This is a post from Dustin "The Character Queen" Hayes. Be sure to like his Facebook Page. Here's Dustin...
Walt Disney World is often regarded as a place on Earth where everyone who visits is a child again. However, one activity offered is still often looked down upon by older visitors to the parks: character meet and greets.
Believe me, there was a time where I thought this, too, and I'd just run by any characters out meeting guests on my way to my next FastPass, but one day, I spontaneously chose to get in line to meet Peter Pan at Magic Kingdom and I was immediately (pun intended) hooked!
Whether you're traveling by yourself, with a group of adults, or with kids in tow, character meets can be a magical experience for everyone. Here are a few tips and tricks to make the most of your time with your new friends.
1. Check times
Use the My Disney Experience app to check times and locations for characters throughout all four parks. Meet times and locations will vary by day, and nearly every time can be found on the app. If you aren't sure of a certain time or location, check with Guest Relations at any of the parks and they will be able to tell you when and where they will be.
Not all characters are listed on the app, so if there is a character you want to meet but are not sure of whether they'll be in the park that day, this is also a good questions for your friends in plaid at Guest Relations.
2. Use FastPass+
Use FP+ for more popular character meets if they are offered. Anna and Elsa are still the most popular of all in the Magic Kingdom, but recently it's not uncommon to find a couple of FastPasses available to meet them 1 or 2 days before!
Be sure to use the app to your advantage and check often to see if any FastPasses for meet and greets have opened up.
3. Learn about the characters
Do your homework before meeting with the characters so you have things to talk with them about. If you're set on meeting Princess Aurora during your visit, watch Sleeping Beauty at home to re-familiarize yourself with her story!
Being able to have a real conversation with characters about both themselves and yourself can go a long way with creating magical moments for your visit.
4. Take advantage of low wait times
Save the most popular meet and greets (if you aren't able to get FPs for them) for later in the day, before park close, or during an event such as the Festival of Fantasy Parade. It's not uncommon that the line to meet Anna and Elsa can be as low as 15 minutes when you get closer to the time Magic Kingdom closes.
5. Bring props
When applicable, bring props to share with your character friends for your photo opportunities.
Ariel loves seeing stuffed versions of her friend Flounder, wear your own tiara if you have one, take your own umbrella to pose with Mary Poppins, or do what I did and take a sandwich in to Princess Fairytale Hall to meet Anna! (I still smile remembering her reaction to that).
6. Let them lead
Let the characters speak first and guide the conversation. This makes it much easier for both them and you, especially if you happen to get tongue tied when trying to think of something to say (believe me, I still get flustered from time to time myself!)
7. Speak up!
Don't be afraid to ask the characters to pose with you for your picture a certain way (provided it is appropriate and pertains to their story). Standing next to Peter Pan can be fun and all, but how would it be to have a picture of you together where you're acting like you're flying?
8. Respect the blueberries
Always show your appreciation for the character attendants that are hanging out with them during your visit. They are very fun people themselves and have one of the hardest roles in all of Walt Disney World! They deserve love too!
Blueberries deserve a lot of love. They are some of the hardest working CMs at the WDW resort! That's why I'll be posting pictures with character attendants I've met along the way! Met @nicholasarthurblack today while in line to meet Belle today. Thanks for letting me take a selfie with you! #Epcot #WorldShowcase #FrancePavilion
Now that you have a basic idea of how to make the best of your time at character meets, I hope you put some of these ideas to the test for your next visit and that you have just as much fun as I do! Happy Character Hunting!