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4 Stealthy Character Meet and Greet Changes at Walt Disney World You Didn’t Even Notice!

Walt Disney World has been making a number of changes to meet and greets around its parks in recent weeks, many of which you may not have even noticed! From all-new meet and greet experiences now in testing to some shuffling of well-known princesses to new locations, there are some big changes afoot for many well known characters at Walt Disney World.

If character meet and greets are part of your plans during your next Walt Disney World visit, make sure you are aware of these changes so you know exactly where to go to meet all your favorites!

1. Flynn Rider casually meets fans in Fantasyland

When New Fantasyland made its debut in 2012, one of the biggest hits of the new area wasn’t the new rides or expanded areas, but the new, free-roaming Gaston meet and greet experience. What set Gaston apart from other meet and greets was its unique format: instead of shuffling guests through cavernous queues and only allowing them access to their favorite character for a minute or less, Gaston was allowed to walk around the New Fantasyland courtyard in front of Gaston’s Tavern as he pleased, talking with fans casually, taking the occasional picture and cracking jokes with guests (usually at his own expense).

Though this meet and greet experience has become a little more structured since it first debuted in 2012, its clear that this type of free-form “natural”-feeling experience is something that many guests enjoy. Though Gaston remained the only meet and greet experience like this at the Magic Kingdom for several years, another new meet and greet experience is now in testing for the next two weeks in Fantasyland and this time guests will be able to meet one of the good guys: Flynn Rider from Tangled!

During this limited-time test, Flynn Rider will be running around Fantasyland (literally!), getting into trouble and interacting with guests, asking them questions about where Maximus is and enlisting guests to help him solve various problems that only Flynn rider could have. Though this new experience looks like it will provide guests with quite a bit of interactive fun, if you’re hoping to get a selfie or an autograph with Flynn you’ll sadly be out of luck. According to the Magic Kingdom times guide, “Flynn Rider is on the run throughout Fantasyland. We just never know when or where he will show up. He can’t stop for autographs, but keep your eye open and you may get to snap a picture of him on the run.”

2. Pocahontas gets a more prominent meet and greet

Though it’s possible to meet every single “official” Disney Princess at Walt Disney World, some are more difficult than others. For instance, to meet Mulan you have to head over to Epcot, and meeting Aurora often involves having a meal of some sort. However, Pocahontas has been hidden away in various locations around Disney’s Animal Kingdom for several years, making her an especially tough princess to track down.

However, instead of shuffling around Discovery Island and Rafiki’s Planet Watch, Pocahontas now has her own dedicated space at the Discovery Island Character Landing, including a themed backdrop featuring a colorful mural. This meet and greet area is expected to be a permanent new home for her, and will hopefully mark the end of Pocahontas’ long trek around Disney’s Animal Kingdom. 

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There are 12 comments.

We loved being able to meet Pocahantas at Animal Kingdom in a cool, shady place. We missed Flynn Ryder at Epcot though. On our way home looking at her Autograph book, our 4 year old granddaughter realized she missed a few people. She told us we had to go back to DISNEYWORLD and asking why, she replied"We did not meet Tiana and Prince Naveen!"

Was never really into the meet and greets but know that is our favorite thing to do. My grandson loves the characterd. So that is our main thing to do our next trip which is in September yeah

Due to the prolific number of films Disney and Buena Vista productions have released over the last century, there will always be at least one character that reinforces the joy of cathartic emotional release for visitors to the parks. This is similar to the reaction you find at the various comic book or science fiction/fantasy conventions promoting specific aspects of random through Cosplay. There is something magical about running into a character by chance while strolling to the next ride. we took several pictures in Epcot at the China Pavilion with one well dressed young girl and it wasn't until developing the film that we realized we had been with Mulan! We had not seen the film in a few years and the connection never clicked for us, while stumbling upon the Bear Jamboree parade and seeing Baloo nearly brought me to tears.
I am not enamored of the stand in line for meet and greet photo shoots though I understand the cattle rail traffic controls needed else the character in the costume would be mobbed so there must be limitations.
That being said, the idea of FLynn from Tangled roaming the crowds is not unexpected. More frequently, guests at the park are seeking an immersive interactive experience lending to their willing suspense of disbelief and the full peeling away of adult constraints to actually, magically re-experience and re-enforce that one emotional response to the movie, thereby forcing the moral imperative of gathering souvenirs to remind us of the experiences in years to come.
The meet and greets are a necessary and expected experience within the parks.

About time Pocahontas got her own spot. You would go to animal kingdom and no one would know where she was. Big whoop about minnie and mickey, you can meet then anywhere. Glad Tiana and Naveen get some cool air for a bit. Those surprise showers are no fun while your waiting in line for guests to come say hello. As for Flynn you do get a card that looks like a wanted poster on one side and his autograph on the other. His attendent will be handing those out. Also, I highly doubt he'll be running around fantasyland. Gaston isn't even allowed to leave his post anymore because of safety. So don't let your dreams get crushed. Just go to rapunzel's tower and say hi.

My niece and I are planning a trip just to go around WDW and have our pictures taken with every single character we can find. Two days of hunting characters and posing for pictures... Btw- my niece is 21 and I'm 50... But we are kids at heart!band we love Disney!

Guests are able to meet Princess Aurora in TWO different locations that do not involve having to pay for a meal. Town Square Courtyard at Magic Kingdom, and France Pavilion at Epcot.

I really hope they bring back Hiro and Baymax. We came just before the release of the movie and wont be able to go back for a few years, but this is one of our favorite Disney films.

I understand why they do what they do now, but I am really disappointed by not being able to just run into characters and the lack of characters is disappointing as well. I was looking at my honeymoon pictures and my husband and I have several pictures with different characters at the different parks. This year, it felt so impersonal, with queue lines that were anywhere from 45minutes to an hour long! We decided not to get into boring lines just to take a quick picture with characters that have their own pavilion. The only characters we got pictures with were at Chef Mickey's, the Disney Visa Card only line, and with Snow White because it took a matter of 5 minutes (not 45!). I wish they would go old school and have them around the park.

Never n was walking around liberty square yesterday afternoon at mk for a couple hours

I would LOVE to be part of the meet and greets and have pictures, HOWEVER, the lines are so incredibly long and I just don't feel like I can wait

During this limited-time test, Flynn Rider will be running around Fantasyland (literally!), getting into trouble and interacting with guests, asking them questions about where Maximus is and enlisting guests to help him solve various problems that only Flynn rider could have. Though this new experience looks like it will provide guests with quite a bit of interactive fun, if you’re hoping to get a selfie or an autograph with Flynn you’ll sadly be out of luck. According to the Magic Kingdom times guide, “Flynn Rider is on the run throughout Fantasyland. We just never know when or where he will show up. He can’t stop for autographs, but keep your eye open and you may get to snap a picture of him on the run.” ===== I love this type of thing -- and Flynn Rider -- no better Character to do it !

Um his name is Eugene Fitzherbert

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