How to Find Character Meets at Disney

How to Find Characters at Disney

Chances are if you’ve ever visited a Disney destination, then meeting your favorite Disney characters is a must. Today I’m going to discuss how to find character meets at Disney. Since Disney is always switching things up, this post won’t simply be a list of who and where to find them. This is a how to find character meets at Disney. That’s right, I’m going to share with you how to find the current meets for Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, Aulani and more! Let’s get going then!

How to Find Characters at Disney

Walt Disney World

Let’s start with the biggest Disney destination, Walt Disney World. With four major theme parks, two water parks, resorts, and a giant shopping center, Walt Disney World is huge! That means there’s no shortage of character meets there.

Walt Disney World Website

When looking to find Disney character meets at Walt Disney World, the first thing you need to do is check out their website before you travel. Did you know you can even schedule fastpasses for some character meet and greets?That means if you plan to stay as an on-site guest, you’ll want to check out these options before your 60 day FastPass booking date. If you are staying off-site, make sure to book your FastPasses 30 days prior to travel.

How to Find Characters at Disney

To find character experiences available, you can simply head over to Walt Disney World’s website. To start, hover over the Things To Do tab and click on Character Experiences. This will take you to a large list of all the character-based experiences available for that day.

How to Find Characters at Disney

You’ll then need to filter the experiences to only show character experiences for which you can meet and interact with them. You’ll need to update the calendar date so that you’re looking at character experiences available for your travel dates. Once you’ve done that, you can scroll through and explore which characters are available to meet.

If you click on a specific meet experience, you can also view what times they’re available and if they are eligible to be booked as a fastpass experience. You can even click on Show In My Plans located below the available times so that you can add them directly to your itinerary! I do this for all of my clients and it’s a great way to ensure character meets won’t be forgotten once at the theme parks. But what about if you’re already at the park you ask?

My Disney Experience App

If you’re already in a park and want to see what’s available, you can use the My Disney Experience app to find them! Simply open your app and click on the map at the top. You’ll then want to click on the top filter (usually loads with wait times first). Select Characters. This will load character experiences available, but you’re not quite done. Next, you’ll want to click the filter and select the specific park you’re in so that it will load everything near you.

How to Find Characters at Disney

As you can see in my screenshot, my app is currently showing Characters experiences and has 1 filter for the Magic Kingdom. There are so many characters to meet at Magic Kingdom! But what about character dining?

Let’s talk about character dining next!

Character Dining

If you’re looking to dine with characters, then this is how it’s done! Under the Things to Do tab, select All Restaurants under Dining. This will load a list of Walt Disney World restaurants for you. Once this list is loaded, you’ll need to once again use the filter option to select Character Dining and be sure to update the calendar for your travel date. That’s it! So easy and there’s so many options to choose from! The Garden Grill, 1900 Park Fare, Ohana, and Cinderella’s Royal Table are some of our very favorite character dining locations. What’s your favorite character dining location?

How to Find Characters at Disney

But what about Disneyland for our west coast fans? Next, let’s head to Disneyland so I can tell you how to find characters at Disney land too!

Disneyland

Exciting news, as finding character experiences at Disneyland is exactly the same as Walt Disney World! Simply head over to the website, click on Things To Do, and filter by Character Experiences and your travel date. It really is that easy! What’s more, the app works the same too!! But what about international Disney parks you ask?

How to Find Characters at Disneyland

International Parks

This same search and filter method works for all the Disney parks destinations! Simply direct your browser to the Disney park website of your choice and follow the steps I’ve provided above for Walt Disney World to find characters within all the Disney parks around the world! You can find the website for all of the Disney parks here. This search method even works for guests visiting Disney’s Aulani, a resort and spa in Hawaii! Just load the Aulani page and hover over Activities to click on Character Experiences.

How to Find Characters at Disney Parks

But Meredith, you’re forgetting the Disney Cruise Line, you say. Let’s set sail next and discover how to find character meets at Disney aboard the Disney cruise ships!

Disney Cruise Line

Although this same search gameplan works mostly the same for Disney Cruise Line, there are some differences. The first and major difference is once you’re on the Disney Cruise Line website and loaded the Character Experiences page under the Our Ships tab, you’ll want to go ahead and filter the list by the specific ship you’ll be sailing on since some characters are available only on certain ships.

Disney Cruise Line Characters

The second difference is that DCL features several character meets that require tickets to be requested ahead of time. This includes meeting the Princesses, the Frozen sisters, the Star Wars and Marvel characters (for those sailing on these select themed sailings), and the Disney Junior characters. You can secure tickets for these meets once your booking window opens. It’s good to know that you must be paid in full to be able to login and book onboard activities. It’s also good to know that these experiences book fully super fast and you’ll want to be ready to book them as soon as your window opens. If you’re unable to secure tickets for a meet you’d like to experience, don’t worry! You can always head over to guest services once onboard and request tickets and in most cases, they have more available for guests at that time.

How to Find Characters at Disney

Character Dining Onboard

Disney Cruise Line features a very special meet and greet onboard called the Royal Court, Royal Tea. This exclusive tea party is an additional charge and functions more like character dining does at Disney parks. We’ve been fortunate enough to experience this (thanks Mom & Dad!) and enjoyed it very much! Not only do the princesses come out and sing, dance, and interact with guests, but they bring each child a special gift!

Disney Cruise Line also offers a Disney Junior Character Breakfast for sailing of 6 or more nights. Tickets can be obtained for free by clicking on book onboard activities once you’re logged into your account, paid in full, and your booking window is open. This is a special character breakfast that has special breakfast foods located at Animator’s Palette and features favorite Disney Junior Characters. They’ve just recently added Vampirina and Fancy Nancy to the lineup!

Moana

Additionally, you can meet exclusive characters during special events like Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. Each event has its own exclusive characters and you can find information about these character meets once you’re at the event via the printed times guide available when you enter. In some cases Disney will list exclusive characters on their website, but that’s not always the case. Checking your times guide is the best way to ensure you find all these exclusive characters. We were able to meet Moana this year at Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween party because she isn’t available during regular operating hours at Walt Disney World.

Now that you know how to find characters at Disney, be sure to check out these other great posts to help you prepare for your trip! You won’t want to miss our Ultimate Disney Packing List! Be sure browse our posts about Walt Disney World and Disneyland too!

DIY Glow Ears

diy glow ears

diy glow ears

DIY Glow Ears

Today I’ve got a simple and easy DIY for you! Although this one’s great for the Mickey’s Halloween parties, they’ll also be great for trick-or-treating in your own neighborhood. What makes this DIY glow Ears project so fantastic you ask? This diy is super easy and is great for anyone going to the parks year-round! Save big bucks on glowing Mickey ears and make these simple, re-useable glow ears instead!diy glow ears

Gather Supplies

•Headband
•Glow Stick Bracelets (2)
•Glow Stick Bracelet Connectors (2)
•Glue Gun
•Glow-in-the-dark Glue Sticks
•Tulip Glow-in-the-dark Paint

Assemble

Start by cutting the little bracelet connector piece in two and gluing the piece to the headband with the glow-in-the-dark glue sticks. There’s no exact science to this so don’t stress about the precise location of each one. This is supposed to be fun!diy glow earsStart with the top piece and once it has cooled, place the glow stick into that connector and curl it down to decide where the bottom connector piece should go. Mark the spot with a little dab of glue. Then proceed to glue that piece down. Pro tip: make a ring of glue around the entire headband so that the glue holding the connector piece won’t be pulled off once you place the glowstick. Repeat with both on the other side.diy glow ears

Make It Really Glow

By now, the headband has two ears that can be replaced with new glow sticks nightly. No need to make multiple headbands!! Just toss them nightly and get a fresh glow stick the next evening.diy glow earsWho wants to stop at just glow sticks though?! Starting at the base of the headband, run a line of glow glue around the edges of the headband. Repeat on the opposite side. This is also where you can use the hot end of your glue gun to help shape the already-cooled glue on the headband both around the connector pieces as well as under the headband (where the headband will sit against your head). Smooth it to your liking and you’re done! Or not…

Add Hidden Mickeys

If you’re a true Disney parks fan, you’ll want to add some hidden Mickeys too! Using the fine tip of a tulip glow-in-the-dark fabric paint bottle, squirt one larger and two smaller circles in the shape of Mickey on the top of the headband. For the next Mickey, turn it in the opposite direction and continue the pattern across the entire top portion of the headband.diy glow ears

Show It Off

Now that you’ve got some spiffy new diy glow ears, be sure to get out and show them off!! Mickey’s Halloween party at Disneyland and Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween parties would be fantastic for this! Here’s all our spooky fun!Don't buy your Mickey Ears, make them! We've got a simple tutorial that shows you how. These DIY Glow Ears are so easy to make, and they're cute. Make yours before your next Disney vacation!

These fun and simple ears will also look amazing in any park areas that feature black lights (think dark rides and Pandora) since the glow glue reacts really well with black lights! Be sure to share a photo of your diy glow ears on one of our socials if you decide to make some!  ~Meredith °o°

How to Combine Disney Gift Cards

gift card

Disney gift cards are incredible gifts for Disney fans. They can be used to pay for just about anything Disney you can think of! What happens when you get a ton of cards? If you’ve heard about the “Target Red Card” hack that allows you to save 5% off of the price of Disney gift cards, you’ve probably wondered how it works. Is it really advantageous? Does it really save money? We think it does! This hack is a great way to save, but how do you handle all those gift cards lying around? Read on for our best tips for how to combine Disney gift cards!Disney gift cards are great gifts! But what do you do when you have a ton of them? Read our best tips for combining Disney gift cards and help yourself stay organized!

How to Combine Disney Gift Cards

Remove cards from the packaging carefully and be sure to leave the sticky part still attached to the plastic gift card. This will allow you to attach all the cards together and keep them from getting mixed up.gift card

Number the Cards

Number each card with a sharpie. This is crucial because it will help you keep track of which card is which once you enter them into your account online. If you don’t, you could get very confused later about which cards you have and haven’t entered yet. This is especially helpful when entering enough cards for thousands of dollars since many people choose to use gift cards for vacation payments.gift card

Don’t Scratch Them!

Don’t scratch to reveal the security code on the back!! The little area that’s meant to be scratched is actually a little sticker and can be pulled up altogether. Removing the sticker will save you loads of time and will keep you nice and clean. Nobody likes the mess left from lots of scratch-off cards!

Arrange Together

Use the sticky part to arrange the cards on top of each other with the bottom of the top card aligned directly above the bottom card’s number info. This will help you when glancing down to enter the numbers because the bottom of the card above will always be there to guide your eye. You can just barely see the sticky glue left on the card in the “don’t scratch” photo above. It naturally lines up perfectly to stick the cards to each other.

Login

Direct your browser to www.disneygiftcard.com and login with your existing account. No need to make a separate Disney account for this! Simply login using the same credentials you use for you My Disney Experience account.gift card

Enter the Information

Enter each card in separately and in number order. The website requires you to give each card a nickname. Use the number of the card as the card nickname so that you can always keep them organized.

Designate Primary Card

Designate one of your cards as the primary card. KEEP THIS CARD SAFE! This is the card that you’ll use to transfer funds to and make payments with. It’s good to keep in mind that each card will only hold up to $1000 and your account is only allowed 5 cards at any given time. This means that if you’re planning on using them to pay for your Disney vacation, you will likely have to designate more than one card as a primary card, so be sure to label them the same both on the physical card as well as the website nickname for that card.

Transfer Funds to Primary Card

Transfer funds from each card you enter over to your primary card. Don’t delete the empty card until you have entered in the next numbered card so that if you need to stop unexpectedly and finish later, you’ll know exactly where you left off. Example: I enter card #1 and designate it as primary. Then I’ll enter #2 and #3 and transfer their funds to the primary card. Now I can delete card #2 and leave the empty card #3 in the account until I’ve entered in card #4’s info. That way I’ll always know what number to start with if I have to come back to it.

gift card

Don’t Throw Cards Away

Retain all your primary cards you use to pay for things until after your trip! I can’t stress this one enough. Any time Disney has to issue a refund, the funds will always go back to the original payment method. That means if you pay with Disney gift cards, you’ll be refunded on those same Disney gift cards. Recently, guests who had to reschedule or had cruise sailings canceled because of hurricane Irma learned first-hand how refunds work. Though a hurricane is an extreme case for a possible refund example, you just don’t know what can happen and it’s better to keep your primary cards safe.gift card

Make Life Easier

Use a travel agent and have them do all this work for you, for free!!! Along with free vacation planning when you book with a travel agent, you’ll also get extra perks like this! Most travel agents will be happy to combine your cards for you. Save yourself the trouble and support one of your favorite Disney travel planners!

Thats all for today’s gift card tips. Have you got a great gift card tip? Please share with us!  ~Meredith °o°

M’s Tips for Capturing Memorable Photos at WDW

Hey howdy hey, it’s finally Friday! And that means part 2 of my series on how to take more memorable photos at WDW. So let’s get to it!

LaynieDumboStorybookCircus

1. Prepare your cameras before you leave home.

Let me say that again. Prepare your camera BEFORE you leave home. You can’t take memorable photos if there’s no room to save them on your device. Seriously folks, I can’t stress this enough because the last thing you want is to get into the Magic Kingdom and find that your memory card or smartphone’s storage is full and you haven’t saved those old photos. Even if you have old photos on there that you could delete doesn’t mean that you’ll want to waste the time selectively deleting photos while at the parks. That’s especially true when you didn’t realize it was full until that special moment that Elsa (your kids’ favorite character) just happened to walk by and chat. (sidenote: that happened to one of our readers not too long ago! Okay, the Elsa part. Not the storage full part. ^_^ )  And one more thing to note about this: when you’ve copied your photos and are ready to wipe your memory card, be sure to format the card while it’s in your camera. Don’t simply delete the photos on your computer. Not to get too technical, but formatting from in-camera allows a full wipe and helps ensure that your card will continue to work properly.

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2. Use a cloud service to upload your photos each night of your stay. 

You’re probably thinking that has nothing to do with taking memorable photos, but I beg to differ! By uploading your photos to a cloud services like apple icloud and dropbox (my personal fav), you’re ensuring that you’ll have that day’s photos memories no matter what happens tomorrow. Think that’s not important? What if you accidentally get your phone wet on Kali River Rapids and it stops working, or you just happen to leave it somewhere? At least you have your photos up to that point! With this one, you’ll want to check your resort offerings to see what wi-fi services they offer and log-in (or whatever way they have set up) the night you arrive to ensure that it’s done and ready to go the next day. This is also beneficial if you want to take lots of photos but don’t have a device with a large amount of storage. You could shoot as much as you like, upload once you’ve got wi-fi access, and then delete and do it all again the next day. (Though, I’m not sure if I could delete vacay photos that quickly myself!) Personally, I always keep all of my photos until I get home and back them up, but knowing that I’ve uploaded to my cloud throughout makes me feel a lot better about snapping photos with my phone.

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3. Take your babies’ photos at WDW while they’re still babies!

Okay, say what you will but I’m a Mommy that will always recommend traveling with a baby to WDW. I know I’m crazy and there’s lots of you out there saying that they’ll never remember it and it’s such a hassle and, and, and… BUT here’s what I know: I’ve taken an 11mo and a 14mo (and they could’ve been younger, but that’s just how our trip planning times worked out) and while it can have its moments, it’s so completely worth it to have those memories of them as tiny babes in the parks. I still remember vividly watching Boo (11mo) enjoy her very first WDW parade. She smiled and waved and while I realize that she’ll never remember that parade or those precious fleeting moments, I WILL. And I love that. And that should be enough already, but what’s even better is I’m now getting to enjoy going back through our vacation photos with them. Belle really loves seeing photos of “baby Belle” (yes, I realize that’s a cheese as well. Quite good actually.) with all of the characters and really loves watching the videos. In fact, it’s hard to go through my photos for posts like this when she’s awake because if she sees it on my screen, she’ll be in lap requesting to “watch that!” before I have time to blink. Plus, they’re FREE until they turn 3! So, enjoy that while it lasts!

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4. Capture several photos from an attraction of experience and make a collage.

This is a great way to highlight a favorite ride or attraction for yourself! You can take photos as you’re entering, waiting in the queue, boarding, riding, exiting, and of course shopping in the inevitable gift shop that serves as the attraction’s exit, or just collage the day’s photos together for a quick and simple way to share lots of photos all at once. This is super fun because there are great apps like PicFrame, that allows you to select certain photos to arrange in a plethora of sizes and frame styles. You can customize the colors, add text, and export to your camera roll or upload directly to social sites. Like some of the other apps I’ve mentioned before, I’d recommend playing with this app before you get to WDW. It’s actually quite an easy and intuitive app, but it’s never fun to try and “learn” how an app works when you’re in a hurry.

 

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5. Look for new vantage points and ways to capture the “classics” in a new way.

Photos that have an exciting and different vantage point are almost always memorable, especially when they’re of your loved ones on your big WDW trip! That may mean intentionally visiting a certain part of the park either during the day or at night. The Rapunzel bathrooms area is quite lovely at night and is a great way to rest (and charge your devices!) and the perfect photo op at night. (Totally not as weird as it sounds).

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One of my favorite moments of my last trip was with my Belle at park closing. I ran with my “big camera” and Belle on my shoulders from Tomorrowland’s speedway back around to Dumbo at 8:55 (the park was closing at 9) and was able to board Dumbo ALL BY OURSELVES! The CM’s made her feel so special and flying through the MK right at park closing and being able to see the Castle and the Wishes fireworks show begin with MY “baby mine” was just magical. We had so much fun and sat in Storybook Circus to enjoy the rest of the show. It’s always nice to watch the fireworks shows from different locations and storybook circus provided a magically whimsical setting for my memorable moment with my little love.

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6. Consider visiting other WDW locations outside of the parks for new experiences.

We really enjoyed resort hopping this last vacation and I’d recommend it to anyone who’s looking at spending a day outside the parks. It’s completely free, there’s loads of different places to visit all with free transportation (by bus, boat, or monorail), and gives you a reason to take a day away from the parks mid-vacation. We parked at the TTC, then hopped on the resort monorail to explore the deluxe resorts. The Polynesian is tropical and has great photo ops including fireworks viewing from the beach areas! The Grand Floridian is, well grand. Very aptly named. Pretty much anywhere in that big beautiful building is a great opportunity for a photo that’s not just another Disney ride. The contemporary and Bay Lake tower provide a modern-looking interiors, a giant Mary Blair (think It’s A Small World) mural, and a the only chance to see the monorail actually run through the building! With a dinner reservation at the California Grill, it also offers the unique opportunity to watch the nightly Wishes fireworks from its own private viewing platform. (Don’t worry, your ADR doesn’t have to be at the time of the show either. Just bring your receipt from earlier that evening back at showtime and they’ll take you back up!) And don’t forget to take a bus over to the AK Jambo house because it’s just awesome. If you want to go see the savannah animals but can’t get to Kilamanjaro Safaris, then you can get your giraffe (and other animals) photos for free just by visiting their viewing platforms! They’ve also got a great playground with lounge chairs that we enjoyed while waiting on our Boma reservation. We will definitely be resort hopping more in the future!

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Well, that wraps up part 2. I might have to revisit more ideas in the future because as I’m typing this ending, I’m already thinking I could add so much more. Guess be on the lookout for that sometime? What would advice would you add? ~M °o°