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Minnie & Friends – Breakfast In the Park: Dine with Characters at Disneyland’s Plaza Inn

Minnie & Friends - Breakfast In the Park: Dine with Characters at Disneyland's Plaza Inn

Minnie & Friends – Breakfast in the Park is a delightful Character dining experience for all ages! Located right at the end of Main Street U.S.A with a view of Sleeping Beauty Castle, this breakfast at Disneyland’s Plaza Inn restaurant exudes charm, with excellent customer service you’d expect from Disney. Character meals are great because you can meet your favorite pals and not use your Park time standing in line for an autograph! Each Character will personally come to your table for a meet n’ greet, to pose for photos and to sign your autograph book.

Minnie & Friends – Breakfast in the Park is a delightful place to start your Disneyland morning and to meet a wide variety of Characters. You are guaranteed to meet Minnie (since her name is in the title!) but other Characters change and may vary from day to day.

Minnie & Friends - Breakfast In the Park: Dine with Characters at Disneyland's Plaza Inn

Donald helped himself to some fresh fruit!

One of the lovely things about dining at Minnie & Friends – Breakfast in the Park is an early admittance to the Park before the official opening. If you book a reservation for a breakfast before the Park opens, look for the gate that admits Park guests in early (it should say “Breakfast in the Park”).

Make sure to have your reservation number and valid Park ticket to show at the entrance and you’ll be escorted to the restaurant entrance. Since you’ll be there before the big crowds, this is also a great opportunity to take a quick pic of your family on Main Street U.S.A and Sleeping Beauty Castle without anyone around you!

Minnie & Friends - Breakfast In the Park: Dine with Characters at Disneyland's Plaza Inn

The “all-you-care-to-eat” breakfast buffet has standard offerings like French toast, scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage and ham. Omelets are made-to order while you wait. Mickey waffles with butter and syrup are a special treat! There are also hearty offerings like biscuits and gravy and breakfast potatoes as well as croissants and danish that will fill your tummy and have you ready for the day. It’s a pricey affair but the “all-you-care-to-eat” option is nice, especially if you have a bunch of bacon-eaters like I do in your group! Dining with characters is also a lot more reasonably priced for breakfast than lunch or especially dinner. If you aren’t big breakfast eaters consider booking one of the last breakfast reservations for the day, fill up and then skip lunch.

Decorated elaborately in pink and gold Victorian decor, the Plaza Inn is a 1955 original restaurant (when it was called the Red Wagon Inn). The Victorian stained-glass ceiling, marble foyer and gingerbread woodwork were all salvaged from a historic Los Angeles home and personally chosen by Walt Disney’s wife Lillian herself to be used in this space. This is a very special space; consider returning in the evening for a big platter of fried chicken and mashed potatoes (no Characters after breakfast, however).

Minnie & Friends - Breakfast In the Park: Dine with Characters at Disneyland's Plaza Inn

To make a reservation for Minnie & Friends – Breakfast in the Park call (714) 781-3463 up to 60 days prior to your visit.


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SoCal Guide – SeaWorld San Diego Dine with Shamu

Dine with Shamu at SeaWorld San Diego

Have you ever dined with an orca whale? We have! It’s an experience not to forget. Shamu dines and entertains luncheon guests at Sea World San Diego in the Dine with Shamu event.

Dine with Shamu at SeaWorld San Diego

Our reservation was at 12:30 and we arrived 15-minutes early to wait in line. My family was able to see the orca whales swimming in the underwater viewing area while we waited. We had our photo taken as a group in front of a large picture of Shamu. We were never given anything or shown our picture so I’m not sure what the picture op was for!

Dine with Shamu at SeaWorld San Diego

The host seated us at a long table against the glass with a great view of the pool. The dining space was in a curve around a viewing pool with the buffet room and restrooms in the center. A trainer was speaking over a microphone for the guests to hear but unfortunately most of the people were in line for the buffet and probably didn’t catch the educational talk.

Dine with Shamu at SeaWorld San Diego

I stayed behind with our toddler while the rest of my group got their plates of food so I was able to listen to the trainer talk and watch her toss fish by the handfuls to the orcas. Fortunately by the time most everyone was back at the tables with their food, the two orca whales were doing some performing and getting close to the glass.

Dining with Shamu at SeaWorld San Diego

They jumped, twirled, stuck their tongues out and pulled themselves up on the deck right next to our table! It was incredible to be so close to these beautiful creatures!

Dine with Shamu at SeaWorld San Diego

A waitress took drink orders and kept on top of bringing refills for everyone in our party. Standard soft drinks, coffee and tea were included in the price and alcohol and specialty drinks were extra. The kid’s drinks were served in souvenir plastic cups that we took home with us.

Dine with Shamu at SeaWorld San Diego

As for the food, it was really quite delicious and not the typical buffet-fare. There were a variety of unique and tasty salads. My family enjoyed the sustainable fish dishes including the salmon and shrimp. There was a pot of steaming hot clam chowder, soft rolls with butter and a server was carving fresh pork. The smashed red potatoes were perfect alongside a saucy chicken breast and steamed veggies. The “kid’s section” included Swedish meatballs, creamy mac and cheese, mixed vegetables and breaded chicken.

Fortunately by the time most everyone was back at the tables with their food, the two orca whales were doing some performing and getting close to the glass.

The dessert bar was heavenly! It included carrot cupcakes (my toddler took mine right off my plate!), fresh fruit salad, and chocolate-covered Shamu shaped cookies. There was cheesecake with a variety of toppings; I had the pumpkin cheesecake with fresh whipped cream and caramel sauce…amazing! The cherry on top of the meal were the delicious vanilla mint canolis. We had several of them, they were so yummy!

Dine with Shamu at SeaWorld San Diego

This is from SeaWorld’s website in regards to the food that they serve:

Our commitment to care for the natural world extends to the food that we serve. From sustainable seafood to organic coffee, even our menu items promote environmental responsibility.

Why is it important to choose sustainable seafood? As the world’s appetite for seafood skyrockets and commercial fishing becomes increasingly efficient, many of our ocean’s fisheries are overfished, overexploited or collapsing. Choosing sustainable seafood that was responsibly fished or farmed replenishes our oceans, preserves species and ensures a healthy world for future generations.

Our signature Dine With Shamu dining experience also features menu items that are sustainable, organic and locally sourced. From fresh California salad greens to locally-grown vegetables, in-season produce is selected straight from regional farmers. This ensures not only that our guests are getting the freshest produce available, but also that this produce has a minimal carbon footprint.

Dine with Shamu at SeaWorld San Diego

We had a wonderful experience at the Dine with Shamu lunch! It was so nice to have such an up-close and personal view of the whales. I appreciated that the food wasn’t an afterthought to the show and instead was a delicious and filling meal.

Other dining options for SeaWorld San Diego include Breakfast with Shamu or the All-Day Dining Deal which is good for other dining locations (not the Dine with Shamu area).

Dine with Shamu at SeaWorld San Diego


We received four complimentary buffet meals in exchange for this post. All comments and opinions are my own.

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Disneyland Magical Moments – Princess Hugs and Kisses

Now that my “little guy” is ten, it’s been a while since he’s been interested in meeting Princesses. But Once Upon a Time, we ate at Ariel’s Grotto. This was a trip I took to Disney’s California Adventure with Ian and his older brother back in 2006.

Ariel's Grotto {Saving Up for Disney}

We started off fine, greeting Snow White and Mulan. But once the food arrived, for all it mattered to him those pesky princesses were getting in the way of his meal! Ian was not willing to give up his delicious lunch to pause for more than a few moments when the Princesses came to the table. Nearly every picture has him stuffing his face!

Can't pause for Princesses! Ariel's Grotto for lunch {Saving Up for Disney}

My favorite moment came with Cinderella. She knelt next to him and tried to get him to lay off the carrots and ranch for a bit so they could take a photo. Instead Ian generously offered a ranch-soaked carrot to Cinderella!

Offering Cinderella a carrot at Ariel's Grotton {Saving up for Disney}

She refused, naturally, looking at Ian’s older brother and offered some wry advice about silly little brothers. Cinderella handled the challenge with grace and I love the surprised look on her face when confronted with the carrot! This is one of my most favorite Disney memories.

Oh, little Brothers! Ariel's Grotto 2006 {Saving up for Disney}

“Little brothers sure can be challenge sometimes!”

Ariel's Grotto 2006 {Saving Up for Disney}

The meal closed with a visit from Ariel. Finally food-free, Ariel took her chance!

A kiss from Ariel - Ariel's Grotto 2006 {Saving Up for Disney}

Ian ended the meal with a smooch on the cheek from Ariel and a lipstick memento! What an excellent meal and as Ian proved, the food was as good as the company!