and Darth Vader can easily reach several hours (we've been there and done it!). Having them come to you, at your table, at an indoor, air conditioned location is definitely the best thing about these meals. $60 to meet 5 or 6 characters, have all your food and PhotoPass picture included without waiting for 3 hours in the sun is a huge selling point, and I can see that many people will want to do this.

Please be aware that all prices, availability and what is on offer at each meal can be changed or cancelled by Disney without prior notice, and is outside of our control.

Dan.

Meeting Greedo

Meeting a Jawa
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