As the mom of a little girl who practically lives in a princess dress, and a boy who has grown up with Lightening McQueen and Mater as his best buddies, we have spent more than our fair share of time visiting all of our favorite Disney friends up the street at The Happiest Place on Earth. I feel so fortunate to live so close to such a wonderful place to spend time together as a family. Since we first moved to Orange County when Andy was just 5 months old, Disneyland has played an important role in just about every special family occasion we have had throughout the years, a big part of that has been Disneyland Character Dining. Our annual passes have gotten a workout, and we never tire of piling in the car and heading up to Disneyland even if only to catch a parade or to grab a bite to eat.
As you can imagine, Disney character dining is a BIG hit in our house. Goofy’s Kitchen, Storyteller’s Cafe, breakfast with Minnie Mouse at the Plaza Inn…you name it we have done it MANY times over. But without a doubt, Ashley’s favorite Disney character dining is Ariel’s Grotto at Disney’s California Adventure Park. If you are visiting Disneyland with your own little princess, you will definitely want to call ahead to Disney Dining and reserve a spot for this magical dining experience. Reservations DO fill up, especially at peak vacation times, so as soon as you have your dates, call and book! Here is a little bit about what to expect during your visit.
When you make your reservations you will be given a time to arrive and check in. Upon doing so you will be given a transponder that will alert you when it is time to head downstairs and begin your dining adventure. Walking down a spiral staircase you are greeted with a photo op with Ariel.
Don’t forget your camera! Disney photo pass photographers will be on hand to take your picture, but they are also happy to help take pictures with your own personal camera.
After meeting Ariel, you will be seated by a friendly Disney host, and the kids are given fun paper crowns to decorate while they anxiously await the arrival of their dinner…just kidding! They will be far to preoccupied waiting for the arrival of the royal court to wonder where their dinner is! 😉
Unlike other character dining in and around the park, Ariel’s grotto is a Prix Fixe menu, which means that everyone in your party will be served a delicious three course meal. There are several main course options, plenty of choices to please everyone in your party. You can see all of the amazing options here.
Throughout the course of your meal, a royal announcer will introduce a princess that is entering the dining room. The princesses come out every few minutes and take time making their way from table to table to greet each child and take pictures with each party.
I LOVE this part of the Ariel’s grotto experience. I feel like we get personal time with each of the princesses and the kids don’t feel like they are going to miss out on anything. It gives us a chance to relax and enjoy a delicious dinner in a beautiful setting, without the kids being terribly distracted trying to jump up every few minutes and run for an autograph.
If you are looking for a great opportunity to spend some quality time with the princesses while you are in the park, I highly recommend this amazing Disney character dining experience.