|Posted on April 15, 2012 at 8:00 PM|
If you have young children (but not too young), you will quickly learn that meeting characters and getting their autographs is a part of the Disney experience. However, if unprepared, you will also learn how painful this experience can be. You can easily waste several hours a day waiting in lines and baking in the sun to meet the most popular characters. It doesn’t have to be this way though. Here are a couple simple ideas to minimize the pain and maximize the gain.
Character Breakfasts are Your Friend
The 2 most popular sets of characters, Mickey plus his friends and the Disney Princesses, tend to consistently generate the longest lines. A much simpler way for your kids to meet them 1-on-1, take pictures and get autographs is to attend one of the character breakfasts. Specifically, I recommend Cinderella’s Castle to meet the princesses and Chef Mickey’s for Mickey’s crew. The other place to meet the princesses is at the breakfast in Norway, but unless your family has more adventuresome eaters, I suggest sticking with the castle.
If you schedule your breakfast reservation for late, you can combine this tip with several of my earlier tips. You can get to the park at opening, ride some of the major attractions while the lines are short, take a break for a late breakfast with the characters and with the help of an afternoon snack, probably tide yourself over until dinnertime.
Buy the Autograph Book
It’s seven bucks and you’ll make your young ones very happy. Years later, my kids still occasionally look at their old autograph books. At the time, they couldn’t be separated from them.
Beyond the Main Attractions
One other idea for getting Mickey and his crew, if Chef Mickey’s isn’t a possibility, is to arrive early at Epcot and go to the Innoventions area. Later in the day, this pavilion can have huge lines, but early in the morning you can breeze right in and quickly meet all of the characters.
Once you have the 2 main sets of characters out of way, there are still dozens of other characters to potentially meet and greet. My suggestion is to be opportunistic. If the line is long, tell your kids you’ll meet them later. If the line is short, go for it. Disney has so many character meeting places that you are bound to get just about everybody over the course of a week simply by being at the right place at the right time. There’s really no need to stand in a 30 minute+ line to meet a character.
My last suggestion is to set an expectation with your kids that you will only get an autograph once. If you see a character you’ve already met, have your kids waive and yell hello, but don’t wait a second time to see a character. Otherwise, you can get sucked into the vortex of spending your whole day meeting characters.