Characters at Disney’s Two Water Parks

Yes, even the water parks have characters, slip your autograph books in a ziplock bag and meet your favorite characters, decked out in tropical attire. Breakfast at the the Beach Club the day you choose to go to a water park, to fully get in the sun-bathing spirit. At the breakfast, Minnie and friends are dressed in beach attire for breakfast. Another tropical/paradise-esque option is Ohana’s Hawaiian fest, or the Spirit of Aloha luau, also at the Polynesian Resort.

Meet Goofy at the Blizzard Beach Water Park at Sonny’s Sleds by the entrance, which is the primary photo opportunity for this park.

Lilo and Stitch at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park outside High N’ Dry Rentals.

Magic Kingdom Characters

Magic Kingdom is where all the storybook magic unfolds. Due to popularity, most characters exchange in and out specific locations. FastPass+ options as well as Photo Pass opportunities to capture the precious moments.

The princesses usually work 40-45 minutes at a time, then take a 15 minute intermission. If you stay in line, you will not lose your place and you should have decent placing when the princess returns from her beauty nap.

  Try to arrive at least five minutes prior to the beginning of the scheduled meet-and-greet time as the line may close to new guests as they get close to the scheduled ending time.

Even though Magic Kingdom offers some great characters meals like Cinderella’s Royal Table (inside Cinderella’s castle), Be Our Guest (Belle’s Castle) and Crystal Palace (Winnie the Pooh), most of the character meet-n-greets take place at specially-themed booths, such as Ariel’s Grotto or Merida as a Warrior at her booth.

BELOW ARE THE USUAL CHARACTERS FOR SPECIFIC CHARACTERS:

Aladdin and Princess Jasmine

  • 9:30 AM  to 5:10 PM
  • Adventureland (by Magic Carpet ride)
  • Signs autographs

Alice and occasionally the Mad Hatter

  • 9:20 AM  to  11:40 AM
  • Fantasyland (near Mad Tea Party aka teacups)
  • Signs autographs

Anastasia & Drizella (Evil Step Sisters) | Lady Tremaine (Evil Stepmother) | Fairy Godmother

  • Evil Step Sisters and Lady Tremaine alternate with the Fairy Godmother throughout the morning and afternoon.
  • They are currently at the New Fanstyland wall
  • You can also ask a Cast Member when you arrive to call the Character Hotline to inquire if the Cinderalla characters are greeting guests that day
  • Signs autographs

Ariel at Her Grotto 

  • 9:00 AM  to  8:30 PM
  • New Fantasyland (next to Under the Sea- Journey of a Little Mermaid
  • Signs autographs
  • FP+ available

Belle

  • 9:00 AM  to  8:00 PM
  • New Fantasyland, right next door to Be Our Guest restaurant
  • Does not sign autographs- she signed her autograph on the bookmark you receive as well as the PhotoPass card
  • FP+ available

Buzz Light Year

  • 10:00 AM  to 4:45 PM
  • Tomorrowland –Star Command Headquarters ( next to Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin)
  • Does not sign autographs, usually gives a stamp

Cinderella and Elena of Avalor

  • 9:00 AM  to  8:30 PM
  • Fantasyland –Princess Fairytale Hall
  • Signs autographs
  • FP+ available – only place you can meet Elena

Daisy Duck

  • 10 AM to 7:30 PM
  • New Fantasyland –Pete’s Silly Side Show in Storybook Circus
  • Signs autographs

Donald Duck

  • 10 AM to 7:30 PM
  • New Fantasyland- Pete’s Silly Side Show in Storybook Circus
  • Signs autographs

Gaston

  • 10:00 AM  to  4:30 PM
  • Fantasyland (outside of Gaston’s Tavern)
  • Signs autographs

Goofy (The Great Goofini)

  • 10:00 AM  to  7:30 PM
  • New Fantastyland– Pete’s Silly Side Show in Storybook Circus
  • Signs autographs

Merida

  • 9:15 AM  to  6:15 PM
  • Fantasyland – Fairytale Gardens, which is in front of Cinderella Castle on the Tomorrowland side
  • Signs autographs

Mickey & Minnie’s Suprise Celebration ( NEW)

  • 9:00 AM  to  8:30 PM 
  • Main Street USA- Town Square Theater
  • Signs autographs and you’ll be able to sign their celebration guestbook
  • FP+ available

Mickey and Minnie’s Surprise Celebration Characters

Surprise characters will greet guests at the flagpole on Main Street USA until September 30th, 2019, from around 11:30 AM to 4:30 PM.

List of possible surprise characters (changes daily):

  • Chicken Little and Abby Mallard
  • Gideon and Foulfellow
  • Judy Hopps and Nick Wilde
  • Phineas and Ferb
  • Prince John and Friar Tuck
  • Robin Hood and Little John
  • Remy and Emile

Peter Pan and Wendy

  • 1:00 PM  to  4:30 PM 
  • Fantasyland (near Peter’s Pan Flight)
  • Signs autographs

Pluto

  • 10 AM to 7:30 PM
  • New Fantasyland – Pete’s Silly Side Show in Storybook Circus
  • Signs autographs

Rapunzel and Tiana

  • 9:00 AM  to  8:30 PM
  • Fantasyland – Princess Fairytale Hall
  • Signs autographs
  • FB+ available, only place you can meet Tiana

Tinkerbell

  • 9:00 AM  to  8:30 PM
  • Main Street USA– Town Square Theater
  • Signs autographs
  • FP+ available

Winnie the Pooh and Tigger

  • 10:45 AM  to  7:00 PM
  • Fantasyland – The Thotful Spot (near the Winnie the Pooh ride)
  • Signs autographs

Hollywood Studio Characters

Hollywood Studios is where movie magic comes to life! Whether you seek rockin’ adventures, playful stage performances, intergalactic fantasy or fascinating film history, you’ll find it all– and more.

Disney does not have a permanent location for meeting Toy Story characters; however, you can catch them around Toy Story Land.

Due to popularity, most mascot characters exchange in and out specific locations. FastPass+ options as well as Photo Pass opportunities to capture the precious moments.

  Try to arrive at least five minutes prior to the beginning of the scheduled meet-and-greet time as the line may close to new guests as they get close to the scheduled ending time.

BELOW ARE THE USUAL CHARACTERS FOR SPECIFIC CHARACTERS:

BB-8

  • 9:00 AM  to  8:00 PM
  • Animation Courtyard– Star Wars Launch Bay
  • No autographs

Buzz Lightyear

  • 9:00 AM to 8:00 PM
  • Toy Story Land (by sign)
  • No autographs


Chewbacca

  • 9:00 AM  to  8:00 PM
  • Animation Courtyard – Star Wars Launch Bay
  • No autographs

Doc McStuffins

  • 9:30 AM  to  6:30 PM
  • Animation Courtyard (next to Disney Jr. Live stage)
  • Signs autographs

Green Army Men

  • Sporadically throughout the day they are found marching around Toy Story Land. If you’re lucky, you can catch them as they play the drums or even get to bounce a ball with them.
  • No autographs, but they might stop for a pic.

Kylo Ren

  • 9:00 AM  to  8:00 PM
  • Animation Courtyard – Star Wars Launch Bay
  • No autographs

Mike & Sully (BRAND NEW) 

  • 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM
  • Animation Courtyard– Walt Disney Presents
  • No autographs


Mickey Mouse (Sorcerer)

  • 9:00 AM  to  8:00 PM
  • Commissary Lane- Red Carpet Dreams
  • Signs autographs

Minnie Mouse

  • 9:00 to 8:00 PM
  • Commissary Lane–Red Carpet Dreams
  • Signs autographs


Olaf

  • 9:00 AM  to  8:00 PM
  • Echo Lake– Celebrity Spotlight (next to Frozen Sing-Along Celebration)
  • Draws a snowman as an autograph

Sofia the First

  • 9:30 am to 6:30 pm
  • Animation Courtyard (next to Disney Jr. Live stage)
  • Signs autographs

Vampirina

  • 9:30 AM to 6:30 PM
  • Animation Courtyard (next to the Disney Jr. Live stage)
  • Signs autographs

Woody and Jessie

  • 9:00 AM to 8:00 PM
  • Toy Story Land (by Toy Story Mania)
  • Signs autographs

Epcot Characters

Epcot is twice the size of Magic Kingdom park—and is divided into Future World and World Showcase. Here, creativity is encouraged, imagination is celebrated and countries are united. Be amazed, inspired, and entertained!

Due to popularity, most mascot characters exchange in and out specific locations. FastPass+ options as well as Photo Pass opportunities to capture the precious moments.

  Try to arrive at least five minutes prior to the beginning of the scheduled meet-and-greet time as the line may close to new guests as they get close to the scheduled ending time.

The princesses usually work 40-45 minutes at a time, then take a 15 minute intermission. If you stay in line, you will not lose your place and you should have decent placing when the princess returns from her beauty nap.

BELOW ARE THE USUAL CHARACTERS FOR SPECIFIC CHARACTERS:

Disney Visa Character Experience

Mickey, Minnie, Pluto, or Goofy, in traditional attire. Complimentary downloads of photos- guests must present a valid Disney Visa credit card at entry.

  • 1:00 PM to 7:00 PM
  • Future World- Journey Into Imagination with Figment (left side of Disney & Pixar’s Short Film Festival
  • Signs autographs

Alice

  • 11:30 AM to 5:30 PM
  • World Showcase – United Kingdom Pavillion (near The Tea Caddy)
  • Signs autographs

Anna & Elsa

  • 9:00 AM to 9 PM
  • World Showcase –Norway Pavillion–Royal Sommerhus (near Frozen Ever After ride)
  • Signs autographs

Norway Vikings

  • 12:05 PM 
  • 12:55 PM 
  • 1:45 PM 
  • 3:15 PM 
  • 4:05 PM 
  • 4:55 PM
  • World Showcase– Norway Pavillion–God’s of Vikings exhibit
  • Signs autographs

Baymax

  • 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM
  • Future World- Innovation West – Hiro’s Workshop (across from Epcot’s character spot)
  • Does not sign autographs

Belle

  • 11:00 AM to 4:50 PM
  • World Showcase- France Pavillion–lagoon side
  • Signs autographs

Daisy Duck

  • 11:30 AM to 2:00 PM
  • 3:10 PM to 6:30 PM
  • Gateway to World Showcase- take a left towards Mexico Pavilion and she has her own gazebo. 
  • Signs autographs

Donald Duck

  • 12: 00 PM to 3:00 PM
  • 4:10 PM to 7:00 PM
  • World Showcase- Mexico Pavillion (side of the Aztec phyrmaid )

Jasmine

  • 11:45 AM to 5:35 PM
  • World Showcase- Morocco Pavillion (near Restuarent Marrakesh)
  • Signs autographs

Joy and Saddness

  • 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM
  • Future World– Innovations West (across from Epcot’s Character Spot, on the same side of Baymax, but separate queue line
  • Signs autographs

Mickey & Minnie Mouse – and Goofy

  • 9:00 AM  to  9:00 PM
  • Future World- Innovention West
  • Signs autographs
  • FP+ available

Mulan

  • 11:00 AM to 5:30 PM
  • World Showcase-–China Pavilion (near Temple)
  • Signs autographs

Pluto

  • 1:35 PM to 3:55 PM
  • World Showcase– Legacy Plaza West– Friendship Ambassador Gazebo
  • Signs autographs

Ralph and Vanellope

  • 9:00 AM to 7:00 PM (Ralph intermittently appears)
  • Future World– Innovations West (across from Land Pavilion)
  • Vanellope signs autographs. Ralph can’t because he will wreck the pen.

Snow White

  • 3:00 PM to 6:20 PM
  • World Showcase– Germany Pavilion
  • Signs autographs

The Two of You: A Single Parent’s Perspective

As a single parent, you can sometimes feel like certain things are out of your reach, such as affording that extravagant present for your child at Christmastime or planning a Disney vacation. 

I am here to tell you that a Disney vacation is possible, even if you are a single parent. Having never been to Disney World myself, I assumed I could not afford a vacation for me and my five-year-old daughter. Luckily, I had a good friend who was a Disney travel agent who gave me a quote. I was pleasantly surprised at the cost. We decided to book our trip to Florida and see one park per day for three days right before she entered kindergarten.

After I got over the imagined cost hurdle, I then began to worry about our safety. I had family members tell me that it wasn’t a good idea to travel by ourselves. (We had traveled by ourselves before, but not out of our home state.) I had good friends who are Disney regulars tell me that I would probably lose my daughter at some point in the parks. Say what?! I went into full panic mode. They advised me to make identification cards with my name and cell phone number on them in case my daughter got lost so she would have something to give to a Disney employee. With trepidation, I made the cards and explained to my daughter how to use them if she got lost.

Luckily for us, we did not have to use the identification cards. Even though I get motion sickness easily, I made sure to go onevery ride with my daughter so we would always be together, which I believe reduced the risk of her getting lost.

The highlight of our trip was Toy Story World at Hollywood Studios. It had just opened, so we were very excited to see Buzz Lightyear, Woody, and the gang. It did not disappoint! We had Fast Passes for the Slinky Dog ride and got seated at his tail. It was a bit thrilling for a kid’s roller coaster.

We also had a great experience with our hotel, The All-Star Movies Resort. The shuttle service was timely, consistent, and convenient. The food was better than expected. And there were fun activities to do when we weren’t visiting the parks. We spent a lot of time at the swimming pools and watched movies outside.My daughter was even content watching Vampirina on repeat in our hotel room. I ordered room service one night and was very pleased with the quality and value of the food.

I don’t ever want my daughter to feel like she is missing out on anything because of her single parent status. I want her to have an even better childhood than I did. Going to Disney World by ourselves has given me the confidence to plan future vacations and has silenced the inner voice that used to tell me: “Am I doing enough? Can I handle this?” I am enough, and I can handle this. And you can, too.

Article submitted by Lisa Campos

Frozen Ever After Dessert Party

On July 14th 2017, Disney opened the doors to its new fireworks watching party at Epcot. Frozen Ever After, Disney’s new spin on one of its more popular attractions, gives attendants an up-close space to watch Epcot’s nightly fireworks show, and treats attendants to unlimited desserts and speciality cocktails. 

On our most recent trip to Disney World, our family attended the party during its opening week.  After eating dinner at the Germany pavilion, we headed to the World Showcase Plaza.

At the party, Disney chefs deliver countless pastries and desserts. Parents can also order a cocktail to enjoy during the show.  

Avoid the crowds and watch the fireworks from the party’s own exclusive viewing area, separate from the park’s general admissions crowds.  Partygoers are given 3D glasses, which add snowflakes to the fireworks show. 

After the show, partygoers enjoy a private ride on Epcot’s Frozen Ever After ride.  Save your family’s FastPasses for the other  Tier 1 Epcot rides.  

The party is offered on Sundays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Admission is $79 per adult (ages 10 and up) and $47 per child (ages 3 to 9).  Admission to Epcot is required. 

Promotions Generally

Periodically, Disney runs vacation package promotions–some of these are well worth it, others end up providing only a negligible benefit. Examples of promotions include dining package discounts (Free dining) , discounts on certain rooms up to 30% off , and even full package discounts known as Play, Stay & Dine, normally 10% off each component of the package.

As expected, Disney typically releases these promotions at slower times. Higher demand rooms (Deluxe Disney Vacation Club rooms, villas, and resorts) are rarely included. Until recently, the Little Mermaid room (the most popular room at the Art of Animation) NEVER qualified for a promotion, but recently Disney offered it during one of its promotions.

Understanding the wording of the promotions and the reality of the ads blasted through the Disney channels is crucial to understanding a significant-savings discount versus more nominal discounts.

The wording or hype of the promotion is always going to look glamorous, which it undoubtedly will be, but the oft-advertised narrative of Mickey personally picking up and hanging out in the park with your daughter (not that you’d let her) or that your family will save thousands of dollars are rarely, if ever, true.

Disney vacations will almost always see the most significant savings when the following two things are met (1) your family is staying at a deluxe resort, and (2) your family or party has multiple children over the age of 10 (for dining discounts).

The villas at any of the resorts will, unfortunately, never qualify for a promotion, as they are kept open for Disney Vacation Club members.

Also, room discounts are Disney’s first attempt to fill the rooms, after which they will apply a more popular, higher-demand promotion like free dining to fill any remaining vacant rooms.