It doesn’t matter if you are a toddler or a pensioner - the experience of meeting your heroes at Walt Disney World turns everyone into a big kid.
With this in mind, we are delighted to reveal that since the re-opening of Disney's parks and resort hotels in 2022, many of the memorable, fairytale Disney moments that make visiting so very special have been sprinkled back in. Think character meet and greets, unforgettable hugs, and yes, you can still get autographs at Walt Disney World!
We all have our favourites when it comes to Disney characters, so if you’ve got a particular animated buddy in mind that you must meet, it might be best to do some research to find out where you’re most likely to spot them. After all, not every Disney character can be found at each park or hotel resort. Thankfully, we have all the answers...
Our Top Tip for Disney Character Experiences
You can use the My Disney Experience app
to find the precise location of your favourite characters, view their appearance schedule for the rest of the day and even get directions right to them, meaning you can plan your day accordingly.
Another great way to guarantee you meet your favourite personalities at Walt Disney World is to book a character dining experience in one of twelve restaurants throughout the resort parks and hotels. This entails enjoying a delicious breakfast, lunch, or dinner while your favourite characters visit your table, give autographs, and pose with you for fun photographs. You can book these through the app or Disney's website
and we recommend doing so as early as possible.
Now, let's go on a journey through the four main parks and discover which Disney characters you are likely to bump into, who will give you a warm hug, and together try to work out exactly how many Mickeys are in Walt Disney World!
Meet Mickey & Minnie Mouse
You can’t come all this way and not say hello to the world’s most famous mice; luckily these two lovebirds can be found at all the four major Disney parks and many of the resort hotels. We don’t know the exact number of Mickeys wandering around, but due to Walt Disney World’s
immense size there are many Mickeys – in different costumes – ready for meet and greet action. Walt Disney World is the master of perfect timing and manages to spread out its characters and experiences in an expertly run timetable, so in theory, you’ll never see two of the same character in the same location at the same time!
Mickey can be found in several spots throughout the parks, most notably at the opening show each morning in front of Cinderella’s Castle, as well as the Town Square Theater and the twice-daily Festival of Fantasy Parade.
Meet Lilo & Stitch
After the permanent closure of the popular attraction Stitch’s Great Escape in Tomorrowland, many parkgoers still ask ‘Where can I meet Stitch at Walt Disney World?’. The original Lilo & Stitch film may be more than twenty years old, but its popularity remains intact due to the subsequent live-action movie, spin-off TV series, Japanese anime series, video games and more that are all dedicated to our curious, blue-coloured extraterrestrial chum.
If you’re hoping to get a snap with Stitch, your best bet is at the Ohana restaurant at Disney’s Polynesian Resort.
Here, you can book the Best Friends Breakfast character dining experience with both Lilo and Stitch and enjoy delicious Polynesian-inspired American fare, as well as get the chance to ask for a coveted autograph or photo with the loveable duo.
Also, Stitch often likes to hang out at The Rocket Tower Plaza Stage in Tomorrowland so if you’re in the area for a ride on Space Mountain, you may get lucky and catch a glimpse of the little fella!
Meet Disney Princesses
It’s only fitting if you’re spending time at the most enchanting place on earth to want to meet some royalty. At the Princess Fairytale Hall – right behind Cinderella’s Castle – you can meet and greet some of Disney’s most dazzling princesses (plus a visiting princess friend), including Cinderella, Tiana, Rapunzel, and Elena of Avalor.
And for more princess action, check out the adjacent Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique and book in a glittering makeover to transform kids into princesses and knights, all with a little help from the Fairy Godmothers’ Apprentices!
If you’re wondering if you can meet Pocahontas at Walt Disney World, your best bet for finding her is in Animal Kingdom
at the end of the Discovery Island Trails. Here, she will pose for photos and can give you an autograph, if you ask nicely! With that being said, this Disney princess is considered quite a rare find so it’s extra special to have a meet and greet with her.
New for 2023, you can meet Moana at Walt Disney World! Our beloved Hawaiian princess can be found on Discovery Island at Character Landing, where she shares tales of her intrepid adventures in her daily meet and greets. But keep an eye on your My Disney Experience app throughout the day as Moana is already a very sought-after character.
The Lion King
Simba and his pals are some of the most popular Disney characters, and where else would you expect to find these jungle friends than in Animal Kingdom? With its colourful safari theme and African influences, there are several exciting shows to see that feature Timon, Pumbaa, Rafiki and Simba strutting their stuff.
Simba is not a traditional meet and greet character but if you get lucky, he may pose for a photo and give you a wave when he passes by on the float during the Festival of the Lion King. Also, check out the schedule for the Lion King Character Cruise along the Discovery River where you can see Timon and Rafiki having the time of their lives!
EPCOT Character Experiences
features the most characters and an ever-changing timetable of appearances and sightings, so you must be quick if you’re trying to spot someone special. And for 2023 Disney announced a brand-new, permanent Meet and Greet location called ‘Mickey and Friends’ – watch this space for updates!
Meet Goofy and Pluto
Let’s not forget two classic loveable characters that also happen to be some of Mickey’s best friends! These guys are usually hanging around the Epcot park entrance at various times throughout much of the day, so you can’t miss them if they are there when you first arrive or when you’re about to leave.
Meet Joy and Vanellope Von Schweetz
If Inside Out and Wreck-It Ralph are among your favourite contemporary Disney films then you’ll be very happy to find the brilliant Joy and Vanellope chilling out at ImageWorks, the interactive exhibit area that is located in the Imagination! Pavilion.
Meet Frozen's Elsa
As it is home to the inimitable World Showcase, Epcot is the only place within Walt Disney World where you can secure a meet and greet with the famous Scandinavian sisters: Anna and Elsa. Located within the Royal Sommerhus in the Norway pavilion, the pair are usually there between 9:15am and 6:30pm every day for pictures and autographs. As for Olaf, this crazy, summer-loving snowman can be found at his own meet and greet at Disney’s Hollywood Studios
behind the Hyperion Theater, where the daily Frozen Sing-Along takes place.
Disney's Hollywood Studios
features the most diverse and unique collection of characters to meet due to the inclusion of Pixar and a tiny franchise - you may or may not have heard of - called Star Wars.
With loads of amazing characters to seek out and interact with, from heroes like Buzz Lightyear and Mr and Mrs Incredible to villains like Kylo Ren or the Storm Troopers, there are likely to be characters here who you won’t find anywhere else within Walt Disney World Resort!
Meet Woody & Jessie
You’ll find these two usually hanging around outside the Toy Story Mania attraction in Toy Story Land, where they occasionally meet throughout the day for visitor meet and greets. Be wary though, the waiting lines can get rather long as they are extremely popular characters!
Meet Darth Vader
If you dare, you can meet Darth Vader at Walt Disney World too. Just head to the Star Wars Launch Bay at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge
for a mildly intimidating meet-and-greet, where the world’s second-most-famous ‘Father’ (after Christmas) is available most days between 9:00am and 7:00pm.
Meet Chip and Dale
Still a firm favourite in the world of Disney characters, cuddly critters Chip and Dale are cheekily located in multiple spots throughout Walt Disney World. At Disney’s Hollywood Studios you can find them outside the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular in their adorable, on-theme Rescue Ranger outfits ready to cause mischief.
Disney Character Experiences FAQs
Can you meet niche characters at Walt Disney World?
Occasionally, when there are new Disney films, attractions, or a TV series to promote, you will get lucky and be able to spot some rarer characters wandering around for a limited time. From the Big Hero 6 movie you could meet Baymax at Walt Disney World or even older characters such as Marie from The Aristocats – they don’t usually sign autographs, however.
Don’t forget to keep a lookout on your app for extra-special characters to meet during dedicated holiday periods like Easter, Halloween, and Christmas!
Which Walt Disney World restaurants have Character Dining?
There are twelve restaurants throughout the parks and hotels that feature character dining with a range of characters and varying meal plans. Make your reservation – way ahead of your trip – and enjoy breakfast, lunch, or dinner with a host of wonderful characters in one of the following locations:
Cinderella’s Royal Table at Magic Kingdom
The Crystal Palace at Magic Kingdom
Tusker House Restaurant at Animal Kingdom
Akershus Royal Banquet Hall at EPCOT
Garden Grill Restaurant at EPCOT
Hollywood & Vine at Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Cape May Café at Disney’s Beach Club Resort
Chef Mickey’s at Disney’s Contemporary Resort
‘Ohana at Disney’s Polynesian Resort
Story Book Dining at Artist Pointe with Snow White at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
Topolino’s Terrace at Disney’s Riviera Resort
1900 Park Fare at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort (temporarily unavailable at this time)
Where is Cars Land in Walt Disney World?
For the little speed demons in your group, Cars Land will be heaven. But you’ll have to visit the West Coast for this dedicated Cars area in California’s Disney Land Resort – any excuse for another holiday though, right? Fortunately, Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy show is at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and provides entertainment for all the family, car lovers or not.
Are The Muppets at Walt Disney World?
Many people don’t realise that Disney bought the rights to Jim Henson’s Muppets almost 20 years ago, yet their presence within Walt Disney World has been somewhat sparse. In Disney’s Hollywood Studios you can see them in the live-action Muppet*Vision 3D, a bonkers and hilarious journey of events that will have everyone in stitches from start to finish.
And although they don’t do traditional meet and greets, eagle-eyed fans may spot Kermit and Miss Piggy amongst other characters in a festive cavalcade. Keep an ear out for the Disney Jollywood Nights event at Disney’s Hollywood Studios for winter 2023 as a certain green frog and glamourous pig may make an appearance!
Are you ready to be the main character? Check out our Walt Disney World Florida trips in 2024 and 2025, and let's start planning your Floridian fairytale.