Highly recommended. --New York Daily News
Should leave fans of Mickey smiling from ear to ear. --Chicago Tribune
Thorough, with inside tips. --Boston Globe
Going to Disney World? Get this book. Far and away the best guide. Refreshing for its honest opinions. --St. Louis Post Dispatch
A fantastic planning tool. Unusual details that matter to families. --Orlando Sentinel.
Highly recommended. Comprehensive, filled with information. Stunning color photos. Useful maps. Immerses you in the magic of Disney World. --Kirkus Reviews
From the Inside Flap
Although some fantasy-free adults may not see them as such, the Disney walk-around characters are real to many visitors, especially childrenthat’s not a sweaty young woman in a fur suit, that’s Pluto!!! Dozens of Disney stars appear in shows and parades and personally greet guests at theme parks, water parks and resort hotels.
Character types Disney has two types of walk-around characters, face” and fur.” Face characters, such as Cinderella, appear in a costume that shows the face of the performer, who talks to and interacts with guests in character. Fur characters, such as Pluto, appear in a complete costume that includes an oversized head. Most of them don’t speak, and interact with guests purely through mime. However, fur character Mickey Mouse does speak at Town Square Theater in Magic Kingdom. His mouth moves and when you talk to him, he often talks back.
Meet-and-greet lines Most characters pose for photos and, in most cases, sign autographs at designated locations, many of which draw long lines. Guests with autograph books should bring a pen or, better, a Sharpie marker. Some characters don’t sign because of costume limitations. It’s fine to hug, kiss or pat characters, but not to give them gifts. A PhotoPass photographer is often on hand, although guests are welcome to take photos themselves, or have the PhotoPass photographer take a photo for them with their camera or phone.
How to help your child interact Though face characters rarely intimidate children, the fur folks, with their cartoonishly large heads, sometimes do. To help your child feel comfortable, talk with her beforehand so she knows what to expect. For meet-and-greet lines, buy her an autograph book to give her something to focus on besides the face-to-fur encounter. When it’s her turn don’t push her; the characters are patient and are trained to be sweet. Approach a character from the front. Fur characters in particular often cannot see guests standing behind or beside them.
Character meals A handful of Disney buffet and table-service restaurants offer character meals,” in which an assortment of characters come up to each table to greet guests as they eat. Each theme park has at least one character-meal restaurant, as do many Disney resort hotels.
How to find a character Though the following Character Guide lists the official locations of characters, they often show up other places. To learn where, ask any Disney cast member. They can usually find out.
Character guide More than 70 Disney characters greet guests at Disney World parks and resort hotels. Here’s a list of the ones who appear most often, and where you’re most likely to find them:
Aladdin: Arab street rat,” star of 1992’s Aladdin.” Wins love of princess Jasmine after learning to be true to himself. Magic Kingdom: At Magic Carpets of Aladdin, Adventureland. Epcot: Morocco pavilion.
Alice: Star of 1951’s Alice in Wonderland.” Curious, proper British girl dreams of nonsensical Wonderland. The park character has confided to the authors that many young girls confuse her name, thinking it’s Allison Wonderland.” Magic Kingdom: Mad Tea Party, Fantasyland. Epcot: Tea garden, U.K. pavilion; Akershus Royal Banquet Hall meals (often), Norway pavilion. Grand Floridian Resort: 1900 Park Fare breakfast.
Anastasia and Drizella: Squabbling stepsisters to Cinderella in 1950’s Cinderella,” daughters of Lady Tremaine. Redhead Anastasia is spiteful and graceless; brunette Drizella disorganized. Magic Kingdom: Great wall, Fantasyland. Grand Floridian Resort: 1900 Park Fare dinner.
Anna and Elsa: Loving sisters in 2014’s hit Frozen.” Redheaded younger Anna is the optimistic, fearless, awkward princess of Arendelle. Older platinum blonde Queen Elsa is more quiet and reserved, and can magically conjure snow and ice. Anna wears her blue embroidered dress; Elsa her silver and blue gown. Magic Kingdom: Princess Fairytale Hall, Fantasyland.
Ariel: Rebellious redheaded teen mermaid, star of 1989’s The Little Mermaid.” Sick of swimmin,’” loves all things human. Falls in love with Prince Eric. Best friend is a fish, Flounder. Wears a seashell bikini top as mermaid, a turquoise gown as a human (though it’s pink in the film). Magic Kingdom: Ariel’s Grotto, Fantasyland; Cinderella’s Royal Table breakfast, lunch (often), Cinderella Castle. Epcot: Akershus Royal Banquet Hall meals (often), Norway pavilion.
Aurora: Blameless blond princess of 1959’s Sleeping Beauty” awakened from Maleficent’s cursed coma by Prince Phillip’s kiss. Also known as Briar Rose. Pink gown. Magic Kingdom: Town Square, Main Street U.S.A.; Cinderella’s Royal Table breakfast, lunch (often), Cinderella Castle. Epcot: France pavilion fragrance garden; Akershus Royal Banquet Hall meals (often), Norway pavilion.
Baloo: Happy-go-lucky, lazy bear in 1967’s Jungle Book” teaches man-cub” Mowgli how to relax, live in wild. Loves to scratch back on trees, eat fruit. Magic Kingdom: Move It! Shake It! Celebrate It! Street Party, Cinderella Castle hub. Disney’s Animal Kingdom: Upcountry Landing, on trail off Asia-Africa walkway.
Beast: Selfish prince is transformed by sorceress into a hideous creature in 1991’s Beauty and the Beast.” Has face of wildebeest; tusks of boar; mane of lion; body of bear; legs, tail of wolf. Transforms back into prince after learning to be kind and earning love of Belle. Magic Kingdom: Be Our Guest at dinnertime to greet diners.
Belle: Heroine of 1991’s Beauty and the Beast,” in which the brunette bookworm falls in love with beastly captor. Stands up for herself. Wears golden gown or modest blue dress with a white apron. Magic Kingdom: Enchanted Tales with Belle, Fantasyland; Cinderella’s Royal Table, Cinderella Castle. Epcot: France pavilion promenade; Akershus Royal Banquet Hall meals (often), Norway pavilion. Disney’s Hollywood Studios: Sorcerer’s Hat, Hollywood Blvd.
Buzz Lightyear: Confident Toy Story” space ranger is Woody’s best friend. Magic Kingdom: Alongside Carousel of Progress, Tomorrowland. Disney’s Hollywood Studios: Woody’s Picture Shootin’ Corral, Pixar Place.
Chip n Dale: Playful, fast-talking chipmunks from 1940s1950s cartoons. Smarter, sneakier Chip has small black nose that resembles chocolate chip.” Goofier Dale has large red nose, two separated buck teeth. Magic Kingdom: Rivers of America Crossing, Liberty Square; Move It! Shake It! Celebrate It! Street Party, Cinderella Castle hub. Epcot: On walkway behind Innoventions West. Garden Grill dinner, The Land pavilion. Disney’s Hollywood Studios: Sorcerer’s Hat, Hollywood Blvd. Disney’s Animal Kingdom: Conservation Station courtyard, Rafiki’s Planet Watch. Fort Wilderness Resort: Mickey’s Backyard Barbecue dinner show, Chip n Dale’s Campfire Sing-A-Long.
Cinderella: The definitive rags-to-riches heroine, upbeat strawberry-blonde saved by Prince Charming from life of stepmother servitude in 1950’s Cinderella.” Friend to animals, especially Gus, Jaq and other castle mice. Lives in Cinderella Castle with her prince; wears light blue gown at Disney though in the movie it’s white. Magic Kingdom: Princess Fairytale Hall; Cinderella’s Royal Table, Cinderella Castle. Epcot: Akershus Royal Banquet Hall meals (often), Norway pavilion. Grand Floridian Resort: 1900 Park Fare dinner.
Country Bears. The stars of the infamous Magic Kingdom attraction Country Bear Jamboree. Square-dance with guests during the Frontierland Hoedown street show. Magic Kingdom, outside the show, Frontierland.
Daisy Duck: Donald Duck’s impatient, sassy girlfriend from 1940s1950s cartoons. Likes shopping, flowers. Best friend of Minnie Mouse. Magic Kingdom: Pete’s Silly Sideshow, Storybook Circus, Fantasyland. Epcot: Entrance Plaza. Disney’s Hollywood Studios: Sorcerer’s Hat, Hollywood Blvd. Disney’s Animal Kingdom: Discovery Island Landing, Discovery Island; Donald’s Safari Breakfast and Lunch, Tusker House, Africa.
Doc McStuffins: The star of the Disney Junior show Doc McStuffins,” 7-year-old African-American girl pretends she’s a doctor like her mom, cures” her toys. Disney’s Hollywood Studios: Play N Dine character meals, Echo Lake.
Donald Duck: He’s rude, he’s crude, he doesn’t wear pants. He shouts, pouts and loses his temper at the drop of a pin. He likes to be mean. Yet who doesn’t love Donald Duck, a character who responds to life the way we want to, but rarely dare? Created in 1934 as a foil for Mickey Mouse, Donald soon emerged as Disney’s most popular star. The duck with all the bad luck” is known for his hopping mad” boxing stance, a leaning, jumping posture with one arm straight, the other twirling like a windmill. Magic Kingdom: Pete’s Silly Sideshow, Storybook Circus, Fantasyland; Move It! Shake It! Celebrate It! Street Party, Cinderella Castle hub. Epcot: Mexico pavilion (in garb from 1944’s The Three Caballeros”). Disney’s Hollywood Studios: Sorcerer’s Hat, Hollywood Blvd. Disney’s Animal Kingdom: On the Cretaceous Trail, DinoLand U.S.A.; Donald’s Safari Breakfast and Lunch, Tusker House, Africa. Beach Club Resort: Cape May Café breakfast. Contemporary Resort: Chef Mickey’s meals.
Duffy the Disney Bear: According to Disney Merchandise loreyes, there is such a thingthe teddy bear Minnie Mouse made for Mickey to take on his travels. Named for duffel bag Mickey uses to carry him. Has no cartoon or film credits. Epcot: World Showcase Friendship Ambassador Gazebo, in front of the Disney Traders East gift shop.
Eeyore: Gloomy plush donkey from 1960s Winnie the Pooh” shorts used to create the 1977 movie The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.” Speaks in depressed monotone. Devoted to friends. His tailtied with a pink bowoften falls off. Magic Kingdom: Crystal Palace meals, Main Street U.S.A.; The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Fantasyland.
Esmerelda: Beautiful gypsy of 1996 movie The Hunchback of Notre Dame” helps Quasimodo gain confidence to escape evil master Frollo. Musical free spirit, loves soldier Phoebus. Epcot: Akershus Royal Banquet Hall meals (often), Norway pavilion.
Fairy Godmother: This absent-minded fairy helps Cinderella go to the ball in 1950’s Cinderella.” Rotund, grandmotherly, uses wand to make magic with a Bibbidi, bobbidi boo!” Magic Kingdom: Cinderella Castle fountain, Fantasyland.
Frozone: Superhero name of Lucius Best, a confident speed-skater and best friend to Mr. Incredible in 2004’s The Incredibles.” Can freeze moisture in air, make snow. Magic Kingdom: Move It! Shake It! Celebrate It! Street Party, Cinderella Castle hub. Disney’s Hollywood Studios: The Magic of Disney Animation, Animation Courtyard.
Gaston: Vain, flirty he-man villain of 1991’s Beauty and the Beast” often flexes his biceps, stares at his own reflection. Magic Kingdom: Outside Gaston’s Tavern, Fantasyland.
Genie: Witty, fast-talking blue genie in 1992’s Aladdin” channels his voice talent, the late great Robin Williams. Reshapes body. Grants Aladdin three wishes. Magic Kingdom: Magic Carpets of Aladdin, Adventureland.
Goofy: Good-hearted country simpleton appeals to your inner idiot. Clumsy and gullible, has hard time concentrating. Has bad posture, ill-fitting clothes, big stomach yet always mugs for camera (just like, ahem, many husbands). Has many physical characteristics of a dog; was first known as Dippy Dog in 1930s cartoons. Later hosted series of How To” cartoon sports parodies; in 1950s was oddly transformed into suburban everyman, the sometimes earless George Geef. Magic Kingdom: Pete’s Silly Sideshow, Storybook Circus, Fantasyland; Move It! Shake It! Celebrate It! Street Party, Cinderella Castle hub. Epcot: Character Spot, Innoventions Plaza. Disney’s Hollywood Studios: Sorcerer’s Hat, Hollywood Blvd. Disney’s Animal Kingdom: DinoLand U.S.A. Service Station; Donald’s Safari Breakfast and Lunch, Tusker House, Africa. Beach Club Resort: Cape May Cafe breakfast. Contemporary Resort: Chef Mickey’s meals. Fort Wilderness Resort: Mickey’s Backyard Barbecue dinner show. Blizzard Beach: On the walkway that circles the park.
Green Army Men: Molded-plastic Toy Story” soldiers have green mesh over faces; don’t speak. Humorously mime guard duties. Disney’s Hollywood Studios: Pixar Place.
Handy Manny: Star of Disney Junior TV show Handy Manny,” bilingual Hispanic handyman Manny Garcia uses talking tools. Disney’s Hollywood Studios: Play N Dine character meals, Echo Lake.
Jake: Fearless, enthusiastic leader of the Never Land Pirates, from Disney Junior’s Jake and the Never Land Pirates.” Disney’s Hollywood Studios: Animation Courtyard. Play N Dine character meals, Echo Lake.
Jasmine: Spirited 16-year-old princess in 1992’s Aladdin.” Long black ponytail. Wears aqua bedlah with pouffy pants. Has pet tiger. Magic Kingdom: Magic Carpets of Aladdin, Adventureland; Cinderella’s Royal Table breakfast, lunch (often), Cinderella Castle. Epcot: Morocco pavilion; Akershus Royal Banquet Hall meals (often), Norway pavilion.
Jessie: Plucky yodeling Toy Story” cowgirl. Woody’s exuberant friend; has crush on Buzz Lightyear. Magic Kingdom: Splash Mountain exit courtyard, Frontierland; Move It! Shake It! Celebrate It! Street Party, Cinderella Castle hub.
King Louie: Orangutan from 1967’s Jungle Book” plays practical jokes, kidnaps boy Mowgli to learn about fire and therefore learn to be like a human. Magic Kingdom: Move It! Shake It! Celebrate It! Street Party, Cinderella Castle hub. Disney’s Animal Kingdom: Upcountry Landing, on trail off Asia-Africa walkway.
Lady Tremaine: Imperious, belittling stepmom in 1950’s Cinderella” treats Cinderella as servant. Mother of Anastasia, Drizella. Magic Kingdom: Outside Cinderella Castle, Fantasyland.