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!

S2E7: Disney Travel Apps

podcast

 

podcast


Season 2: Episode 7

Tuesday : Disney Travel Apps

Today’s topic is all about the apps that correspond to different Disney Destinations. From the Disneyland and Walt Disney World to the ever-popular Disney Cruise Line, we’ve got you covered. This episode is perfect for everyone, so whether you’re always at Disney or going for your first time, don’t miss this episode!

Episode Links

My Disney Experience: Desktop iOS Playstore

Disneyland: Desktop iOS Playstore

Disney Cruise Line: Desktop iOS Playstore

 

As always, please share with us if you’ve got something to add to our discussion! Did we miss something? Please share your story with us! Post to our facebook page or tag us on instagram!


If you’ve enjoyed this episode, please let us know. For more Disney tips, tricks, tutorials, packing lists, dos and dont’s… Okay, you get the picture. We’ve got a blog! www.mouseandmonorail.com You can also find us on the following socials: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, & YouTube.

Episode 85: Disney’s Disability Access Service and Rider Switch

podcast

podcast


Disney’s Disability Access Service and Rider Switch

Ever wondered how the Disability Access Service, or DAS works at Walt Disney World? Wondering if it might be right for you or one of your friends and/family? Well fear not! We’re back to discuss how the service works. And we’re not stopping there either! Have you ever wondered about the Rider Switch service too? We’ll also be talking about how it works and who’s eligible for it! And as always, please share with us if you’ve got something to add to our discussion! For more info on Disney’s Disability Access Service, click here. For more info on Disney’s Rider switch, click here.


If you’ve enjoyed this episode, please let us know. For more Disney tips, tricks, tutorials, packing lists, dos and don’ts… Okay, you get the picture. We’ve got a blog! www.mouseandmonorail.com You can also find us on the following socials: FacebookTwitterPinterestInstagram, & YouTube.

Tips for Disney’s Pandora: The World of Avatar

Tips for Pandora: The World of Avatar

Tips for visiting Pandora : The World of Avatar

Meredith

Be Patient

Pandora is new, as it just opened on May 27th. This one is most important to remember because everyone wants to see and do it all too. There’s no need to be rude to other guests just because you’re having to wait. This should go without saying, but everyone has paid to be there and no one is more special than the other. You’ll all get a turn soon enough! This extends to Cast Members too because they’re working hard to make it an unforgettable experience for you. Sit back and enjoy knowing that it may take a little longer if you’re one of the first humans to visit Pandora.

Meredith

Do Not Miss Flight of Passage

Queue up for this attraction as early as possible so that you can experience the wait queue at least once. The fastpass queue doesn’t have any of the fun theming that the standby queue has and it’s worth the wait at least once. The standby queue is the only time you’ll get to see the Pandoran caves with wildlife and all of the experiments that the Pandoran Conservation Initiative scientists have ongoing. This includes everything from water samples and small creatures to the full-size and very life-like floating avatar in its liquid-filled chamber. This is also the only time you’ll be able to see the giant wall that has the mural of the flying banshee and the life-size silhouettes of a Na’vi male and female. 

ikran

Then gear up for a most fantastical journey into Pandora on the back of your very own banshee after being paired with an avatar and linked in the link chairs. It’s also good to know that some Pooh-sized guests may have a bit of trouble boarding the ride since the back and leg braces flip up to engage. Be sure to scoot as far forward as possible and sit straight up. You’ll also want to push your knees forward and stay on your tip-toes until the ride harnesses engage in case you have long legs or large calves. Then hold on tight for one of the most thrilling and amazing rides Disney has ever imagineered! This ride is breathtaking, well except for when you’re taking in all the smells that Pandora has to offer too. This ride cannot be skipped!

Meredith

Use Extra Magic Hours

Extra magic hours are a perk of staying in a Disney resort and can help you experience the parks without the massive crowds. Check the app the night before your park days to see which parks and hours have this special perk so you can plan accordingly. Some magic hours occur in the morning, so you’ll need to be prepared the night before. Additionally, some magic hours happen at night and nighttime magic hours in Animal Kingdom will allow you to travel back to Pandora so you can experience its glowing beauty. 

fastpass

Schedule FastPasses ASAP

Scheduling early is a huge perk for guests staying at a Walt Disney World resort and this one is huge. If you’d like a fastpass for either ride, scheduling your fastpass at 60 days out the second they become available is crucial. And it’s good to know that the Pandora rides are now part of a tiered Animal Kingdom fastpass+ system, so you’ll have to choose one or the other. Both wait queues have outdoor areas and that means waiting in the sun, so a fastpass is like having a VIP status! Just remember that only guests staying in a WDW resort can schedule fastpasses 60 days in advance. If you’re staying off-property or are an annual passholder, the earliest you can schedule a fastpass is 30 days out. It pays to stay on property!

avatar

Stop and Look

The Na’vi have a phrase oel ngati kameie” meaning “I see you” and you won’t want to miss seeing and actually taking in all of its beauty. You’ll especially want to take your time and look if you’re waiting in line for either of Pandora’s feature attractions. The world is beautifully themed throughout and there are many little nooks where you can rest or just relax in a bit of shade. You can even find plants to drum on!

Pandora

If you’re lucky, or smart because you checked your times guide for the day, you can watch an authentic Pandoran drum circle in front of the Mountains! You can watch my the live feed I provided on opening day over on our facebook page. Travel back to Pandora (or just stay til the sun sets) to experience all of Pandora’s nighttime wonder. The star of Pandora’s nighttime magic is its “syuratan” or bioluminescence. You’ll be surprised that you may even glow too!! 

Meredith

Make use of Memory Maker

This should go without saying if you’ve ever used Disney’s Memory Maker. If you’re not sure what Memory Maker is, be sure to read this post. Like most lands at Walt Disney World, Pandora also has several photopass locations where you can get an epic photo with the floating mountains or even have your photo taken as an official Visitor to Pandora! There’s several locations and you can find these stops in your app. Simply open up your My Disney Experience app and slide the selection over to PhotoPass to see all the locations.

Meredith

Order Food Via App

This is another big one! With the opening of Pandora and its dining option, Satu’li Canteen, Disney has begun implementing its first use of a mobile food order feature. By ordering food via the app, you’ll save loads of time and give your feet a break from standing in yet another wait line. Not to mention, you’ll feel like a VIP as you stroll past the wait line straight to the counter to pick up your food. You can order from the app under the “My Plans” section. And once it’s ready, it’ll give you a push notification to let you know that your food is waiting for you. 

Meredith

Be sure your app is updated to the most current version to access this feature. It’s also good to know that if you have a card saved for all your incidentals (dining reservations etc), your app will automatically process the payment from that card. So if you plan to order from the app, be sure to have a card on file to save yourself time while in the park inputting card information. It’s also good to know that mobile order pickup will allow you entry into the canteen even if there’s a cast member outside keeping track of guest numbers inside. Just show them your “Order Ready” screen and they’ll show you where to go!

Meredith

Visit Windtraders Early 

The grand opening day of Pandora brought wait times in excess of three hours just to gain access to the Pandoran store! And be sure to queue up for the adopt a banshee at the rookery while there! Adopting a banshee has been super popular, so again be patient if you’re in a longer than expected line.

Meredith Meredith

You can also have yourself scanned and your DNA combined with that of a Na’vi to create your very own Avatar! This experience however, takes time and you will need to revisit Windtraders around an hour later to pick up your avatar.

Meredith

It’s good to know that your card (they give you when you sign up) will allow you entrance back into the store even if there’s a wait line. Simply go to the door and let the cast member know you’re back to pick up your avatar. You may get some dirty looks from those waiting in line to go in, but you won’t have to wait to actually go in again. 

Meredith

More than Just Rides and Food

Disney has gone above and beyond to create a world that seamlessly fits within the Animal Kingdom’s nature-based story. And Pandora: The World of Avatar helps to further push us to see our own beautiful Earth in new ways. Personally, our ride aboard the Kilimanjaro Safaris, after experiencing Pandora, had me more closely examining the plant life that surrounds each habitat’s wildlife. How amazing our own world is!

Meredith

The food had me questioning what exactly should alien food look like?! And would our own everyday foods seem alien to the Omiticaya people or other alien beings? Additionally, you don’t have to have seen or liked the Avatar movie to appreciate this new land. My kids loved Pandora and have never seen the movie. They actually came home and used their own money to purchase the movie so they could see the movie based on their unique experience. This new land is more than a couple of rides and some weird food; It’s an experience that leaves you “newomum nì’ul,”  wanting to know more!

Extra Tips for those with Special Accommodations:

Make Use of Rider Swap

If you’ve got a child that isn’t tall enough or just doesn’t want to ride, you can make use of Disney’s rider swap which allows one parent to stay behind with a child(ren) while the other parents waits in the standby line. The cast members will give the first parent a rider swap return fastpass and once that first parent completes their ride, the second is able to go back through the fastpass line. Best yet, that second parent can be accompanied by two other people, so your other kids have the opportunity to ride twice by waiting in the standby line with the first parent and then again in the fastpass line with the second parent!

Meredith

Make Use of Disability Access Service

If you or a member of your travel party has a disability,  be sure to stop by guest services at the beginning of your stay to receive your disability access service card, or DAS for short. This card will allow you to avoid waiting in the actual queue  while still waiting the standby wait time. Simply see a cast member at the fastpass entrance to any attraction and tell them you’d like to get a DAS wait time and they’ll give you a time to come back and ride. This is especially beneficial as some of the wait queues can be difficult to navigate with a wheelchair or ECV. And not waiting in the line for Flight of Passage will allow you more time to explore Pandora while you wait for your ride time. 

If you’d like to find out more about the world of Avatar, be sure to check out the official Disney website here.

What’s A Magic Band?

Hey howdy hey! It’s Friday again! And this week I’ll be sharing about how to use those super cool new magic bands you just got in the mail! Because let’s be honest, you know that those awesome little colored bracelets means that a magical adventure awaits you. And what better way to prepare for that adventure than to know how to make the most of it?!

 

So, first off let’s cover exactly what a “magic band” is. To quote Disney’s own website, you can ” Tap into the magic with your MagicBand on your wrist. This colorful wristband is actually an all-in-one device that effortlessly connects you to all the vacation choices you made with My Disney Experience” You can and should make use of all the planning features on both the website and app. Try to familiarize yourself with both. And be sure to take some time to explore Disney’s website to see all the attractions, experiences, dining, and more. It’s come a long way and they’re always making little improvements to it.

2014-02-21 00.12.53

Basically, you’ll wear this little bracelet throughout your stay at a WDW resort. It is replacing what used to be your Key to the World. That includes your room key, your park tickets, free parking in the parks’ parking lots (which most people don’t realize but is good to know), and you can even link your account(s) to the band to make purchases throughout the entire WDW resort. This “link” can also be disabled in the My Disney Experience app (free for both ios and droid) should you happen to misplace the band at any time. So, no worries about losing it. The My Disney Experience app has been recently updated, (like Feb. 11 recently) and includes everything you’d need to access everything you’ve planned online once you’re actually there. So, don’t forget to download it too!

 2014-02-21 00.13.24

To plan your vacation, you can navigate here and sign-in. Once, you link your reservations to your account, (which you can do on your welcome screen once logged in) you can begin making fastpass+ selections. Your Fastpass+ selections will become available 60 days ahead of your first day at WDW.

Screen Shot 2014-02-20 at 9.32.35 PM

If you’ve booked with a travel agent, you can and should ask for the information on how to login to your account and start your own trip planning. Have fun with this! Let the kiddos explore the site with you and see what strikes their fancy too! It’s a fun way to get involved and let the whole vacation be fun for everyone going. You can choose to go through the setup process and link any resort reservations and/or dining reservations and tickets you may have. During this setup, it will also ask you who all is planning to travel with you and if you would like to manage the plans for the entire party or add guests to help make plans together via the Disney site, but logged-in however, through their own Disney account. While having multiple people manage their accounts, I’d actually recommend just one person take care of the entire group’s scheduling because if you need to change a Fastpass+ quickly, it won’t be so quickly if you all have to make the change. Just seems easier to me. 🙂

2014-02-21 00.25.45

Because we purchased military discount tickets on our last trip, our bands didn’t come automatically loaded with our park tickets and I admittedly got frustrated because I couldn’t seem to get our tickets to link using the website. Because they were military tickets, they weren’t actual tickets but rather ticket vouchers that require an exchange for hard tickets once at the parks. So I called customer service and still couldn’t even get them linked once! The vouchers seemed to have a different length of code than what it was asking for online and I couldn’t get it to accept it. However, the app made it super simple to link them! It actually has a feature to link tickets using your smartphone’s camera. It scans the barcode and instantly links them to your account asking you to choose which family member will be linked to each ticket. Be sure to actually write on your paper tickets which name is assigned to which band so that when you get to the parks, you can hand the vouchers and bands over to the CM and they’ll be able to activate each band with the appropriate voucher. So, don’t worry if you don’t use a TA or order online through Disney for your park tickets!

2014-02-20 22.04.59The bands themselves are nice and come in a variety of colors. If you do not select a color and where to have them shipped after you book your room reservations, then you will be given a grey color and they will waiting for you at the front desk at your resort on check-in day. Disney also offers a variety of fun accessories for them, but in all honesty, they’re gonna have to tweak their designs if they’re going to get my money. They have little covers, which are fine and cute, but didn’t really strike my fancy. You might like them though, so at least check ’em out!

2014-02-21 01.03.12

Next are the oh-so-cute, but totally gonna lose ’em little buggers called Bandits. They simply pop into the holes on the magic bands. The problem is they pop out just as easily. We were there during beta testing and not many had them at that time. And out of those that I spoke with just in passing, I’m pretty sure I would have had crying and upset kids that lost their favorite character too. Until they tweak these to stay better, either wait til the end of the trip and purchase them to keep on them without actually wearing them around, or just skip ’em altogether. Either way, don’t say I didn’t warn you! Haha! The last of the magic band accessories is the slider and it’s my pick for an accessory to wear on your band without the worry of losing it or completely covering it up. We have some that glow-in-the-dark and say 2013 on them! So excited for those because the date means that they were only available during beta testing. How cool is that?! You can purchase all three styles at the resorts, but we found that the Contemporary had the best selection. You can also find them online here (though I’ve never purchased from there so this is my disclaimer).

2014-02-21 01.00.22

I’d also like to point out that the magic bands are specially made to fit everyone. Be sure to check the inside of your box because it contains info on how to adjust your child’s armband to fit properly. And don’t worry when adjusting it! I know that’s how they’re designed, but when you’ve paid so much for something like that it almost seems absurd to rip it apart. But really, once you remove the extra-length portion of the band, it will fit much better and won’t be as bulky on their sweet little arms. <3

2014-02-21 00.49.24

This last little bit of magic band “magic” is for all the Disney Infinity game players out there. Start your system up and load a toy box. Be sure to have two players on the player spots. Then place your magic band on the hex portion of the base (the place where you put your playset pieces) and watch what happens!! And if you’re not sure what happened, you can check here for more info 🙂 I love, love, love that they’ve made a little something available to those traveling to WDW as well.

My conclusion? The magic band is an awesome little (albeit expensive for them!) piece of tech that Disney has created and I look forward to seeing how they tweak it in the future.

I guess that about covers it all. Have I missed something? How was your experience with the magic bands? What are you looking forward to when using them? We want to know, so please be sure to leave us a comment below or find us over on fb. And be sure to check out our pinterest planning boards for our favorite WDW places! ~Meredith °o°

 

p.s. If you’re wondering about their comfort level, well they’re pretty okay. It never bothered me per se, but it did make my arm sweaty at times ^_^