Do you love visiting Walt Disney World?
Do you have children that LOVE meeting Disney characters?
Do you and your children also love the attractions and shows?
Here’s a look into our trip where we successfully met 134 characters in 6 days and still had time to enjoy 43 attractions during the week of 4th of July!
We are a family of three whose 22 month old happens to love characters. Whether face character or not, she runs to them with open arms and smile beaming. After a few trips with mainly pictures with Cinderella, Belle, Aurora and Mickey & Minnie, we were ready for more. We planned a week-long trip to Orlando with six day, park hopper tickets, planned picnic meals, and a code word for calming tired nerves. I could go on and on about WDW, but I will try to just give you the most informative tips from our amazing trip!
For starters, the following tips are rules we live by whenever we visit Walt Disney World:
- Always chose to attend a park that does not have morning magic hours.
- Be at the park for the opening rope drop…this may take some effort and planning for rest time in your trip.
- Live by your Park’s Times Guide.
- Try to be at the first scheduled greeting time for characters.
- Utilize Fast Passes.
We started our trip on July 3rd in Magic Kingdom, because they were showing their 4th of July fireworks on both the 3rd and 4th. This way, we could see Celebrate America at MK and get the special extended Illuminations at Epcot on the 4th. (We knew this by checking websites before our trip.) Although we did bring our own meals for most of the trip, we enjoyed an early character breakfast at Ohana to start our first day in the parks. This started our character count at 4 with Lilo, Stitch, Pluto, and Mickey. We hopped on the Monorail for Magic Kingdom and as soon as the rope dropped, we headed straight to Mickey’s new dressing room. After only waiting about 8 minutes, Minnie Mouse walked in to join Mickey (a bit of luck there) and after two more families, we had our first video and ten pictures on our Photopass card. Character count 6. Next, we joined the Princess line, because we were already in the building; and since it was at the start of the day, we had characters 7, 8, 9 (Cinderella, Belle, and Aurora) ten minutes later. At this point, we checked our Times Guide to see which characters ended the earliest in the day and made a plan of what direction to go in the park. We met Snow White by guest services and got lucky to catch the tail end of Ariel and Eric’s line in Adventureland. Aladdin and Jasmine were due to be out in about thirty minutes, so we grabbed some Fast Passes, rode the Magic Carpets, and let our little one color with a Cast Member while waiting in line. Fifteen minutes later, character count 14. Next, a cut-through to Frontierland and a twenty minute wait for Woody and Jesse brought our character count to 16 and our day to a lunch break. We found the rocking chairs on the Trading Post’s porch a great place to enjoy our picnic lunch. We headed into Fantasyland to see Fairy Godmother (17), ride a few rides, grab a Fast Pass for later and then it was naptime. We went back to our hotel for a good rest, pool, and dinner. Our plan on coming back to the Kingdom was to get in line for Tiana and Naveen and get a good spot to sit for Celebrate America. After the awe-inspiring fireworks, we hit some more rides and made it back to bed by midnight feeling pretty good about ourselves and our 19 character day!
Happy Independence Day! We brought both our meals into Epcot on the 4th because we had heard that the parks could be closed for capacity. After the rope drop, we weaved our way to Epcot Character Spot (it has been a personal goal to be first to get a pic with all five characters – Mickey, Pluto, Minnie, Donald, and Goofy – at once), however we didn’t make it this time. Still, after about fifteen minutes, our character count went up to 24. By checking our Times Guide, we knew to join the Tinkerbell line. While waiting, Brer Bear and Max came out for surprise greetings by the fountain. Then since we had to wait for the World Showcase to open at 11am, we decided to go back to the park entrance and meet Daisy and Stitch. Character count up to 29 before lunchtime. By watching our Times Guide closely, we were able to eat lunch on a shady bench and make a circle through the countries to see Mulan, Ben Franklin (a special 4th of July greeting), Marie, Princess Aurora, and Belle. Our character count is up to 34 and time for a nap inside Innoventions for the toddler and a restful bench to cool off at for all. Two hours later, we walked outside to meet Chip & Dale and made our way back to the American Pavilion to line-up for the special patriotic dressed Mickey, Donald, and Goofy. Again, we were very lucky to be one of the last families for their first greeting time (4:30pm), which allowed us to go back to see Belle with the Beast. Then, we continued on through the countries stopping to see Pooh with Piglet, Alice, Mary Poppins, and Duffy! Character count 46. At this point we had seen almost every character that Epcot guarantees, so we decided to give it a rest and take in some of the great attractions in Future World. We ate our picnic dinner, grabbed a seat on the bridge leading to World Showcase, and enjoyed Illuminations with a patriotic flair. This time, we were back in bed before midnight ready to take it easy in the morning and break our own rule of entering Animal Kingdom after the rope dropped!
July 5th, we ended up being only ten minutes past opening. We knew from past trips and our Times Guide that Camp Minnie Mickey doesn’t open until 10am, so we enjoyed some window shopping, pin trading, and hopped in line for Lilo and Stitch as Camp Minnie Mickey opened. Character count only 47 though, we were not as lucky this time; Lilo went to feed Pudge before we reached the front of the line! Next, Camp Minnie Mickey right as it opened for zero to five minute wait times for Chip & Dale, Thumper & Miss Bunny, Donald, Goofy, Minnie, and Mickey. Oh wait, on the way out Pocahontas and Meeko! Character count up to 57 and it’s still not even lunchtime. We continued on into Africa for a ride on the Safari with Fast Passes, of course. After a great safari, we found the character greeting trails in Africa thanks to the Times Guide and a little help from the park map. Turk, Baloo, and King Louis brought our count up to 60 as we caught the train to Rafiki’s Planet Watch to meet Jiminy Cricket and Rafiki, himself. Count 62. Lunchtime! (Hint for those traveling with babies and young children: We ate in the Baby Care Center where our little girl also got to watch part of Tinkerbell and color character coloring sheets! It was a great place to cool off and help calm the sensory overload.) After lunch it was naptime again, so we actually found a shaded bench in a perfect position to watch the Jammin’ Jungle Parade at 3:45pm. As the crowd filtered out, we checked the Times Guide and headed to find Pooh, Tigger, and Eeyore with a continued walk in DinoLand U.S.A. for Goofy with Pluto. Character count 67 with some rides on the side. At this point, we had accomplished one of our goals – to see all of the guaranteed characters on the Animal Kingdom Times Guide! After some more pin trading, we headed back to our hotel for dinner and a refresher before heading back to Magic Kingdom. Since we arrived at the park later, the only character greeting spots open were all ones we had seen before; so, we spent this evening riding rides during the evening parade and fireworks which equals no wait times and back to bed before midnight!
On July 6th, we made it to Hollywood Studios for opening with a plan to split up by one getting in line for the characters that are only out in the morning by the Sorcerer’s Hat and the other getting fast passes for Toy Story. I missed the first character of the day, Minnie Mouse in her pink Hollywood dress, so I vowed to get back to her later that morning. However, we were lucky to be the last family in the Donald with Daisy Duck line, which allowed us to be one of the firsts with Chip & Dale and with Goofy with Pluto. Character count 74, and we were still able to consult our Times Guide and be second in line at Magic of Animation to see Sorcerer Mickey and Winnie the Pooh. We also met Mr. Incredible with FroZone that morning…78. We parked it on a bench outside, ate lunch, and snagged a picture with Handy Manny (79) before walking across the park. By watching our Times Guide, we got to meet Phineas & Ferb, Woody with Buzz, grab another picture with Minnie Mouse, and catch a couple of shows before naptime. Character count 84 and another restful spot to await the Pixar Pals Countdown to Fun parade at 3pm. After this, we decided to shop a little and then head back to our hotel for an early dinner, because we happen to know a little Disney secret that the Cast Members like to pretend they don’t know about. In the Magic of Animation, surprise characters come out everyday around 5pm in two sets for about four time cycles. With a watchful eye on the clock and a little Cast Member assistance, we were first when Minnie with Pluto walked out to “surprise” us! We waited less than ten minutes to see Mary Poppins with two penguins Bernard & Stanley, no wait for the Evil Queen, and a few minutes for Meeko, who followed our toddler to the sound booth to play! Character count 91. Then, out came the next wave of characters, and we met Goofy, Pinocchio, Tweedledee & Tweedledum, and Mulan, who walked us over to meet Stitch, quickly jumping our character count to 97. Last, we consulted our Times Guide and crossed the park to meet Lightning McQueen & Mater. At this point, we had visited all four parks and were very tired. We decided to catch Fantasmic! another night and go to bed, because we set a goal to get up early and be the first people at Epcot Character Spot the next day. Oh yeah, our character count stopped at 99 today!
WE DID IT! We were at the front of the rope fifteen minutes before the park opened, enjoyed watching the Fab Five come out and greet everyone, made a beeline for the Character Spot, and our new family portrait in our living room is the three of us with the Fab Five! We still got to continue down the line and see each character one at a time, but to be fair, I only count them once for the morning. Character count 104 and family group hug as we walk out the door! Since we had come to Epcot just to catch a few of the characters we had missed before, we took it easy. We rode some rides, let our little one see Daisy and Stitch again, and used the Times Guide to be early for Donald as a Caballero, Snow White and Aladdin & Jasmine. Character count 110 and off to the hotel for lunch. We decided to go back to Hollywood Studios to see if the surprise characters were different. We got to see Minnie with Pluto, a green army man, Pinocchio with Gepetto, Leo & Annie from the Little Einsteins, and Jafar. Character count 118. We were able to catch our daughter’s favorite show, Disney Junior, again, enjoyed a few others and headed to the Fantasmic! line. Then it rained on us, so even though we actually made it into the first showing of Fantasmic!, we left cold and wet when it got delayed with the possibility of being cancelled. Now, if this was your first trip, it would have been worth the wait in the rain to see if it would show, because it is amazing. But, we have seen it many times and forgot to pack the ponchos!
July 8th is our last day in the parks, which always makes us sad. We like to end our trip at Magic Kingdom, which worked very well for us this trip because we still had a list of characters that we not seen at the kingdom. Just for fun, we decided to be first for the three princesses at the Town Square Theater; so again, we saw Aurora, Belle, and Cinderella. This time, we snagged Fast Passes to meet Mickey & Minnie later, because we knew that we had to be early for Rapunzel, as currently her line can exceed hour wait times very quickly. We knew exactly where we were headed, so we made it into the tail end of her first group of guests! Character count 122, and we are headed into Fantasyland to find all the characters that we previously missed. We ran right into the White Rabbit’s line and then saw where Winnie the Pooh with Tigger come out. Next, we questioned a few Cast Members who directed us to Lady Tremaine with Anastasia & Drizella, and Peter Pan, who we had all to ourselves for about fifteen minutes! Character count 129. We continued walking into Frontierland to see Frontier Donald Duck, and then caught the Castle Party before heading into Tommorrowland to see Chip & Dale in their spacesuits. Character count 132. We ate lunch and let the little one nap while we enjoyed a Main Street Cinnamon Roll! It started raining again, so we only got to see the Rainy Day Character Cavalcade. Although, this did allow us to catch more rides. After dinner, we saw Mickey & Minnie Mouse one last time bringing our total character count for the trip to 134! We enjoyed Wishes, The Magic, the Memories, and You, and the Main Street Electrical Parade that night and agreed that this was one MAGICAL trip!
Did you have a magical Disney trip that you want to share? Do you have some tips or advice for other guests? Did you Coupon to Disney and you want to share your story? If so, please email it to me so it can be featured here on CouponingtoDisney.com.