How Is Character Dining Different at Garden Grill in a Newly Reopened EPCOT?

After months of closures, EPCOT has reopened to welcome guests and Cast Members back to Future World and the World Showcase again!

EPCOT International Food and Wine Festival 2020

Although there are LOTS of differences in the park when it comes to character interactions, Virtual Queues, wait times, and more, we’re taking you with us to check out one of our favorite parts of visiting EPCOT (yes, it involves food)!

Character dining will be available in limited and select restaurants in Disney World. While we have already seen a modified experience at Topolino’s Terrace in Disney’s Riviera Resort, EPCOT will have character dining at Garden Grill in The Land Pavilion.

Mosaics at the Land Pavilion

And, of course, we had to check out all that food (oh, and say hi to the characters) when the park had its grand reopening! Garden Grill is operating with some of the same check-in procedures as Topolino’s Terrace with Mobile Dining Check-in, mask requirements, and hand-sanitizer stations.

Garden Grill

Garden Grill usually rotates its dining arrangement where either side slowly moves around. However, guests are situated on only one of the two sides at the moment with distancing measures between them. The other side is occupied by the characters who will stand apart from guests (but still have plenty of fun interactions!).

Garden Grill

Since we were there for lunch, we dug into the Chip ‘n’ Dale Harvest Feast that starts out with a bread basket (we can never resist all those fluffy rolls)…

Bread Basket

…a Harvest-inspired Garden Salad

Garden Salad

…and Macaroni and Cheese mixed up with Goldfish. And, trust us — this mac is the stuff of dreams, friends.

Mac and Cheese

The main course comes with an entire plate full of goodies to try! Guests are able to dig into All-Natural Sliced Turkey Breast with Turkey Gravy, Grilled Beef with Chimichurri, Mashed Potatoes, Seasonal Vegetables (which was corn and green beans in our case), and Herb and Leak Stuffing.

Chip ‘n’ Dale Harvest Feast at Garden Grill

Honestly, the best part about Garden Grill is that the food tastes like you’re having a home-cooked meal on Thanksgiving surrounded by your family and friends.

Chip ‘n’ Dale Harvest Feast at Garden Grill

Each of the items in the Chip ‘n’ Dale Harvest Feast is cooked beautifully with lots of flavor.

Chip ‘n’ Dale Harvest Feast at Garden Grill

But, the fun doesn’t stop there! The characters are distanced from guests on the opposing section of empty seats. While Topolino’s had the characters participate in dance parties, everyone at Garden Grill was more interactive with the individual guests dining there.

Mickey and Pluto

Although they still kept a safe distance, the characters were able to have fun conversations that honestly made us forget for a moment that we were having a modified character dining experience.

Chip and Dale

Although guests can’t get up to hug Mickey, Pluto, Chip, and Dale, they can still take selfies with them!

Molly’s Having a Grand ‘Ole Time with Her Best Pals

Since Mickey, Pluto, Chip, and Dale won’t be able to give autographs at this time, Garden Grill is also giving a little “gift” like Topolino’s! The postcard given to guests at the end of the meal features artwork of all our friends at the restaurant…

Garden Grill Postcard

…with their signatures on the back, so guests have a souvenir to take home with them!

Garden Grill Postcard

So, is it worth the price tag now that character dining is different? Well, it’s important to consider that, if you’re dining on a budget, this might not be the best choice for your family since Garden Grill is $55 per adult or $36 per child for lunch or dinner.

Garden Grill Restaurant in Epcot Before the Closures

However, if you don’t mind shelling out some extra money for great food and new interactions with the characters (since it is one of the only character dining experiences open currently), Garden Grill is a great spot for guests of all ages. Plus, you’re right next to Soarin’ Around the World and Living with the Land, so you can hop on the rides after you eat!

Take a look at everything we saw during EPCOT’s grand reopening here!

What’s your favorite restaurant in EPCOT? Let us know in the comments below!

Rachel Franko has been going to Disney Parks since she was a baby, and her love of Disney has only grown into a SLIGHT obsession since! She's been writing for AllEars since 2019 and loves sharing the magic with all the readers. When she's not writing, you can catch her heading to Disney and Universal Studios with a heart full of dreams and a backpack full of themed ears!

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