Who says princesses are for girls? My little guys LOVED meeting the princesses and all of the characters during our last Disney Vacation. And, we learned a little bit along the way about how to make the most out of the character interactions.
Characters at Disney are such a part of the atmosphere and magic that before you get there it’s hard not to envision your kids (or yourself) running up to Mickey and becoming best friends! What you don’t picture are the hundreds of other people also running up to Mickey or the sheer number of things to do at Disney World other than meet characters.
Having completed trip #3 (and already booked trip #4) we are getting into the sweet spot of understanding how to navigate the world of Disney. Here we present our Top 5 tips to help your family have great character interactions:
- Balance your character time. Ride lines can be long… AND… character lines can be long- we like to try to make sure we are splitting our time doing different things- not a day full of rides or a day full of characters, but a good mix of the two with some extra exploration thrown in! Character meet-n-greets can be really fun, but if you try to pack in too many in one day, the interactions tend to run together and they lose just a little bit of the magic. Space out your day and have some fun!
- Make sure you know everyone before you go! Our boys have never had a “surprise” Disney vacation (you know, with the big reveal of “We’re leaving tomorrow! Your suitcases are already packed!”) SO… we spend the months and weeks leading up to our trip re-watching our favorite Disney movies and particularly making sure we watch the ones with characters we know we will see! It’s a great way to build excitement before vacation and it’s also a good time to talk about who your child most wants to meet! Nothing would bum me out more than standing in line for 45 minutes to meet Pluto and end up with a crying kid because he really wanted to meet Buzz Lightyear instead, but I didn’t ask. So, to that end, I like to make lists of top priorities and set those as goals for the day! In the mom world, it’s also good prep that there is no way to accomplish everything at Disney World and meet every available character. The kids knowing and understanding that in advance can prevent any meltdowns later in the day.
- Book at least one character meal. Regardless of where you choose, the experience of a character meal is totally different than what you get walking through the parks. It’s a special way to let your little ones interact with characters at a different pace and in a different way. Some of the meals (like Tusker House buffet or ‘Ohana) will include a parade through the restaurant or other special touches. Two final bonuses of booking a character meal are: the guarantee of meeting a specific person or maybe a character that is less common AND the ability to see more than one character at a time. For example the dinner service at 1900 Park Fare includes the ugly step-sisters from Cinderella, definitely a hard-to-find duo and on our most recent trip to Cinderella’s Royal Table, we met 5 princesses over the course of our lunch!
- Use the My Disney Experience App! We had great luck on our last trip checking the wait times via the app and updating our plans. We also were able to snag a few last minute Fast Passes for characters later in the evenings. One day in the Magic Kingdom the wait times for Rapunzel and Tiana were consistently over an hour and they were not on our priority list to meet (although my little boys LOVE the Princess in the Frog!) so we decided to just skip those characters. My husband was the King of the FastPasses and found a Fast Pass for 9:30PM to meet Rapunzel and Tiana! We walked right pass the stand-by line full of people and my boys had a great interaction with those characters. Unexpectedly some of those photos ended up being favorites from the trip!
- . Branch out from the standard autograph book. Disney sells some version of an autograph book at literally EVERY shop, corner, and kiosk in the whole World. Most* characters are gracious to sign and I think it adds something to do when you meet each one, but what do you do with all of those autographs when you get home? There are tons of different ideas on Pinterest, but the ones we have liked best are the A-Z Character encyclopedias (the characters can sign by their picture!), pictures mats that you can take home and frame, and pillow cases (don’t forget your own fabric markers!). All of these are great souvenirs that get used and appreciated after your trip!
Hopefully these tips will help your family make magical memories and meet all your favorite Disney characters!
Thanks for stopping by!