Most Disney lovers have a favorite character or two. I have favorite characters like I have favorite attractions. In other words, I have a lot of them. I’ve always loved the all of the VIP characters (Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Pluto, Donald, Daisy, Chip and Dale), but of those I particularly enjoy Pluto and Donald. I love Donald’s cranky nature. Then of course there’s the Toy Story gang. Who doesn’t love Buzz Lightyear? And the princesses… Seeing Cinderella in Magic Kingdom is sure to make anyone’s day. A chance happening with the Peter Pan gang? Yes, please. Alice and The Mad Hatter? The Mad Hatter’s funny accent and off-center comments always makes me laugh. What about Whinnie the Pooh and friends? Eeyore tugs at your heart while Tigger brings out the bounce in everyone.
Characters can be found all over Walt Disney World. Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom all have multiple locations for character meet and greets. And there are parades and shows where you can catch characters in action dancing and waving to guests. Catching a character’s eye as a child, and seeing them wave to you, or blow you a kiss can mean the world.
As we’ve discussed before, everyone has different priorities when visiting the parks. I tend to be an attraction junkie. Bring on the rides! My favorite attractions take priority in my time when visiting a park and I love planning and scheming so I can get in as many as possible on a given day. Bonus points are granted if I manage to visit my favorites multiple times in a day. Other people tend to enjoy the shows and entertainment – they never miss a 3:00 parade. Yet still are the people who love to go character hopping. They begin their day with a Guidemap and Times Guide with the listing of character appearances and times and they plan out who they want to see and when they want to visit them.
You are never too old or too small to make friends with a Disney Character or two. Above, my mom grins with Chip and Dale – who have always been favorites of hers. My cousin, though just a little one, is just as thrilled to meet them. He loved to rub noses with the characters he met, which you can see him doing with Chip on the left. For anyone who can’t keep Chip and Dale straight I will tell you how I remember: Dale has the red nose while Chip has the black nose – like a chocolate chip.
On our last trip to WDW my hubby and I didn’t take any time to visit with characters. We were there in August, it was hot, we were far from well rested, and waiting to see characters just didn’t seem important to us at the time. I confess now it’s something I regret not making time for on our trip. Character visits make great photo opportunities, which are wonderful for sharing with family and friends. But it’s more than that – visiting a character is an experience. Characters are just that, characters – full of fun and personality. They grant you an experience to interact with them and have a moment of charm or silliness. Most characters like to clown around with guests and you’re sure to find a smile and a great memory in taking the time to say hello to them.
In my last post we met my buddy Rich, who told us the story about dancing with Princess Tiana. Rich’s character antics also included meditating with Rafiki (above) and goofing around with Chip and Dale with his brother. Rich give Chip quite the pick up/spin around hug (below).
So my advice is to take some time to meet a character or two and create a memory.
- Consult your Guidemap and Times Guide. To make sure you don’t miss out check your guides to get the times and places you can find characters, especially if you are looking to meet someone specifically.
- Leave enough time in your schedule. Don’t get in line to meet Mickey Mouse on Main Street U.S.A. at 11:00 AM when you have a Fastpass for Splash Mountain in Frontierland on the opposite side of the park at 11:30. Know that you may have to wait in line to visit characters, especially the popular ones such as good ol’ Mickey. Just leave enough room in your schedule to not feel rushed.
- Have your camera and autograph book ready. Being ready for pictures and autographs will make your visit run smoother.
- Keep and eye out. While most of the time characters are in predesignated locations at specific times, you never know when a character will pop up. I’ve seen Goofy water-skiing outside of Magic Kingdom and Peter Pan skipping through Fantasyland. Surprises are everywhere at WDW.