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4 Iconic Spots First-Time Disney Guests Always Overlook

Disney Visa Cardmember Character Experience – Disneyland and Disney California Adventure

Disney Visa Cardmember Character Experience

Image: Loren Javier, Flickr (license)

Undeniably, the worst part about meeting characters at the Disney parks is the wait. Even without impatient little ones in tow, it can be exhausting to wait over an hour or two just for a two- to five-minute interface with Goofy, Stitch, or Rapunzel.

Luckily, there are several ways to circumvent this issue—perhaps the best one of which is the Disney Visa meet-and-greets offered at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure. Any guest with a Disney Visa in-hand is invited to participate in an exclusive meet-and greet and is almost always guaranteed a little bit of a shorter line and a little bit longer of typical character interactions.

The only downside? These exclusive character experiences last just three hours each day from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., so you’ll have to be punctual if you want to make the most of your time there. Also, character availability is varied and unpredictable, and you may not always get to see characters dressed for the holidays or other special occasions, either. The location in Hollywood Land tends to feature a variety of fur characters, while you can meet Star Wars-specific characters at Star Wars Launch Bay over in Disneyland from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. daily.

Sleeping Beauty Castle Walkthrough – Disneyland

Sleeping Beauty Castle Walkthrough

Image: Jeremy Thompson, Flickr (license)

Yes, this is a fairly obvious choice—but while oodles and oodles of guests ogle the pink-and-blue castle every day, far fewer venture inside to look at the Sleeping Beauty dioramas and get spooked by Maleficent’s green shadow effect.

The interior of Sleeping Beauty Castle first opened to guests in 1957, but an updated and technology-enhanced version wasn’t offered until 2008. There are no moving components, nor is the attraction overwrought with special effects or mind-blowing Audio-Animatronics, but its simple retelling of the Sleeping Beauty story is quaint and imaginatively executed.

While the walkthrough pales in comparison to even the most basic dark ride attraction in Fantasyland (let alone the Signature Dining experience at Cinderella’s Royal Table in the Magic Kingdom’s Cinderella Castle or the 89-foot animatronic dragon under Sleeping Beauty Castle in Disneyland Paris), there’s a certain charm that comes with the ability to walk through the park’s most iconic building. As a plus, the whole experience is fully indoors and never all that crowded, making it an ideal choice on a hot, busy day at the parks.

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Which out-of-the-way places do you wish you’d known about on your first trip to the Disney Parks?

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