Review: Breakfast in the Park with Minnie & Friends at Plaza Inn
Plaza Inn’s Breakfast in the Park with Minnie and Friends is a unique character meal. More than that, it’s a quintessential Disneyland experience that sorta defies explanation. In this dining review, we’ll share food photos, and thoughts on the cuisine & character interactions.
Located at the end of Main Street near the Tomorrowland entrance in the hub, Plaza Inn is a special place. For me, that’s in large part because of the dinner menu, which serves the most glorious fried chicken in the world. What Dole Whips are to other Disneyland fans, that fried chicken is to me. (Plaza Inn is also home to the world famous yule log during the holidays.)
Regrettably, fried chicken and yule logs are not on the breakfast menu, so they’re not part of what makes Plaza Inn special during Breakfast in the Park with Minnie and Friends. Rather, that’s accomplished first via setting, as this beautiful Victorian restaurant evokes a feel of a bygone era of Disneyland. To be sure, it’s a rather historic location having existed (under its original name Red Wagon Inn) since opening day in 1955. The Red Wagon Inn was reportedly one of Walt Disney’s favorite restaurants in the park.
Plaza Inn features authentic 19th-century furnishings, including the jewel-like Victorian stained glass and ornate woodwork salvaged from a home in Los Angeles. Large windows in a solarium-like area give the restaurant a bright and airy look, and also make for easy character photos.
Even the outdoor seating area at Plaza Inn can be a special. Outdoor seating offers some views of Sleeping Beauty Castle, Main Street, and Tomorrowland. We dined here in the winter, and the Southern California morning air was a bit too brisk for our liking, so we opted to sit inside. The point is that even though it appears to be an unassuming, Plaza Inn is both important to Disneyland history, and a little restaurant with a ton of charm and character.
At the top we teased that Breakfast in the Park with Minnie and Friends is “unique” and “defies explanation.” What we mean with this is that rather than being a normal character breakfast with a unifying theme and pre-determined set of characters in particular outfits, this is pretty much a free-for-all.
Suffice to say, Minnie rolls deep and her squad is an eclectic band of animals and outlaws. Breakfast in the Park with Minnie and Friends is a seemingly non-stop barrage of characters, most of whom have nothing to do with one another. We saw over 10 different characters during our meal, ranging from the likes of Captain Hook and Peter Pan to Max Goof to Rafiki. From what we understand, 10+ characters at this meal is pretty standard.
Not only are there a lot of characters, but they’re down to party. There’s a palpable energy to the meal that’s hard to explain, and this is owing in large part to disparate characters goofing around with one another and guests. Not only will you observe their sometimes zany interactions, but you’ll have some great interactions of your own (should you so desire–standard pose for photos and move on experiences are fine).
Here are some more character photos–note that this does not reflect all of the characters at our meal:
I really would love to know why Breakfast in the Park with Minnie and Friends is this way. I’m guessing it’s either a training location or a ‘warm up’ spot for characters to drop in before starting their day. It just doesn’t seem like the kind of thing you’d get from modern-day Disney, as all those characters cannot be cheap.
Not that we are complaining–the non-stop cavalcade of characters is really what makes Minnie’s breakfast at Plaza Inn special. It just surprises me that this hasn’t experienced budget cuts or other gradual quality erosion. (Then again, maybe it has–maybe there used to be 20+ characters at the meal!)
My guess is that the meal flies sufficiently under-the-radar that it has managed to escape such cuts. No matter the explanation, it’s great fun, and we’re glad we got to witness and experience this offering before it (inevitably?) disappears or changes.
Breakfast in the Park with Minnie and Friends sounds pretty great thus far, right? Before you get too excited and rush off to book a reservation, there’s the food. It’s not that the food is downright bad, it’s just fairly mediocre and generally lower in quality than the hotel character breakfasts.
What you’ll find here is a range of generic choices like sausage, bacon, scrambled eggs, biscuits & gravy, french toast, Mickey waffles, cereal, muffins, and fruit.
Pretty much all of these items are on par with average entrees that you’d order at a counter service restaurant. The one bright spot is the made-to-order omelets, but even those were just fine.
Here are some of the things we had for breakfast at Plaza Inn:
Now, we still managed to have filling meals, and nothing was downright disgusting, but the food quality was a serious letdown after having three of the best (cuisine-wise) character meals of our lives at the Disneyland Resort hotels. Compared to what’s served at those, Plaza Inn is a real disappointment on the food front. (In fact, both Whitewater Snacks and Tangoroa Terrace have more ambitious breakfast selections.)
Overall, whether Breakfast in the Park with Minnie and Friends is right for you comes down to whether characters or food matters more. You can’t have both here. In terms of character quantity and interactions, it’s far and away the best character dining we’ve ever done. In terms of food, it’s one of the absolute worst. On balance, we would recommend Plaza Inn for breakfast to anyone with even a modest interest in characters, as it’s such a novel and zany experience–the type of thing you’ll be talking about decades from now that “Disneyland used to do back in the day.”
If you’re preparing for a Disneyland trip, check out our other planning posts, including how to save money on Disneyland tickets, our Disney packing tips, tips for booking a hotel (off-site or on-site), where to dine, and a number of other things, check out our comprehensive Disneyland Vacation Planning Guide!
Have you done Breakfast in the Park with Minnie and Friends? What did you think of the meal? Any standout foods from the buffet spread? What about the character interactions? Do you agree or disagree with our review of the restaurant? Any questions? Hearing your feedback–even when you disagree with us–is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!
I’m FINALLY getting to do this character meal next month! It’s been 11 years since we took our son on his first trip to Disney(land) and we did Goofy’s Kitchen for dinner as well as the Surf’s Up with Mickey breakfast at the Paradise Pier that trip. I managed to do the old character breakfast at Storytellers for my 50th birthday almost 6 years ago, but despite having Minnie’s Plaza Inn breakfast on my radar for the entire decade, it never happened. I’m really looking forward to it. I’ve met all of the characters that I am likely to see in other locales over the years, but I don’t care! It’s gonna be great whoever I meet, and I’m finally going to complete my set of character meals buttons! lol. Got the 10:30 seating, as you recommended & could not be more excited. Yay!
Hope you have a great time! FWIW, we did this breakfast last month and there were far fewer characters–but there was fried chicken! So I’d consider that a win, all things considered.
My family was still grabbing food and I was alone at the table with my eggs. I heard a high pitch voice say “what’s up old man?!” Peter Pan totally dissed me and I loved it. Best characters. Food is probably at the bottom but I do love the chicken fried steak and whole bottles of chocolate milk.
I’ve done this one many times with the kids. Last time we were able to see the Fairy Godmother which the kids went nuts for.
I wish I could echo your enthusiasm about this meal.
A few weeks ago was our first family trip do a Disney park and after much research, decided we should do Minnie’s Breakfast. The food was OK (my husband equated it to a strip mall buffet). I will say that they went out of their way for my daughter who is gluten-free.
We saw 5 characters in total – Minnie, Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Chip, Captain Hook. Eeyore was on the other side of the restaurant and when my kids realized he hadn’t come by, I went in search of a cast member to ask if he could stop by. She answered “we’re getting ready to close”, turned and walked off. We were especially dissapointed because these were all characters we had already met in the park.
Our take away was that character breakfasts are just not worth the price and time. It was very disappointing to lay out that amount of money for what we got.
We have had breakfast with Minnie and Friends several times and it has been brilliant every time. So many interactions with the characters and the cast members who work at the Plaza Inn. One of the cast members, Steve is simply delightful and he created the most magical morning when we went once for our wedding anniversary. I fondly look over the photos we have from each visit and can’t wait to go back and take our son for his first experience at the Plaza Inn.
We are there seven years ago and it was the best character experience I’ve ever had. Captain Hook took my phone and too a close up selfie that I still have as wallpaper on my phone.
It was so much fun to see the interactions between Hook and Peter Pan as they chased each other around the restaurant and had a sword fight.
Tom, I worked in the Park back in the “Walt era” in the 60s and you are correct that the Red Wagon was one of Walt’s favorite places to eat. There was an “employees only” back half to restaurant that the public didn’t see, and that is where he ate (same kitchen, same food). The opening of the Plaza Inn was a major change from the Red Wagon and much more was envisioned for it, by John Hench and others, that didn’t quite come to pass. Unfortunately, even some of what did come to pass has since been put aside. Having said that, it is still a lovely place. One of his other favorite spots was the Hills Bros. Coffee Garden (formerly Maxwell) on the Town Square that is now gone – the place I worked when I started there (Tony Baxter worked up the way at Carnation). Wlat would have his morning coffee there, at times having come from his apartment across the Square above the Firehouse. After sitting for a bit, he would venture to the Tobacco store a couple of doors away (I’m sorry to say, since that is what most likely caused his untimely death). Thought perhaps you would like to know a bit of nostalgia about Walt from an old former employee…
Thank you for sharing! It’s wonderful to hear a first hand account about his love of the park.
Having done this meal twice I would have to say your review is spot on. The food is average but the characters are great. My son who was 4 the first time and 6 the second time and loved his interactions and the all the autographs that he was able to get. Minnie, Chip, Dale, Eeyore, Pluto, Captain Hook, Fairy Godmother, Pooh and Tigger too! And that’s just off the top of my head. I would highly recommend for families who want their little ones to meet many characters.
Yes! I had breakfast with Minnie and co at the Plaza Inn last summer as part of my best friend’s bachelorette party, and our character interactions were top notch. They really hammed it up with our group and paid extra attention to the bride–Eeyore brought her a bouquet of flowers, Chip & Dale paraded her around the restaurant to point her out to other guests, Max invited her to dance with him, etc etc etc. We all had a great time and laughed A LOT. Highly recommend, even though, as you said, the food is just OK.
We did the Minnie & Friends breakfast a when we visited Disneyland about 3 years ago, because my youngest is a Minnie fanatic. We’d previously done several character meals at WDW, with the standard 3 or 4 characters, so we were completely shocked when the characters just kept coming! It was such a treat to see some more rare characters, like Max, in the mix, too.
Is it the same experience at the “new” plaza breakfast at WDW?
We’ve noticed a definite difference in quality between being seated inside and seated outside. We had an amazing experience when seated inside the restaurant, but the other two times we were seated outside, and had characters completely bypass us. So, if you chose to do this, I’d definitely ask to be seated inside, even if it means you have to wait longer and lose that precious morning park time.
Agreed!! We just took our first trip to DL after going to WDW 3 times with this being our 6th character breakfast. They seated us outside and against my gut feeling, I went ahead and agreed to it. I should not have. We were seated on the patio beside windows to the inside and could see all the wonderful experiences happening inside and DID NOT receive the same experience even though we made reservations at the 60 day mark. IT was so very disappointing at 6 guests @ $37 a plate. 🙁
The high quality character interaction has been there for at least 10 years, and I’m glad to hear that it hasn’t changed! One of our family’s favorite character meals!
We are planning on doing this when we go the end of June..do you know if you booked the earliest one do they let you in a little early and can I get a castle photo before we dine…we were able to do that in WDW by having an early reservation at Crystal Palace. Thanks 🙂
Everytime I go to book it for an early ADR, the earliest that seems to be available is 10 minutes after the park opens up, so nope….sorry
I love this group of characters. I will have to try it next time at DL. I will sacrifice food quality for great characters.
Btw – I love Sarah’s little Chip bag. Hopefully Dale, Pluto, or Donald didnt try to ruin the bag too much hehe.
Spot on review! I have done a couple character breakfasts and this one is by far my favorite because of all of the character interactions! There are sooo many characters and they spend a good amount of time with you (if you want). I spent the majority of my meal, just looking around and pointing at each new character that came out. And, yes, the food is completely mediocre, except for the Mickey waffles with bananas fosters sauce. Also, I liked that the drinks were self-serve so no one could judge me when I got several diet Cokes, iced tea, and coffee!
We had a late breakfast there 5-6 years ago and it remains my favorite character meal we’ve done. So much so that we didn’t eat there on out recent trip to California because we didn’t want to potentially tarnish the memory. I’m glad to hear it’s still as good!
There weren’t 20 characters back then, but a similar line-up (we had 10). And being the last seating the restaurant was pretty empty and they came by our table many times. Hook and Rafiki stalked each other around the restaurant (https://flic.kr/p/fGxcJ8) , Eeyore pretended to be a rhino using a birthday hat (https://flic.kr/p/fGPLyj), and there were many other fun experiences. I remeber the food being pretty typical Disney breakfast buffet fare, though not as good as our meal at Storytellers recently.