If you’re looking to meet the characters up close and personal I highly recommend the Character Meal Option. If you’re on the Disney Dining Plan it’s definitely the most bang for your buck. I will admit it’s a tad bit annoying to have a mouth full of food and here comes character so you have to leave your food to mingle with characters but it’s a nice break for the kids, a chance to sit down and relax. The food is half way decent for the most part and the service was good in our experience.
The Disney Dining Plan was an excellent value for us. We took the option with one table service, one counter service and one snack per day and it is perfect! I met up with two separate families that took the deluxe and regretted it, way too much, kids are not going to eat the same way they do at home, they’re exhausted and/or exhilarated and don’t want to “waste” time at the table. One lady was staying an extra day just to burn through 9 meals she didn’t want to go to waste.
If you’re really worried about hunger, consider buying snacks to bring into the park to eat on the run but trust me, the option we took is enough food! I was surprised the the counter service wasn’t only junk food, there were plenty of more expensive options like ribs, chicken, etc… that were available under the plan.
The snack option is the real money booster, generally you can buy something $4 and under (that’s not a rule just a guide). The Nemo cookies and candied apples were a big hit with my family. You can also get a soda but they’re only $2 so if possible pay cash for that and save your snack for something more expensive.