By Soarin’ Diva
My family loves to meet and greet with characters when we visit Walt Disney World. Each character is unique and you can have such a fun and amazing interaction with every one of them. What we don’t like to do, however, is stand in long lines waiting on characters. We have a kind of unspoken rule that if the wait time for a character is more than twenty minutes, we aren’t going to get in that line. While we love our character interactions, we also love to ride attractions without having to stand in lines all day. We will forego standing in a character meet and greet line if it appears to cut into our attraction time.
Because of this little rule of ours, we were a little surprised at how many characters we WERE able to meet on our last Disney vacation.
We didn’t actually start out with the intentions of meeting more than a few characters, though we were prepared and armed with our favorite autograph book just in case, which you can read more about here. However; we did start to notice a trend on this particular trip. A trend in which the wait times for the characters were actually manageable. Wait times that meant we were willing to stop what we were doing and hop into that line with our autograph book, pen, camera and smiles.
It wasn’t just one park that we noticed these wait times either, it was all four of Walt Disney World’s parks. Can you imagine, we only had to wait about twenty minutes to see both Anna and Elsa at Epcot? It was amazing to us! Actually, the longest wait we had was at Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. My son really wanted to meet Genie from Aladdin, so we hopped into a line, which admittedly, exceeded our self-imposed wait time limit. The posted time was about thirty-five minutes, but we decided to go ahead and wait, because we so rarely get to see Genie out and about. Sadly, by the time we were about three families back from meeting him, he had to go for a little break, so they brought out Aladdin and Abu in his place. We were disappointed, but decided to wait it out and meet Aladdin and Abu since we had already been in line that long, and we had never actually met Abu either.
My oldest son really wanted to meet Baymax this year as well. Something about that large, bumbling fellow really appeals to my son. We weren’t expecting the lines to be manageable, but we were shocked to discover they were very short when we stopped by, making it possible to not only meet Baymax, but Joy and Sadness as well, which thrilled us all.
All in all, we were thrilled with how many characters we were able to meet without really having to wait a long time on this trip. I think we totaled twenty-nine characters, which I know is no record by any means, but for our family (who does NOT like to wait in character lines) it was pretty amazing.
I do have a couple of tips I can give you would like to see your teen meet as many characters as they can. First and foremost, if you have male teens as I do, they aren’t normally so willing to give up their “cool teen boy” status by meeting characters, especially princesses. We went through a couple of years where our boys would flat out refuse to meet female characters, but something changed this year, they were more than willing.
Diva Tip #1: Your teen (boy) has to actually be willing to meet all characters, not just the male characters.
Diva Tip #2: Take advantage of the Disney Dining Plan and schedule those character meals. If you aren’t on the dining plan, but you already plan to pay out of pocket for a table service meal, try picking a character meal. This is a very quick and easy way to meet several characters at once.
Diva Tip #3: Another tip I can offer is using apps on your phone. I know My Disney Experience gives a little bit of insight on their app as to which characters meet and the time and place of meet and greets. We actually like to use Kenny the Pirate’s app though. I will tell you right off the bat that there is an annual fee to use his app, but by far, Kenny’s Character Locater app is the absolute best and most informative app out there for meeting characters. It’s worth the whopping $8 a year I have spent on it. Not only will it tell you which characters meet where and what time, it goes on to tell you if the characters sign autographs, if Fastpass+ is available for that character, whether or not the location is air-conditioned, if there is a Photopass/Memory Maker available for that character, and even some suggestions of things to say to the character for the best interactions. I know what you’re thinking, and no, I’m not a paid advertiser for the Character Locator app, I just really, really, really like it. A lot. Oh, and just a little side note, using the Character Locator app actually uses less battery than using the My Disney Experience app, which tends to drain your battery quickly.)
So are you ready and willing to get your teen out and go meet those characters now? Are you ready to start planning your magical vacation and enjoy all that Disney has to offer, but you aren’t sure where to start? Contact our recommended travel agent, Patricia at All Dreams for Travel, and she can do all the work for you. Best of all, all of her services are FREE, all you have to do is click here to request a quote!