Looking for something a bit different to ramp up the yuletide spirit while you’re in Orlando? Add one of these four unusual character meals to your holiday plans:
1) Gaylord Palms Breakfast with Charlie Brown & Friends runs through 7 January and makes a nice start to a half-day at the resort, along with a visit to ICE!, the wildly popular ice sculpture extravaganza (see our 27 October blog, A Behind the Curtain Look at ICE for more), gingerbread decorating, Christmas merchandise, and the Alpine Village for snow tubing and snowball throwing games. You can even walk breakfast off with a stroll through the Trail of Trees.
The sprawling character buffet breakfast includes just about everything you can imagine for the first meal of the day, such as biscuits (savoury scones) with sausage gravy, build-your-own waffles, flapjacks (fluffy pancakes), eggs, streaky bacon, granola with or without toppings, cold cereal, fresh fruits, eye-catching pastries and more, plus juice, coffee and tea. Many have theme-appropriate names like Snoopy’s Maple Syrup, Woodstock’s Granola and Pig Pen’s Dirty Hash Browns (but don’t worry; the “dirty” part just means yummy stuff has been added).
During breakfast, guests will meet Charlie Brown, Lucy and Snoopy, and this year Linus joins the line-up as well. Not only do characters interact with guests at their table, there is also a delightful, must-have photo op with Snoopy and his dog house.
From the check-in desk designed to look like Lucy’s makeshift psychiatry stand in Charles Schultz’s A Charlie Brown Christmas annual television special to the tiny tree Charlie Brown and Linus brought back for the Christmas play, charming scenes from the beloved movie add to the festive atmosphere.
Breakfast is served from 8am until 10:30am in the bright, full service restaurant of Villa de Flora, located in Gaylord Palms’ central atrium. ($34 adult, $23 child)
2) Another festive start to the day happens at Breakfast with Santa at the T-REX Café at Disney Springs. Santa and Mrs Claus welcome guests on select dates in December (2, 3, 9, 10, 16 and 17) from 8am until 10am, for a big buffet breakfast of eggs, breakfast meats, waffles, French toast sticks, Tonga Toast (a Disney speciality!), cold cereal and pastries.
While we’re not quite sure what dinosaurs have to do with Christmas, the setting alone is an experience, with animatronic dinosaurs at every turn, the occasional meteor shower, plus a super-cool ice cave. If you’ve struggled to get a booking at this popular restaurant, now is your chance.
One of the big bonuses here is that reservations for the breakfast include the opportunity to take advantage of “early bird shopping” from 9am through 10am at the T-REX Dino Store, Disney’s Days of Christmas and World of Disney in the Marketplace section of Disney Springs. With that in mind, you’ll want to make your breakfast booking early so that you’re ready to hit the shops by 9am. (Adults $32, ages 4-9 $20.50, 3 and under free.)
3) Universal Orlando gets in on the action in a slightly more… shall we say… mischievous way, at The Grinch & Friends Character Breakfast. While we’re pretty sure the Grinch doesn’t have any actual friends, what with his bad attitude and all, a Who (or two!) from Whoville and the Cat In The Hat drop by as well. Take note, the Grinch revels in misbehaving, so don’t expect any pixie dust here!
This cheeky fun-fest includes a choice of 5 set menus (hint: you’ll be able to select any items you want, and it’s all-you-care-to-eat, so don’t be put off if one of the set menus don’t appeal):
-The Continental, with fresh fruit, Greek yoghurt, a blueberry muffin and a croissant.
-All American Breakfast of eggs, breakfast meats, potatoes or grits and a croissant.
-Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast, with (of course!) green eggs, ham and cheese on a bun, with fresh fruit and potatoes or grits.
-The Combo, which features three fluffy pancakes, eggs, breakfast meats, potatoes or grits and a croissant.
-Pancake Breakfast, with three fluffy pancakes, breakfast meats, potatoes or grits, and a croissant.
Breakfast takes place in the Circus McGurkus Café Stoo-pendous restaurant at Universal’s Islands of Adventure in Seuss Landing, and you’ll want to stay on to see the Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular live stage show.
The proviso here is that you need park admission (and reservations) to be admitted to the breakfast, but you’ll probably want to see all the new Harry Potter Christmas festivities at sister park Universal Studios. Be sure to have a Two Park Explorer Ticket, a Three Park Explorer Ticket or a multi-park combo ticket so that you can hop between Islands of Adventure and the Studios (use the Hogwarts Express and keep the magic going while avoiding wear and tear on your feet!).
The Green One meets guests on these select dates in December: 7-10, 14-17 and 20-25. (Adults $34.99, children $20.99)
4) But the biggie on our list has to be the brand-new Dinner with Rudolph at SeaWorld. We’re fans of this dinner character dining opportunity in part because it allows visitors to experience the spectacular SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration after dinner, and we think it’s among the most magical events on Orlando’s December calendar.
One of the challenges of buffet dining for a crowd can be the food quality, but Rudolph got it right. From the succulent sliced turkey and mouthwatering ham, to green beans, mashed potatoes, dressing, macaroni and cheese and cranberry relish, plus mini cupcakes, brownies and fruit cobbler, it’s a surprisingly scrummy meal, made even better with a hot mug of cocoa. There are also kid-friendly choices such as hot dogs, chicken tenders, and French fries.
A CGI presentation inspired by the Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer television special plays as guests dine, followed by a short but cute live show when the main man (okay, deer) himself appears. Rudolph visits every table, but if you want even more time with him—and the chance to meet his friends Clarice, Yukon Cornelius and the giant abominable snowman Bumble—head into the park for Rudolph’s Christmas Town and its festive character meet-and-greets.
Add a special character dining event to your Christmas plans, and discover why December is truly a month to remember in Orlando!
If you have questions about Christmas dining, character dining– or anything else about the wonders of Orlando – be sure to join us on the ATD forums, on this link: https://www.attractiontickets.com/forum/forum.php.
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