Yes. I traveled all the way to Hawaii to dine with Mickey and Minnie. Well, that wasn’t the only reason I went to Hawaii but I did end up attending a character breakfast at Disney’s Aulani resort while there.
I am assuming due to Disney’s immense popularity worldwide, advance reservations for the character breakfast are limited to those staying at the resort. For non-guests, you can try for a reservation 24 hours in advance of the time you’d like, based on availability. Although we ended up securing a reservation without any issue, it was not at the time I would have liked. We got 10:15 AM, the only time they had for a Sunday. We didn’t try on a weekday so perhaps it would have been different but I was hoping for something a lot earlier since our body clocks were still on East Coast time and we were awaking pretty early-around 7 AM. But I’ve found you take what you’re given, especially with travel.
The breakfast takes place in the resort’s Makahiki restaurant. We arrived a few minutes prior to our reservation and when we went to check in with the host, she told us that we actually would need to check in outside with another hostess to be given a ticket and where we could also have our photo taken with Mickey. I abstained from getting in the very long line with Mickey since it seemed that the sooner you returned your ticket to the hostess located inside, the sooner you were seated. This was one of the first moderate disappointments of the meal experience. I realize that you’re Disney and are insanely popular, but a character breakfast should include characters actually during the breakfast (there are no Mickey twins obviously). After we had returned the ticket, we waited roughly another 10 minutes .
We were given a table outside, which was nice except birds in Hawaii are crazy, no doubt from the copious amounts of food that are dropped from individuals dining al fresco year round. So you would often have to shoo them away from your food or not be startled from them pecking around at your feet. A slightly gross moment occurred when a feather from a bird floated down to land directly on a piece of fruit on my plate. That fruit was obviously not eaten…
I will say this, while certain elements of the breakfast proved disappointing, the food was really good. It had your standard breakfast buffet items but then being Hawaii also included Hawaiian favorites like loco mocos, Portuguese sausages, a hash brown dish that featured Kalua pork and also some Japanese and Chinese staples like miso soup and steamed rice. (The number of Japanese tourists on Oahu is comparable to the number of Spanish speaking individuals in New York City-that many, not to mention signage was also in English and Japanese.) Another thing that impressed me was that the food was HOT. So many times you go to a buffet and the food is warm at best, but no basically everything I tried had retained its warmth. There was also an omelet station and a “keiki corner,” an area just for children (it was at a shorter height). I found it slightly “odd” though that in Hawaii, their fresh fruit selection was none too impressive; it had everything I could get in my own supermarket in Pennsylvania. When I go to Hawaii I want to eat the fruits that I don’t know half the names for.
As for the character part of the character breakfast, this was a big letdown. Growing up I went to Disney World fairly often with my family and we almost always attended a character breakfast. At said breakfasts, more than 3 characters would be there (I have pre-digital camera photos to prove this). However, at the last two character breakfasts I’ve attended (in Hawaii and last year at Disneyland), the number of characters has been small, not to mention I feel that since D and I are obviously adults and not dining with children, we weren’t taken “seriously” (I definitely felt this in Disneyland). But at Aulani there were only two characters at breakfast. That to me is a rip-off. I don’t know if this is a Disney wide institution thing, but come on. You’re charging more than a typical breakfast to have that unique experience, not to just have two photos with Minnie and Goofy. Yes, first world problems but still irksome.
They did have a worker playing the ukulele while we were there who involved the children and which was nice to listen to.
Am I glad I attended? Meh. Would I do it again? Probably not. What’s more annoying to me is that regardless of how things are, people will always flock to a Disney anything. So while there are facets of the Aulani character breakfast I would like to see changed and improved upon, I know they won’t be.
Cost: $32 for adults, children 9 and under is $18
The character breakfast is available daily
More in this series!
Tour Operator Review: Hawaii Nautical
Restaurant Review: Hula Grill (Oahu)
Oahu Dining Recap-everything else
Hotel Review: Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort and Spa
Restaurant Review: Monkeypod