If you are looking to meet Minnie, Mickey and friends during your trip to Walt Disney World without the long wait times why not looking at character dining?
On our latest trip, we were lucky enough to be staying on-site for the first time and got the dining plan for the first time.
With this, we booked to eat at Hollywood & Vine to combine our character meets with a sit-down meal. Hollywood & Vine meant we could sit and
relax eat in some peace while the characters came to us.
We had previously met Donald And Daisy Duck a couple of days before and Minnie And Mickey Mouse at the Animal Kingdom.
Both of those were by chance and had either a small wait time or managed to snag a last-minute fast pass.
The kids loved seeing them so much it was hardly a bad thing getting the chance to see them again with the addition of Goofy.
We reserved our meal at Hollywood & Vine a couple of days in advance of our visit. While this isn’t always necessary, it’s advised you do so to avoid disappointment.
Making this reservation in advance was particularly important to us as we were a large group (9 people) which is a lot harder to accommodate for than just 2 or 3 people.
You can reserve any meal at Hollywood & Vine for free on the My Disney Experience within the Walt Disney World website.
The restaurant is located at Walt Disney World’s Hollywood Studios, to dine at the restaurant you will need to have a valid ticket.
Hollywood & Vine is located on the first turning on your left as you are walking up Hollywood Boulevard. It is located next to the 50’s Prime Time Diner and Mickey’s Of Hollywood.
If you get a little lost be sure to ask one of the Cast Members for directions. They are all super friendly and helpful, bonus if you are doing any pin trading it is a great way to find new ones!
The atmosphere at Hollywood & Vine can be a little loud, I say this as there are multiple excited children shouting character names across the room.
The restaurant is a little more relaxed and not as formal feeling as Crystal Palace. The decor and layout are much simpler and definitely has the feel of a cafeteria instead of a restaurant.
As you enter the restaurant you walk straight into the character podium which is where one of the characters will be stood meeting guests. This is highly distracting if you are trying to get children to sit at a table and wait their turn.
Also as the entranceway was often filled with guest waiting to see the character it left little room for you to move in and out of the doorway.
The room is split into two halves, this is to spread out the seating and so the buffet can be accessed from both sides helping keep congestion down.
The walls are decorated in frames with pictures and themes of the ’50s. Though the theme is 50’s and vintage some of the areas of the restaurant look a little drab and dated which could be improved.
There are 2 sets of characters you can meet here, either Disney Junior characters or Minnie Mouse and friends. The Disney Junior characters are Sofia The First and Doc McStuffins at breakfast and lunchtime.
In the evening or special dinner parties see Minnie and Mickey Mouse, Donald and Daisy Duck and Goofy out to meet.
While on our visit we were lucky enough to be eating an evening meal and got to meet Donald, Goofy, Mickey and Daisy.
Daisy was the main character stood at the front in the entrance for pictures with the professional photographer.
As we ate our dinner the characters worked their way around the room and met with the families. It was a little chaotic as some of the characters had to go back to tables that were up getting food and so created a little delay.
We managed to meet Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy and Minnie. Donald was the best as he really was persistent on being number 1.
They signed autographs and hugged the kids numerous times, it was a great length of time with them to say they had a room full of people to see. Even some of us adults managed to jump in for a quick picture or two.
Food & Drink
Though we had already met Minnie and Mickey Mouse, Donald and Daisy Duck we chose to eat here as it worked out a great way of getting the children to sit down and eat.
It was also fitting into our schedule of being at Hollywood Studios that day so it worked out well.
The main service area for food was good, my favourite thing on the menu had to be the crab meat mac and cheese and the lamb stew. Though neither of those goes together in a meal it was nice to be able to try them both.
The salad bar was the first part of the buffet I saw, after being impressed with the salad bar at Crystal Palace I was looking forward to another here.
Sadly, it was a little less impressive and more average, the plain lettuce looked a little drab and the toppings/dressing weren’t as expansive as I had seen previously. There was still the caesar salad but extra toppings were limited on that front.
There were a couple of soups to choose from and a bread basket section. Unfortunately, the dishes seemed quite shallow, whether this was to keep the food fresh or decoration purposes I am not sure.
The bread basket was a little empty which was disappointing. Though the staff actively fill up and freshen up the food choices often the bread was quite popular.
For the main meals, there wasn’t as much to choose from as I would have expected from a sit-down restaurant. Though I generally like to try something new there were many dishes that were a little different for me.
After the crab meat mac and cheese and lamb stew, there was not much more I wanted to try. There were options for vegetarians and vegans on the menu which was good. Looking around many adults were tucking into the tater tots and chicken nuggets supplied on the children’s buffet.
There was a great range of foods for children to choose from the kid’s section of the buffet. Though it doesn’t mean they are limited to that section.
Children are able to eat from the adult’s buffet and adults (like me) can choose from the kid’s section. The children’s section was quite popular with the adults as many were eating the tater tots, chicken nuggets and mini corn dogs.
Though I didn’t go crazy on the deserts at this dining experience I did try a couple. I liked that the deserts were in a small compact form so you could have at least one of each.
There were small cheesecake, buns and fruit tarts to choose from. Along with the array of Mickey-shaped desserts was the soft-serve ice cream and topping which of course is highly popular with children.
Honestly, I wouldn’t pay the $52 dollars for this meal. I am more likely to pay for Crystal Palace as the setting was much nicer, they had a wider range of food and the overall atmosphere was better.
I was felt a little disappointed with the standard of food and lack of selection for both adults and children.
The redeeming factor for dining at Hollywood & Vine is that you are there to interact with the characters, which is exactly what you get.
Though if you are using the dining plan and want to be able to tick off meeting some characters without the long wait this is a good place to do it.
As always we would love to know what you think of the lunch buffet at the Hollywood & Vine at Hollywood Studios, Walt Disney World.
Would you like to see us try other meals there (breakfast and dinner?) let us know down in the comments below.