Disney World Characters Tips
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On our last trip to Walt Disney World my family and I stayed at Bay Lake Tower. We noticed a little after 8:30 p.m. the Pirates and Pals Fireworks Voyage comes down to the boat dock at the Contemporary. You can see Captain Hook and Smee lead their crew to the boats. We also went by the Community Hall at Bay Lake Tower on the way back to our room around 8:45 p.m. and noticed Peter Pan was sitting on the couch watching a movie with the kids. He would also take pictures with anybody that wanted one. I am not sure how often he is there, but it's worth a peek in to see if he is there. It is a good way to see Peter Pan with little to no wait. - Sara Bousum
Some of the characters featured in the "A Galaxy Far, Far Away" show in Disney's Hollywood Studios will stand behind the stage, posing for photos, while they are waiting to perform. If you find yourself in that area at the right time, you may be treated to a closer look at Darth Vader, Stormtroopers or even Boba Fett. - AllEars® Editor Deb Koma
At the time of our last trip, our 10-month-old had just started walking a bit. When we did character meets, we wanted to put him down and let him interact with the character. It went great until we lost a shoe. The cast members informed us that if the child is not wearing shoes, you cannot put him down. We tried at several different meet-and- greets, but were repeatedly told no. Baby shoes are easy to lose, so my tip is to take an extra pair. We were really sad that we couldn't get a picture of him standing with Mickey like a big boy! (Bonus tip: Lost and Found is amazing! We got our shoe back later.) - Dannielle Puckett
Arrange for dinner at Chef Mickey's at the Contemporary Resort for the evening of your arrival. You may not want to waste a day on your ticket by going into the parks for just a few hours, especially if you've been traveling all day, but the kids want to get started. With young ones they want to SEE MICKEY and at Chef Mickey's you can see all the main characters right at your table, and get those autographs and pictures. The kids feel like they are at Disney right away and you aren't having to wait in line at the parks to see the main characters. We even had our daughter bring a picture she drew of Mickey and Minnie and they autographed it for her at the table. Very special. With little ones who want to see the princesses instead, I'd try to arrange for a princess character meal so the whole trip isn't about chasing down the characters. - Jennifer B.
For the ultimate in Disney character autograph books try this:
- Take pictures of yourselves with characters (character dining is great for this).
- After you have enough photos (we collected almost 50) get them printed into a 4x6 flip book at Snapfish, Shutterfly, or something similar.
- Return to Walt Disney World to collect autographs. Be sure to have a Sharpie. It's a good idea to keep the book in a zipper-top bag for wet rides.
You can put your whole party (group shots and individual photos) into a single book, or make up separate books for each (might work better for kids). Be aware this took four vacations and it's almost complete. It's a long process, but the result is a one-of-a-kind personal treasure. - Greg Pidluski
This was the neatest thing I have brought to Disney so far in our four trips. It is a book called "Disney Junior Encyclopedia of Animated Characters." Each character has his/her own page and a picture with a short story. The characters love it and make such a big deal over it. Most of the speaking characters spent a lot of extra time with my 8-year-old Emily and some even read their own stories with her. Cinderella read the evil stepsisters page to my daughter to show how mean they were to her. Will NEVER go again without it. Don't forget LARGE markers, as they are eaiser for Characters with gloves to hold on to. Makes a great coffee table book afterward and saves a lot of money on multiple autograph books. - Craig Chambers
You can find Dug and Russell from Pixar's UP at Animal Kingdom. I thought you may want to add them in case others are looking for them! - Tricia
Our kids love getting autographs while visiting Disney World and we've filled a couple of books. On a recent trip I thought I would surprise the kids with something different. I purchased a white pillowcase and some colored fabric permanent markers along with a small clipboard for each child. I wrote each child's name and date of our visit on their pillowcase. Before heading out, I would arrange a blank space for a character to sign and secure it with an elastic. After a character signed it, I would quickly refold a new blank space for the next signature. I kept all the markers in a small sandwich bag and the pillowcases in a zip-top storage bag. It easily fit into my backpack, was easily accessible and stayed dry, too. The kids loved picking out a specific color for each character and now have a great decorative pillow keepsake of our magical trip! Goofy even wrote "sweet dreams" on my daughter's pillowcase! - Suzy
Polynesian Resort - In late August we had a character breakfast planned at 'Ohana. When our server greeted us and offered juice and coffee, on a whim I asked about getting a French press of 100 percent Kona coffee, which they serve over at Kona Cafe. The server had never served one herself, but was happy to oblige our request! The coffee was the same price as next door, $7.99 for the pot, and worth every penny. After enduring Nescafe for more than a week, the fresh Kona coffee was like liquid gold to us! It was so good that we nearly ordered a second pot of it. For $7.99 this is a great way to perfect the 'Ohana breakfast experience. The French press serves about four cups of coffee. And remember that this is 100 perent Kona, not a blend like at the coffee bar. - Doug H.
One of the best places to meet characters is at The Magic of Disney Animation at Disney's Hollywood Studios. We've met lots of great characters here before, but on our visit last month we went there during an afternoon rain. Among the regulars (Pooh and the Incredibles), were Pinocchio and Geppetto, Chip and Dale, Mulan, Mary Poppins and Mr. Penguin, Minnie and Pluto, and Goofy with his son Max. We were thrilled to get to meet some of the harder-to-find characters, and there wasn't more than a 10-minute wait for any of them. - Rebekah McM
My suggestion is that you book a character breakfast before the park opens. You simply give your dining reservation name/number at the entrance. You can stroll leisurely to your dining with no crowds and take pictures along the way. By the time you exit breakfast, the park will have just openned and you can easily get to your favorite rides with short lines/wait. - Michelle
For character autographs, we're bringing a few little Golden Books with us to character meals to ask the characters to sign the inside of their book (even a Sharpie marker tends to fade on the cover). You can find almost any title with a set of characters (for Pooh) or princesses, etc. They don't take up much room in my bag and are a great way to keep a 3-year-old entertained during waits in the park that day. - Katharine
We are traveling with my 2-1/2 year-old granddaughter early next year. I have witnessed, as well as heard from others about the "Fear Factor" getting the tots close to the characters can cause. Since she watches Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, she only has that and her stuffed animals for size reference. So, I have been telling her about how Mickey is big like Mom and Dad. Then one day I spotted some sing-along DVDs Disney has for sale through their movie club: SingAlong Songs at Walt Disney World: Beach Party and Campout. They show kids around 10 years old interacting with full-size characters in a variety of settings and activities to go with the DVD title, singing songs together with the words dubbed below. She LOVES these DVDs! Fort Wilderness and Bay Lake (and the former Discovery Island) are featured on CAMPOUT. Typhoon Lagoon, Blizzard Beach and other beaches in the "World" are the settings for BEACH PARTY. Hopefully, these perspective videos will help her deal with the surprise size of the characters she meets!
EDITOR'S NOTE: You can purchase these DVDs and other Disney-related items, though the AllEars.Net Amazon Store:
Sing Along Beach Party DVD: http://astore.amazon.com/debsunoffiwaltdi/detail/B0009X75WO
Sing Along Campout DVD: http://astore.amazon.com/debsunoffiwaltdi/detail/B0009X75XI
If you do autograph collecting with your kids, be sure to write the child's name (or have the child write it) on the inside cover of the autograph book. When we went to visit Ariel, my daughter asked her, "Do you remember me?" Ariel, with an amazing degree of subtlety, snuck a quick peek inside the cover of the autograph book and replied, "Well of course I do, Anna!" Our daughter never noticed the sneak peek, and was absolutely delighted that Ariel "remembered" her. - Cari Brooks
I've heard of people having the characters sign shirts or postcards and the like. One year, we bought a nice hardback copy of a biography about Walt Disney and got the characters to sign the inside and back covers and blank pages at the beginning and end of the book. It kind of turned into an informal tribute to Walt Disney; having character signatures in a book about the man who started the Disney magic we enjoy today. - Josh Bunting