Walt Disney World can be a magical place. They use the slogan “Where Dreams Come True”, and this can certainly be the case when it comes to one of the most exciting experiences for some people who visit the Disney parks. We all have the capability to have our imaginations inspired, some more than others, but, this is, it seems easier for the younger amongst us. Some are young in body, some young in mind, and some young at heart, but our capability to be made young can be seen perhaps best when having that first encounter with Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck or Goofy.
There aren’t many places in the world where you can come face to face with iconic larger than life characters, but Walt Disney World is one of them. Here are some tips to help make this experience as magical as possible and to also help take out some of the hassle of waiting in lines.
Firstly, it is worth getting park maps at the entrance to see where the locations of character greetings are, it can also be worth asking cast members if you get stuck, and to ask them for tips on getting around and planning your day to meet Pooh, Tigger, Mickey and Donald!
Secondly, some characters are more popular than others, so if you’re not too fussy, you can sometimes see Donald a lot quicker than you can see Mickey – everyone just seems to love Mickey Mouse!
Disney likes to freshen things up sometimes and changes which character is in which spot, so please check who it is you are waiting for – you might be surprised. Here are some thoughts on how you might maximise your time meeting some of the wonderful Disney characters
First up, in the Animal Kingdom, one of the main character greeting places is near the Festival of the Lion King theater. Waiting times vary throughout the day, but are usually shortest while a show is in progress, particularly near the end of a show as you can sometimes walk from one character to the next. Another useful tip for the Animal Kingdom, Rafiki’s Planet Watch can only be reached by train, and so can be less popular than other parts of the park, this can on occasion mean very short waits to meet characters, we bumped into Chip and Dale over there and they were just hanging out – looking for mischief.
At Disney’s Hollywood Studios, again check the maps to find out where the characters are, and ask a cast member if there is someone in particular you would like to meet. At the animation studio, it can be worth checking which characters are waiting at the end, as it isn’t always necessary to do the show first.
At Epcot, lots of characters are in the same place, this usually means you can meet Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Donald etc one after the other. However, this can some times make this experience feel a little rushed, as long lines can develop here. There are other character greetings throughout the park. We didn’t have to wait very long to meet Jasmine and Genie in Morocco. I think because less children make it to World Showcase than to some of the other parks, so it is worth bearing this in mind.
Finally, at the Magic Kingdom, you really wouldn’t be having a magical holiday / vacation without meeting Mickey Mouse. He can sometimes be found in the theater on the right as you enter Main Street USA. Depending on the time of day, lines here can often be quite short, so have a look as you go past, as you may be surprised. Other characters are available to greet you throughout the park, and however you choose to meet the characters, no doubt you will have a magical experience. Just remember to have your cameras, photopasses and autograph books ready! Enjoy creating that magical memory as you give Minnie a kiss, Donald a hug and shake Mickey’s hand – Dreams really do come true!