Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Meeting Characters at WDW - Meet the Mouse

(the following is a guest blog)

One of the more magical happenings at WDW is meeting characters that are at each of the four parks. But do you really want to stand in line for an hour, or more in some cases? Neither do I.

One common theme on this blog will be planning. You must plan what you will do at each park and when to do them. Some will think of planning simply as it applies to rides. Some will also factor in meals as well. But if you don’t factor in some time and plan on how to best execute how to get pictures/autographs with your favorite characters, you will lose valuable time.

The itinerary located at the entrance of each park will give you times and locations for scheduled character meets. These are very helpful, but you still need to have an idea in advance of what plan to do.

There are various websites that have linked to where you can find different characters. I will link to some of them in the final installment of these blogs.

What I will do is share some of my secrets and what went well and what went wrong in helping my kids get the autographs and pictures they desired most.

My biggest tip is to have an autograph book, a pen and a camera. Have all three ready. Have the autograph book opened to the page you want signed. Have the pen ready for the character to use. And have your camera ready to take the picture. Plenty of people are waiting on you, so try to be considerate and be prepared so that you don’t waste your time or the other guests’.

Probably at the top of any list is the mouse himself. Mickey, as expected, can be found in all four parks. The upside, particularly if you are going in the hot, summer months, is that in three of the four parks, Mickey can be found inside. My children actually chose to wait in line twice for him. Well, three times, but we gave up quickly in one of the lines.

At Animal Kingdom, Mickey, along with Goofy, Donald, and Minnie, can be found in Camp Minnie-Mickey. What is best here is to try and get Mickey earlier in the day and during a showing of the Lion King show. The character meet section for these four are located at the exit of the Lion King show. If your timing falls when one of the Lion King shows for the day are over, then expect to stand in line. If you get there right when people are lining up or right when the show starts, you’ll see a shorter line for Mickey. That goes for the other three characters there as well, but Mickey’s line will be longer than the other three.

Epcot provides the Character Spot where guests can meet Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy and Pluto. Expect a longer wait than most spots, but that wait gets you to all five characters. And it’s air conditioned. We didn’t stop here as Epcot was the last day of our park visits, and we already had met all five characters. The character spot is open from 9 am - 9 pm each day and is located next to Innovations West.

Mickey can be found in the animation building in the animation courtyard. Again, this is a good place to jump inside on a hot day. The waits I saw was approximately 15 minutes both times I was inside the building. Here you’ll meet Sorcerer Mickey. Also inside, at least for the time being, are Pooh and the Incredibles (Fro-Zone and Mr. Incredible)

Last, but certainly not least, is Mickey at Magic Kingdom. Mickey is now located in the Town Square Theater. Just as you enter Magic Kingdom, Town Square Theater is located immediately on your right. Early in the day, there is little to no wait. This new location for Mickey takes guests “backstage” to where Magician Mickey is preparing for his magic show. (Before you ask, there’s no show.) You will meet Mickey in his dressing room. If you wait a little longer in the day to meet Mickey, one thing to keep in mind is that a Fast Pass is actually available for this character meet. We actually used the Fast Pass and waited no more than 5 minutes.

There are actually three dressing rooms with Mickey’s in them, so they move things through pretty quickly. Kids won’t catch on to this as they are very good at not having the other room doors open as you pass to your room.

One other place where we’ve met Mickey in the past is at Chef Mickey’s at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. This buffet style restaurant doesn’t have the best food in the world, but you do get to meet Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy and Pluto while you eat. This spot is highly recommended as well.

While I included a little information about where some other characters are throughout the parks, I will get more detailed later this week.

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