By the co-author of The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2020, the best-reviewed Disney World guidebook series ever.

Available on Amazon here.

(As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.)

The Characters and Walt Disney World

By Dave Shute

MBTeal Logo 2013
Welcome to those of you joining me from Heidi’s Head and those of you just hopping aboard!

I am the 3rd stop on Magical Blogorail Teal. Enjoy the ride as this month we share our favorite Disney Character Experience.


me and arielThe Disney characters are everywhere at Walt Disney World, but what most people mean when they talk about a Disney World “character experience” is a personal interaction with a character–a hug, photo, autograph, exchange of phone numbers. (Ariel? I’m still waiting…)

As far as I am concerned, there are two different ways to experience the characters. My division is not the traditional one–but it’s the one that matters:

  1. Air-conditioned character experiences, and
  2. Ambient outdoor temperature experiences

Air-conditioned experiences include most character meals (not Mickey’s Backyard Barbecue) and many more permanent and continuous opportunities in the parks, such as Ariel’s Grotto in New Fantasyland.

Character meals ought to be reserved months in advance; some of the air-conditioned character greeting experiences that aren’t meals have Fastpasses available–and more will after Fastpass+ becomes operational.

Ambient temperature experiences are completely outdoors–though sometimes roofed–and happen all over the parks.  These typically happen in a specific set of locations, according to a specific schedule, which you can see in your “Times Guide” to the park.

There’s also a number of places on the web where you can track characters down–e.g. Kennythepirate–slow loading, but handy.

Because this site focuses on older kids (and is not so keen on Mickey’s Backyard Barbecue compared to alternatives), all of its recommended character experiences are air-conditioned character meals.  This lets you combine two things (dining and meeting) at once–and do so out of the weather!

Lilo and me at Ohana at the Polynesian ResortMy own personal favorite character interaction is always the last one I had–so that would be, at the time of this writing, the Lilo and Stitch breakfast at the Polynesian!


Thank you for joining me today. Your next stop on the Magical Blogorail Teal Loop is Disney Lovin’ Spectrum Mom.

Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail Teal loop should you happen to have to make a stop along the way and want to reboard:

Follow on Facebook!



1 Heidi { 07.23.13 at 7:14 am }

Awww . . . you and Lilo are really cute together, Dave. I know you’re holding out for Ariel though. 😉

2 Disney Babies Jenn { 07.23.13 at 8:30 am }

I’d love to try O’hana for breakfast, but I’m not sure I can handle stitch… always a wealth of information 🙂

3 Melissa { 07.23.13 at 8:48 am }

Air conditioned meet and greets are always my favorite. 🙂 We’re visiting ‘Ohana for breakfast on our next trip. I can’t wait!

4 Mary @ Capturing Magical Memories { 07.23.13 at 9:04 am }

Had to laugh. I would say that is the way I guage them too. Which means I am very unlikely to meet any ambient temperature characters in August!

5 Jennifer { 07.23.13 at 10:11 am }

That pic of you and Ariel could not possibly be any more adorable!!! And as a new veteran of Mickey’s Backyard BBQ, I share your lack of enthusiasm. Although parts of the show were pretty amazing (thinking specifically of the gent who did the rope tricks), and the free booze was appreciated, the character interactions were limited and definitely geared towards the little ones in the crowd.

And Disney Babies Jenn, you are right to be wary of Stitch. He totally swiped my son’s bottle of water at Typhoon Lagoon, the scamp… 😉

6 Kathy Kelly { 07.23.13 at 4:52 pm }

People often assume that face character interactions are the most fun. But non -face characters that have mastered the art of pantomime give wonderfully interactive experiences as well!

7 Hayden { 07.23.13 at 7:27 pm }

I agree, the AC character meet n greets are the best! I wish they ALL had Fastpasses 🙂 Great pic of you and Lilo! The character breakfast at O’hana is on my wish list for our next visit.

8 Kuleen@ { 07.23.13 at 9:39 pm }

I like the split between air conditioned visits and non-air conditioned character experiences. Air conditioning= good, not air conditioned= not so good.

9 PS { 06.23.14 at 4:23 pm }

Hi, we will be visiting Dec7-11th, 2014. it’s our first ever! Have 2 girls ages 6 & 7, who are totally into anything Frozen. Can u pls suggest a character dining with any of the Frozen characters ? We will be staying at the Swan resort( kids eat free at Garden Grove). Thanks!

10 Dave { 06.24.14 at 4:04 pm }

Hi PS! There is, as I write this, no Frozen character dining.

There’s a meet and greet in the Magic Kingdom that I’ll be publishing on soon.

However, lines are very long without FastPass+, and since you aren’t staying in a Disney-owned resort, you can’t book FP+ til 30 days out, and the Frozen FP+ may all be gone by then…

Leave a Comment | Ask a Question | Note a Problem

My response to questions and comments will be on the same page as the original comment, likely within 24-36 hours . . . I reserve the right to edit and delete comments as I choose . . . All rights reserved. Copyright 2008-2022 . . . Unless otherwise noted, all photos are by me--even the ones in focus--except for half a dozen from my niecelets . . . This site is entirely unofficial and not authorized by any organizations written about in it . . . All references to Disney and other copyrighted characters, trademarks, marks, etc., are made solely for editorial purposes. The author makes no commercial claim to their use . . . Nobody's perfect, so follow any advice here at your own risk.