Welcome to Wednesday Q&A. Today’s question is about recent changes to some character dining experiences at Walt Disney World.
Q: I have heard that there have been changes to character dining, what’s different?
A: It is true that Disney has changed some of the character dining offerings and procedures of late. At several restaurants, characters still visit the tables but do not sign autograph books. At other locations, characters have been changed altogether.
Most guests book these dining experiences 180 days in advance so their children can get personal time with, and autographs from, the characters without having to wait in line for them. Please be aware that Disney is testing these new procedures at several restaurants, as stated here:
‘Ohana Best Friends Breakfast with Lilo & Stitch
A couple of months ago, Stitch was moved to a spot outside the restaurant to sign autographs rather than coming around the tables. Guests wait in line at that location to get his autograph.
Cinderella’s Happily Ever After Dinner at 1900 Park Fare
At 1900 Park Fare, guests have been surprised when Cinderella and Prince Charming have been standing in a side location for autographs. They are also surprised when the characters have been different from what they expected.
Disney has stated that each of the character dining experiences at WDW state on their respective webpages “characters subject to change.” Still, when you expect Cinderella and Prince Charming to come to your table, because they always have before, and then suddenly they are standing in a certain area for you to go over and wait in a line for their autographs it takes you by surprise. I have even heard that rather than seeing the wicked stepsisters the 2 mice have been present instead. This can be disappointing.
Bon Voyage Breakfast at Trattoria al Forno, Disney Jr Play n Dine at Hollywood and Vine and Hundred Acre Wood Breakfast at the Crystal Palace
At these locations, the cast members have begun handing out cards with the princesses’ and princes’ signatures on them.
Disney says they are trying this new procedure for autographs as a way to maximize efficiency as it takes less time than having all the characters sign autographs at each table. This is still in the testing phase and, in most cases, if a guest asks for an autograph while the character is at the table they will likely oblige.
Personally, I don’t like the change as I feel the kids really enjoy that one-on-one interaction at their table. I hope this change won’t be permanent.
What are your thoughts about this new change?