Disney Park Characters: How to Find Them Without Waiting in Line

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Meeting Disney park characters is a magical experience for guests of all ages in Disney World. However, with the long lines that often form at character meet and greets, it can be challenging to meet all your favorites without spending hours waiting in line. One of the most magical parts of Walt Disney World is seeing park characters we know and love come to life. Disney World character meet-and-greets are fun for all ages, but where do we go to meet characters at Disney World? How do we plan a trip full of fun interactions? Not to worry, there are lots of opportunities to meet characters, and we know them all.

Tips To Find Your Favorite Disney Characters

most favorite disney park characters

You may skip the tiresome long waiting lines for a character meet and greet by using these expert tips. If you're a parent of young children, you already know that they rarely have a lot of patience. So, finding a method to cut down on tedious wait times of more than thirty minutes is essential. With these tips to beat character wait times at Disney, you can take advantage of everything from character dining experiences to lesser-known perks.

Disney Characters: Using My Disney Experience App

The My Disney Experience app is a must-have for any Disney vacation, and it's especially helpful for finding characters. This app is an essential tool that can also be used to find character meet-and-greet locations and wait times. Simply open the app and tap on the “Characters” icon. You will see a list of all the characters that are available to meet on that day. You can also filter the list by park and character type. Moreover, the My Disney Experience app gives you the added benefit of setting up alerts. You'll be notified when your favorite characters are out.

Look For Characters In Lesser-known Locations

disney characters in leser-known locations

Not all character meet-and-greets are created equal. Some characters are more popular than others, and their lines will be correspondingly longer. If you're looking to avoid the crowds, try meeting characters in lesser-known locations. The most popular characters, such as Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse, will always have long lines. But there are many other characters that you can meet with much shorter wait times or even no wait at all, such as:

  • Disneyland: Redwood Creek Challenge Trail, Frontierland, Adventureland
  • Disney California Adventure: Grizzly Peak, Hollywood Land, Cars Land
  • Magic Kingdom: Frontierland, Adventureland, Liberty Square
  • Epcot: World Showcase pavilions, The Seas with Nemo & Friends
  • Disney's Hollywood Studios: Toy Story Land, Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge, Animation Courtyard

See Disney Characters On The Parade Route

The easiest way to see your favorite Disney characters come to life is during parades in the parks. During parades and shows, many characters will walk around the park and interact with guests. This is a great way to meet multiple characters at once without having to wait in line. There are no lines, and you have the chance to see a bunch of characters all in one show! Magic Kingdom parades tend to bring out the most characters, from princesses to pirates and all the animal friends in between. Meeting characters during a parade is undoubtedly the least personal experience. It may be better for some kids who get a bit nervous around strangers and costumes. Keep in mind you won’t be getting any autographs or individual pictures during a parade. 

Meet Characters At Character Dining Experiences

disney character dining experience

Character dining experiences are a great way to meet multiple characters without having to wait in line. At these restaurants, the characters come to your table to greet you, sign autographs, and pose for photos. Additionally, there are many character dining experiences available at Walt Disney World restaurants, both inside and outside of the parks. Reservations are required for all character dining experiences, so be sure to book yours in advance. To make a reservation, you can use the My Disney Experience app or call Disney Dining at (407) WDW-DINE (407-939-3463).

It's slightly less personal than official meet-and-greets in the parks, but you can still snag a photo and an autograph. There are many character dining experiences at Walt Disney World resorts. It means you don’t need to pay for park admission, but you still get to experience the magic. The best part is you can book a dining reservation at any resort hotel, whether you are a guest or not. Character dining experiences can be expensive, but they're worth it if you want to meet multiple characters without spending hours waiting in line.

Most Famous Character Dining Experiences

Some of the most popular Disney character dining experiences include:

  • Meet Mickey and friends for an all-you-can-eat buffet at Chef Mickey’s located in Disney’s Contemporary Resort.
  • Wake up with Lilo and Stitch at their Best Friends Breakfast at ‘Ohana in Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort.
  • Experience Story Book Dining at Artist Point in Disney’s Wilderness Lodge with Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. You may even encounter the evil Queen!
  • Minnie’s Beach Bash Breakfast at the Cape May Cafe in Disney’s Beach Club Resort.
  • Visit Topolino’s Terrace – Flavors of the Riviera for breakfast at Disney’s Riviera Resort and meet Mickey and friends.
  • Cinderella’s Royal Table in Magic Kingdom – Cinderella herself welcomes you to her castle, where she hosts all her princess friends for a meal.
  • Join Winnie the Pooh and his friends from the Hundred-Acre Wood at The Crystal Palace in Magic Kingdom for an all-you-can-eat buffet.
  • Indulge in a Norwegian-inspired meal at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall in EPCOT, where you will meet classic Disney princesses.
  • See Chip ‘n' Dale and their Disney pals as you revolve around vibrant views from Living with the Land at Garden Grill Restaurant in EPCOT.
  • At Hollywood & Vine in Hollywood Studios, you can chow down some breakfast with Disney Junior Stars or enjoy lunch and dinner with Minnie and friends.
  • Hosted by Donald Duck, Tusker House Restaurant in Animal Kingdom serves African-inspired cuisine all day long.

There is also character dining offered at select restaurants within the Walt Disney World theme parks. Please note that a dining reservation does not grant you access to the theme park. You will need to purchase a park ticket and make a park reservation in addition to your dining reservation. Enjoy all the magical meals!

Take Advantage Of FastPass+ And Rider Switch

If you are staying at a Disney resort hotel, you can make FastPass+ reservations for select character meet-and-greets. Rider Switch allows one adult to stay with a child who is too small to ride a ride while the other adult rides the ride. Once the first adult is finished riding, they can switch places with the second adult without having to wait in line again. FastPass+ and Rider Switch can significantly cut the amount of time waiting to see your favorite characters.

mickey mouse at the adventurers outpost

With a bit of planning, you can easily meet all of your favorite Disney characters without waiting in line. So get out there and start exploring the parks! Here are some specific tips for meeting popular characters without waiting in line:

Mickey Mouse

Mickey Mouse is one of the most popular characters at Disney World, so his lines can be long. To avoid the crowds, try meeting Mickey Mouse at the Adventurers Outpost in Animal Kingdom, during the Festival of Fantasy Parade in Magic Kingdom, or at Topolino's Terrace – Flavors of the Riviera in Disney's Riviera Resort.

Minnie Mouse

Minnie Mouse is another popular character, but there are a few ways to meet her without waiting in a long line. Try meeting Minnie Mouse at the Hollywood & Vine restaurant in Disney's Hollywood Studios or during the Mickey's Magical Friendship Faire parade in Magic Kingdom. You can also meet Minnie at the Cape May Cafe in Disney's Beach Club Resort.


The Disney princesses are some of the most popular characters at Disney World, and their lines can be very long. To avoid the crowds, try meeting princesses at lesser-known locations, such as the Fairytale Hall in Magic Kingdom or the Princess Fairytale Hall in EPCOT. You can also try meeting princesses during parades and shows, such as the Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade in Magic Kingdom or the Royal Princess Processional in EPCOT.

Star Wars Disney Characters

Star Wars characters are also very popular at Disney World. To avoid the crowds, try meeting Star Wars characters at Galaxy's Edge in Disney's Hollywood Studios or during the Disney's Hollywood Studios Spectacular nighttime show.

Anna and Elsa

To meet Anna and Elsa without waiting in line, try meeting them at the Royal Sommerhus Norway Pavilion at Epcot. This is a dedicated meet-and-greet location where you can meet Anna and Elsa separately for autographs, photos, and hugs. The sisters are usually available to meet guests from 9:15 AM to 6:30 PM daily, but it's always best to check the My Disney Experience app for the most up-to-date information.

Special Character Meet-and-Greet Locations

ariel's grotto in magic kingdom

There are many places to meet characters at Disney World, including special locations throughout the theme parks. Often requiring you to wait in a short line, this is by far the most personal experience you will have with characters in Walt Disney World. Autographs, photo-ops, and some personal chit-chat are in store at these greeting locations. 

Magic Kingdom is full of special themed spots, including Ariel’s Grotto, Pete’s Silly Sideshow, Fairytale Hall, Town Square Theater, and Enchanted Tales with Belle. Over at Hollywood Studios, you can bump into Chewbacca and Princess Leia at Galaxy’s Edge or Woody, Jessie, and the Toy Soldiers over in Toy Story Land. Disney Junior fans can meet their favorite characters in the Animation Courtyard. While making your way around the World Showcase at EPCOT, be sure to check for characters in each country. 

If you’re lucky, you can see Alice in the United Kingdom or Mulan in China. Don’t forget to add Adventurers Outpost to your expedition in Animal Kingdom, where you can meet Mickey and friends in their safari gear.

Bonus Tips For Meeting Disney Characters

meeting all disney park characters

Arrive early in the day. The earlier you arrive at the park, the shorter the lines will be for character meet-and-greets. Many characters also take breaks throughout the day, so it's best to try to meet them early in the morning or late in the afternoon.

Be Flexible With Your Schedule

If you're willing to meet characters at less popular times, you'll have shorter wait times. For example, you can try meeting characters before the park opens, during the midday break, or after the park closes.

Be Prepared To Move Quickly

When you're waiting in line to meet a character, be prepared to move quickly through the line so that you don't hold up other guests. This means having your autograph book and camera ready and knowing what you want to say to the character.

Be Polite And Respectful

Disney characters are cast members who are working hard to make your Disney experience magical. Be sure to be polite and respectful to them and to other guests in line.

Ask Cast Member For Help

If you're having trouble finding a character, don't be afraid to ask a Cast Member for help. Cast Members are always happy to help guests, and they can point you in the right direction.


Meeting Disney characters is a magical experience for guests of all ages, and it doesn't have to take hours of waiting in line. By following the tips in this article, you can meet all of your favorite characters without wasting your precious vacation time. No matter which characters you want to meet, there's a way to do it without waiting in long lines. Just by being at Walt Disney World, you are sure to bump into some characters. But with a little planning, you can make the most of your Disney vacation and meet all of your favorite characters. It’s all part of the magic!

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