Each of the four Disney Parks (Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios) hosts a character meal at one of their table service restaurants. Epcot hosts two, with Akershus being known for its eclectic evening fare and as a great spot to spend some time with a princess of two. Serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner, Akershus gives diners a royal experience comparable to Cinderella’s Royal Table in the Magic Kingdom, for considerably less gold.
For character dining newbies: you must have park admission if you plan to eat a meal in the parks. Park Hopper tickets will allow you to bounce around as you please, but if you have a base ticket, your reservation must be for the park you’ve spent the day in. So if you’re wanting to dine with Cinderella and her princess pals, you must have admission to the Magic Kingdom.
No park tickets? No problem. There are some great character meals at many of the Disney Resorts as well.
Disney pros use breakfast character meals in the parks to get access to the park before it opens, giving them a little extra time with rides once they’ve finished their meal. They hit up a character meal at lunch to get out of the heat and the most crowded time of the day. Dinner character dining can get you the perfect view for fireworks, or even a super exclusive character meet. Character meals are a great way to meet multiple characters at once without waiting in line or using a FastPass.
A few quick tips:
- These meals are in demand so it is highly recommend that you take advantage of the 180 reservation day window and make your reservations as soon as possible.
- Characters are subject to change. While it’s pretty certain you will get the character whose name is in the meal description (Ie Cinderella’s Royal Table) the rotating secondary characters may alternate.
- You can meet characters at breakfast, lunch, and dinner at character meals in the Disney parks.
- The prices of meals will vary by time of the year (peak vs regular vs value season) and by day of the week (weekends tend to be a little pricier than weekdays) and also just cuz Disney’s gonna do Disney. The prices listed are an estimate based on recent menus. These prices do not included gratuity, though an automatic gratuity of 18% will be added for a table of 6 or more.
- Times for the meals may vary depending on opening and closing times for the parks. Be sure to look into park hours before you make your reservation.
- World Showcase: Norway Pavilion
- Family Style Norwegian/American Dining
- Breakfast- Adult: $48-$55, Child: $29-$33, Lunch and Dinner- Adult: $55-$60, Child-$35-$40
- 1 Table Service Credit on the Disney Dining Plan
- Characters:rotation of princesses that could include Cinderella, Belle, Mulan, Ariel, Aurora, Jasmine, Snow White, Rapunzel.
There’s a royal feast in your honor! Join your favorite Storybook Princesses for a meal in a medieval castle. Enjoy American favorites at breakfast, or try some of the finest dishes Scandinavia has to offer at lunch and dinner. Hot dishes are served family style, with large portions brought to the table, while sides dishes are at the buffet. Both options are all you care to enjoy. And while you enjoy, you’ll have the chance to mingle with princesses from far and wide. These royal ladies will be on hand to take pictures, sign autographs, maybe even whistle while they work.
My Take: Right from the top, we love Akershus. Our girls are little, and, truthfully, not super interested in a ton that Epcot has to offer. Akershus is part of a princess centric chunk that makes them appreciate Epcot a whole lot more. Akershus is nestled in the Norway pavilion across from the Anna and Elsa meet at the Royal Sommerhus and right next to Frozen Ever After, still one of the hottest tickets in Epcot. The World Showcase part of Epcot opens at 11am, EXCEPT for the Norway pavilion, which opens at 9. So you can get breakfast at Akershus, then do all your Frozen stuff before heading back to Future World to go soaring around the world or journey into the imagination with Figment.
Speaking of breakfast, let’s go ahead and get this out of the way. Like many restaurants in the World Showcase, Akershus features food from the pavilion it is located within. In this case, Norway. Not many Americans are overly familiar with Norwegian cuisine, so find themselves with meals their palettes might not immediately warm to. We’ve seen people in online forums call the lunch and dinner options at Akershus all kinds of unflattering names (things that rhyme with “dross” and “lasty”) but think that’s an unfair assessment. For Norwegian food, the later offerings at Akershus are quite tasty. They’re not something you could grab at the local Applebees, and that’s okay! The whole point of the World Showcase is to introduce other cultures, and that includes their culinary styles.
Buuuuut, it’s also true that you’re paying a lot of money for a meal you might not like. Character meal prices are steep and you want to enjoy your eats as you wait for Cinderella to come talk mouse designed evening wear. If you want all of the princesses and none of the smoked fish, then I highly suggest breakfast. The menu is there is good ole American classics: eggs, hashbrown casserole, sausage, bacon, with like, a few strudel. Bonus for breakfast: it is cheaper than lunch and dinner. Double bonus for breakfast: if you score an early reservation, you can get to Frozen Ever After before the crowds descend at rope drop. We had an 8:10am reservation, got there a few minutes early and were seated at 8:05am. I asked for the check at 8:30am, we were all settled up and done eating by 8:50am, and by 8:55am we were on a boat to Arendelle.
The Norway Pavilion at 8am. You can almost hear the crickets chirping.
About those princesses. The set up here is similar to Cinderella’s Royal Table. Upon entering the Royal Banquet Hall, you’ll have a photo opportunity with the receiving princess. Lately, it’s been Belle. Then you’ll be escorted to your table. Hot food is brought to you, and you can get the cold stuff at the buffet at your leisure. I actually really love this. I majorly stress at buffets, as much as I adore them, because timing the food retrieval with the character rotation can be a bit much. Here, the important stuff comes to you, so you can hang with your royal gal pals and worry about muffins later. I know nothing about actual sizes and dimensions, but I know that Akershus is a much larger space than Cinderella’s Royal Table, which allows for more physical interaction. Lots of princess hugs, lots of singing and dancing. I know I’ve mentioned this in a million other blogs, but my daughter did animal calls with Snow White for roughly 5 minutes. It involved more movement than you would guess animal calls need. There’s the princess parade, where they tromp all over the restaurant with the princesses, which is adorable and a ton of fun. One princess note: Mulan is listed as part of the rotation, but I’ve not seen her here and don’t know anyone who has. If she’s a must do for you, plan on her meet in the China pavilion.
If booking Cinderella’s Royal Table isn’t in the cards for you, I highly, highly recommend Akershus. Just as many princesses for a lower price point. If you’re already heading to Epcot but need to find something special to hook your little royal, I highly recommend Akershus. If you couldn’t get a FastPass at Frozen Ever After but it’s an absolute must, then guess what I highly recommend? Early breakfast at Akershus! The interactions here are really stellar, which is the big selling point for me. Also, the hashbrown casserole.
Is the Royal Banquet Hall one of your favorites? What do you love most about it? Have you seen Mulan there? Tell me in the comments!
Kristen B. is wife to the best Prince around, mama to the spunkiest little princesses, and lover of all things Disney. She started her savings journey five years ago and is now dedicated to making her family’s wishes come true one coupon at a time. She is so excited to take her love of saving to the next level and share her journey with you! Click here to catch up on Kristen’s Savings and join in on your own savings adventure!