This post was updated 01/27/2019.
When planning a Disney vacation many people ask about characters. We all have our favorites and knowing we will be at Disney we want to meet as many as possible.
I am often asked how can you meet several characters in one location? Another question is how to meet characters and not miss out on rides and entertainment. The answer is character dining and or arriving when the park opens.
Meeting Mickey at the park is free well besides the cost of admission. If you want to meet Mickey your best is when the park opens. Mickey will be on Main Street or on Buena Vista Street in California Adventure. This is when lines are shortest. Mickey’s House in Toontown can have a long line.
I always recommend character dining over making rope drop. For two reasons. One you are multi-tasking. You can eat breakfast before the park opens and meet characters. Two the character dining is a more personal experience. You can relax and take your time.
There are 4 Character dining locations.
Goofy’s Kitchen at the Disneyland hotel. Which offers an amazing breakfast and dinner buffet. If you are not on a tight budget, this is the breakfast I would choose.
Mickey’s Tales of Adventure Character Breakfast at Storyteller’s Cafe. This buffet is in the Grand Californian Hotel.
Donald Duck’s Seaside Breakfast at Disney’s PCH Grill. Inside the Paradise Pier Hotel
Minnie & Friends Breakfast in the Park at Plaza Inn. This is the only character dining location that requires park admission.
Disney Princess Breakfast Adventures. This breakfast will begin March 30, 2019. At $125 dollars per person. Children receive no discount. Since this breakfast takes place Napa Rose, I am sure the food will be exquisite. However, with this hefty price tag I will pass. If you can afford it, this is a great way to have one-on-one time with a Princess.
Make a reservation before Disneyland opens. You can meet at least 4-5 characters before the park even opens. They come to your table, sign your autograph book, and pose for pictures. If you’re traveling with kids, this is great. The best value breakfast is at the Plaza Inn. I am suggesting the Plaza Inn because you will meet the most characters. You will get 5-7 characters. In my experience you meet more characters at Plaza Inn. Read my post on Minnie & Friends Breakfast in the Park here.
Do you want to meet the Princesses? There is the Royal Court in Fantasyland where the wait is anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes. You will meet three princesses. Sometimes a princess is outside. Which means meeting four princesses if you stand in two separate lines. Before dusk check the entrance to Disneyland. I mostly see Ariel, Snow White, and Cinderella.
Characters appear in both parks. Download the Disneyland app free to find character locations. Some stay out for a short period wait or come back at your convenience. I love character dining because of this you meet many characters in a small span of time.
Disney Characters like the Fab Five and Chip and Dale visit the Disneyland Hotel. I have seen several characters in the lobby and outside the entrance. Sans characters, there is plenty to explore. Each tower is themed to a Disneyland land and has amazing displays. There are also displays outside the Exhibit hall. If you dine at Goofy's Kitchen check these displays out.
Not every character can sign an autograph book. Some characters lack opposable thumbs. Always have your autograph book open and your pen ready for the characters. It is a lot easier for them to sign.
If you do not want to spend money on character dining than plan and use the Disneyland application. It will help you find more characters.
In California Adventure there are several spots to see characters. Earlier in the day, Disney Junior characters will be out. Superheroes will be near Monsters Inc near the stage and by the Bathrooms check with the app.
It is not unusual to see members of the Fab Five on Buena Vista Street those lines get long.
Main Street in Disneyland is the best place to meet characters in the morning. If you get to the parks early before ten in the morning, you can get a lot more meet and greets done. Characters meet and greets are inside the entrance to Disneyland early in the day.
Mickeys Toontown opens an hour after Disneyland does. Mickey and Friends open Toontown and will walk with children. This is a do not miss.
In Fantasyland, you will meet Alice and the Mad Hatter. Sometimes Tweedle Dee and Dum walk around with the Queen of Hearts. Peter Pan and Captain Hook will make appearances. Mary Poppins and Burt walk around from time to time.
To meet Woody and Jessie visit Frontierland and Tiana and Dr. Facilier are often at The Mark Twain.
If you are looking for Star Wars Characters before Star Wars land opens head to Tomorrowland. Star Wars Launch Bay offers character meet and greets. During the day Storm Troopers will patrol. It is easy to find Star Wars characters.
If you are Disney Chase cardholder check the Disneyland app for information. Card members get exclusive photo opportunities.
Characters are all over in the morning. The characters will wander the land appropriate to their story. Like Peter Pan will be in Fantasyland. Arriving early as possible ensures you will meet them.
Enjoy your visit if you have questions, please ask.
Here are some helpful posts to help prepare for your visit to Disneyland.