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Our Great and Not-So-Great Character Encounters

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

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It's T-10 days until our Walt Disney World vacation and we're starting to give some thought to which characters the kids will enjoy "visiting" this trip. Each time we go, they're into new shows and movies, so their favourite characters often change! Since characters are already on my mind, I decided to write about my favourite and not-so-favourite character meet and greets. I'm sure it is sometimes due to the location, the time of year, and/or to the character themselves, but some meet and greets are just much more pleasant than others. I am defining "pleasant" by the quality and quantity of interaction with my children.

Let's start with my not-so-favourite. I know this may come as a surprise to some, but Akershus Royal Banquet Hall is probably one of my least favourite places to meet the Princesses. I understand that this is a very busy restaurant filled with lots of little girls, but I still think, for the price we are paying for this experience, the princesses could spend a bit more time interacting with my daughter. We have been there four times, and each time it has been a quick hug and pose for picture (we don't do autographs yet).

Next in line for not-so-favourite would have to be Town Square Theater in Magic Kingdom - both for Mickey and Minnie and for the Princesses. Again, I know it is probably due to the fact that the Town Square Theatre is incredibly popular, but after waiting in line, I expect more than just a picture. Very little interaction with the kids here. The draw here for Mickey and Minnie is that you can get a picture with both of them together. However, if this isn't important to you, there are better places to meet the infamous mice. The same rings true for the Princesses.

For the purposes of this article, the last least favourite experience I'm going to name is in Disney's Hollywood Studios near the Sorcerer's Hat. You can find various characters here, such as Minnie, Daisy, Donald, Chip, Dale, Tigger, Pooh, Piglet, etc. I think because they are in such an open location, these characters draw huge lines. Because of this, I've ended up waiting in line for a quick hug and I was sent on my way.

Now, if you're interested in some quality interaction with some Princesses, Mickey and Minnie, and the Pooh characters, here are my suggestions (character meet and greet locations are always subject to change):

Chef Mickey's! We love it here. The food is nothing to write home about, but the character interaction with Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy and Pluto has always been awesome. The restaurant is just as busy as Akershus, but the characters here have always made time to take numerous pictures with our kids, and let my babies touch their whiskers, play peek-a-boo, etc. Each character often visits your table more than once!

Two of our favourite Princess interactions have both been at Magic Kingdom. We had a great time with Princess Tiana on the Liberty Square Bridge! My daughter was two and a half and had a whole conversation with her! The most amazing part was that Princess Tiana understood every word. Lots of hugs were exchanged and pictures were taken. It was truly one of those Disney magical moments.

We also had a very pleasant experience with Snow White beside City Hall. Snow White was intrigued when my daughter walked up to her holding a Snow White plush doll. She then proceeded to ask my daughter if she thought the doll looked like her and then started talking to about the Disney characters that my daughter had on her Crocs! My daughter felt so important and special, and we didn't feel rushed.

Our favourite place to meet the gang from Winnie The Pooh is at Character Landing in Animal Kingdom. It is kind of secluded so a little less busy than other places, and the line is in the shade! Pooh, Tigger, and Eeyore have always spent a nice amount of time with us, despite the line. Tigger also spent extra time with my daughter when he saw himself on her Crocs!

There you have it. My favourite and not-so-favourite places to meet the characters. This list is, by no means, exhaustive. There are SO many places to meet our beloved Disney friends, and these are simply the ones that have pleased us the most! My overall tips would be to go to the places which are frequented less often, and to either dress or bring something representing the character you will be meeting (ie. my daughter's Crocs) if you want some unique attention! :)

About this column

Danielle Perry shares the adventures and challenges of travelling to Walt Disney World as a family.


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