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IMGcharactermmBy Devo CabDisney

I hear of so many people who return from their Walt Disney World vacation that say “There were no characters.” No characters? At Disney World? It doesn’t have to be this way! It’s just not a proper Walt Disney World vacation without pictures with your favorite characters. Now, I can understand why people often miss the characters. You see pictures all over the internet and on television of characters walking all around Walt Disney World and Disneyland. People just don’t understand that they are seeing promotional photos or pictures of rare circumstances. Your chances of seeing a character wandering the streets of Disneyland are much greater than your chances at Disney World. Why? I don’t have an official answer but I would venture to say that it has something to do with the heat. After all, it is Florida. People complain all the time about the heat and humidity while wearing t-shirts and shorts. Wanna try that in a full head to toe fur suit? Go ahead, I’ll wait.

Anyhow, there are characters all over the Walt Disney World resort! If you want to meet them and get a photo or autograph, there just isn’ an excuse. Here are my top five tips for finding your favorite Disney characters!

1. Get An App! The My Disney Experience app is a must! It’s kind of like the hub that holds everything together. There you can plan, organize, and even change your dining reservations and Fast Passes. You’ll find attraction wait times, maps, and hours for all the parks. You’ll even find a list of characters with their general times and location of appearance! You’ll probably find a pretty broad time span on the app such as 9 am to 7 pm. Don’t think Pluto is going to stand all day long from 9 am to 7 pm in that hot Florida sun. He is going to occasionally take a break to the little boy’s hydrant. But don’t fret, he’ll return. Look out for the character handlers. They will be the Cast Members wearing the blue shirts that follow the characters around. If in doubt, politely ask the handler if and when Pluto will be returning. Oh, and if the handler says that Pluto won’t be returning and you were just two seconds too late to meet the best dog in the whole park, don’t give the Cast Member a lot of grief. Let’s be honest, not meeting Pluto has not ruined your vacation. There are many more characters to see and plenty of opportunities to meet Pluto later!

2. Get A Map! When you first enter the park, you should easily be able to find park maps. If you forget or lose one, you can find them in all the gift shops as well. These maps aren’t just useful for finding characters and keeping you from getting lost, but you will find so much more information on that little piece of paper! Oh, and they make for some great craft projects when you get home.

3. Get A Guide! Remember that app I told you about? There are characters listed there, but here’s a secret; not all the characters are listed in that app. Shocking! I know! When you grab that map, also grab a Times Guide. They are usually located right next to the maps. You’ll find out what parades and shows are happening that day with their times and locations. This small piece of paper is an invaluable tool. We will not enter a park without one. Times and schedules for everything is on this guide. You’ll find a list of characters that you might not find on the app. You’ll also get more accurate times for the meet and greets.

4. Get A Clue! Research! Research! Research! If you have never been to Walt Disney World, you can never do enough research. You might think you know it all, but I guarantee that you don’t. Find out everything you possibly can before you arrive. It won’t seem so overwhelming when you do arrive. I say this because you could very possibly look a list of characters and some could be located at Pete’s Silly Sideshow. Um…what’s Pete’s Sideshow? Well, if you did your research, you would know exactly where Pete’s Silly Sideshow is located. Or at least you could probably put two and two together and figure it out.

5. Get Some Shade! When in doubt, look for shade! You won’t believe who you’ll run into when you’re in the shade. One day after a nice chat and a sing along with my best friend Mickey Mouse, I walked out of the Town Square Theatre, took a quick glance to the left and stuck right back in the corner was the lovely Snow White. Thousands of people probably walked right by that building and had no clue what so ever that THE very first princess just happened to be right there greeting guests. Lady Tremaine, Anastasia, and Drizella can often be found in the shadows of Cinderella Castle plotting their hostel take over. But if you simply walk through the castle on your merry way to Fantasyland, oblivious to those around you, you would never know.

Now I hope this helps you out! It just makes me so sad to think that people go to Disney World and never see characters. It’s a travesty, I tell ya. If you ever find yourself having trouble finding your favorite characters, simply follow these tips. It’s easier than a sprinkle of pixie dust and a bibbidi bobbidi boo!