Disney is fantastic at many things, and one of those things is character experiences. We all have favorite Disney characters, whether they be princesses in castles, pirates in swashbuckling fights, or furry favorites like Mickey and Winnie. Part of the magic in Walt Disney World is seeing these characters come to life, seeing them walk and talk and dance and play. It’s one of my most favorite Disney things! Here are my top 10 favorite character experiences.
1. Cinderella’s Royal Table – Dining in Cinderella’s Castle? WITH Cinderella? That is an experience that cannot be beat! She ushers you into the castle, then you are seated in her royal hall and dine on her favorite foods. She stops by each table to say hello, pose for pictures, and chat with you. Other characters that may appear are Belle, Jasmine, Snow White, etc. Kids under 9 may receive a special surprise from the Princess.
2. Princess Fairytale Hall – Meet Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzel, Elsa and Anna, and even a mystery princess (they rotate) in a beautiful setting fit for royalty. Each character takes time to talk to you and your little ones, take pictures and give you an autograph. The best thing about this new experience? You can get a fast pass for it, no waiting in lines! (Be sure to reserve right at 60 days for Disney resort Guests if you want to see Elsa and Anna, they are super popular!)
3. Captain Jack Sparrow – I love that they have included Jack Sparrow in the character experiences in Disney World because it appeals to boys in a Princess-centered world! Boys enjoy the castle and the magic and all that good stuff, but give them a pirate and they are ready for adventure. Tucked away in Adventureland, across from the Pirates of the Carribean ride, is Jack Sparrow. He is looking for a new crew, several times a day! You can be a lucky member of his crew, or enjoy watching the show. You can stick around and get pictures with him as well.
4. Enchanted Tales with Belle – I LOVE this show. I’ve been in it three times! If you enjoy the story of Beauty and the Beast, then head to New Fantasyland and experience the story like never before. The Cast Members ask for volunteers, and everyone who wants to be a part of the show can be! You get to act with Belle and other guests, and then pose for a picture. It is truly a magical experience.
5. Character Meet and Greets Around the World – Epcot is one of our favorite places. I love that Disney sticks some characters in and around World Showcase. Sometimes it’s a nice surprise, and not all that crowded, when one of the characters pop out. You can see Alice or Mary Poppins in England, Belle and Beast in France, Aladdin and Jasmine in Morocco, Mulan in China, and Snow White (and sometimes the Dwarfs) in Germany.
6. Parades!! Hello!! Disney does parades only in the best possible way. Even if you don’t like parades (like me) you will LOVE Disney’s. Your favorite characters just might be a part of one. There are lots of princesses included, Mickey and friends, Toy Story characters, and lots more. Disney does so many different parades too! There’s the Main Street Electrical Parade, the Boo to You Parade, the Christmas Parade, Festival of Fantasy Parade and more. A great way to see your favorites!
7. Crystal Palace – This is another delightful buffet dinner with all the characters from Winnie the Pooh. CP is one of our favorite restaurants, and these classic characters make it extra special. Another element that makes this experience special is the location, right in perfect view of Cinderella’s castle!
8. Chef Mickey’s – Hands down, our favorite character experience. Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Goofy, Pluto…the whole gang is here and they sing and dance and stop by to say hello. Our trips to Disney aren’t complete without a dinner here!
9. Princess Storybook Dining at Akershus – This castle in Norway is the perfect setting for another really awesome princess dining experience. In my opinion, it’s always been easier to get a reservation here, compared to Royal Table, and a lot of the same Princesses are in attendance. We’ve always enjoyed this meal!
10. Fantasmic – The night time spectacular in Hollywood Studios, this show is amazing!! If you love characters, you’ll love all the ones you will see here. There aren’t meet and greets, but you get a little bit of everything. Good guys, bad guys, fireworks, and lasers. It’s a show that will delight the whole family. Everyone is bound to see a character that they love!
Runner up? 1900 Park Fair – A fun buffet dinner at the Grand Floridian with Cinderella, her Prince, and her Wicked Family (who are all but wicked, I promise!) We thoroughly enjoyed this dinner. We love going to the GF and the food was so good! Try the strawberry soup, but don’t get any on Cinderella’s dress!
Tina works full time as a school counselor in an elementary school. She lives close to Baltimore, MD with her husband Dave and her 13 year old stepdaughter, Ashley. They also have a furry family member, a cat name Frodo, that keeps life interesting in their house! Tina began visiting Disney World as a child with her family, and now her, Dave & Ashley take a trip to the World every year. She considers herself a Disney “fanatic” and once her family is finished one trip, she is already planning their next one. Tina loves to find the best deals, even in the busy seasons (she can only go when schools are off!) and loves sharing those deals & tips with anyone and everyone! What Tina loves most is the magic of WDW, it makes her feel like a kid again. She hopes that every family has the opportunity go to the World and experience the magic for themselves because it has a way of reminding its visitors that dreams do indeed come true! Read more of Tina’s work on her blog A Not So Bland Life, where she writes about home decor, cooking, couponing, traveling, and and of course, Disney!