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Magic Kingdom is an essential part of any trip to Walt Disney World! It is the most iconic Disney park, and there is so much to see and do. One of the most fun is to meet all the different Magic Kingdom characters.
You can meet all the classic characters at Magic Kingdom from Mickey to Pluto, Tinker Bell to Cinderella, and a number of characters that are exclusive to Magic Kingdom.
It is honestly so much fun to meet the Magic Kingdom characters, and I recommend everybody take a little time to meet a character or two.
You won’t regret it! It may even become your favourite memory from your trip.
It should be no surprise though that meeting characters at Magic Kingdom is a very popular activity, and the lines can get long. But there are ways to avoid long lines!
I’ll spill all the top tips and tricks for meeting Magic Kingdom characters in this post, so you’re a character expert even if you’re never been to Walt Disney World before!
So read on to learn everything you need to know about meeting characters at the most magical place on Earth!
1. Character Meals May Not be the Best Option
This one is a bit controversial. I’m sure you’ve heard a lot of people say that characters meals are the best way to meet all your favourite characters.
While that may be true for some people, I recommend you think long and hard before booking a character meal.
So why do I say that?
There are three main reasons:
There are no Photopass Cast Members
This for me is the biggest reason I don’t think character meals may not be the best option for you and your group.
It is really difficult to get a nice group picture with the characters during a character meal.
You can get decent photos of part of your group with the characters, and sometimes you can get group photo by asking someone from another table to take your photo, but that doesn’t happen all that often.
If you really want to get a nice group picture with the characters, then you may want to reconsider paying for a character meal.
The exception to this is the dinner at Be Our Guest. There is a photopass cast member there to take a professional photo of you and your group.
If you’re dining alone, you’ll have to either take a selfie with the characters or ask a nearby guest to take your photo.
It is not ideal at all. I will probably never go to a character meal as a solo traveller ever again. I didn’t enjoy the experience at all, and I felt really self-conscious about being there alone.
There are Always People in the Background of Your Photos
The background of every single character meal I’ve ever been to is ugly. There are always people and tables in the background. Not cute.
If this is your only chance to meet and get a picture with your favourite character, it is a bit disappointing to not have a really nice background like you would get at a meet-and-greet location.
The dinner at Be Our Guest has a dedicated area and backdrop where guests are able to meet Beast. I love this idea. It allows guests to meet a rare character, get a photo taken by a photographer, and have a really nice backdrop.
I hope this becomes more of a trend in more Magic Kingdom character meals!
It would be a game changer, and I would 100% go to more character meals and dine alone. Please Disney make this change. I’m begging you!
It is Expensive
Character meals at Disney World are expensive! Breakfast for a family of 4 at The Crystal Palace will easily run you $150USD and probably more with the tip.
And the food is pretty mediocre. You are served generic food that is not as good as you would find at any other table service restaurant and some quick service restaurants.
If you’re looking for a tasty meal, a Walt Disney World character meal probably isn’t where you’ll find it.
I would personally rather wait in a line to meet the Magic Kingdom characters than pay $42 plus a tip for a boring breakfast. It is also so loud and rushed at the character meals. They are not the place to go if you’re looking for a relaxing meal in the Magic Kingdom.
Who Should Consider a Magic Kingdom Character Meal?
There are always people who enjoy character meals. That’s why they are normally booked full and hard to get reservations at!
So how exactly should consider going to a character meal rather than waiting in the normal line to meet the Magic Kingdom characters?
- People with small children who don’t do well waiting in lines. A character meal may be the best option for your group if you have a small child, and you want to meet a lot of characters in one go.
- Groups that have a limited amount of time at Disney World. A character meal may be the most efficient way to meet all the Magic Kingdom characters on your list.
- You need to meet one of the characters, and that character doesn’t meet anywhere else in Magic Kingdom. This will be princesses like Snow White and Aurora. You can meet these princesses at other parks, but Cinderella’s Royal Table is the only place you can meet them in Magic Kingdom.
2. Have Your Stuff Ready!
You have at least a few minutes to wait in line before you meet Magic Kingdom characters so use that time to get all your stuff ready!
Have your autograph book and pen out, your ears on, and you camera ready before you meet each character.
It saves so much time and makes the line run more efficiently. The more efficient the line is, the more people can meet the Magic Kingdom characters!
I know it can be difficult to have everything you need in hand and ready to go while you’re watching your children as well, but it is really important! Have everything need in your hand or an accessible place before you get in the line to help you be prepared when you’re closer to meeting the characters.
The people behind you in the line will thank you for being organized and keeping the line moving!
3. Consider Meeting the Characters on Main Street Later in the Day
One of the first things you’ll notice when you enter Magic Kingdom is that some of your favourite characters are meeting on Main Street USA.
It is very tempting to run into line as see as you see your favourite characters, but you may want to resist the temptation.
The characters on Main Street USA are there to tempt you and make the ride queues a little shorter in the morning. The morning is the very best time to jump on your favourite rides, so you don’t want to waste it standing in line to meet a character.
Magic Kingdom characters meet on Main Street USA for the majority of the day, so you can easily go back to the front of the park a few hours into your day and meet them.
Waiting a few hours to meet the characters on Main Street USA is beneficial becuase:
- There is normally a shorter line for the characters later in the day
- You get ride more rides in the morning when they have a shorter line
That is a win-win situation that is hard to beat!
So while it is very tempting to jump in line to meet Pluto at the front of the park, keep on walking! Avoiding the temptation of the front-of-house characters will be beneficial for you in the short term and long term.
Plus you’ll be able to go back and meet them later in the day when the lines for the rides are long!
Be sure to check your times guide to see when Magic Kingdom characters are meeting on Main Street USA.
There are certain times of days (during shows and parades) that the characters don’t meet on Main Street USA.
4. They’ll Lead the Conversation (If You Want Them to)
The fact that face characters will lead the conversation is a life-saver for me. Raise your hand if you’re an extreme introvert too!
I enjoy meeting face characters but was intimidated the first few times I interacted with face characters. I’m not great with small talk, and all I really wanted was a quick photo and to get out of there as quickly as I could.
I quickly found out there was nothing to worry about. All the characters were chatty and lead the conversation. I didn’t have to put in any work or feel too awkward about my inability to small talk.
Here are a few of the fun interactions I’ve had with face characters over the years:
- Rapunzel complimented my Gelatoni (Tokyo Disneyland character) purse, and we chatted about animal sidekicks and how Maximus was still enjoying his apples.
- Merida begged me to babysit her brothers until she found out I wasn’t terribly found of small children.
- Anna was talking about how much she loved snow and was amazed to learn I am from Canada. (Note: this was at Epcot not Magic Kingdom.)
It gets easier each and every time you interact with a face character, but it can still be a bit uncomfortable at times if you’re an introvert.
There have been times where I don’t meet a face character because I don’t have enough emotional energy, but the majority of the time, I’ll wait in line to meet a face character without feeling anxious at all! It just takes practice.
If you’re an extrovert, then meeting face characters is probably a lot easier. Extroverts are more prone to being comfortable with small talk and interacting with strangers.
I don’t think my extrovert counterparts will have any trouble hanging out with face characters.
But What About Fur Characters?
Fur characters will lead your interaction as well. No words are said, but you can still communicate a surprising amount!
Communicating with fur characters takes a little bit more work than it does with face characters, but it is worth it.
I much prefer interacting with fur characters than face characters- it is so much fun!
Fur characters communicate with you by pointing, other gestures, walking around, and with the help of their character attendant.
I’ve had some of my most fun interactions with Magic Kingdom characters with fur characters rather than face. Who would have guessed?!
My favourite interactions with fur characters at Magic Kingdom include:
- Dancing with Chip and Dale on Main Street USA
- Goofy trying to take some of my Halloween Candy at MNSSHP
- Mickey Mouse teasing my dad and convincing him to get in the photo with us
Hanging out with fur characters is the perfect first step in meeting Magic Kingdom characters.
It allows you to interact with the characters without the nerves of having to actually hold a conversation. Once you get comfortable meeting fur characters, you can work your way up to face characters!
Whether you’re meeting face or fur characters, they will always lead the conversation if you don’t feel comfortable taking the lead.
You don’t have to worry about any awkward pauses or uncomfortable silences. All the Magic Kingdom characters are great at holding a conversation and making your interaction memorable.
5. Take Advantage of Photopass Photographs while Still Using Your Personal Camera
Photopass is an amazing upgrade you can add to your Disney World vacation. I always purchase the Photopass option and get my money’s worth out of it. But not everybody add Photopass to their vacation package, so they use their own cameras to capture their memories.
Whether you buy the Photopass option or not, I highly recommend you use both the Photopass camera and your personal camera to snap pictures of you meeting Magic Kingdom characters.
There is always a character attendant with the characters along with a Photopass cast member. The Photopass case member will snap a bunch of photos of you and your group meeting the character, and the character attendant is more than happy to snap a few photos with your personal camera.
This gives you twice the opportunity to get the perfect photo and memory!
Be sure to ask the character attendant nicely to take a few photos with your personal camera. Their main job is to make sure the characters are safe, and they’re helping you take photos out of the kindness of their hearts.
Even if you didn’t purchase the Photopass option, you should get your photos linked to your magic band or Photopass card. You never know what photos the photographer caught, and you may fall in love with one.
You can purchase a single photo online through the website if there is one Photopass picture you can’t live without.
The price of a single photo is ridiculously expensive. Almost criminally expensive. Right now, each photo is almost $17USD, and I’m sure the price will only increase with time.
If you think you’ll want to buy more than 10 Photopass photos, I recommend purchasing the Photopass option before you arrive at the hotel.
The price of the Photopass option is slightly discounted if you purchase it before you arrive. You get unlimited photos, so you can really get a good bang for your buck. I normally leave a week-long Disney vacation with well over 200 photos!
If you’re partway through your trip and decide you want to buy a number of different photos, you can purchase a Photopass package. It is a bit more expensive than pre-buying the package, but it will still save you a ton of money compared to buying each photo individually.
The moral of this story is to use both the professional camera and your camera to ensure you get the best photos possible!
6. Consider Getting a Fastpass+ for the Most Popular Magic Kingdom Characters
A Fastpass+ essentially allows you to skip the queue and go right to the front of the line of an attraction or character meet and greet without having to stand in a long line. You’re allowed to pre-book 3 Fastpass+ selection each day you have a ticket, and they’re an amazing way to save a lot of time.
A lot goes into making the perfect Magic Kingdom Fastpass+ selections, and I have an entire post with tips and tricks to make the most out of your Fastpass+ selections at Magic Kingdom here.
I highly recommend you give it a read. It will really help you plan your Fastpass+ selections at Magic Kingdom. It even has some tips even the most experienced Disney World goer might not know.
Is it Worth it to Use a Fastpass+ Selection on Meeting a Character?
It definitely can be!
Characters like Tinker Bell and the princesses can have really long lines. It isn’t unusual for their lines to be over an hour!
If you need to meet one of the most popular Magic Kingdom characters on your trip, you should consider getting a Fastpass+ to meet them. It could save you a lot of time!
Plus the waiting areas and queues to meet the popular characters are always really crowded and loud. I try to spend as little time in them as possible!
What About Mickey?
I mentioned Tinker Bell and the princesses as the two Fastpass+ selections I would recommend for Magic Kingdom.
Mickey Mouse also has a Fastpass+ option, but I don’t think it is the best use of your Fastpass+ selections.
You often have to wait over an hour to meet Mickey, but there are multiple times during the day that his wait is 30 minutes or under.
There have been multiple instances where I’ve waited less than 15 minutes to meet Mickey in Magic Kingdom! It is unreal.
I recommend you keep your eye on the My Disney Experience app and check every now and then to see what Mickey’s wait time is. Once it goes down enough, head over and meet him!
7. Magic Kingdom Characters have Unique Outfits During Special Events
There are two special events at Magic Kingdom throughout the year: Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party (MNSSHP) and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party (MVMCP).
MNSSHP runs from August to October and MVMCP runs from November through December.
These parties are special for a number of reasons, but one of my absolute favourite things to do at them is meet a bunch of characters.
Magic Kingdom characters have special outfits at these two parties that you won’t find anywhere else!
It is so much fun to meet the characters during the parties. At MNSSHP they’re all wearing Halloween costumes, and they’re dressed up for the holiday’s at MVMCP. It is so adorable!
The first time I attended MNNSHP, I spent hours meeting every character I could. That is literally all I did! So worth it.
Some of the highlights at the parties include:
- Jack and Sally from Nightmare Before Christmas
- All Seven Dwarves dressed in either Halloween or Christmas outfits
- Pooh and friends in the most adorable costumes I’ve ever seen
There are so many Magic Kingdom characters out and about during these parties. It is impossible to meet them all in a single night. Trust me, I’ve tried and failed.
You should do some research before you attend the party and decide which characters you need to meet and make that a priority.
Most of the characters have fairly long lines the entire night so be prepared to wait!
The most popular characters often have multi-hour long lines. Like three hours or more! Oftentimes people enter the park as early as they can, go straight to where the character they want to meet is greeting, and wait in line for hours.
The most popular characters include:
- Jack and Sally
- The Seven Dwarves
- Stitch dressed as Elvis at MNSSHP
- Pooh and friends
Sometimes these characters start meeting guests before the party officially starts to try to limit the wait time.
There is no guarantee they will start meeting guests early though so don’t plan your entire party strategy around that!
Even if you’re not a huge fan of meeting characters, I encourage you to take some time to meet a character or two at these parties.
It is such a unique opportunity, and you don’t want to regret missing out on it!
8. Dance Parties are an Unexpected Place to Meet Characters
Everyday there is a Move It! Shake it! MousekeDance It! street party in Magic Kingdom. It is mainly meant for children, but it is a great place to meet some characters you can’t meet anywhere else in Magic Kingdom.
MNNSHP and MVMCP also have a number of dance parties you can attend!
Meeting characters at dance parties is different than how you would normally meet characters in the park. There isn’t a queue, and you aren’t guaranteed an interaction with a particular characters.
Characters dance amongst the crowd and interact with the guests they choose.
Most of the time the guests they dance with are younger, but that isn’t a hard-and-fast rule. Characters at the dance parties will dance with whoever they want for as long as they want!
It isn’t a traditional meet and greet, but it is the perfect place to get an amazing candid photo.
If you are travelling with a small child, dance parties are so much fun! Your children will love it, and you’ll get the most amazing photos and memories from them.
9. Know Where to Find Rare Characters
Every park at Disney World is home to rare characters, and Magic Kingdom is no exception. Outside of Epcot, I would argue that Magic Kingdom has the best selection of rare characters you can meet.
You just need to know where to look for them!
Most of the time rare characters aren’t listed in the guide and are wandering around Magic Kingdom rather than in a tradition meet-and-greet location.
This means you have to be on the lookout for them and jump in line to meet them as soon as you see them. They don’t stick around for long!
Some of the best rare characters you can meet at Magic Kingdom are:
- Fairy God Mother, Anastasia, and Drizella (Cinderella) can be found in New Fantasy Land
- The Country Bears in Frontierland
- Br’er Rabbit, Br’er Bear, and Br’er Fox by Splash Mountain
- Queen of Hearts, Tweedledee & Tweedledum, White Rabbit by the Mad Tea Party ride
On top of the rare characters you can meet on any ordinary day, the parties feature a number of rare characters are well:
- Jane, Tarzan, and Terk
- Lotso the Huggin’ Bear (Toy Story 3)
- Genie (Aladdin)
The characters at the parties have dedicated meet-and-greet locations, so you don’t have to worry about have to track them down!
I love bumping into rare characters while wandering around Magic Kingdom. It is so much fun, and you never know who you’ll find!
Meeting characters at Magic Kingdom is one of my favourite things to do! It is fun for everybody no matter your age.
Interacting with characters at Disney makes you feel young at heart even if you’re not longer a kid. Or at least it does for me!
I don’t think a Disney trip would be complete for me without meeting at least a couple of characters!
The 9 tips I went over in this post will help you meet and interact with Magic Kingdom characters like a pro even if you’re a newbie. You’ll be able to resist the characters on Main Street USA as you’re walking into the park and know where the rare characters like to hang out.
A trip to Disney really is magical, and the characters make it even more magical!
So say hi to Mickey from me next time you see him!