Written by Diana Hughes
Being a long time Disney enthusiast, one of the few Disney experiences I had yet to try out was character dining. Growing up, my parents preferred a more “quick service” type of restaurant while at the theme parks and we never booked a character dining experience. I didn’t honestly know what I was missing until I was an adult, had my own children, and heard people talking about character dining online.
On our first trip back to Walt Disney World with the girls as preschoolers, at the height of a “princess dress-up stage”, I knew that booking a character dining experience would be a top priority. We scheduled a quick trip down to Disney and I managed to snag a last minute cancellation at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall. Although we weren’t sure how much there would be to do at EPCOT for our preschoolers, we felt lucky to have grabbed a reservation at last minute where the girls would be able to chat with five princesses: Cinderella, Ariel, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, and Belle, one on one.
The day of our princess reservations, we arrived at EPCOT with one goal – our character lunch reservation, the day turned out to be so much more though! While the princess lunch was indeed the highlight of the day, EPCOT turned out to be immensely popular with our preschoolers, offered plenty for them to do, and ended up being the theme park they talked about the most upon our return!
At the character lunch, the girls were immediately dazzled by being able to meet Belle straight away and have our picture taken with her – my oldest was particularly star struck at this point. After arriving at our table and placing our drink orders, we were able to graze at the salad bar which had a large selection of meats, cheeses, and appetizers. For our main course, my youngest ordered kid’s pizza, my husband and older daughter both ordered the Norwegian meatballs, and I ordered a champagne chicken with mushroom sauce. The food was delightful and everyone thought the entire meal was fabulous…
With the most exciting part being the visits by the princesses themselves of course! The girls had a wonderful time meeting each princess individually at lunch and having their pictures taken with them. The experience was one of the most memorable parts of the trip, and as a parent – worth every penny! EPCOT was also a delightful surprise, being a park that was rich with preschooler friendly activities! EPCOT and Akershus Royal Banquet Hall are on the top of our “to do” list for our next trip to WDW!
Diana is a thirty-something stay-at-home mommy to two adorable preschool girls that enjoy dressing up like Disney princesses, acting out scenes from Disney’s Frozen, and asking how many more days until their next trip to Disney World. She grew up visiting Walt Disney World multiple times a year and now looks forward to sharing the joy of Disney with her girls.