My Top 5 Disney Character Meet & Greets
Despite the fact that I am well into (further than I’d care to admit) adulthood, one of my favorite things about the Disney experience is meeting the costumed characters representing our favorite Disney “stars”. That’s the point, right? We all want to dive into the Disney bubble and feel like a kid again, and this is one of the best ways to achieve that goal. My wife and I, throughout our many trips to Disney World, have become pretty serious “character collectors”, so to speak.
“How does one collect characters?”, you may ask. Well, please don’t jump to any weird conclusions, you will not see us stuffing Mickey and friends into the back seat of our car. Our Disney obsession does not extend to mouse-napping!
“Character collecting” is simply a figure of speech, which means we will go out of our way to meet any characters we haven’t previously met, or to get a photo op with classic characters in a new outfit.
While finding new characters for photo ops can become increasingly difficult when you’ve made as many trips to Disney as we have (poor us, huh?), there are some that we have to meet every single time.
So, without further ado, here is my list of my personal “Top 5 Character Meets” at Disney”
- Princess Jasmine
I know what you’re thinking, and yeah, you’re mostly right. I do have a bit of a crush on the raven-haired Princess of Agrabah. When I first met her during 2008 trip to Walt Disney World that pre-dated my life as a married chap, she had to make some evasive moves to stop me from tackling her (not really, but I was eager!). She calmly said, “Come here sultan, stand like this”, and had me cross my arms and stand back to back with her. This was probably my first true interaction with a Disney character and I was hooked. I mean, she called me “Sultan”! That must mean it was the REAL Jasmine! She was so much fun! In the years since, meeting Aladdin’s number one gal has always been a priority. Some have played the role better than others, but all have been gracious and kind. Here are some photos of me with the fair princess from throughout the years:
- Princess Merida
Yes, I great admiration another princess, but for different reasons. Since its release in 2012, Brave has become one of my favorite Disney movies, largely thanks to its heroine, the fiery redhead Princess Merida. Merida bucks the trend of classic Disney princesses by not defining herself with waiting for a prince to sweep her off her feet. She’s a bad*** woman, for sure. And, she’s equally feisty in person! When I asked her, spoiler alert, “So, have ya turned your mom into a bear lately?”, a key plot line from the movie, she replied sarcastically, in her Scottish drawl, “Oh, like I’ve never heard that one before!” Here’s some pics of us with Merida:
- The Country Bears
While we only met the Country Bears one time (in 2013 at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party), it could possibly be my, and my wife’s, favorite meeting ever.
Normally, I am the one to play around with the characters a bit. I would highly recommend it if you want to make your meet and greet more memorable. Simply sliding in and out quickly for your photo op takes away from the experience. My wife is more low-key and tends to just observe my interactions. But with the Country Bears, it was HER that got me in trouble!
“When we get up there, ask which one is Winnie the Pooh!”, she said. I laughed at the thought of them shaking their finger at me or putting their hands on their hips as if to express their disapproval. What I ended up getting was having my hat stolen! Not only that, they tried to push me out of the picture! But after we made up, took our photo, and I started to leave…….I had to take one more shot. “Goodbye, Winnie”, I said. BIG MISTAKE. One of the bears took off after me and chased me a quarter mile down the park. My biggest regret from all my Disney trips was not getting this one of a kind experience on tape, but fortunately there are photos!
- The Fab Five
Okay, this one’s a bit of a cheat. I’m lumping the so-called “Fab-Five” of Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, and Pluto on to one number. While you can often meet some of them together, they more commonly meet on their own. No Disney trip is complete without meeting the classic costumed characters and in many cases, there’s so many different versions of each to choose from. While the non-face characters won’t talk to you, they are great at conveying their emotions through body language. I can’t even tell you how many kisses I’ve gotten from Minnie Mouse! Oh, and I lied a bit when I said none of them talk, because there is actually a version of Mickey in the Magic Kingdom that now does so! Here are just a few of MANY photos with the Fab Five (and Daisy) to enjoy!
- Everyone else
Yes, I’m cheating AGAIN, but the point is that there is no Disney meet and greet where you won’t get the great photo/great experience combo! Here’s just a few of the best of the rest!
Stitch – He’s always playful and stole my wife’s Minnie ears!
Chewbacca – I told him I was “sorry about Han Solo” and he laid his head on my shoulder in mourning.
Gaston – He held my hand! Don’t ask……..
Captain Jack Sparrow – He accused my wife of “grabbing his bum”. She denies it. Who do I believe?!
Jack Skellington and Sally – We met them at Disneyland. We actually missed the fireworks while waiting in line to meet them. When my wife mentioned this to Sally, Sally made explosion sounds and demonstrated with her hands what we had missed. We told her it made us feel better.
I could easily go on and on, but why not experience it for yourself. Don’t assume meeting the characters is just for kids. Give yourself over to the Disney magic and create some great memories along the way!