One of the most unforgettable moments of a holiday to Walt Disney World, is when you come face to face with your Disney hero! It’s a moment unlike any other that both kids and big kids love and a visit really isn’t complete until you’ve met all of your favourite characters. Thankfully, at Walt Disney World, there are plenty of character encounters you can enjoy at the parks. We’ve put together a handy guide to help you track down your favourites…
The Magic Kingdom was the first park to open at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. It’s home to so many different characters, that you’d pretty much be able to fill up your autograph book in this park alone! If you want to meet Mickey- the mouse that stated it all, you’ll have to make sure you get there early to avoid the queues, as this mouse is in high demand. That’s why he has his own special location for meeting guests at the Town Square Theater. You can find Mickey here for most of the day, waiting to give you a big hug.
This is also a great park for meeting your favourite Disney princesses. Head to Princess Fairytale Hall, to meet the likes of Rapunzel, Tiana and Cinderella to name just a few. The princesses that appear can often change, so it’s important to check who’s scheduled to appear on the day of your visit, so you don’t miss out on the chance to see your favourite. You’ll get to spend a bit of time here, chatting away to the princesses, getting autographs and taking pictures. This is one of the most popular meet and greet experiences in the park, so you can expect a bit of a wait to get inside.
Top tip- remember Disney’s FastPass+ isn’t just for skipping the line for top attractions, you can also make Fastpass+ reservations for select character experiences. We’d recommend doing this for your favourite character, so that you can secure an arrival time and enjoy meeting them without the wait.
When it comes to character encounters at the Magic Kingdom, we must mention Gaston. While this Disney villain might not be top of your list, he really knows how to put on a show and a meet and greet with Gaston is guaranteed to provide plenty of laughs.
The perfect way to see all of your favourite characters at once is at the Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade. While you won’t be able to meet the characters during the parade, you will be able to get a close-up look at Disney’s most famous characters and give them a wave. Look out for Anna, Elsa, Cinderella, Belle, Tiana, Flynn Rider, Rapunzel, Ariel, Maleficent, Peter Pan and stars of the show-Mickey & Minnie.
Who can I meet? Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Ariel, Rapunzel, Tiana, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Belle, Snow White, Princess Elena, Merida, Tinker Bell, Alice in Wonderland, the Mad Hatter, Princess Jasmine & Aladdin, Buzz Lightyear, Peter Pan, Gaston, Donald, Duck, Daisy Duck, Goofy, Pluto, Winnie the Pooh, and Tigger.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom park isn’t just about the amazing animals. There are actually loads of meet and greet opportunities for you to enjoy, including the chance to meet rarer characters that you can’t find at any other park. You’ll also find that the characters here are dressed in their finest safari attire, which means you can take some great pictures with the characters in their outfits. Mickey and Minnie are all dressed up and ready to go on safari, so make sure you get your photo taken with them in their explorer gear!
In keeping with the park, you’ll be able to meet some of Disney’s animal characters, like Rafiki from the Lion King and Baloo and King Louie from The Jungle Book. You’ll find some of the bravest characters, that are known for their sense of adventure too, like Russell from UP, Tarzan and Pocahontas, who can’t be found at any other park.
Who can I meet? Mickey & Minnie Mouse, Goofy, Pluto, Donald Duck, Pocahontas, Tarzan, Rafiki, Baloo, King Louie, Russell (from UP), Flik (from A Bug’s Life) and Doc McStuffins.
Epcot is a great park to visit if you want to meet the Disney princesses. By far the most popular meet and greet experience at the park is with Frozen sisters Anna and Elsa. You’ll find them in a cosy cabin located in the Norway Pavilion, called the Royal Sommerhus. Don’t forget to try the Frozen Ever After attraction afterwards, that takes you on an exciting adventure through Arendelle.
You can also meet Belle as she wanders through France and it’s a great opportunity to have your picture taken with her in her blue dress (as opposed to her yellow ballgown). Belle’s not the only character who’s dressed up for the occasion. If you go to the Mexico Pavilion, you’ll find Donald Duck ready to greet you wearing a poncho and sombrero! We recommend travelling all around the world at Epcot, to see which characters you can find.
Of course, you can also meet some classic Disney characters at Epcot, including Mickey & Minnie Mouse and the rest of their pals.
Who can I meet? Anna & Elsa, Belle, Mulan, Mary Poppins, Princess Jasmine, Snow White, Mary Poppins, Alice in Wonderland, Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Goofy, Donald Duck, Daisy Duck, Baymax and Joy & Sadness (from Inside Out).
Disney's Hollywood Studios:
Disney’s Hollywood Studios is all about the movies, so you can expect to get up close to the stars from the big screen during your visit. Even though it’s possible to meet Mickey and Minnie at all of the Disney parks, we love the totally unique character greeting experience you can enjoy at Disney’s Hollywood Studios with Red Carpet Dreams. Here, you’ll get the chance to see Mickey dressed as a sorcerer (just like in Fantasia) and Minnie dressed in an elegant ballgown. You won’t want to miss this fantastic photo opportunity.
The lovable Olaf (from Frozen) is living out his dream of relaxing on the beach in the summer, over at Celebrity Spotlight. You’ll find him with a big smile on his face, waiting to sign autographs and give out plenty of warm hugs!
If you’re a big Star Wars fan, this is the place to go. You can meet both the goodies and the baddies here, including Wookiee warrior Chewbacca and the fiery Kylo Ren. With a brand new Star Wars-themed land set to open at the park in 2019 (Disney’s largest single-themed expansion ever!), we predict that there will be even more character encounters to look forward to in the future.
While we can’t guarantee autographs or a photo opportunity, ‘For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration’ features an appearance from Kristoff, ‘Beauty and the Beast- Live on Stage’ lets you see Belle, the Beast, Cogsworth, Lumiere and the rest of the gang, and ‘March of the First Order’ brings you within inches of an army of Stormtroopers.
Who can I meet? Olaf, Mickey & Minnie Mouse,Woody, Buzz Lightyear, Chewbacca, Kylo Ren, BB-8, Cruz Ramirez (from Cars), Doc McStuffins, Princess Sofia and Jake the Pirate (Disney Juniors).
*Please note- details and locations can often change, so please remember to pick up a park map as soon as you arrive, so that you know exactly where to meet your favourite characters.
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