Where to find the Disney Characters at Disney World

If you are heading to Disney World, there is a good chance you will want to see at least one Disney Character. If you are heading with children then it is going to be a “for sure” thing!

Even as an adult, to see Mickey Mouse or Donald Duck brings out the child in us and to see your children meet Minnie Mouse or Buzz Lightyear with that huge smile on their faces can be one of the best moments of the trip.

Disney does a wonderful job with the characters. When guests meet them, they magically interact with those they are in contact with great personality, mannerisms and enthusiasm in order to give people exactly what they were hoping for.

how to meet characters at disney world

It is important to know, if you have never had character interactions before, that characters with fur (including non-human characters like the Toy Story folks, Disney’s Fab Five and others) cannot talk. They communicate through actions, gestures and body language.

Characters who are face characters do talk. Characters like Mary Poppins, any of the Princesses and other animated characters brought to life, will indeed talk to you in the exact way you would expect. The Cast Members playing the characters even have a wealth of knowledge about the character’s makeup and personality.

What Disney Characters are at the Walt Disney World Parks?

More characters are available to meet than you think! Many of the popular characters Disney has brought to us over the years can be found at Disney World, however, not all are at every park and on every day.

A little investigative work might need to be done on your part before you head out to the parks to insure you are seeing your favorite character.

Rapunzel

Here are the characters you can usually find at one of the Disney World parks. This is by no means an exact list but gives you a good idea of the amount of characters.

The Fab 5. Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Goofy, Donald Duck, Daisy Duck

Disney Princesses. Cinderella, Snow White, Aurora, Jasmine, Belle, Ariel (the Little Mermaid), Rapunzel, Elsa, Anna, Tiana, Mulan, Moana, Merida, Elena of Avalor, Pocahontas. We have a list of questions to ask the Disney princesses when you meet them here.

Pixar. Buzz Lightyear, Woody, Jessie, Sully, The Incredibles, Russel, Olaf, Kevin, Miguel, Joy and others

Star Wars. Chewbacca, Darth Vader, Storm Troopers others

Animals. Winnie the Pooh, Chip and Dale, Pluto, Stitch, Dug and others

Minor Characters. Many other “secondary” characters can be found including, some of the seven Dwarfs, Star Wars characters, Disney Junior characters, Alice in Wonderland, Mad Hatter, Peter Pan, Flynn Rider, Tinker Bell, and more.

What are the ways to have Character Meets?

When you watch a Disney World vacation commercial, you may get the idea that you will simply be walking through one of the parks, almost by yourself, and as you turn the corner past the Cinderella Castle, out will pop Cinderella herself and your child will run up to her and give her a big hug, again, with no one else around. She will blow you a kiss as you continue to make your way to the next attraction.

Unfortunately this can’t be further from the truth. The Disney Characters will never be walking alone trying to find you.

You need to make the effort to find the character. How does this happen? There are primarily three different ways to see the characters for a meet and greet.

1. Character Meals.

The first way, and in our opinion, the best way to meet n greet your favorite Disney Characters is to dine at a Disney restaurant that has the characters you would like to see. This is one of our top suggestions of things to splurge on during your Walt Disney World vacation.

The main reason we like a character dining experience so much, is because of the time factor. You can fill your tummies and see your character friends at the same time.

There can be a few issues in this approach, the main one being that your favorite characters may not be at any restaurant. Another issue is that the food, wait staff, and commotion of a Disney Restaurant may not be the ideal spot for interactions and pictures.

chef mickeys

A couple great places to meet characters is Chef Mickey’s and Story Book Dining at Artist Point.

2. Traditional Character Meet and Greets

Unlike the character meals, this is a wonderful way to have the character giving you the most attention and getting the best pictures.

In a traditional meet, you will wait in line/que like any other attraction. When it is finally your time, you (or probably your child) will be able to interact with the character in a personal way.

You will have time for asking questions, getting autographs and posing for pictures (which is almost always done through the Disney PhotoPass Service) and possibly getting a hug.

elsa and adlee

Using the paid add-on Genie+, you will be able to book meet and greets with some characters in the park you are headed to on any given day. This will give you shorter lines allowing you to see more characters.

3. Informal Park Character Meets

Each day, each Disney park will have character experiences that you may not know about until the day it happens.

How will you find out about a particular character interaction? They are posted in the My Disney Experience app and the times guide. If you don’t look in one of these two places you may not know about them.

As soon as the character shows up, the line can get long quickly and it will usually end abruptly. Time with the character is not long, but it is a fun way to get a quick meeting. We have seen Mary Poppins and Pluto in these informal meeting situations.

Pluto with family Epcot

What are Character Cavalcades at Disney World?

You may have heard of Character Cavalcades at Disney World. What’s it all about? Just after the pandemic was winding down and things were getting back to normal, there were still no character meet and greets and Disney was worried that the full blown parades would cause people to be too close together so they developed shorter, smaller, more impromptu parades called Cavalcades.

Cavalcades was a quick way for guests to see characters from a distance and because it moved by swiftly (a couple of minutes), it didn’t cause people to congregate closely.

Mickey in car parade

Now that everything is opened up and seemingly back to normal, including the bigger parades, Disney has kept the Cavalcades, at least for the time being. As of now there are nine cavalcades at Disney World.

Two are at Magic Kingdom, one is at Hollywood Studios, and six are at Animal Kingdom. Please note that this is not a meet and greet. The characters will only wave from a float and not interact with you other than from a distance.

Festival of the Fantasy Parade

In addition to the Cavalcades, the Magic Kingdom hosts a wonderful parade 2 times every day called the Festival of the Fantasy Parade. Here you will be able to see many types of characters in one place.

Similar to the Cavalcades, you will not be able to meet and greet any of the characters. It is simply a watch and wave parade, however, the characters do as much as they can to make it personal by pointing and waving and doing other mannerisms. Many of the following characters can be seen at this parade:

  • Micky Mouse
  • Minnie Mouse
  • Donald Duck
  • Daisy Duck
  • Belle and the Beast
  • Cinderella and Prince Charming
  • Peter Pan
  • Captain Hook
  • Aurora
  • Prince Philip
  • Maleficent Dragon
  • Pinnochio
  • Dumbo
  • Tiana and Prince Naveen
  • Anna and Elsa
  • Flynn Rider and Rapunzel
  • Ariel
  • Pluto, Mad Hatter
  • Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
Tinkerbell

Character Dining Restaurants information

The following restaurants all have different characters available for meet and greet. Some are only Character Breakfasts or Dinners and some have characters present at all meals.

As always, if you are looking for a specific character and have a must-meet list, please call Disney for further information.

Please note: Specific Characters May Change Without Notice.

Akershus Royal Banquet Hall

Location: Epcot
Service: Buffet
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Characters: Snow White, Jasmine, Princess Aurora, Bell, Mary Poppins

Cinderella’s Royal Table

Location: Disney’s Magic Kingdom
Service: Menu
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Characters: Cinderella
Notes: Cinderella’s Royal Table used to have several princesses during your meal. Since the pandemic this character meal has been not consistent with meet and greets. Currently you can meet Cinderella prior to your meal. Be sure to check before booking.

cinderella and kids

Chef Mickey’s

Location: Contemporary Resort
Service: Buffet
Meals: Breakfast and Dinner
Characters: Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald, Goofy and Pluto

We share even more about Chef Mickey’s here!

Cape May Cafe

Location: Disney’s Beach Club Resort
Service: Buffet
Meals: Breakfast is the only meal with characters
Characters: Minnie Mouse, Donald, Daisy and Goofy

Notes: Minnie’s Beach Bash Breakfast is the place to be for the characters

Hollywood and Vine

Location: Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Service: Buffet
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Characters: Fancy Nancy, Vampirina, Doc McStuffins, Roadster Goofy at breakfast and Micky Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Daisy Duck, Goofy and Pluto at the other meals.
Notes: Disney Junior Play ‘n Dine Breakfast and Minnie’s Seasonal Dine for lunch and dinner

Tusker House Restaurant

Location: Disney’s Animal Kingdom
Service: Buffet
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Characters: Micky Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Daisy Duck and Goofy
Notes: Characters dress in safari clothes

Animal Kingdom Entrance
Animal Kingdom Entrance photo by Jennifer Lynn (Flickr)

Garden Grill

Location: Epcot
Service: Buffet
Meals: Lunch and Dinner
Characters: Micky Mouse, Pluto and Chip and Dale
Notes: Rotating Restaurant

Artist Point – Story Book Dining with Snow White

Location: Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort
Service: Menu
Meals: Dinner
Characters: Snow White, Dopey, Grumpy and the Evil Queen
Notes: Elegant

Topolino’s Terrace – Flavors of the Riviera

Location: Disney’s Riviera Resort
Service: Menu
Meals: Breakfast and Dinner
Characters: Micky Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Daisy Duck
Notes: Fireworks view in the evening

The Crystal Palace

Location: Disney’s Magic Kingdom
Service: Buffet
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Characters: Winnie the Pooh and friends including Tigger, Piglet and Eeyore
Notes: Window table can get glimpses of the Main Street Parade and Fireworks in the evening

‘Ohana

Location: Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort
Service: All you can eat feast
Meals: Breakfast and Dinner
Characters: Micky Mouse, Stitch, Lilo and Pluto during breakfast
Notes: Hawaiian style “Churrascaria” type of service for dinner

Polynesian restaurant
Polynesian restaurant

Be Our Guest

Location: Disney’s Magic Kingdom
Service: Menu
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Characters: Beast
Notes: This is not a meet and greet at your table. Guests can meet Beast in the Masters Library after the meal

Trattoria al Forno

Location: Disney’s BoardWalk Inn Resort
Service: Menu
Meals: Bon Voyage Adventure Breakfast
Characters: Rapunzel, Flynn Rider, Ariel, Prince Eric
Notes: Characters are currently not available, check here for updates.

For more information on Disney’s Boardwalk go here.

Ariel

1900 Park Fare

Location: Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort
Service: Buffet
Meals: Breakfast and Dinner
Characters: Cinderella, Prince Charming, Lady Tremaine and Cinderella’s Stepsisters, Anastasia and Drizella
Notes: Characters are currently not available

Where to find Characters by Park

For the Disney World Characters meet, refer to the following characters and locations to see them. Please note that Disney will sometimes suspend Character appearances for different reasons so be sure to call Disney for exact appearances.

They are also known to not allow actual close contact but instead have the characters isolated from the greet at various times for various reasons.

Anna Ana

Magic Kingdom

Mickey Mouse – located at the Town Square Theater
Minnie Mouse – located at the Town Square Theater
Tiana – located at Princess Fairytale Hall
Rapunzel – located at Princess Fairytale Hall
Cinderella – located at Princess Fairytale Hall
Elena of Avalor – located at Princess Fairytale Hall
Peter Pan – located near Peter Pan’s Flight in Fantasyland
Captain Jack Sparrow – located in Adventureland
Aladdin and Jasmine – located in Adventurelan
Buzz Lightyear – located in Tomorrowland
Country Bears – located in Frontierland
Stitch – located in Tomorrowland
Belle – located at Maurice’s Cottage
Chip and Dale – located at Storybook Circus
Merida – located at Fairytale Gardens
Snow White – located at the Town Square Theater Porch
Tigger and Winnie the Pooh – located near the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh

minnie mouse and family

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Mickey Mouse – located at the Red Carpet Dreams
Minnie Mouse – located at the Red Carpet Dreams
Vampirina – located at Animation Courtyard
Olaf – located at Celebrity Spotlight
Fancy Nancy – located at Animation Courtyard
Doc McStuffins – located at Animation Courtyard
Sulley – located at Animation Courtyard
Pluto – located at Animation Courtyard
Chewbacca – located at Star Wars Launch Bay
BB-8 – located at Star Wars Launch Bay
Darth Vader – located at Star Wars Launch Bay
Rey – located in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge
Buzz Lightyear – located at Toy Story Land
Sheriff Woody – located at Toy Story Land
Jessie the Cowgirl – located at Toy Story Land

woody and Jessie parade

Hollywood Studios – The following characters are not meet and greet but can be seen from a distance

First Order Stormtroopers – located in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge
Kylo Ren – located in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge
Vi Moradi – located in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge
Chip ‘n’ Dale – located in the Brown Derby Lawn
Daisy Duck – located on the Front Entrance Balcony
Donald Duck – located on the Front Entrance Balcony
Goofy – located on the Tower of Terror Balcony
Max – located on the Tower of Terror Balcony

Epcot

Joy – located at ImageWorks – The “What If” labs
Vanellope Von Schweetz – located at ImageWorks – The “What If” labs
Donald Duck – located in the Mexico Pavilion
Anna and Elsa – located at Royal Sommerhaus in the Norway Pavilion
Mulan – located in the China Pavilion Gardens
Snow White – located in the Germany pavilion
Jasmine – located in the Morocco Pavilion
Alice – located in the UK Pavilion
Mary Poppins – located in the UK Pavilion
Belle – located in the France Pavilion
Princess Aurora – located in the France Pavilion
Goofy – located near the main entrance of Epcot
Pluto – located near the main entrance of Epcot
Minnie Mouse – located at the World Showcase Friendship Ambassador Gazeebo
Mickey Mouse – located at the Disney and Pixar Short Film Festival
Daisy Duck – located at the International Gateway

Snow White

Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Disney pals featuring Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse – located at Adventures Outpost
Chip ‘n’ Dale – located in DinoLand U.S.A.
Daisy Duck – located in DinoLand U.S.A.
Donald Duck – located in DinoLand U.S.A.
Kevin – located on Discovery Island
Russell – located on Discovery Island

Special Event Character Interactions

Characters can also be found at Disney Special events. You can find the Special Events Calendar here.

Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party

Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party is an extra pay event but will have characters that are not your typical main Disney characters.

Included in the lineup has been:
Gaston, Jack Skellington and Sally, Aladdin and Abu, The Disney Genie along with Jasmine and Jafar, Queen of Hearts.

Maleficent
Maleficent at Disney’s Not So Scary Halloween Party

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is similar to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party with rare character sightings, including:

  • Santa Claus
  • Flynn Rider
  • Mary Poppins with Bert
  • Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum
  • Prince Eric and Ariel
  • Moana
  • Jack Skellington

runDisney Events

runDisney events also will give us some fun character meet and greets that are a bit out of the ordinary. Those include:

  • Carabelle
  • Woody and Bullseye
  • Pinocchio
  • the Seven Dwarfs
  • Jimmy Cricket
  • Atta and Flick
  • Sebastian
  • Mike and Sully
  • Star Lord and Gamora
  • Judy Hops and Nick Wilde.

Hopefully you are well equipped to head out to the parks and dining areas to see your favorite Disney characters.

Don’t forget your autograph book and remember to do your homework before heading out to the parks so you are sure your favorite character is there!

Want more? Head to one of these!

About disneywithdavesdaughters

Dave and his daughters have been going to Disney for 30+ years, all on a teacher's budget . They love helping families have the most magical Disney vacation ever by sharing all their expert family secrets. Feel free to send them a message or follow along on Instagram!