Meeting the Disney characters you (or your kids!) grew up watching and loving is a quintessential part of an amazing experience at the Walt Disney World parks. However, with so much to see and do at the resort, sometimes characters can get overlooked if you’re not careful in including meet and greets in your vacation planning.
This article will provide all the information you need to know where the characters are in each park and what you should say to them when interacting! Whether you have young kids or no kids at all, meeting at least a few characters during your trip can help make your day special.
Where Can I Meet Disney Characters?
Since each park has different lands and theming, each park is also home to different characters. Favorites like Mickey his friends can be found in every park, though their outfits can be different based on the places you meet them. Other characters only appear in certain spots, so be sure to take note of where your favorites reside! Here is a rundown of each of the four parks:
As the park with the castle, the Magic Kingdom is home to the most characters and princesses. The best way to see lots of Disney Princesses in one event is to snag a reservation at Cinderella’s Royal Table. This dining spot located inside the castle itself features many of your favorite classic Disney Princesses, including Cinderella, Ariel, Jasmine, Sleeping Beauty, and Rapunzel. The princesses make their rounds around the restaurant, visiting every table! It’s a great way to see many fan-favorites without having to wait in many lines. Be warned, however, that reservations for the experience can be difficult to grab. If this is something you’re interested in, be ready on Disney’s reservation site 60 days in advance of your trip!
Magic Kingdom is home to a couple of other character dining experiences, namely the Crystal Palace and Be Our Guest. The former is home to all of the Winnie the Pooh characters, while the latter is home to Beast from the Beauty and the Beast films. The Crystal Palace operates similarly to Cinderella’s Royal Table, where the characters will make their way around the restaurant, ensuring a visit to every table. Be Our Guest has an impressive ambience which focuses less on the characters, though Beast usually makes an appearance.
There are also major meet-and-greet areas home to different characters. You can see two princesses at a time during each trip to Princess Fairytale Hall, which has a total of four princesses. Usually, Tiana and Rapunzel are paired up to meet with, while Cinderella and Elena of Avalor are paired up in a separate line.
Enchanted Tales with Belle is nearby Princess Fairytale Hall in Fantasyland and is a great way to grab a picture with Belle in her iconic yellow ball gown. The attraction also includes a storytelling reenactment of the story of Beauty and the Beast in which kids can participate!
To round out the princess meeting opportunities, Ariel can be found in her grotto next to the Little Mermaid attraction, Merida is at the border of Tomorrowland and Fantasyland, and Mary Poppins can be found in Liberty Square.
If characters like Mickey and his friends are more on your radar, you’ll have to visit multiple locations to see them all! Mickey is available to meet at the Town Square Theater on Main Street at the front of the park. A Tinker Bell meeting can also be found in the same location, though she is in a separate line. Donald, Goofy, Daisy, and Minnie are all found in the Storybook Circus area of Fantasyland. They’re all paired up, so to see them all, you’ll have to wait in line twice.
Other characters are also available to meet around the park, though they don’t all have dedicated/indoor areas. You can catch Woody or the Country Bears intermittently in Frontierland, Buzz Lightyear and Stitch in Tomorrowland, Aladdin and Jasmine in Adventureland, Gaston and the Evil Stepsisters in Fantasyland, and sometimes even more!
Lastly, Magic Kingdom is currently the only Disney World Park with an expansive character parade. The Festival of Fantasy Parade occurs daily (usually at 3pm) and features practically every character you can think of. Though you won’t be able to talk with them, you can still see tons of characters in a short amount of time (and at least wave!). While working, I was friends with Merida, who could always pick me out of a crowd and shoot an arrow for me.
Though EPCOT is commonly referred to as the “adult park,” it is home to many characters – including a lot of princesses. Across the World Showcase pavilions, many princesses are available to meet in their native lands and clothes. This includes Mulan in China, Elsa and Anna in Norway, Snow White in Germany, Jasmine in Morocco, Belle and Aurora in France, and Alice in the United Kingdom. As adults will enjoy the food and entertainment in each pavilion, be sure to plan out which characters you want to see!
EPCOT also has other characters available to meet, including Mickey (located near the Short Film Festival), Joy and Vanellope (from Inside Out and Wreck It Ralph, respectively, at the Imagination Pavilion), Goofy and Pluto (at the park entrance), Minnie (at the start of the World Showcase), and Donald (outside of the Mexico pavilion).
EPCOT also has a couple of character dining experiences if you have the time for them. The highest on Princess-lover’s list will be Akershus in Norway, which features many of the same big-name princesses previously mentioned as available to meet throughout the World Showcase. Chip and Dale host their own character dining inside the Land pavilion at Garden Grill.
Hollywood Studios has multiple character meeting opportunities, though they are more centered on the film franchises represented in the parks lands (mostly Star Wars and Toy Story). Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge characters include Rey, Chewbacca, Kyle Ren, and Stormtroopers (who will be on patrol). Toy Story characters include Buzz Lightyear, Woody, Jessie, and the Green Army Men.
Mickey and Minnie are, of course, located in Hollywood Studios. They can be met at the Commissary Lane. Note that Mickey is dressed up in his red Sorcerer outfit, which makes a great photo opportunity. Their pals Daisy and Donald can be found intermittently at the front entrance of the park. Chip and Dale sometimes meet outside of the Hollywood Brown Derby restaurant.
Mr. and Mrs. Incredible, Olaf, and Goofy and Max can all be found around the center of the park. Lastly, Darth Vader, Chewbacca, BB-8, Pluto, Sully (from Monster’s Inc), and Disney Jr. favorites (Doc McStuffins, Fancy Nancy, and Vampirina) are found in the Animation Courtyard/Star Wars Launch Bay area.
Though not full parades, Hollywood Studios hosts multiple character cavalcades, which feature Toy Story and Star Wars favorites.
Animal Kingdom has the least characters out of any park, but it’s a great spot to meet some favorites when they have lower lines. Since the park doesn’t have its reputation built on the characters, not as many people are trying to visit them! Mickey and Minnie are available to meet on Discovery Island, as is Pocahontas. Donald, Chip, and Dale are all located in Dinoland. Russel, Dug, and Kevin from Disney Pixar’s “Up” are also intermittently available on Discovery Island.
Animal Kingdom is home to Tusker House, one of the best character dining experience at the entire Disney World Resort. Aside from having great food, you can meet Mickey and all his fab-5 friends (Minnie, Donald, Goofy, Daisy, and Pluto). Since Animal Kingdom has less to do overall than the other parks, spending time at a character dining experience is a great idea.
Other than the aforementioned, there aren’t any other spots to meet characters. Sometimes different favorites float by on boats, so be sure to keep a look out for them!
How To Interact With Disney Characters?
Now that we have covered where all the characters can be found, it’s important to know exactly how you should interact with them! Too many times I have seen families unable to truly interact with a character, leaving the experience to be little more than a photo. Here are some tips to get the most out of the experience:
- Think about what you want to say to them! Ask Tiana what the secret ingredient is for her gumbo, ask Cinderella what Prince Charming has been up to, or ask Ariel about the thingamabobs she collects. Try to push the envelope a little bit to get the princesses out of their basic talking points (but don’t get too crazy!)
- Ask for a specific pose! If you want a special cute picture, ask for it!
- You can ask the Disney Photopass cast to use your phone to take pictures, that way you can be in on the conversation and in the photos with your child. Even if you don’t buy Disney’s photos, the cast members are always eager to help you out.
- The characters can sign anything as a souvenir – so have your books/hats/shirts and a pen ready! It’s common for visitors to have a notebook full of pages for each character to sign. It makes a great souvenir!
- Be careful of kids being timid with costumed characters. Show them they’re friendly and try to gesture to them in a friendly way to allow them to express themselves!