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7 Unheralded Characters Everyone Should Meet at Walt Disney World

Character meet and greets represent one of the most enjoyable and memorable aspects of a trip to Walt Disney World. The iconic characters you’ve loved since a child are there to hug you, converse with you, and even sign your autograph book. Best of all, Disney trains their cast members to stay in character, which leads to unforgettable encounters such as this one. While some characters are easy to find and require minimal effort to interact with, others are a challenge, and I’m not just speaking of the Frozen siblings. Here is a list of 7 unheralded Disney character meet and greets to maximize your enjoyment during your visit.

1. Mulan & the World Showcase Princesses

One of the best kept secrets about the World Showcase at Epcot is that it features a lot of characters who seem hidden in plain sight. Any visitor to the Chinese Pavilion has a chance to happen upon everyone’s favorite cross-dressing soldier, Mulan. The warrior of legend fittingly resides at the Temple of Heaven. Since the perception of the park is that the front is for kids and the back is for grown-ups, there are rarely large lines for these meet and greets.

The same rules apply to these characters as they do with Mulan. Jasmine and Aladdin are frequently found near the Restaurant Marrakesh at the Morocco Pavilion. Snow White is similarly is much easier to find and talk with at the Germany Pavilion at the Snow White Wishing Well. Finally, the crowd for Belle resides at Enchanted Tales with Belle,in Fantasyland. Savvy hunters know that she’s also found at the France Pavilion. Aurora aka Sleeping Beauty is also sometimes found in the gardens here as well.

2. Sofia the First

Disney is in the business of princesses like Heinz is in the business of ketchup. Nobody what other enterprises they’re involved in, princesses comprise the body of the company due to Walt Disney’s creation of beloved animated characters that little girls love. Disney Junior cleverly explored this concept by introducing Sofia the First, a young girl whose mother suddenly marries into the royal line. The television series involves her princess training, and if you have a daughter, I didn’t have to tell you that. Sofia is relatively new as a character meeting but can be found every day at the Animated Courtyard at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

3. Stitch

Project 626 is one of the most popular characters in recent Disney history, which makes his general absence from the parks a bit mystifying. Many frequent visitors consider him the most difficult character greeting. While there is a shortcut if you’re willing to schedule a character breakfast at ‘Ohana, something I highly recommend for the food and ambience, that’s not the free way. You’ll occasionally find Stitch roaming around Tomorrowland near Space Mountain. His schedule varies, but most people find success early in the morning. A pro tip is to set up a FastPass+ selection for something in the area such as Space Mountain. You may get lucky and discover him as you exist the attraction.

4. Star Wars Characters

This one is important due to its timeliness. Four weekends each, Disney flexes its latest intellectual property muscle by releasing Star Wars characters out into the wild. While you can interact with Disney characters in Star Wars costumes in other ways, Star Wars Weekends represent the only time that you can interact with actual Star Wars characters. There are a lot of them, too. Star Wars Weekends are designed for superfans, so we’re not just talking about Darth Vader, Queen Amidala, and Luke Skywalker here. Jawa, Greedo, Aurra Sing, and even Asajj Ventress made appearances last year. A couple of those sound like made up names to me, but I assure you they’re not.

5. Jessie and Woody

Fittingly, these characters from the Toy Story franchise appear in Frontierland, where they are presumably the rootinest, tootinest cowboy and cowgirl in the land. If you want Woody to tell you to Reach for the Sky, you’ll need to hang out in the Splash Mountain/Pecos Bill area. I’d be remiss if I didn’t warn you about Jessie, though. This is the single creepiest character design at Walt Disney World. The soulless, neckless design is the stuff of nightmares. 

6. Beast

The Beast is almost impossible to find without the benefit of securing a reservation for Be Our Guest. As you know from a previous article, that’s no small feat on its own. So, if you want to meet Beauty’s beloved, you’ll have to gain the most difficult dinner reservation at Walt Disney World. Then, you’ll have to watch for him during the meal. Beast moves quickly through the dining hall.

7. Character Palooza

This one is the doozy. If you are unfamiliar with it, you are really missing out. Every night at Hollywood Studios, they host the Fantasmic gala. It features dozens of Disney’s most popular characters. What you may not know is that in the hours leading up to Fantasmic, the characters from the show engage in a meet and greet. You won’t find it on any schedule, though. Most people discover it either through blind luck or word of mouth. Since you’re lucky enough to read it here, you’ll have the edge on other park visitors. Simply head over to the Tower of Terror exit the same way you would if you were heading to Fantasmic.

The trick to finding Character Palooza is checking the number of showings of Fantasmic. If there is one, two meet and greets occur. The first should start at 4:30 PM EST near Echo Lake while the other occurs at 5:30 at Streets of America. If there are two shows for Fantasmic, a single meet and greet transpires at Streets of America at 6:00. Note that there can be up to three sets, each of which is composed of different characters. There are roughly 30 characters in play, so Character Palooza is the holy grail of Disney meet and greets.