|Our kids Meeting Mickey and Minnie at the Town Square Theater, Magic Kingdom, 2012.|
One of the many things we love about Walt Disney World is that we get to see our favorite characters! Whether we see them as part of the attractions, on stage in a show, or riding by in a parade, there’s something magical about seeing Disney characters in real life.
The most magical thing about characters is getting to interact with them! While you aren’t guaranteed to get a high-five from Dopey during a parade, or get blown a kiss from a Princess during a stage show, there is a way to get some one-on-one time with some of your favorite Disney stars.
Two of our favorite ways to meet characters is by using the Meet and Greet areas, and by scheduling some Disney Character Dining! For this post, we’re going to concentrate on Meet and Greet opportunities at the parks, but if you want to read about our favorite Character Dining experiences, click here!
|The old days of the Character “Free For All”.|
I’ve been going to Walt Disney World since I was a kid, and I can remember the days when Characters would just walk around the park, mingling with the crowd for pictures! While the spontaneity of suddenly running into a character was great, the frenzy that ensued left a lot to be desired. Over the years, Disney has taken to scheduling character appearances, and even more recently has created several great Meet and Greet areas to see some of your favorites all day long. Things are much more organized than they used to be, and in a lot of ways, that’s better!
Each Disney Park has a variety of characters to see. You can walk around and just see who you find, but your Park Map and Time Guide are a great resource to finding who’s available to meet.
Apps and other guides
A great online resource is a website run by Kenny the Pirate ! He also has an app you can download for your phone so you can locate characters while you’re in the park!
Our Top Character Meet and Greets
Obviously, if you have a favorite character or a character you really want to see, then that’s going to be your priority. Generally speaking, we like the meet and greets where you get the most characters for your wait, such as:
Town Square Theater on Main Street, USA – Magic Kingdom
Right at the front of the Magic Kingdom are two indoor, air conditioned character meets: Mickey backstage (see pic at top of post) and a handful of Disney Princesses. Both of these meets have FastPass available, which can shorten your wait. At the time we saw Mickey last year, Minnie was with him, but we’ve heard through our readers that she’s now over in New Fantasyland. Seeing Mickey backstage with a short wait using FastPass is great, and one line to meet several Disney Princesses is awesome!
*The Disney Princesses are located here until their new location in Fantasyland is completed.
EPCOT Character Spot
We’ve heard this spot has been newly refurbished and can’t wait to see it. One line for multiple characters makes the wait worth it. We’ve seen Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Pluto and Goofy here!
The Magic of Disney Animation – Disney’s Hollywood Studios
In Disney’s Hollywood Studios, you can meet Sorcerer’s Apprentice Mickey, as well as characters from the latest theatrical releases! This also used to be the location for Character Palooza, but we’ve heard that has moved to the Streets of America.
Camp Minnie Mickey – Disney’s Animal Kingdom
Our favorite here was Camp Minnie Mickey, and getting to meet characters in their safari outfits. This area would usually have Mickey and Minnie along with other characters waiting in shady gazebos, as well as random characters that would come out from time to time. But Mickey and Minnie have relocated to the newly opened Adventurer’s Outpost, and the Hundred Acre Wood characters have a new home as well on Discovery Island. Kenny the Pirate says you can still meet characters here for now, such as Pocahantas, Chip and Dale, Donald Duck, Baloo and Louie!
Town Square right after park opening
Right after the park opens, characters will appear all around Town Square. Each one will have its own individual line, but first thing in the morning is the coolest part of the day for standing in line, and the crowds aren’t bad, so you can meet a bunch of characters to start your day! Having the view of Main Street, USA with Cinderella Castle at the end is a pretty Awesome backdrop to a character photo!
Disney Visa Character Meet
You have to be a Disney Visa credit or debit card holder to enter this Meet and Greet, which is located in Innoventions West at EPCOT. What we love about this Meet and Greet is that you get a lot more time with the characters than other meets. I’ll never forget Mickey and Pluto leading Bella around the room in her own little parade! You also get a free 5×7 photo of the meet, which you can pick up at a photo viewing station.
Characters in their Element
Another great way to meet characters is finding them in their “home”. There’s extra magic in being immersed in their story when you meet them. Some of our favorites are:
- Ariel in Ariel’s Grotto
- Tinkerbell and Fairies in Pixie Hollow
- Buzz and Woody in Pixar Place
- World Showcase Countries: stroll around from country to country to find various characters in their home.
We’re looking forward to seeing some of the new Meet and Greets since we’ve last visited.
- Adventurers Outpost
- Pete’s Silly Sideshow
- Wreck it Ralph and Vanellope
- Russell and Dug on Discovery Island
- Gaston near Gaston’s Tavern
- Belle at Enchanted Tales with Belle
- Mike and Sulley from Monsters University
Tips for Meeting Characters:
- Use FastPass if it’s offered to cut down your wait time
- Have cameras, PhotoPass cards, autograph books, and pens out and ready to maximize your time with characters and lessen the wait for others.
- Be talkative! Even if the characters can’t talk back, that doesn’t mean they won’t respond at all! Chat up the characters! Ask questions or tell them if you’re celebrating something!
- Be polite!
- Make use of PhotoPass photographers! It’s free to have them take your picture!
- Get the Adults involved as well!
- Have CMs get pictures of your whole party with your camera!
- Get creative with your poses!
- Be on the lookout for PhotoPass photographers and Character Handlers around the park. If you see these folks standing around for no reason, it could mean that some characters are on their way! Ask them if any characters are coming and be one of the first guests in line!
- Get creative with autographs! Characters can sign all sorts of items, not just autograph books!
Where is your favorite character greeting? Who’s your favorite character to meet? Got any good tips to share? Let us know in the comments below!
Tuesday 2nd of July 2013
Thanks for the mention!Just a note that Camp Minnie Mickey isn't closed. Mickey and Minnie Moved out, but Pocahontas, Chip n Dale, Donald, Baloo and Louie still meet there :)
Tuesday 2nd of July 2013
That's great! Thanks for the heads up! And thanks so much for stopping by! I've tweaked the post a bit to reflect that. Thanks again!!
Monday 1st of July 2013
FYI:1) At Enchanted Tales with Belle, you don't actually get to "meet" her. If you are in the play, you can take a picture with her, but that's it. No conversation or anything. Try Epcot instead.
2) Don't forget Character Palooza at HS! Super rare Fantasmic characters come out!
3) At Main Street Theater, they don't have Minnie and Mickey anymore because Minnie is at Pete's Silly Sideshow. It is now only Mickey except at the Halloween/Christmas parties.
4) Dug is spelled like that, not Doug.
5) The Wreck it Ralph characters will most likely be gone around September to bring a new meet and greet, likely the new Frozen characters.
Monday 1st of July 2013
Thanks for taking the time to comment! We're excited about Enchanted Tales with Belle because we hear the theming is incredible and getting to be part of the story is a lot of fun! We've done Character Palooza twice (first time we didn't know that's what it was) and weren't lucky enough to get any super rare characters except the penguin that accompanied Mary Poppins. Maybe next time? We're looking forward to Pete's Silly Sideshow! It wasn't open last time we were there. I guess my mind always put the "o" in Dug's name. Just so used to spelling it that way I guess! I hadn't heard anything about Wreck-it-Ralph leaving for Frozen so soon, but I hope they'll still be there when we go in a few weeks! I'll have to update this once we've seen the new ones.