Visiting characters is one of the most popular things to do in Disney World. Both kids and adults look forward to seeing their favorite characters while visiting the parks.
If you have never been to Disney World it can be a little intimidating trying to figure out how to see all the characters you want to see. It’s good to know where and when the characters are meeting, because things like that are helpful to planning out your day.
I put together a list of tips to help when meeting characters while in Disney World. Meeting characters is a really fun part of Disney World. The characters are so entertaining and it’s an experience everyone should have.
Tips for Meeting Characters
Get in Line Early for Popular Characters
This is an important tip, especially for the popular characters. During my last trip I visited some of the princesses to have them record messages for my daughter (I was on a solo trip). After the Let the Magic Begin show (opening ceremony) I hopped in line to meet Merida and the woman in front of me explained how she was told by a cast member to get in line early to meet Merida. I guess it’s a popular meet and greet where the line gets long and stays long.
So that is something to keep in mind. If you are able to be at the parks for the opening that’s a good time to get in line to meet some of the more popular characters.
Take Advantage of Extra Magic Hours
Extra Magic Hours happen when one of the parks either opens early or stays open later for guests staying on Disney property. Certain rides will be open and certain meet and greets will be available during Extra Magic Hours.
I hear mixed feelings about Extra Magic Hours. Some people love them and will visit whatever park has Extra Magic Hours that day. Other people stay far away from parks with Extra Magic Hours, saying the parks are more crowded when they have Extra Magic Hours.
My personal experience with Extra Magic Hours has always been positive. This time around I took advantage of early morning Extra Magic Hours at Magic Kingdom, so the park opened at 8 am. I was able to see Cinderella, Elena, Rapunzel, and Tiana all before Let the Magic Begin started at 8:55 am. So it took me less than an hour to see all the princesses in Fairytale Hall. I would recommend the Extra Magic Hours just on that, because usually those lines are pretty long.
Reserve a Character Dining Experience
This option is great for many reasons:
- You get to meet characters
- If you child has never met characters before this is a good way to test their reaction
- You can enjoy some good food while meeting the characters
- The Character Dining experiences have multiple characters you can meet
There are lots of Character Dining choices in Disney World. Some of our favorites include Cape May Cafe, Chef Mickey’s, 1900 Park Fare, and Cinderella’s Royal Table. The first Character Dining experience we had was at Cape May Cafe and it was great. The kids got their autographs and the adults enjoyed some good food.
Check Out Meet and Greets During the Fireworks
An hour or so before the fireworks guests will start filling Main Street U.S.A. for the nightly fireworks show. If you don’t care about missing the fireworks, then this is a perfect time to hop in line to see some characters. With so many people waiting for the fireworks the lines are usually much shorter.
Some Queue Lines are Outdoors so Prepare Accordingly
Some of the queue lines are indoors, but some are outside. The queue line to meet Merida just lines up next to a railing along one of the pathways by the castle. So if you end up waiting for a while and it’s sunny make sure you have your sunscreen, hats, water, and whatever else you would want/need to wait in line on a hot day. The cast members don’t rush people, so depending on how long each person in front of you talks to the characters you could be waiting for a little while.
Book FastPasses if They are Available
For meet and greets like Meet Mickey at Town Square Theater (talking Mickey) or the princesses at Princess Fairytale Hall, it’s always best if you can get a FastPass. Unless you are able to get there early in the day, the lines for both of those will always be pretty long. Booking FastPasses help you cut down on the long wait times and help get you to the other things you want to see.
Check Wait Times and Locations on My Disney Experience App
The My Disney Experience App is something everyone should download before they visit Disney World. It allows you to do quite a bit including checking and making dining reservations, checking and making FastPasses, as well as giving you locations and wait times of attractions and meet and greets. The last one is the one that will help when meeting characters. You will be able to tell what time they will be meeting guests, how long the current wait is, and where you can find them. It’s a very helpful app and I highly recommend downloading it for your trip.
Engage With the Characters
The characters want to engage with you, that’s why they are there. Talk to them about their story and they will respond. Ask them a question about someone they know and they will tell you about that person. The cast members are amazing and truly bring these characters to life for both the kids and the adults. It’s hard to look at them and not see the character they are portraying.
Even when I asked each princess for a short message to may daughter they all did so in their own way that matched the character’s personality. I was so grateful and knew my daughter would be so excited to see the video. So definitely engage with the characters, it’s what makes the experience magical.
Cast Members Will Take Pictures With Your Phone
There are always PhotoPass photographers on hand to take your picture with the characters, but don’t worry if you didn’t purchase Memory Maker. The cast members will also take pictures of you with your phone and/or camera. It’s nice that they do that, because then everyone can be in the picture and you don’t have to buy the pictures from Disney. So keep that in mind if you are deciding on whether or not to purchase Memory Maker or individual pictures.
Bring Something Different for Them to Sign
Autograph books are obviously the most popular way to collect character signatures, but some people get creative with collecting signatures. Guests have brought things like shoes, shirts, picture frame mattes, drawstring bags, hats, and pillowcases for the characters to sign. I would suggest doing a Google search before your trip if you want to try something different. People have used some interesting things to collect signatures.
Hopefully this list will help you when planning your days to meet characters. It’s a fun experience for both kids and adults!
Which character is your favorite to see while in Disney World?
Thanks for reading!
My daughter who will be turning 17 this trip always brings a light colored WDW tshirt (usually purchased off property) for autographs. We usually try to find one with the year of our stay on it. She wears them proudly throughout the year and usually on our way home.
Two side notes:
We buy multiple colored Sharpies to enhance the look
And the characters WILL NOT sign anything that is being worn.
I love the idea of bringing different color Sharpies! That sounds like a great souvenir and a great way to remember the memories 🙂 Thank you for adding that they will not sign anything that is being worn. I forgot to add that in. 🙂
We also have shirts signed and use the different colored sharpies… to make things easier for the characters, we use embroidery hoops. It stretches the shirt so you get a clean signature without the fabric bunching up on you! We normally have 2 or 3 hoops of different sizes in each shirt incase the characters come together.
That’s a great idea, Jodi! Thanks for the tip 🙂