Young or old, first time visitor or seasoned Disney veteran, there is a sense of magic in seeing your favorite characters from the big screen in real life! This is exactly why meeting characters is on the to-do list of most Walt Disney World® Resort visitors. Whether it’s princesses you seek, Mickey and the Gang, a mischievous alien, a member of the dark side or a spunky stepsister, there is a character meet and greet for everyone, and we at Key To The World Travel® want to share a few of our favorites!
On our last trip I was able to meet the Evil Queen, and she attempted to show me how to perfect my evil glare…I think I still need a little work! I’ll keep practicing, and you take a look at 5 favorite character meet and greet experiences of Key To The World Travel® agents. Maybe you will find one to add to the list for your next trip!
Cinderella’s Stepsisters – Anastasia and Drizella
Agent Name: Amanda Summa
Favorite Character Meet and Greet: Cinderella’s Stepsisters, Anastasia & Drizella
Locations: You can find these witty, snarky ladies in two locations. In the Magic Kingdom® Park you can find the in the archway to Fantasyland® Area behind the carousel or at you can meet them while having dinner at 1900 Park Fare at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa.
Fastpass+ offered or reservation required? There is no fastpass to meet them in the Magic Kingdom® Park, but dinner reservations at 1900 Park Fare can be found at 180 days in advance and your Key To the World Travel® Agent will be happy to look for this reservation for you!
Why is this your favorite meet and greet? These two are just plain fun! They are some of the most interactive characters we have met! They love to joke and really love to hear how wonderful they are! Tell them how beautiful they look, or better yet, that they are prettier than Cinderella. If you have a little boy, watch out! He may just come home almost married!
What tips would you offer someone who wanted to do this meet and greet? Get in this line early! Because there isn’t a fastpass available for these characters, the line has the potential to get long. If you use the MyDisneyExperience App you can find out when they will be out in Fantasyland® and you can get to the head of the line before they come out! These two do not rush through the line, so being first will come in handy. If you don’t want to wait in line then make sure to get a reservation at 1900 Park Fare for Dinner (note they are not at breakfast) Interact with them and enjoy!!
Agent Name: Bill Conrad
Favorite Character Meet and Greet: Characterpalooza
Locations: Epcot® near the American Adventure Pavilion and in Disney’s Hollywood Studios® near Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster® Starring Aerosmith
Fastpass+ offered or reservation required? Not available
Why is this your favorite meet and greet? Some of my favorite memories of Walt Disney World® trips are spontaneous and unique experiences that you can’t buy or make reservations for. A Characterpalooza doesn’t occur at published times, and can include characters not typically seen elsewhere. Disney’s Hollywood Studios® commonly has an afternoon characterpalooza on Fantasmic! days. The characterpalooza I had the opportunity to experience was in Epcot®, just to the left of the American Adventure Pavilion. Our timing was perfect, but had I not known what to look for, we would have walked right by. In less then ten minutes we got pictures and autographs with Mickey Mouse, Daisy, Pooh, Eeyore, Pluto and my daughter’s favorite, Stitch! Another Key to the World Travel® agent happened to be standing outside Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster® Starring Aerosmith when a Cast Member notified them that there were characters to meet on the other side of the fence and met Snow White, Mulan, The Evil Queen, Pinocchio, Aladdin and Jasmine and Tiana with no lines!
What tips would you offer someone who wanted to do this meet and greet? Just knowing that Characterpalooza is a real thing is important. Since locations change, being aware of all of the possible locations further improves your odds, and as the times aren’t published, or consistent, a little pixie dust doesn’t hurt. If you are lucky enough to experience a Characterpalooza, enjoy – it can be a once in a lifetime experience. Just keep in mind that there won’t be a PhotoPass® photographer and these characters are often in training, so be patient and have your own camera ready!.
Talking Mickey Mouse
Agent Name: Jamie Whitman
Favorite Character Meet and Greet: Talking Mickey Mouse
Location: Town Square Theater, to the right when you enter the Magic Kingdom® Park
Fastpass+ offered or reservation required? Yes Fast Pass+ Service is available for this experience.
Why is this your favorite meet and greet? Mickey Mouse is the iconic representation of all that is Disney–when we visit the House of Mouse, it is a must do to meet the host himself! While Mickey is available for meet and greets throughout Walt Disney World® property, the Mickey Mouse meet and greet at Town Square Theater, Magic Kingdom®, is the ONLY location you can meet Mickey where he will speak to you. This is a meet and greet that our family makes sure to squeeze in on every single trip! Mickey is highly interactive and great with the kids. He greets the group like you are long lost friends that he has been waiting all day to see! Once he got our group to roar like a lion with him; another time he had my kids spinning around in circles and laughed with them about how dizzy it made him feel. Having met Mickey Mouse at other park locations, my kids were truly amazed that Mickey wanted to talk to them here.
What tips would you offer someone who wanted to do this meet and greet? This Meet and Greet is towards the very front of Magic Kingdom®. If you are planning Fastpasses, it’s best to plan around a time you anticipate you’ll be entering or exiting the park. If you want to catch Mickey without a Fastpass, try visiting during the Festival of Fantasy parade or the Move it! Shake it! Dance Party, as standby lines are typically shorter during those events. If you bring a plush Mickey Mouse and a marker, Mickey will sign the foot of your child’s plush Mickey as well–this makes for an awesome souvenir! Also, be sure to check out Tinker Bell’s meet and greet while you’re there; she’s right next door!
Agent Name: Shannon Weeks
Favorite Character Meet and Greet: Merida
Location: Fairytale Garden, Fantasyland® in the Magic Kingdom®
Fastpass+ offered or reservation required? No Fast Pass+ is available for this meet and greet.
Why is this your favorite meet and greet? Merida is so playful and animated. She makes each and every encounter feel special. Fairytale Garden is decorated to make you feel like you are smack in the middle of the movie, Brave®. The stonework and tapestries help you to imagine you are visiting Merida’s homeland in the Scottish Highland. Merida was so kind and courteous, making sure she took the time to get down on their level and make it a memorable experience. She made all of us feel very special! After meeting Merida, my girls were able to practice a bit of archery. That was a fun bonus that justified the wait even more. I have heard from other visitors that they were even able to color their own “tapestry” of Merida and her horse, Angus. I look forward to doing this with my girls on our next visit!
What tips would you offer someone who wanted to do this meet and greet? You can meet Merida in Magic Kingdom® in Fantasyland®. She is tucked away in Fairytale Garden, next to Cinderella Castle, on the Tomorrowland® side, across from Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe. She comes at specific times throughout the day, so be sure to check the character locator in the MyDisneyExperience app for times. If meeting Merida is a high priority to your family, I would visit Merida in the morning. I would also show up to her area about 15-20 minutes before she is scheduled to arrive. If you want to make it even more personal, wear your favorite Merida themed clothing item! She will love it!
Tusker House Character Dining
Agent Name: Nikki Burch
Favorite Character Meet and Greet: Safari Mickey, Donald, Goofy and Daisy at the Tusker House Restaurant
Location: Tusker House, Animal Kingdom Park®
Fastpass+ offered or reservation required? Dining Reservations highly recommended
Why is this your favorite meet and greet? Meeting Mickey Mouse is the highlight of almost any trip, but here you get to combine it with great theming and fabulous food! Whether you prefer breakfast, lunch, or dinner, Tusker house offers all three. Tusker House has a large selection of great foods for the adventurous eater to try, while still offering plenty of choices for the picky eaters. The character interaction is great and most visits we have had the characters come around to our table several times.
What tips would you offer someone who wanted to do this meet and greet? Make Advance Dining Reservations and book it with the Rivers of Light dinner package, which provides you with reserved seating for Rivers of Light later that evening. You are getting two great experiences for one price. I feel it is a especially great value for those guest using the dining plan credit. Remember that your Key to the World Travel® Agent will be happy to look for this reservation for you! If you book a late breakfast around 10:30 – 10:50am you can enjoy not just breakfast but lunch options as well, as they switch over to lunch menu. Bring autograph books and your own camera.
For many kids, meeting their favorite character is a highlight of their trip and a lasting memory for both them and their families. However, adults can get in on the fun too! On our last trip I didn’t know if I was going to be able to pry my husband away from Baymax, and we all had an unforgettable time doing the Hot Dog Dance with Mickey and Goofy at the Epcot® Character Spot (much to the embarrassment of my 9 year old son)! So, if you find yourself a little giddy inside at the idea of meeting your favorite hero or villain, we encourage you to give into that feeling and enjoy a little character magic as an adult! Strike a funny pose, ask them the question you have always been dying to know (How much shampoo does Rapunzel go through in a week?), request that they teach you one of their signature moves, and make sure someone gets a picture – we promise you will be glad you did!
Did we pick one of your favorites? Do you have another favorite character experience that you would like to share with us? We would love to hear about your favorite character meet and greet in the comments below!
Senior Travel Planner
Erin is a senior travel planner with Key to the World Travel who coordinated this fantastic article with feedback from her fellow travel planners. Contact her today using one of the links below to book your next trip!