Before we had kids, I wouldn’t ever have considered investing the time and money in a character meal. My interests are the attractions and theming more than the movies and stars. We still hesitated to take our girls due to the cost, but their love of Mary Poppins changed the equation. A major goal of our late January trip was making sure they spent time with the title character. The breakfast at 1900 Park Fare offered the perfect opportunity for them to meet Mary up close. I was also curious about how the character meals functioned. Reactions typically are mixed about their value. We scheduled an ADR for 9:05 a.m. on a Friday and had no issues making the reservation a few months prior to the visit.
Despite being part of the large Grand Floridian Resort, 1900 Park Fare has a modest entrance within the lobby. The check-in desk is part of a small room that probably feels cramped during the busier days. After confirming our name, cast members whisked us to the next step — a family picture in front of a painting of the castle. A single 4x6 or 5x7 photo is $14.95, while an 8x10 is $16.95. You can also download a hi-res version of the image from My Disney Experience for $14.95. The pictures turned out pretty well, but standing in front of a generic image is hardly a classic memory. After a brief wait, we were escorted to our table close to the entrance in one of the smaller rooms. I should mention that there were no high chairs available when we arrived, but cast members quickly located one before we reached the table.
The immediate feeling that hits you upon entering this space is a frenzy of activity. Along with Mary Poppins, the other characters on hand were Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Alice, and the Mad Hatter. Each star was spaced throughout the restaurant and moving steadily between tables. As parents, there’s a conflict between gathering food while ensuring that we didn’t miss the big moments. My wife and I took turns visiting the buffet while the other was ready for the characters. The girls were too distracted to eat very much, so any questions of value on that end are inconsequential. It’s best to remember the true reason for the visit. 1900 Park Fare is deceptively large because the space is split into smaller areas. This creates a sensation that you’re dining in a smaller spot, but it also seems to increase the noise.
The food is mostly standard breakfast fare, but there are plenty of options for varying tastes. Our girls enjoyed the Mickey Waffles, and I picked up a nice plate of French toast, bacon, sausage, and eggs. The quality was solid across the board, and the temperature issues that sometimes occur in a buffet were nonexistent. Along with traditional options, there are more unique dishes like lobster Benedict, smoked salmon lox, and Floridian strawberry soup. My daughter has a peanut allergy, and the chef quickly arrived at our table and explained the menu. The service was top-notch across the board, including the drinks and plate removals. This is no small feat given all the activity that’s happening during this meal.
The cost was around $73 before the tip for two adults and one child. The prices change frequently depending on the day and season, so getting an exact idea of the costs isn’t easy. Breakfast is a better choice to save money, though the dinner at 1900 Park Fare has different characters (Cinderella, Prince Charming, and others). It isn’t an outlandish cost given Disney prices, and it’s hard to put a price on having a special experience. The question is how exceptional the experience can feel given the loud and hectic atmosphere. Our girls had a great time, but they spent less than a minute with Mary Poppins. They had a longer and more personal interaction with her at EPCOT later that day. It’s an anecdotal comparison from one family, but it reveals the complexities when deciding on character dining.
There were positive aspects of our first exposure to character dining at Disney World. The Mad Hatter and Alice were both charming, and this was the girls’ only meeting with those characters. It was a fun surprise for them on our last park day, and adding new elements keeps the trips from becoming too familiar. Even so, it’s unlikely that we’ll do another character meal. When you analyze the time commitments and cost, the value wasn’t there with this breakfast. Disney theme park prices continue to rise, and this fact makes every choice even more important when planning a trip. I understand the allure of character meals and don’t regret trying one, but they just don’t fit with our goals for a Disney vacation.
[Editor's Note: Today, we are proud to announce that we have added Walt Disney World's hotel restaurants to our theme park restaurant listings. You can rate and review 1900 Park Fare and other Disney hotel restaurants by visiting our Walt Disney World Hotels page and clicking through to each hotel, where you will find links to reviews pages for each of its restaurants, below the hotel's description. All readers may rate any of these restaurants, and registered members of Theme Park Insider may submit reviews and photos, as well. Registration is free, and takes just a moment.]
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The characters were excellent although I felt the dinner characters of Cinderella, Prince Charming, the two ugly step sisters, and the step mother weren't that interesting. They were definitely different since the step sisters acted out in character as baffoons and the step mother showed her angry face. Perhaps with the new live action Cinderella movie coming out, 1900 Park Fare and Cinderella's Royal Table will both have higher demand.
If you're on a Disney Dining Plan, breakfast is not a good use of your dining credits for table service. Better to pick lunch or dinner for larger entree selection, dessert selection, and bigger appetites.
I would agree, but is an interesting statement coming from someone who has advocated using 2 TS credits for Cinderella's Royal Table.
Some of the character breakfasts are actually pretty good, even though their value is diminished on the DDP. I haven't had breakfast at 1900 Park Fare, but Chef Mickey's and Tusker House are 2 that we've done in the past few years that were very good. The nice thing about Tusker House is that you can make reservations before DAK officially opens, and already be in the back of the park before the crowds get to the safari.
I don't "advocate" using 2 TS credits for using Cinderella's Royal Table. I merely told you what I did and I believe it broken even for lunch and dinner (which was what I demonstrated). This is the proper use of the dining credits. I'll refrain from insulting you now.
If you have a wider argument against purchasing the Disney Dining Plan, go ahead and make that argument. You have in the past.
Which is when you retire to the Plaza and force your kids to eat as many scoops of scrambled eggs as they can handle, lol.
On a side note, we also did Tusker House later on in the trip, and the food there was quite amazing as well. Both those two days (the Tusker House day and the 1900 Park Fare day) we did not need another bite of food the rest of the day. In my mind, if you try either of them, you cannot go wrong.
I don't "advocate" using 2 TS credits for using Cinderella's Royal Table. I merely told you what I did and I believe it broken even for lunch and dinner (which was what I demonstrated). This is the proper use of the dining credits. I'll refrain from insulting you now."
I'm not going to war. I just found your comment interesting the way you have placed "value" on the DDP in the past, which seemed a bit hypocritical based on previous comments that have downplayed the monetary value of individual meals on the DDP. However, I completely agree with your statement here that using a TS credit for breakfast is not the best use TS credits.
No where in my statement did I use monetary value. The hypocrisy is your imagination. Notice that you didn't agree with what I said here, but we are still arguing my past statements. WE are still at war. Lovely.
I agreed with that statement. Where did I say that I didn't. I just was a bit surprised since it contradicted your previous statements about the DDP that choices made on the plan were relatively irrelevant.
"No where in my statement did I use monetary value."
Then why is using a TS credit for breakfast "not a good use" of that credit? The logical answer, as you stated in the following sentence, is that you don't get as much food ("bigger appetites") and the breakfast selections are limited, i.e. it's not as good of a "value" for your TS credit and you're better off using that credit on a larger, more diverse meal (lunch/dinner) to extract better "value".
Keep spinning and twisting Anon. I know it's hard for you to admit that users of the DDP can get varying "values" (whether monetary or convenience) on the DDP depending upon how they use their credits, but the simple statement you made above is enough for me to know that you understand that there can be good uses and bad uses of credits on the DDP. However you want to contort your statements to support your previously flimsy thesis is fine, because it seems that we were on the same page all along.
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However, as you noted, these character buffets are very expensive (it's a much better deal if you're on the DDP), and the fact that this one is outside a park means that you probably need to take time out of your day to experience. Maybe I was hoping for more with this being in the Grand Floridian, where Victoria & Albert's and Citrico's reside, but our experience at 1900 Park Fare was not as good as expected.