When Walt Disney World’s hotels begin reopening on June 22, only one character dining experience will be among the options operating: Topolino’s Terrace – Flavors of the Riviera. In this post, we’ll cover why this is likely the lone character breakfast, what the “modified” meal likely entails, and offer some commentary about this new meal at Disney’s Riviera Resort.
There are a few reasons this meal is great. First, the character costumes: Poet Minnie, Ballet Dancer Daisy, Sculptor Donald, and of course Artist Mickey. They range from artistic blue collar to the fashionable socialites, but all look great, fit the venue perfectly, and are fresh & original.
Finally, the setting. Topolino’s Terrace – Flavors of the Riviera is light, airy, and inviting. We don’t love a lot about the design of Disney’s Riviera Resort, but they definitely got this restaurant right. The dining room and decor are all elegant and refined without being stuffy and most significantly, the views are absolutely stellar.
All in all, Breakfast à la Art with Mickey & Friends is like a family-friendly version of Brunch at the Top at California Grill (one of our very favorite meals in all of Walt Disney World). Suffice to say, Topolino’s Terrace immediately jumped to the top of our Best Character Meals at Walt Disney World List.
The characteristics of Topolino’s Terrace – Flavors of the Riviera that make it the best character breakfast at Walt Disney World also make it a prime candidate for being the first character meal to return.
There’s the meal itself, which is a la carte rather than a buffet. This means Topolino’s Terrace can reopen without overhauling its approach, or changing the menu at all.
Then there’s the fact that Breakfast à la Art with Mickey & Friends is entirely fur characters, which distinguishes it from other new meals like Artist Point and Trattoria al Forna, which are otherwise similar but are not reopening.
Perhaps most importantly, unlike other older restaurants where character dining was added after the fact, Topolino’s Terrace – Flavors of the Riviera was designed with it in mind. The result is a significantly more spacious venue, with wide walkways and ample space between tables.
Most of the seating area isn’t cramped like so many other Walt Disney World restaurants, which means there’s built-in space for social distancing without removing tables or revamping the seating area. This should make it easier to roll out whatever changes are necessary for the “modified” character breakfast.
What that “modified” character dining experience entails is the big wildcard with Breakfast à la Art with Mickey & Friends. We’re guessing it means the character component of the meal will not involve individual stops at each table.
Instead, it’s likely that there will be character introductions and a guest-less parade around the seating area (which already happens), and more of a “Smile & Wave” semi-show as discussed in our Character Dining Cancelled at Walt Disney World post.
It’s also possible that Mickey & Friends will make individual stops at each table for photos, but with contact minimized (there’s no way of avoiding it completely–it’s unrealistic to expect kids not to react emotionally and impulsively when seeing their favorite characters, and Walt Disney World is undoubtedly aware of this).
Given what we know about the low likelihood of surface transmission, the practical realities of fur characters, and the spacing of tables at Topolino’s Terrace, it also doesn’t seem totally unreasonable for the “modified” meal to only have minor changes made, and ones that do not impact the substantive experience.
In this regard, it would be the perfect “pilot” character dining experience for Walt Disney World. As compared to other character meals, very little needs to change for such a test run. Disney could gauge guest demand and potential problem points, making this adjustments while redoing other character meals.
If that’s the case, we would expect to see other modified character dining experiences gradually return as Walt Disney World’s phased reopening continues. If our assumptions are correct, other prime candidates would be Garden Grill, Cape May Cafe, Chef Mickey’s, Hollywood & Vine, Tusker House, and Crystal Palace.
One of those (Garden Grill) would be very easy to modify and reopen, while the restaurant would require more significant changes. They’re all probably doable if Topolino’s Terrace works, though.
That list is entirely speculative on our part–this should not be construed as a rumor. However, we think it makes sense given both viability and locations. If those other meals reopened, it would mean there’s one character meal in each of the 4 theme parks, plus every major resort district.
We previously shared this info in our Walt Disney World Resort & Restaurant Reopening Changes & Know Before You Go Info “mega post” over the weekend, but it was towards the bottom of that. Judging by reactions on social media, many people missed this aspect of the story. (Side-note: would it be helpful if in the future we broke down longer material like this into a few, shorter topical posts? One for resorts, one for restaurants, and one for ‘other interesting stuff? The single post is a lot to digest.)
In any case, we thought this was worthy of a dedicated post despite being a relatively small tidbit because it’s an interesting one. Moreover, characters are a deal-breaker for many of you when it comes to visiting Walt Disney World given reactions to our previous posts about character dining and meet & greets not being offered. To that end, we’d really love some feedback on this–are you interested in knowing more about the particulars of this modified character meal? Is it something you’d potentially book? We’re debating going day one to see how it goes and review it, but that depends in part upon reader curiosity.
But we digress. For all of those even potentially interested in the modified character dining experience who have Walt Disney World trips booked for June or July, we’d highly recommend hedging your bets and booking an Advance Dining Reservation for Topolino’s Terrace as soon as ADRs reopen.
You can always decide later whether to keep it, once reports confirm exactly what it entails. Given that it’ll be the only character meal at first, even with limited on-site guests it’s possible that Topolino’s Terrace will book quickly. As discussed above, we love this restaurant and particular breakfast, so it’s definitely a solid choice for Walt Disney World’s first character dining experience to return.
Will you be booking an Advance Dining Reservation for Topolino’s Terrace – Flavors of the Riviera? Interested in us doing a review of the modified meal at Breakfast à la Art with Mickey & Friends? Thoughts of your own as to why this character meal is returning but others are not? Would not being able to take photos with each character be a dealbreaker for you? Do you agree or disagree with our speculation? Other thoughts or concerns? 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!