PHOTOS & VIDEO: Hugs Are Back at Chef Mickey’s Character Dining in Disney World

Recently, character interactions at Disney FINALLY began returning to normal.

We finally got to hug Mickey!

Since the parks reopened after the 2020 closures, the COVID-19 protocol has made getting close to ANY Disney characters all but impossible (unless you love Star Wars and have deep pockets!) Today we’ve been DELIGHTED to see the return of hugs, autographs, & personal connections with the characters. Now, we’re hitting another HUGE milestone on the road back to “normal,” because traditional character dining is BACK!

When Disney told us that character interactions would be returning to pre-closure conditions, the company also hinted that character dining would be changing as well, though precise details on exactly when or how weren’t actually given. Now that distancing requirements, hug bans, and the no-autograph rule have been lifted, we are SO EXCITED to see how those up-close-and-personal interactions will enhance our character dining experiences. So, of course, we headed over to Chef Mickey’s to rub elbows with the Fab 5! 

Chef Mickey’s

While these characters have been present for modified character meals for a while now, they haven’t been able to come very close to guests. You could still interact with them and take distanced photos, but the characters didn’t stop at your table for hugs, photos, and autographs as they did pre-closure. The situation had been pretty similar at other character meals, like Tusker House and Cinderella’s Royal Table. Now that it has all changed, we’re here to check it out!


Chef Mickey’s is the quintessential Disney character meal, located at the Contemporary Resort, just a quick walk or monorail ride away from Magic Kingdom. The restaurant currently serves both breakfast and dinner family-style, with a crowd-pleasing (though not particularly inventive) American cuisine-focused menu.

Our starters for the meal.

Beyond the convenient location and palatable food, a dining reservation at Chef Mickey’s also gives you the sought-after opportunity to meet the Fab 5! Mickey… Minnie… Donald… Goofy… and Pluto!

We spotted the characters taking photos with guests, interacting up close, and just creating some magical memories in general. It’s a special day!

Mickey Mouse taking photos with families.

Now that hugs and one-on-one photos have returned, this hard-to-get reservation will likely be even more coveted.

Oh, Donald, we love you!

We are SO glad to see these more intimate character experiences FINALLY make their return. We will be closely following this developing story as more meet-and-greets and character meals return to pre-COVID, pro-hug circumstances. Be sure to follow along with DFB for all the latest updates, announcements, and more!

See where Chef Mickey’s ranks among other Disney character meals here!

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Did you miss hugging the characters at Disney? Let us know in the comments.

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