Minnie’s Halloween Dine Review
We love all things Halloween at Walt Disney World. We also love comfort food, Fab Five characters in special costumes, and generally fun experiences. It should thus come as no surprise that we recently had a blast doing Minnie’s Halloween Dine in Hollywood Studios.
This is one of several versions of the “Minnie’s Seasonal Dine” character meal that Walt Disney World offers at Hollywood & Vine Restaurant. This review features food photos, thoughts on whether it’s worth the money, and a look at Minnie & Mickey Mouse, Donald & Daisy Duck, and uh, just Goofy I guess in their special Halloween costumes, which are unique to this location.
You might recall from our Minnie’s Holiday Dine Review or our Best Character Meals at Walt Disney World rankings that we are big fans of that meal. In fact, we’re bigger fans than most others, judging by the reader comments of those who disagree with us. Well, spoiler alert, but we similarly loved Minnie’s Halloween Dine!
Minnie’s Halloween Dine is a really fun experience, especially if you have character-loving kids or love them yourself. Historically, we’ve been big fans of Minnie’s Seasonal Dine for guests who are on the Disney Dining Plan. With that temporarily suspended, it’s obviously a non-factor right now.
Another thing that has changed is the menu. As you’ll see in our normal review below, Hollywood & Vine normally offers an all-you-can-eat buffet. While other buffets have returned to Walt Disney World as of Fall 2021, Minnie’s Halloween Dine is still serving a prix fixe menu, plus family style salads to start.
Another change comes in terms of the character experience. Below, you’ll see photos of us posed with the characters–as with other modified character meals, that won’t be the case this year. Instead, they’ll be doing a smile & wave character cavalcade through the restaurant.
It is possible to grab posed photos of the characters and quick selfies with the characters, but the latter is not easy. You can see what this is like in our Topolino’s Terrace Modified Character Meal Review or our Good Morning with Goofy & Pals Modified Character Meal Review.
Finally, the lineup of characters will differ slightly. This year, Minnie’s Halloween Dine will feature Minnie Mouse dressed as a happy witch, Goofy as a spooky cowboy, Mickey Mouse as a funny vampire, and Pluto wearing a Halloween collar. Essentially, Donald & Daisy Duck are being removed and Pluto is being added.
With all of the changes out of the way, here’s a look at our excellent experience last year at Minnie’s Halloween Dine!
Hollywood & Vine hosts Minnie’s Seasonal Dine throughout the full year for dinner, but remains Disney Junior Play ‘n Dine for breakfast, before “converting” to Minnie’s Halloween Dine for lunch and dinner. Throughout the year, the Minnie’s Seasonal Dine options are Springtime, Summertime, Halloween, and Holiday Dine–all running back to back with zero downtime in between each.
This also means that thematically, there’s not much that’s noteworthy at Hollywood & Vine for the seasons. It’s supposed to resemble a studio mess hall, and there’s modest Art Deco stylization to reinforce that look. It does vaguely resemble the actual commissary (Buena Vista Cafe) at the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, so that’s also cool.
With so many brilliantly-themed restaurants at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, this is pretty underwhelming by comparison. Nevertheless, Hollywood & Vine has a subtle yet charming look that could be appealing for a low-key meal. However, with characters, the atmosphere is never low-key in here.
In any case, pretty much no one is coming here for the core themed design, so we can file the last couple of paragraphs under “totally irrelevant” (and I already wonder why I typed them). Suffice to say, the setting for this character meal is loud and vaguely evokes old Hollywood thanks to the Art Deco and wall murals. It works.
Characters are really the point of Minnie’s Halloween Dine from an atmospheric perspective, and they are truly “spooktacular.”
When you enter the restaurant, there’s a backdrop with Minnie Mouse and a PhotoPass photographer (that’s right, no automatic box here!) who takes your photo.
We really like this approach, especially when the entrance character doesn’t replace one of the roaming characters in the restaurant.
Given that PhotoPass characters don’t accompany characters at Walt Disney World’s meals, it’s always difficult for us to get photos with both of us in them, unless an attendant happens to be lingering in the area.
Accordingly, this entrance photo op is great for us.
It’s also nice to have at least one image with a clean backdrop and without random strangers mid-bite as they dive face-first into a huge bowl of Vampire Repelling Mashed Potatoes with Garlic. (Respect.)
Costume-wise, all of the characters are bringing their A-games here. With that said, I think we can all agree that Donald Duck as a mad scientist is the clear winner at Minnie’s Halloween Dine. It’s just such a zany and perfect look for him.
Apparently, Donald previously had an astronaut costume here, which looked equally awesome.
The other characters all also have great Halloween costumes.
I’ve decided that I should start wearing a cape to character meals. As Mickey Mouse demonstrates, it’s such a great conversation piece, and also a great prop for interactions. Plus, I’m pretty sure GQ just named it one of the best men’s fall fashions. Right up there with top hats, canes, and monocles.
Unsurprisingly, we were also part of (and witnessed) some fun character interactions at Minnie’s Halloween Dine.
Most memorable was a small child running away from Mickey (in terror?) after Mickey fanned out his cape. Mickey chased down the child across several rows of the restaurant, catching him, ironically enough, in his cape. Somehow, everyone in Hollywood & Vine–except that family, the character attendant, and us–was entirely oblivious to this.
After successfully returning the child to his family, Mickey hammed up his relief over the ledge by our table. (This is probably one of those “you had to be there” stories–it was a hoot in person.)
Let’s move on to the buffet food…
Lately, we’ve been commenting a lot on Walt Disney World’s move to ‘elevated character dining’ with cuisine that appeals to both kids and more refined palates. This is not that.
It’s also not something like Boma or Tusker House, which are buffets featuring a variety of more adventurous options and more ambitious flavors.
Rather, Hollywood & Dine “goes hard” on the comfort food, and does a pretty admirable job nailing most of its dishes in terms of quality and freshness.
Contrast this with something like Chef Mickey’s, which is similarly serving up comfort food, but is not executing on nearly the same level.
Perhaps it was because Walt Disney World just unveiled its new plant-based initiative (which is a mix of marketing a lot of old items and introducing some new ones), but Sarah was also pleased to find a surprising number of plant-based options on the buffet.
In fact, she thought the Three Bean Quinoa Cake (pictured above) was the very best thing on the entire buffet. I respectfully but very vehemently disagree.
On the other hand, it did seem like some of the more ambitious options we enjoyed last time at Minnie’s Seasonal Dine were missing from the buffet.
Notable omissions included mussels, flank steak, short rib, and pumpkin ravioli–a particular disappointment given how fitting it would be for Halloween!
I was underwhelmed by the options from the carving station.
Frankly, this is becoming more the rule than the exception–I can’t recall the last time I got something that wasn’t dry and overcooked from those stations.
To be fair, I don’t take meticulous notes on what is and isn’t at the buffet each time we go, so I’m really going off of what I’ve mentioned in past reviews.
It’s worth noting that I did not mention ribs or lamb stew last time, both of which were present this time. It’s very well possible all of the “missing” items were actually one-for-one replacements. I just hope my favorite meats weren’t replaced with a bunch of plant-based options, which I fear was the case.
No offense to the vegetarians or vegans out there. I’ve become an “involuntary flexitarian,” but not when it’s time to go hard at a Walt Disney World buffet.
On the plus side, some of these plant-based options look like they’ve been imported from the Upside Down and are straight-up nightmare fuel. Scarily fitting for a Halloween buffet! (I kid…)
After the obligatory forkful of the plant-based items, I ate the equivalent of a full rack of ribs…plus several helpings of seafood mac & cheese…plus fish…plus lamb stew…plus garlic mashed potatoes…plus, plus, plus!
All of the aforementioned items were delicious. (To my recollection, dessert was also pretty good, but I was already on the precipice of food coma by that point.)
I may or may not have eaten so much that I felt sick afterwards and had to sit on a bench in Echo Lake for a bit immediately upon leaving the restaurant. You could say bad decisions were made, but I have zero regrets.
If anything, now I want to return for Minnie’s Holiday Dine and do the exact same thing so I can bask in the glow of Echo Lake at Christmas while blissfully recovering from my food coma.
Overall, Minnie’s Halloween Dine really impressed both of us. The characters, costumes, and interactions were wonderful, and I remain convinced that the characters here have more fun than at any other buffet at Walt Disney World. Without fail, this venue is always a hoot and not just the standard ‘pose and move on’ character meal. That alone cements our desire to return here at Christmas and for the other seasonal meals we’ve yet to do.
Then there’s the food. I know this is where Hollywood & Vine is more divisive, but we’ve had great success here with all of our meals for the last 3-4 years. In this review, I made several cracks about the plant-based options, but Sarah liked or loved many of those. (I didn’t, but then again, I only sampled small bites and focused primarily on meats.)
I found almost all of the meats I devoured to be excellent, and we both left full and satisfied. It’s one of those rare Walt Disney World buffets that nails the comfort foods, but also offers a range of options to keep lighter/healthy eaters happy. We continue to highly recommend Minnie’s Seasonal Dine, and will definitely be returning in the near future.
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Have you done Minnie’s Halloween Dine or any of Minnie’s Seasonal Dines? Do you agree or disagree with our review? What did you think of the food? What about the character interactions and costumes? Any questions we can help you answer? 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 remembered that you had loved the Halloween Dine here, so popped back to peek at the pics before booking it for early October. We only have a couple of days in the parks, but I managed to get a dinner reso for our evening when we park hop away from MK on a MNSSHP night. Loved the pics, so booked the reso and then came back to reread the review. And then disappointment! Donald & Daisy & their great costumes replaced by Pluto in a Halloween collar?! I love Pluto, but that doesn’t stack up. And then I noticed your comments about there not being character attendants at meals. My hubby hates buffets (this will be returning to a buffet by the time we arrive) as he can never eat enough to make it good value for money, so I was thinking of going solo. But that makes character photos (other than selfies which I don’t love) very tricky. So now I’m not so sure. The price is also not at all clear on the website (adults $35-60?! Quite the range). I guess I’ll keep my reso for now, and give it some more thought. It’ll be our last ever Halloween at WDW, so that’s a mark in the “go for it” column, but the loss of two costumed characters for a fancy collar is a double tick in the “skip it” column.
If anyone is reading this who has been this year & can offer any current impressions or feedback, I’d sure appreciate it. Or anyone with any perspective that I haven’t thought of? Thanks.
We just booked for October 19. I can’t seem to find the actual price for the prix menu. Has anybody else seen it?
We are going to WDW next Sept (2021), and have always want to do this experience. How early in the season do they changeover to Halloween characters? How close are you able to get to characters for a photo during these restrictions? Are the photos posted on this page current or pre-COVID? The meal would be pointless to us without decent photos with the characters. Which meal times do they have Halloween characters out at? Thanks, Larry
The meal hasn’t re-opened yet this year (is due to later this month), so Tom’s photos are from pre-COVID (I’ve been to the Christmas version). Masks will be required unless you’re eating–of course, we don’t know if this will be the case next September. Tom shared some photos in his post-COVID Riveria restaurant character meal review, but any photos with the characters will be distantly posed selfies, and that capability I would suspect is dependent on crowds and timing.
Pre-COVID, Hollywood and Vine has done the Minnie’s seasonal dine for lunch and dinner, but the restaurant was Disney Junior themed for breakfast. Post-covid, I believe they’re only reintroducing lunch and dinner, which will be Minnie and friends. And socially distanced until otherwise announced.
Disney usually starts fall/Halloween decorations in late August (until this year), so I suspect you’ll be fine with a September holiday next year. The good news is that it’s not a pre-pay meal, so you could make the reservation once the window opens and then be able to review more recent reviews closer to the time and cancel if it doesn’t seem right for your party.
Is there a breakfast option for the Minnies Halloween Dine?
We went on August 27th with the Fantasmic package, in part because your previous reviews convinced me to give the food a chance after other blogs/forums dumped on Hollywood & Vine. We had already discovered this trip that we’re not really as into character dining or meet and greets as many families and I briefly considered switching our reservation and using up that final table service credit elsewhere. I’m really glad we didn’t — the characters were the most fun of any we met and the food was good. I agree Donald has the best costume but they’re all fun and my kids, husband and I all liked how the costumes led to more silly and less awkward interaction. We were at one of the first dinner time slots and I think the only character who didn’t hit our table twice was Daisy.
I see you’ve gone full meta and this visit your costume was “Disney Blogger”. LOL.
I thought Donald was Professor Von Drake!
What will the theme be marathon weekend?
Weird fact: The chemical formula on Donald’s lab coat ( C7H8N4O2 ) is a bitter alkaloid of the cacao plant and is found in chocolate. It is also the compound that makes chocolate toxic to dogs and other animals.
Clever defense, Dr. Duck!
We love H&V! My kids love it even more. We’ve done Minnie’s Halloween & Dine and Disney Jr breakfast. The food is great, the characters are fantastic, the Fantasmic reserved seating is a major bonus. Never have I understood the negative reviews from here.
Need. Zero. Purse. please tell me where I can find that!!
Not only is it characters at lunch, I would go so far as to say the seasonal Dines – regardless of the season – are the best character meals at WDW *if you book as close to the start of lunch service as possible*.
Everything is as fresh as it will get (the last time we went, they hadn’t even opened the second buffet line yet), and more importantly, relatively few tables are occupied, at least to start. The characters have nothing to do, so they’ll come over fast and more than once. In August we actually waved them away the third time – the kids weren’t interested anymore! It’s definitely expensive, but it’s worth it for my family of 4.
We’ve done the *last* seating at the night at Hollywood & Vine, but never the first. End of the night was likewise good. Tables with families cleared out pretty quickly (for obvious reasons) and we mostly had run of the restaurant with the characters by the end of the night.
I suppose there’s the chance for tired performers or the same stuff just sitting on the buffet, but we didn’t experience either of those things. It was wonderful!
I just did the Halloween fine about a week ago. It was amazing!! It’s true, the characters are much more fun and interactive than other character dines. I also found the food had good variety and was delicious. It’ was my first time at Hollywood & Vine. I hope the next time I’m at Disney will be during the Christmas dine!
I don’t understand how you are constantly eating all this food (plus, plus, plus) you claim to ingest! Where do you put it? Where does it all go? You must have a hollow leg or something!
1) I walk at a very brisk pace wherever I go. That aside, I’m generally pretty active.
2) I have a fast metabolism (although sadly, it’s slowing down).
3) By and large, we eat very healthy meals when dining at home–which is pretty much always when not traveling. (Hence my “involuntary flexitarian” comments despite pretty much never ordering the plant-based options in the parks.)
4) Please don’t let the secret about my hollow leg get out. That’s where I hide ribs to take home from the buffet!
Totally agree with your report. We went last year at Christmas and it was just ok, we also waited way past our ADR time. We went right after it switched to Halloween with a 11:30 ADR. Highly recommend this to your readers to try and get the first seating. We were the only table in our servers section for the first half hour. So lots of time with the characters and no other families in our pics. LIke you I hate the random half eaten plates of food and strangers lurking in the background. By the time we got to dessert a few more tables were around and the characters all came back a second time. One of the best character meals we have done in a long time.
Is it worthwhile Tom to pay out of pocket?
OMG the purse! Where did you get the Zero purse?!?
Tom and Sarah don’t go telling everyone about my one must do character meal every time I go to the world! Let them keep going to Chef Mickey! But, if you must, make sure you request Marge because she is my favorite server out of all of them with a big shout out to Robert at Skipper Canteen who is an extremely close second!
Doing a google search looks like it may be from Disneyland Tokyo?
Correct, Tokyo Disneyland.
We ended up going to breakfast and dinner on the same day two years ago at Christmas. Breakfast for Doc McStuffins with our large group and dinner with my two year old because I wanted to see the characters in Christmas outfits. I much preferred the dinner food and it was a far better use of the dining plan credit! I got great Christmassy pictures with all the characters. I would definitely choose dinner again, particularly on the dinng plan. Hopefully we will get to the Spring dine next year.
We had a 12:05pm lunch reservation for Minnie’s Halloween Dine last Monday, so it isn’t Disney Junior during lunchtime anymore. We loved the costumes as well! A fellow diner wondered why everyone was calling him Donald Duck when it was obviously Ludwig Von Drake. I see the similarities, but Ludwig has glasses and (more importantly) doesn’t have green hair. 😉
We have a reservation for lunch in a few weeks and it’s marked as Minnie’s seasonal dine in the confirmation. Has it changed back to Disney Jr character since we booked ( 6 months ago )?
Sorry – typo in the post. Breakfast is Disney Jr and the entire rest of the day is the Seasonal Dine. Have fun! 🙂
Wonderful, thanks! Our 1 1/2 year old recognizes Mickey and Minnie, not so much with Disney Jr!