Ever since my maiden voyage to the Magic Kingdom, I have been obsessed with Chef Mickey’s. Since my first vacation as a small child, I hopped onto the monorail from the Ticketing and Transportation Center and watched as we approached a building full of dreams. As we entered the building, with my little hands and vivid eyes glued to the window, there it was, right below me. A small piece of heaven filled with my two favorite things, food and Disney characters.
Now it took me about 15 more years into my 20’s to finally be able to experience all of the glory of Chef Mickey’s, but boy was I not let down. Well kinda, but we will get into that more later. This is nothing more than a one and done type of dining experience. The character interactions are something I truly love, but I have found other character buffets on property that I enjoy more. Even with that being said, this is the epitome of Disney World character dining.
Chef Mickey’s Decor and Atmosphere
Chef Mickey’s is located on the fourth floor of the Contemporary (one of the three Magic Kingdom resorts located on the monorail loop). You can either take an elevator or the escalators up the fourth floor and then BOOM, there it is. Right in front of your eyes is the holy grail of Disney nostalgia. Right behind that front desk where they check you in for reservations lives a haven of Disney characters and some of the most mediocre food you will eat your entire life.
Now if you are looking for some of the most technology savvy and eye appealing restaurants on Disney property, well, look somewhere else because you are not going to find it at Chef Mickey’s. Let’s make this pretty clear, you are coming here for pretty much two reasons:
- This is classic Disney:
Nothing is going to be more Disney than your entire experience at Chef Mickey’s. This is the one restaurant most dream of.
- The characters:
No waiting in long lines in that hot Florida sun. Nope! No way! Instead you have the luxury of the characters coming to you! I mean everyone loves to feel special and you will here.
So back to the picture painting! You are going to walk up to the host stations where there is a giant Chef Mickey looking down on you. You give them your name and then head over to a waiting area. It’s basically just some stools and goes with the theme of the hotel. Now the Contemporary is not known for its Contemporary stylings anymore and is more dated. But against all odds it has withstood the test of time.
The dining room is broken down in four separate eating area. Two of the eating areas are their own separate rooms and the other two are more open air where you can see the monorail zooming right by while you are eating and meeting your favorite Disney pals.
The decor is simple. The tables all look the same. They are Mickey themed as well. So simple is going to be the theme. Remember we are here for characters. If you are looking for a beautifully coiffed dining experience, you are better off heading to the Polynesian or Animal Kingdom Lodge. But when it comes down to it, Chef Mickey’s is all about the bringing you back the first days of Disney.
Please keep in mind that it is LOUD. It is probably one of the loudest meals you will have on property. Everyone is talking and there is excitement. If you have little ones that are sensitive to sound then that would be something to really think about when deciding whether or not to eat here.
To get a sense of what to expect at Chef Mickey’s, check out this video uploaded to YouTube by a Disney World fan that visited the restaurant:
Now I just want to be clear. You will rarely ever hear that the food at Chef Mickey’s is the best meal that they have eaten on Disney property. It is not. You are not coming here for the food. You are coming for the experience. Is the food good? Yes. Is it fantastic? No. You will not be missing anything here food wise is you skip out but you will be missing some of the best character interactions on property.
Now for the breakfast selections which includes many morning staples such as:
- Seasonal Fruits
- Quinoa Salad
- Smoked Salmon
- Carved Ham
- Tofu Scramble
- Chef’s Hash
- Make your own Waffles
- Scrambled Eggs
- Donut Holes
There really is something for everyone here. It is probably one of the best buffets for the pickiest of eaters due to the large selections of staples and classics. It is one place where even my children eat more than they expect due to so many of the easy favorites.
For dinner, you are going to see the same classic feast including:
- Seasonal Salad Selection
- Poached Shrimp Cocktail
- Charcuterie Board
- Prime Rib
- Glazed Salmon
- Vegetable Potstickers
- Roasted Chicken
- Pot Roast
- Soup and Pasta Station
- Seafood Paella
- Chicken Nuggets
- Chili-Cornbread Casserole
- Smashed Potatoes
- Macaroni & Cheese
- Steamed Broccoli
- Mickey Mousse Domes
- Seasonal Bread Pudding
- Cheesecake Tarts
So the buffet is mainly going to consist of American favorites for dinner. If you have a lot of picky eaters in your family, this is going to be the on buffet they are going to enjoy the most food wise. It is not for the adventurous. One of the obvious things is that it fits in with the classic Disney decor and atmosphere.
Now for taste level, once again, it isn’t anything spectacular and there is definitely enough of food to fill you up. The Mickey Mousse Domes are one of my favorite desserts and luckily are found here on the buffet. So just lower your expectations for the food to what you would expect to your mom’s house on a Saturday night and you will feel like a king or queen!
This dining experience is more on the expensive side so if you do want to go to Chef Mickey’s make sure you budget it in. Now if you are going to be there for breakfast it is going to run you about $42 per adult and about $26 per child. The breakfast hours are from 7am to 11:30 am daily. They do also provide a brunch service which runs from 1130 am to 230 pm. That is approximately $40 per adult and $25 per child. Lastly, is there dinner service which runs from 5 pm to 930 pm. This is the most expensive of all the dining services and will run about $54 per adult and $32 per child.
Now Chef Mickey’s is available on the Disney Dining Plan and is worth one table service credit, so as long as you do not have the Quick Service Dining Plan then your credits will be applicable. This is WELL WORTH using one of your table service dining credits for! It is one of the more expensive meals you will eat on Disney property!
If you are looking to make your meal just a tad bit more special, you can always book a My Storybook Moment through Disney’s Florals & Gifts. You can select either the Mickey Mouse or Minnie Mouse option. The service includes a gift package with your own plush and other collectibles including ears and then a special guest (Mickey or Minnie herself) will go over to customize your arrangement. This will run you about $90 and is only offered at Chef Mickey’s. If you are celebrating a small child’s special first visit or birthday, this is a fantastic way to truly make the experience unforgettable!
Service and Entertainment
Now, let’s be honest without ourselves, no one is really coming here for the food! We all make our journey to Chef Mickey’s for the fantastic service that it provided. Not only will you be able to sing and dance with Mickey and all of his friends including Minnie Mouse, Pluto, Donald Duck and Goofy, but they will also come around to each table and have your own personal interactions!
So get your autograph books ready because this is going to be the easiest location to get the signatures and make your dreams come true with the original Disney gang! You are going to see the gang make their way around the room. They do each come to the table one at a time so keep in mind this will be a long meal and it is important to plan accordingly for it.
One major perk as well at Chef Mickey’s is that the characters spend a decent amount of time at each table. It is not just a snap a picture and go experience but instead they spend their time joking and laughing with the entire party. There are not many character attendants and the place is crowded all the time which can make getting a picture without looking like you are in the center of a restaurant difficult, but hey, when you are with Disney pals does it matter?
Do I Need a Reservation?
The only acceptable answer for the question is yes. Not only do you need reservations, but if you are going to make this a must do on your vacation; you need to make this reservation when the slots begin to open up about 180 days beforehand.
This is one of the most popular restaurants on Disney property, and honestly, the only reason is because it is a character buffet. Getting a walk up slot is going to be next to impossible and trying to book a reservation about 60 days beforehand is just as difficult.
Do not stress! There are plenty of other places to spot Mickey and his pals and there are plenty of other (and better) character buffets on Disney property. Although if this one is a priority for your family, make sure it is one of the first things you book.
What’s the Verdict?
When it comes down to my family, this is never a must do anymore. There are much better dining experiences on Disney Property and honestly, probably ever character buffet is better than this one. The food just really does down the experience. But if food is never an issue for your family and you want that classic Disney dining experience then by all means this is going to be the place you want to eat at. Just make sure this on your list for Disney World dining reservations and you will be all set!
No one is ever going to tell you that Chef Mickey’s has the best food on Disney property or even the best buffet on site, so for that I really struggle giving Chef Mickey’s anything more than 3 stars. Which is hard for me because I personally can find the greatness in anything?
So would I recommend it? Nope. Probably never. I would not make it a point to go out of my way to eat here like I would at some other resort dining (Boma Flavors of Africa cough cough), but if you are staying on the monorail loop or it has been a childhood dream, definitely make a stop of it.
But why is this place so busy? Well, it comes down to the simple Disney classic charm and some characters and you’ll know exactly why people flock to Chef Mickey’s. Back in its prime it was the place to be, but now with more and more character experiences becoming available with even better food and atmosphere, you can find exactly why you are looking for somewhere.
I am not here to crush any dreams but I would feel personally responsible if I told you to head on over the Chef Mickey’s only to be let down. So my words of advice is that no matter where you go, it is going to be a magical experience, but just keep the expectations low and you will do fine. Hey, you may even enjoy it. And always keep your eyes out for just a little extra pixie dust! It will make the entire experience worth it.
If you enjoyed this article, please “like” our Countdown to Magic Facebook page!
You Also Might Want to Read:
- The Crucial Disney World Packing List You Must Read
- The 15 Best Rides at Disney World to Try at Least Once
- The Best Rides to Fast Pass at Animal Kingdom
- The Best Rides at Disney’s Hollywood Studios to Experience
- Why Epcot is the Best Disney Park for Adults
- The Best Rides at Magic Kingdom You Gotta Experience ASAP
- 21 Best Places to Eat in Disney World with Kids
- Boma review