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Pro-Tips for Character Meet and Greets

Happy Monday, friends! I hope you all had a great weekend! Today I'm talking about one of the questions I get the most on social media, how do I take those really cute character photos? What are my tips for character interactions? How do you meet so many characters on a trip? Friends, doing character meets at Disney is one of my favorite things, and it's a really fun way to remember trips and moments in time. All of the questions above are going to be answered today, and I'm going to let you guys in on who my favorite character meets at each park are!

One of my favorite tips I tell people when they are going to a Disney park and want to meet characters is to figure out what characters regularly meet at each park! Everyone knows you can see Mickey at Magic Kingdom, but many people don't know you can see Aladdin and Jasmine together, Merida, and Buzz Lightyear! A great resource for finding characters is going to be the My Disney Experience app. I use this constantly when I'm searching for characters in the parks. This is where you can find the meet and greet locations throughout the parks, the set times (set times are the allotted times of day a character is going to be at a certain place to greet guests), and where you can find a list of each character that is meeting each season at the Disney Parks. Yes, I said season. Some characters will come and go as seasons change. Villains, for example, are more likely to be visiting around Halloween, and Santa Goofy will be visiting around Christmas. 

My number one asked question on Instagram is, "How do you take such cute character photos?" Friends, everyone can take cute pictures with Gaston. (Gaston is one of my favorite character meets, and not to be missed!) One of my top tips is to give your cell phone to the character handler and ask them to snap as many pictures as possible before you start your meet time. Meet and greets generally only last 60-90 seconds. So you must take full advantage of it. Some of the best pictures I have are of me laughing with Gaston, or planning to skip princess lessons with Merida. These un-posed, more natural, photos to me are better than the ones where the Photo Pass Cast Member is telling you to smile at the camera. If you have Photo Pass as part of your annual pass, or you've paid for it as part of your vacation package, know that you can get these downloads for up to 12 months after the original photo date. 

One of the other questions I get a lot is, "How do you interact with characters and it not be be awkward?" If you go into the meet and greet and think it's going to be awkward, you've automatically set yourself up for failure and it probably will be awkward. But if you go in with a big smile, give hugs, and say how excited you are to be seeing Rapunzel the conversation is going to be a lot more natural, I promise! I also like to wear something that corresponds with the character I'm meeting. I know some people cannot do this, but if you only have one character you really want to meet, like Rapunzel, and you wear a Tangled shirt, or Tangled ears, that automatically gives her something to notice about you and something easy for you to chat about! 

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So how do I meet so many characters in one trip? Like I said earlier, I always have My Disney Experience downloaded and ready to go on my phone. I also think about priority characters I want to see. For me, those characters are usually Merida, Gaston, Minnie, Rapunzel, and Kylo Ren. If I can get a Fast Pass for any of the characters I want to see I do. Of the characters I listed above, only Rapunzel have FP+ available for Princess Fairy Tale Hall, and for your minimal wait time, you'll also get to see Tiana. For Everyone else, I try to get to their sets earlier in the day. When more people are in the parks the lines for characters can be VERY long, especially Gaston and Merida. So I try to do those two before 11:00 AM if I can. For Kylo Ren, his line is usually not very long, but if it is and you have a Disney Visa, there is a special Visa Meet at the Star Wars Launch Bay. It runs from 11:00 AM-4:00 PM, and the line for Kylo Ren is significantly shorter. 

During my trips, I also keep an eye out at Epcot and Hollywood Studios for what's called Character-palooza. This is a random character meet time at both parks. The actual meet times are never published anywhere, and is all determined by managers, time of year, weather, and Disney Magic. Basically what this is though is an opportunity to meet anywhere from 5-10 characters for a short amount of time. Character-palooza only lasts about 20 minutes while it's happening. (If you want me to do a whole blog on character-palooza let me know in the comments!) Sometimes you can get some really rare characters, like Gideon and Foul Fellow, Rabbit, and Meg. There are four different character-palooza locations at Epcot: On the right of the Imagination Pavilion, the gate between the UK Pavilion and the Canada Pavilion in World Showcase, the gate in the United States Pavilion, and International Gateway! At Hollywood Studios, character-palooza is always held right outside of the main entry after bag check. 

Friends, I hope you learned a little bit more about character hunting at the Disney Parks today! Let me know in the comments who your favorite character to meet is. 

Be Magical Today!

-Megan