Disney 101: Meeting The Characters

Disney 101 - Meeting The Characters - Stitch

Photo credit: Peter E. Lee / Foter.com / CC BY-NC

Welcome to this month’s Blogorail Blue Loop. Today we are sharing some tips to help you plan your Disney vacation.

My family searched the entire Magic Kingdom for him with no luck. We even recruited a cast member to help. Donald Duck just had to be there somewhere, and I was determined to meet him. Looking back, this problem could have easily been prevented with just a little bit of advanced planning. Let’s explore the basics you will need to know in order to find the characters and make the most out of your time with them.

Where To Meet The Characters

Walt Disney World encompasses over 47 square miles, an area of land slightly larger than the entire city of San Francisco. This means searching for one specific character can sometimes be just like searching for a needle in a haystack. If you’re set on meeting one of the rare characters, your chances are even smaller, if not non-existent. With four theme parks, one of which contains an attraction big enough to fit all of Magic Kingdom inside, the ground you’ll need to cover to find your favorite character can be quite large, especially if you don’t know where to start.

Luckily, many of the characters can often be found in the same locations. For the majority of these characters, the morning is the best time to find them; however, many of them can also be found in the afternoon. Let’s take a look at where some of the character can often be found:

Magic Kingdom
Pluto, Marie, Minnie, Mary Poppins – Town Square, Main Street, U.S.A.
Aladdin & Jasmine – Agrabah Bazaar, Adventureland
Alice, The White Rabbit, The Mad Hatter – Mad Tea Party, Fantasyland
Anna & Elsa, Cinderella, Rapunzel – Princess Fairytale Hall, Fantasyland
Ariel – Ariel’s Grotto, Fantasyland
Gaston – Gaston’s Tavern, Fantasyland
Chip & Dale – Rivers of America, Frontierland
Buzz Lightyear – Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, Tomorrowland
Daisy Duck, Donald Duck, Goofy, Minnie Mouse – Pete’s Silly Sideshow, Storybook Circus

Daisy Duck – World Showcase Plaza
Minnie Mouse, Mickey Mouse, Goofy – Epcot Character Spot
Aladdin & Jasmine – Morocco
Mary Poppins, Alice, Winnie The Pooh & Tigger – United Kingdom
Aurora, Belle – France
Mulan – China
Snow White – Germany
Donald Duck – Mexico

Hollywood Studios
Chip & Dale, Daisy Duck, Donald Duck, Goofy, Minnie Mouse, Pluto – Chinese Theater Courtyard
Buzz Lightyear & Woody, Green Army Men – Pixar Place
Lightning McQueen & Mater – Muppet*Vision 3D Exit
Phineas & Ferb – Muppet*Vision 3D Exit

Animal Kingdom
Chip & Dale – Park Entrance
DiVine – Oasis, Park Entrance
Donald Duck – near Dinosaur, DinoLand, U.S.A.
Pluto & Goofy – DinoLand, U.S.A.
Mickey Mouse & Minnie Mouse – Adventurer’s Outpost, Discovery Island
Flik, Tarzan – Discovery Island
Russell & Dug – It’s Tough To Be A Bug, Discovery Island
Rafiki, Chip & Dale – Rafiki’s Planet Watch
Baloo & King Louie – Upcountry Landing, Asia

If there is a particular character you just can’t seem to find, ask a cast member. They will be more than glad to help you locate your favorite character. Years ago, a friendly cast member helped my family track down Donald Duck; unfortunately, he always seemed to be at a park other than the one we were in for the day. Sometimes your best chance of meeting a specific character may be to schedule a character dining experience. After our difficulties locating Donald, we were finally able to meet him at a wonderful character breakfast at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

How To Avoid The Lines

Because the characters are so popular, the lines to meet them can get long. Disney does offer Fastpasses for a few of the character meet & greets; however, I prefer to save my Fastpasses for popular attractions such as Splash Mountain or Tower of Terror. So how can you avoid the lines and still meet the characters?

If you want to meet the characters in the park, your best bet is to arrive early in the morning. On my last visit to Walt Disney World, I happened to catch Mary Poppins as she was arriving on Main Street first thing in the morning. I rarely wait in line to meet the characters in the parks, but with a wait of only a couple minutes, I couldn’t resist. I got in line to meet Mary Poppins and had a nice little conversation with her as my husband took our picture. She wanted to make sure he was being a perfect gentleman, which of course, he was. If you haven’t met Mary Poppins, I highly recommend it; she always has something wonderful to say. After all, she is practically perfect in every way.

Character dining is by far the best way to avoid the lines when meeting characters. Not only does this eliminate the lines, but the characters will also come to your table to visit with your family. In addition, characters will invite children to participate in musical parades at several of these dining experiences. You can select a character dining experience based on which characters you want to meet. If you will be spending a day outside of the parks at Disney, a character dining experience at a resort is the perfect way to add a little extra magic to your day. In order to ensure you are able to dine with the characters, please be sure to book your dining reservation ahead of time.

There are numerous character dining locations throughout Walt Disney World, both inside and outside of the parks. The Best Friend Breakfast with Lilo, Stitch, and friends at the Polynesian’s ‘Ohana is my personal favorite and one I always recommend. If you have a little princess who can’t wait to meet the Disney princesses, you may want to try dining at Cinderella’s Royal Table in the Magic Kingdom or Akershus in Epcot’s Norway. Pooh and friends can always be found in the Magic Kingdom at The Crystal Palace. Disney Junior fans can dine with Jake, Sophia, Doc McStuffins, and more at Hollywood & Vine located in Hollywood Studios. At Disney’s Animal Kingdom, you can dine with Donald, Daisy, Goofy, and Mickey at Tusker House. If you want to meet Mickey and friends, there are several options such as Chef Mickey’s at the Contemporary and, another one of my favorites, Chip ‘n Dale’s Harvest Feast at The Garden Grill in Epcot.

After all that searching, it turns out Donald Duck was there somewhere. The cast member we spoke with about Donald suggested we book a character breakfast at Restaurantosaurus in Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Not only did I get to meet Donald, but I was also able to eat breakfast with the elusive duck!

For more Disney trip planning tips,
check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!

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Kimberly's love of Disney began at an early age and grew even more when her family won a Walt Disney World vacation from a local radio station. She grew up visiting the parks every one to two years and is fascinated by Disney history and trivia. Whether at the parks or at home, Kimberly is constantly looking for hidden Mickeys. She enjoys sharing tips and helping others plan their Disney vacations. In addition to Frontierland Station, she can also be found writing for Park World Travel and selecting music for Park World Radio.

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