A family trip to Disney World is a magical experience. One of the highlights is often the chance for character meet and greets, a beloved activity for many young visitors. These treasured encounters provide kids with a one-of-a-kind opportunity to meet favorite Disney characters face-to-face, creating photo opportunities and lifelong memories.

As a parent who has taken multiple Disney vacations with my family, I’ve compiled this list of the 15 best character meet-and-greets at Disney World. Drawing on firsthand experience, I provide details on where to find the Disney characters in the parks and resorts, who you’ll see, what to expect during the interactions, and insider tips to maximize your experience. Our rankings feature both classic in-park meet and greets as well as character dining.

Let’s explore these not-to-be-missed character meet-and-greets that will create magical memories for your Disney World vacation.

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1. Fairytale Hall

  • Location: Magic Kingdom (Fantasyland)
  • Characters: Cinderella, Rapunzel, Tiana, Elena of Avalor
  • Best For: Preschoolers, Kids, Disney Princess lovers

Description: Fairytale Hall is a dream come true for princess lovers of all ages. Stepping inside transports you into an immersive fairy tale world, with the grandeur of the hall and the grace of the princesses offering a truly magical experience. Cinderella greets guests alongside a visiting princess like Rapunzel, Tiana, or others, making each child feel special. It’s a magical experience promising delightful memories and photos, perfect for preschoolers, kids, and Disney princess devotees.

Our Experience: Our daughter Ava was completely enchanted meeting her favorite princesses, sweetly chatting and taking photos. Our son Ben was timid around Cinderella. As parents, we loved seeing our daughter’s pure joy as the fairy tales came to life before our eyes.

2. Toy Story Land

  • Location: Hollywood Studios (Toy Story Land)
  • Characters: Woody, Jessie, Buzz Lightyear
  • Best For: Young adventurers

Description: Toy Story Land is an immersive experience that brings Pixar’s beloved Toy Story to life. The land is filled with giant versions of iconic toys like building blocks and board games, making kids feel as if they have shrunk to toy size. Energetic characters such as Woody, Jessie, and Buzz Lightyear are available for photos and interactions with children, each adding their own charm and friendly personality. Toy Story Land is the perfect destination for families who want to explore the magical world of Pixar.

Family Experience: Ben’s excitement was palpable, especially with Buzz. Ava loved Jessie’s vibrant energy. My wife Jaimie and I recommend early mornings for a more intimate experience.

3. Star Wars Launch Bay

  • Location: Hollywood Studios (Animation Courtyard)
  • Characters: Chewbacca, Darth Vader, BB-8
  • Best For: Star Wars fans of all ages

Description: The Star Wars Launch Bay transports fans into a galaxy far, far away. Authentic props and a multimedia exhibit immerse guests in iconic ships and scenes. Meet legendary characters, like the imposing Darth Vader and towering Chewbacca, for a one-of-a-kind, immersive experience. This realistically detailed world is a dream come true for families sharing a love of Star Wars adventure.

Experience: Ben was absolutely thrilled by his encounter with the Dark Lord Darth Vader. As lifelong Star Wars fans ourselves, Jaimie and I loved watching our kids interact with these characters with such awe and excitement.

4. Adventurers Outpost

  • Location: Animal Kingdom (Discovery Island)
  • Characters: Mickey and Minnie in safari outfits
  • Best For: Animal and adventure lovers

Description: Adventurers Outpost offers families a unique twist on classic Mickey and Minnie, blending Disney magic with exotic thrills. Decked out in safari gear, Mickey and Minnie greet guests in a rustic room with treasures from their globetrotting adventures. The Animal Kingdom backdrop adds discovery and wilderness, making it an ideal spot for families seeking jungle adventure with Disney charm before embarking on their own park explorations.

Experience: Mickey and Minnie’s safari costumes provided a delightful photo op we’ll treasure forever. Neither of our children could resist a big hug from Minnie.

5.  Meet Disney Stars at Red Carpet Dreams

  • Location: Hollywood Studios (Commissary Lane)
  • Characters: Mickey as Sorcerer, Minnie as Starlet
  • Best For: Young fans of Hollywood glamour

Description: Red Carpet Dreams brings Hollywood glitz to Disney magic. Mickey and Minnie greet guests dressed in elegant costumes – Mickey as the Sorcerer’s Apprentice and Minnie as a starlet. The glamorous backdrop makes kids feel like stars posing on the red carpet with these characters. Mickey and Minnie engage fans with charm and grace. It’s a classic Hollywood experience for families seeking Disney movie magic.

Our Experience: Our daughter was starstruck meeting Minnie in her glittering gown, while our son loved Sorcerer Mickey’s costume. We captured priceless photos on the red carpet and shared them with our friends and family.

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6. Pete’s Silly Sideshow

  • Location: Magic Kingdom (Fantasyland)
  • Characters: Minnie Magnifique, Daisy Fortuna, Goofy, Donald
  • Best For: Circus and whimsy lovers

Description: Circus Stars at Pete’s Silly Sideshow offers a vibrant circus tent for families to meet Minnie, Daisy, Goofy, and Donald dressed as circus stars. The playful costumes and dynamic setting create lively interactions and colorful photos. It’s a lighthearted character experience for families seeking whimsical Disney fun in an indoor, air-conditioned environment.

Family Experience: Jaimie and I thought the circus theme provided a fun, unique backdrop for photos with the characters. Ben and Ava really enjoyed this one!

7. Epcot Entrance Character Greeting

  • Location: Epcot (Entrance)
  • Characters: Minnie, Goofy
  • Best For: All Ages

Description: As soon as families step into Epcot, they are greeted by the cheerful sight of Minnie Mouse and Goofy waving at the theme park entrance for a spontaneous meet-and-greet. This is a wonderful way to start your day at Epcot, offering the chance to take that first magical photo alongside an iconic character to commemorate your visit. Minnie’s sweetness and graceful charm make guests of all ages feel special right off the bat, while Goofy’s silly antics never fail to make everyone smile and get into the playful Disney spirit.

Family Experience: Our kids are absolutely delighted to see Minnie Mouse and Goofy standing near the entrance each time we arrive at Epcot. Jaimie and I love getting that perfect family photo with Minnie or Goofy as we enter the park, capturing those first moments of joy and anticipation for our day ahead.

Other Resources: Disney World with Toddlers; Disney World Weather

8. Garden Grill

  • Location: Epcot (World Nature)
  • Characters: Mickey, Pluto, Chip ‘n’ Dale
  • Best For: Families seeking a unique dining experience

Description: The Garden Grill offers exceptional character dining in Disney World. The restaurant’s unique rotating platform gives families ever-changing, fascinating views of the Living with the Land ride, keeping both kids and adults entertained throughout the meal. Adding to the experience is the playful presence of Mickey Mouse, Pluto, and mischievous Chip ‘n’ Dale, who spend quality time with guests, making each meal not just an all-you-can-eat dinner (served family-style at your table) but also a lively and memorable character encounter.

Family Experience: The rotating scenery fascinated Ben and Ava, while Jaimie and I enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere and character interactions. And because the meal includes vegetables grown right inside the pavilion’s greenhouses, it was also a great educational opportunity to show our kids where the food they eat really comes from.

Other Resources: Best Epcot Restaurants; Best Epcot Rides

9. Akershus Royal Banquet Hall

  • Location: Epcot (Norway Pavilion)
  • Characters: Snow White, Cinderella, Belle, Princess Aurora, Ariel
  • Best For: Young princess fans

Description: Princess Storybook Dining at Akershus Banquet Hall offers families royal dining with Disney princesses in Epcot’s Norway Pavilion. Throughout the meal, five lovely princesses interact with guests. Personal time with each makes every child feel special. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner feasts are served in the elegant castle setting. Reservations are recommended well in advance, but are still generally easier to secure than at Cinderella’s Royal Table.

Family Experience: Our daughter enjoyed meeting a variety of princesses, while our son bonded with Belle over books. As parents, we found the regal ambiance and princess interactions thoroughly enchanting. While it may not be cheap, we feel this Disney World experience is worth it!

10. Tusker House

tusker house character dining

  • Location: Animal Kingdom (Africa)
  • Characters: Safari Mickey, Donald, Daisy, Goofy
  • Best For: Adventure and animal-themed dining lovers

Description: At Tusker House, families dine with Mickey, Donald, Daisy, and Goofy dressed in safari gear amidst vibrant African-inspired cuisine and décor. The characters interact playfully with guests, making it a memorable, adventurous dining experience perfect for animal and nature lovers. Tusker House serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, featuring exotic dishes and classic favorites.

Experience: We enjoyed breakfast at Tusker House, savoring Mickey and Simba waffles, safari bread, and other delicious exotic and standard dishes. The lively and engaging character interactions made this a delightful dining adventure for our family.

Other Resources: Best Animal Kingdom Restaurants; Best Animal Kingdom Rides

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11. Chef Mickey’s

Chef Mickey's

  • Location: Disney’s Contemporary Resort
  • Characters: Mickey, Minnie, Pluto, Goofy, Donald
  • Best For: Classic Disney character fans

Description: Chef Mickey’s extensive buffet and visits from classic characters like Mickey, Minnie, and more provide the quintessential, magical Disney dining experience. With cuisine options for all tastes served in a lively setting, it’s a fantastic character meal choice for families staying at the Contemporary Resort or visiting the Magic Kingdom area.

Family Experience: The expansive buffet was a hit with our kids, while, as parents, we enjoyed the upbeat yet relaxed vibe. Meeting the classic characters delighted us all. It’s admittedly loud and chaotic compared to other character meals, but it’s a classic Disney experience that shouldn’t be missed!

Other Resources: Best Disney Resorts for Kids; Disney Crowd Calendar

12. Town Square Theatre

  • Location: Magic Kingdom (Main Street, U.S.A.)
  • Characters: Mickey Mouse as the Magician, Tinker Bell
  • Best For: Classic Disney character fans

Description: Town Square Theater lets families meet Mickey Mouse dressed as a magician along with Tinker Bell in her fairy hollow, providing quintessential Disney magic. Interacting with these iconic characters in a whimsical, perfectly themed setting is an enchanting experience, allowing for memorable photos and joyful connections.

Family Experience: Meeting Magician Mickey was a highlight for Ben, who was amazed by Mickey’s tricks. Ava was captivated by Tinker Bell’s playful demeanor.

13. Hollywood & Vine

  • Location: Hollywood Studios (Echo Lake)
  • Characters: Disney Junior Characters, Seasonal Minnie’s Dine Parties
  • Best For: Younger kids and Disney Junior fans

Description: Hollywood & Vine provides families lively dining with beloved Disney Junior characters or themed seasonal Minnie parties in a dynamic setting. Character interactions make for an exciting mealtime, especially for younger kids and Disney Junior fans. Regularly changing events add new experiences, perfect for repeat visits.

Family Experience: Ava was thrilled to meet her favorite Disney Junior characters. Ben enjoyed the seasonal themes. Jaimie and I just appreciated the chance to see the kids so happy. It’s a great family-focused spot for breakfast, lunch, or dinner!

Other Resources: Best Hollywood Studios Restaurants; Best Hollywood Studios Rides

14. Crystal Palace

  • Location: Magic Kingdom (Main Street, U.S.A.)
  • Characters: Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Piglet, Eeyore
  • Best For: Fans of Winnie the Pooh and classic Disney characters

Description: The elegant Crystal Palace offers character dining with Winnie the Pooh and friends inside a Victorian-style greenhouse in the heart of Magic Kingdom. Families can enjoy diverse buffet dishes while meeting Pooh, Tigger, Piglet, and Eeyore. Friendly character interactions provide Disney magic that’s perfect for fans of the Hundred Acre Wood.

Family Experience: Our kids loved meeting Pooh and his pals during this buffet meal, while as parents, we appreciated the refined Victorian ambiance. This was a truly special dining experience, both in terms of the food and the setting.

Other Resources: Best Magic Kingdom Restaurants; Best Magic Kingdom Rides

15. Royal Sommerhus

  • Location: Epcot (Norway Pavilion)
  • Characters: Anna and Elsa from Frozen
  • Best For: Preschoolers and other young fans of Frozen

Description: Royal Sommerhus in Epcot’s Norway Pavilion offers families an intimate meet and greet with Anna and Elsa from Frozen. The authentically Norwegian cottage provides a cozy backdrop for young Frozen fans to interact with the sisters. From the rosemaled woodwork to traditional bunad costumes, it is a culturally immersive character experience.

Our Experience: Our daughter is a huge Frozen fan, so meeting Anna and Elsa at this intricately themed cottage was mesmerizing for her. Though there are other notable princess meet-and-greets, this authentically Norwegian one is perfect for little Frozen devotees hoping to meet favorite characters from the movies they can’t stop singing about.

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FAQ About Disney World Character Meet and Greets

What do you say to Disney characters? Do they talk?

Most of the “fur characters” in the Disney parks, such as Mickey and Winnie the Pooh, do not speak but may interact through gestures or other non-verbal means. In contrast, characters like the Disney Princesses often engage in conversations with guests. The characters that can speak are referred to as “face characters.”

Which is better: in-park meet and greets or character dining?

In-park meet and greets allow the most personal, focused interaction with characters. Even though they’re brief, the character gives you their full attention for photos and a magical moment. Character meals allow you to meet multiple characters while you dine.

Are Disney World character meet and greets free?

Standard meet and greets inside Disney World parks do not cost anything extra beyond park admission (unless you wish to purchase Genie+ to limit your time waiting in line at some locations). Some special holiday or priority meet and greets may incur an additional cost. Disney character meals are not free, but the character interactions are included with the price of the meal. Additionally, you may have the option to pay for professional photographs taken by PhotoPass photographers at select character locations, either as individual photographs or as part of a Memory Maker bundle.

What is the best character meet and greet at Magic Kingdom?

Town Square Theater is ideal for meeting Mickey Mouse and Tinkerbell in charmingly themed environments. Pete’s Silly Sideshow and Crystal Palace offer lively interactions with classic Disney characters. And Fairytale Hall truly brings magic to life, with Cinderella greeting guests alongside a rotating visiting princess like Rapunzel or Tiana in an immersive regal setting.

What is the best character meet and greet at Epcot?

Epcot offers character meet and greets in the 11 countries of World Showcase. Our top pick is the Norway Pavilion, home to both the Akershus Royal Banquet Hall with five Disney princesses and the Royal Sommerhus meet and greet with Anna and Elsa from Frozen. Other great options include Chip ‘n Dale and friends at Garden Grill in The Land pavilion, and classic Disney characters like Minnie and Goofy at the park entrance.

What is the best character meet and greet at Hollywood Studios?

Star Wars Launch Bay and Toy Story Land offer interactions with rare, beloved characters from those universes. Meeting Disney Junior stars at Hollywood & Vine is perfect for younger fans. We all enjoy Red Carpet Dreams, where Mickey and Minnie greet guests dressed in Hollywood glamour.

What is the best character meet and greet at Animal Kingdom?

Adventurers Outpost satisfies families who want to meet Mickey and Minnie in their safari gear amidst wilderness theming. For character dining, Tusker House has Safari Donald, Daisy, Mickey, and Goofy visit tables while guests enjoy African-inspired cuisine. It’s the best way to enjoy Disney characters in a setting perfect for animal lovers.

Can You Use Your Own Camera at Meet-and-Greets with Disney Characters?

Absolutely! Although most Disney World character greeting spots and many character dining restaurants are staffed by Disney PhotoPass photographers, you are still permitted to take your own photos. Feel free to snap away yourself, or even ask the PhotoPass Photographer to capture a few images with your camera or phone, too. They’re usually happy to do so.

Do You Need Reservations for Disney Character Meet and Greets?

If you plan to meet your favorite characters as part of a meal (character dining), reservations are a must. These are among the most popular dining reservations and it’s very likely the restaurant will not be able to accept walk-ups during your visit (especially during the more-crowded times of year). Standalone meet and greet locations (outside of restaurants) don’t take reservations per se, but some of them are offered as part of Genie+ which allows you to receive a scheduled return time and avoid the regular standby lines.

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