Making the Most of Your Character Interactions at Walt Disney World®

by Oct 31, 2018

Visiting the characters at the Walt Disney World® Resort can be one of the most memorable experiences of your vacation. My eight-year-old twins meeting Chewbacca is one my favorite memories from a recent trip to Walt Disney World®. My kids had met Chewbacca on a previous trip but this time they decided they were going to teach him to Dab. They giggled as we stood in line while they discussed how to teach dabbing to their beloved Chewy. When it was our turn the burst in the room laughing and preceded to talk a hundred miles a minute asking Chewy to dab. Chewy shook his head… he was not going to dab. He taught the kids his own version which made for some pretty good pictures and a lot of laughs. I still smile every time I look at those pictures.




Where to Meet Characters


If you have never been to the Walt Disney World® Resort, you may be wondering exactly how to meet the characters. They are not just randomly wondering the park as some commercials would have you believe. In all four of the Walt Disney World® Resort parks, there are specific locations and times you can meet the characters. While you may think that the Magic Kingdom® Park is going to be your best option for meeting characters; however, Epcot® is a great choice as well and often has shorter lines than the Magic Kingdom® Park. Pick up a times guide and a map when you enter the park to check them out.

You can also use the MyDisneyExperience app to find where your favorite characters are located and when they are available. Some of these meet and greets even offer Fastpasses. A great thing about this option is the presence of Disney’s Photopass® service photographers. You can let Disney do the work, leave your camera in your bag and just enjoy your experience. If you haven’t purchased Memory Maker, the photographers will be happy to take a picture with your camera, but they will take one on theirs as well. 

Another option for meeting characters is a character meal. This is a great way to meet multiple characters without waiting in lines. Remember to sit your kids on the outside of the table so you can easily take pictures. I love starting or ending a vacation to Walt Disney World® with a character meal. Character meals are located both in and outside the parks. They are very popular and you will want to make sure to get reservations as soon as they are available. Character meals may have one photo opportunity with a photographer from Disney’s Photopass® service but you will you will take most your pictures with your own camera.



The last option for meeting characters is the random character experience. The best example of this is Storm Troopers patrolling Disney’s Hollywood Studios®. There are other instances of this; however, it isn’t frequent and I would not plan on it.



Making the Most of Character Interactions


Now that you know where to find the characters how do you make the most out of your visit with them? First, if this is your child’s first time meeting the characters start off slowly. Some children will be frightened and meeting a giant Mickey Mouse is a little different than watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. Let them go at their own pace. A character meal is a great option at the beginning of the vacation because kids can watch others if they aren’t comfortable talking to the characters themselves.

Remember that the characters want you to have a fabulous experience, but they need something to work with. Ask them about other characters in their movie, their animal sidekicks, or what it is like where they are from. A few examples: Tell Mickey that you love Minnie or that Donald is your favorite, ask Snow White where Prince Charming is or how she got to Disney World, or ask Ariel about Flounder.


Another idea is to ask the characters to do something with you. For example: ask Tigger if he can bounce, ask the princesses if they can twirl, tell Goofy a joke, ask Elsa and Anna if they like warm hugs, roar at Mike Wazowski, bring Ariel a plastic fork, or ask Mickey to do the Hot Dog Dance with you. Younger kids will often be star struck and need a little prompting from Mom or Dad to get things rolling.

If your child has one character that is their absolute favorite, be sure to mention that when you finally meet them. The characters will do their best to make sure your child gets plenty of time when they know they are your favorite. Dressing up like your favorite character can make for some pretty cute pictures as well.



Should you collect autographs? Autographs are a fun souvenir. If you do collect autographs be sure to bring a larger pen to make it easier for the characters to sign and have your book ready when it is your turn. There are lots of fun ideas for collecting autographs. Have characters sign a photo mat to put a picture from your trip in, a wooden letter of your first or last name that you can display on a shelf or wall, a pillowcase, a plain colored hat, or a Disney Encyclopedia are all great ideas. You could also create an album with a picture on one side and the characters autograph on the other.  Please keep in mind that there are a few characters such as The Beast, Mike Wazowski, and Sully that don’t sign autographs so make sure you give your kids a heads up on that.

I hope these tips are helpful for your next trip to the Walt Disney World® Resort! Tell Mickey Hi for me.



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Natalie Tucker

Natalie Tucker

Travel Planner

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