Well, we finally nabbed a Chef Mickey’s breakfast reservation the day before we hoped to eat there this past week, as has been our luck with reservations throughout covid. If you’re struggling to get reservations, keep in mind that the day or two prior to your anticipated dining date is an awesome chance to check back in, as a lot of people change plans the day prior.
I provided a comprehensive list of currently open character dining options a couple months ago in the post below, and then also posted recently that in the next few weeks they will be reopening Cape May Cafe for breakfast, Chef Mickey’s for dinner in addition to breakfast and lunch, and Tusker House for dinner. I live for Cape May Cafe, so I’m jealous of those of you who get to stop in and eat with Minnie and friends in the upcoming weeks.
Covid Character Dining Options and Reviews
Now I can add a review of Chef Mickey’s to my covid character dining reviews thanks to our quick little Mothers Day getaway this week!
Chef Mickey’s has always been our favorite character dining option because my son is absolutely monorail obsessed, so the combination of character interactions, yummy buffet food, and constant monorail viewing is the perfect trifecta for us. However, with Chef Mickey’s unavailable for character dining for most of 2020, we adopted a new favorite character meal location: Topolinos. Now that both are open, which is our favorite? I’ll address that at the end of this review!
So let’s start with pricing. We visited Chef Mickey’s for a late breakfast and the price was $27 for my 3 year old and $42 for me. These are fixed prices and used to include an all-you-can-eat buffet, but during covid-times it has been switched to a family style meal at your table. If you have eaten at Garden Grill, then you are familiar with family style. They basically being a whole assortment of food to the table for everyone to eat. My understanding is that we could have asked for more of items if we were so inclined, but it was a ton of food, so we were stuffed. That being said, a 3 year old is not capable of eating $27 worth of breakfast food, so you need to go into these meals recognizing that you are paying for the experience and the character interaction, and the food is just a small component of the value of the meal.
As far as service goes, no complaints here. We checked in on the MDE app while we were riding the monorail. Our table was ready when we arrived at the restaurant. This check in process has been completely seamless at all of the restaurants we’ve visiting, with little to no wait across the board, and Chef Mickey’s was no different. Before covid we have definitely had to wait decent lengths of time for tables at Chef Mickey’s, which has historically been frustrating since we’ve had reservations and are usually tired and hangry by the time we get there, but this was not at all the case this week.
Our server was pleasant and attentive. Nothing really to write home about. He got us our food promptly and checked in with us. No real stand out personality or friendliness, but nothing to complain about. He didn’t seem too interested in my being a vegetarian, and made no effort to bring me food that wasn’t touching bacon and sausage, but what can ya do.
So onto the food! I’m giddy just writing this because I love breakfast food! I always joke that mass produced scrambled eggs are a delicacy to me (I have the tastes of a picky eating toddler), so the array of food brought to our table family-style did not disappoint.
My understanding is that we could have asked for more of any item that we especially enjoyed, but we were quite satisfied with the amount of food they brought us. They also brought as drink refills without our asking.
Now the most important part: the characters !
Just like pre-covid, Chef Mickey’s is home to Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, and Pluto, in their chef attire. Similar to the experience at Topolinos and Hollywood and Vine, the characters come out and do a lap around the restaurant, pausing near each table to take photos at an appropriate distance. Then all of the characters come out and do a dance. At Chef Mickey’s two or three characters come out at a time to do a lap, since the restaurant has several seating areas. One character visits each area at a time. Then at the end, all 5 come out to dance, and then the rotation starts over. During our time eating we saw each character, plus the dancing happened twice. We were probably there for about 45 minutes at most. So there is definitely no waiting around for characters to come when you are otherwise ready to leave (pet peeve of mine).
The character interactions were cute. Goofy and Pluto both noticed my son’s toy Zurg and acted frightened and tried to hide from him. I saw the characters pointing at peoples birthday pins and clapping. They try to individualize the interaction to some degree to give people some personal attention.
They have a recording reminding guests to stay seated and at a proper distance from the characters throughout the meal, although I did catch Pluto giving a kid a fist bump (gasp!).
All in all, it was a great experience that was worth the money to us, considering how much food costs everywhere in Disney, and how hard character interactions are to come by these days. Plus we love breakfast food and love the monorail, so it’s a no brainer for us. I also will always pick character breakfasts over lunch or dinner since they are significantly cheaper, and the breakfasts can often be booked pretty close to lunch time anyway.
I will say, we were in the section immediately next to Contempo Cafe, and I felt like we might as well have eaten there and just peeked over at the characters, like I saw kids doing (although the food at Chef Mickey’s is much better than the quick service at CC). I didn’t feel like I was inside any sort of special restaurant, like I felt at Topolinos. I just kind of felt like I was in a casual cafeteria type place. Small gripe, but comes into play in my vote for my top character dining choice below.
So back to whether Chef Mickey’s is back to being our number 1 choice, or has Topolinos officially solidified its spot as our favorite. I asked this very question to my son as we were leaving Chef Mickey’s and he said Chef Mickey’s was better, but he has a pretty short term memory when it comes to picking favorites, and I have to give the edge to Topolinos in all honesty. My son is very swayed by the presence of monorails at Chef Mickey’s, so it is an absolute must-do for us every trip, but I personally just LOVE the environment at Topolinos. They are the same price, but at Topolinos you feel like you are in a luxurious restaurant at the top of a beautiful tower with an awesome view, whereas at Chef Mickey’s it is more of a cafeteria feel. We have also had consistently phenomenal service at Topolinos, whereas the service at Chef Mickey’s this trip was just fine. The food is equal, the characters are about equal (although CM’s has 5 characters, and Topolinos has 4), so it just comes down to environment and service to me. Given that they are both great, you should probably decide based on if you are particularly fond of the characters at one or the other, and where you are spending your day that day. Topolinos is ideal on a HS or Epcot day, whereas Chef Mickey’s is perfect for an MK day.
Side note: a review of Hollywood and Vine’s Disney Jr breakfast is on the horizon. Yet again H&V is the character dining that I am least positive about. Sorry not sorry 🤷🏼♀️.