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!