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Here’s the big problem with character meals now

Here’s the big problem with character meals now

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Character meals are a great opportunity for you to enjoy a meal and meet some of your favorite Disney friends during a time when those interactions are so rare. But, there is one big problem with them now that many of the restrictions are lifted.

Character Meals

Disney offers dining experiences where characters are part of the fun! Before the pandemic, many restaurants offered character meals where a group of friends walked around the restaurant and met with Guests. You could get an autograph, hug, and a photo – sometimes more than once!

Unfortunately, character meals became a huge problem when the parks reopened. How could Disney keep both Cast Members and Guests safe while offering such a unique experience?

The answer: don’t offer as many character meals and don’t let Guests interact.

Last summer, only a couple of these experiences were offered. Topolino’s Terrace and Garden Grill come to mind. Since then, Disney has slowly added more restaurants like Chef Mickey’s, Tusker House, and Hollywood and Vine (for breakfast). You can find a full list HERE.

Additionally, some meals that previously included characters no longer offer the chance to see your pals. ‘Ohana breakfast is an excellent example of this. Restaurants like Be Our Guest and Cinderella’s Royal Table have one character that comes around occasionally although these are not technically considered a character meal.

The problem

As you know, Disney has eliminated or relaxed many of the health and safety protocols that were implemented last year. Temperature screenings and limited capacity are a thing of the past. Masks and physical distancing are gone for the most part.

Speaking of masks, both Guests and Cast Members are no longer required to wear them as long as they are vaccinated. This means we are able to see a lot more smiling faces! Physical distancing has also been removed from attractions, restaurants, and common areas.

But, it does pose a problem for character meals. If Cast Members can now interact with Guests without a mask, why can’t character meals offer a little more interaction? If we can stand shoulder to shoulder with other people, can we get a little more conversation and photo opportunities?

The solution

The good ole days when you got amazing interactions and photos

Now, I’m not saying they should go back to the way they were 100%. I do understand Disney wants to protect its Cast Members. However, a little more interaction would increase the value of these meals. Last week, I dined at Cinderella’s Royal Table and Cinderella was a good 10 feet away from me. In past meals, she was more than 20 feet away. Where you are seated in a restaurant will greatly affect your interaction level.

Guests pay a lot of money for the chance to see Mickey or get a wave from Daisy. Why not allow these characters to come back around to tables again? I’m not saying they have to sign or give hugs, but a closer selfie and an actual conversation would suffice.

The mask policy change for Cast Members only went into effect at the end of June so I am hopeful Disney is in the process of bringing these back. However, I don’t see it as a huge strategy that requires a lot of modifications or logistical steps to make happen. Hopefully we will have an announcement soon.

Do you hope Disney goes back to normal with character meals? When do you think that will happen? Let us know in the comments below or on Facebook.

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Tony Aiello

Friday 2nd of July 2021

Went to Hollywood and Vine in Nov With my 11 yr old After tip, dinner was over $150 for 2 of us. and Goofy, our favorite character, And " Santa Googy " at that never came to our section. I was extremely upset. And after pointing this out to our waiter we were told that we " must've just missed him" we did, he did come out but never to our Middle section. Where you are seated definitely matters. $150 for glorified mac and cheese.. wasn't worth it at the time.

Dianne Harter

Friday 2nd of July 2021

Going in August and hopefully the characters meals will have more interaction. My 2 year old granddaughter loves Disney and hopefully she can get a chance to get closer to her favorite characters.


Friday 2nd of July 2021

I have been saying for a while now that they should be able to do closer character interactions. Characters and guest can stand side by side with a piece of clear plexiglass inbetween them.

Jack D Smith

Friday 2nd of July 2021

The problem is Disney does not know who has been vaccinated. The genius Governor of Florida has made it impossible for Disney to require proof of vaccinations which would have protected everyone in the parks. Unfortunately now it’s Russian Roulette!

Monica Street

Friday 2nd of July 2021

If that was the case they would have been requiring masks for all Cast Members and Guests regardless of vaccination status. They would have kept physical distancing and limited capacity. Since they have none of those, it doesn't make sense to continue the character meals they way they are doing them now.


Friday 2nd of July 2021

I absolutely hope the character meals improve very soon. The prices really aren’t less for what you’re getting and there is no reason not to bring them to the table even if you can’t hug or sign. Within three feet for a picture. But I am still trying to get past spending full price for the Poly in August with no monorail service too.

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