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News - Brand new Halloween parade coming to DL, Halloween Dine outfits revealed, and Star Wars event coming to DLP
DisneyDan  Monday, August 29, 2016 12:50:01 PM
Hello everyone,

Today the Disney Parks Blog revealed that a brand new parade (although it's more of a cavalcade) will feature at Mickey's Halloween Party at Disneyland park in California. The parade, titled the "Frightfully Fun Parade", will feature the Headless Horseman, and characters from The Nightmare Before Christmas, the Haunted Mansion, Princess and the Frog, the Disney Villains and "beyond". Characters specifically mentioned in the article are the Headless Horseman, Jack Skellington, the Hitchhiking Ghosts, Dr Facilier, Hades, the Queen, Jafar and Cruella. It is not yet known how this new parade will affect the character greetings around the park during the event evenings, or whether having the characters in the parade will mean those ones will not be greeting (up until last year nearly all of those, save for the Horseman, met during the parties).

On Friday the DPB also gave us a sneak peek at two of the costumes that the characters will be wearing at the next Minnie's Seasonal Dine at Hollywood and Vine.


Image taken from the Disney Parks Blog. (C) Disney.

It is interesting that they chose to go with a Halloween theme over a fall/harvest theme, given that the Halloween Dine will run from the 12th September until well past Halloween - 6th November in fact. We look forward to seeing what Goofy, Donald and Daisy are wearing, too!

Finally, last week Disneyland Paris announced that they would be filling their early 2017 low season with a brand new star Wars themed event, titled Season of the Force. The event will run from 14th January until 26th March, and will primarily run at the Walt Disney Studios Park. There will be Stormtroopers patrolling the streets, a March of the First Order, featuring Captain Phasma and Stormtroopers, and a brand new light projection show at the Tower of Terror at night, that will also include - as of yet unspecified - characters. The new official landing page for the event also mentions something in Production Courtyard, but it really gives no details at all; "Let the Force guide you to Production Courtyard in Walt Disney Studios Park for an extraordinary example of galactic might." Whatever it means, it'll be yet another cool and welcome addition to the park and this already awesome sounding line-up.

Ok, that's all for today. Have a great day everyone.

Dan.
Walt Disney World May 2016 Trip Report, Part Two
DisneyDan  Monday, July 18, 2016 9:28:10 AM
Hello everyone,

In part one of this report I shared with you our adventures at the Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, the resort hotels, Disney Springs and the Boardwalk. In this second and final part I am going to tell you about our time at Epcot and Hollywood Studios.

The week of our trip was also the last week of the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival, which we try to see every year. While we always enjoy Flower and Garden, I do feel that over the years they have cut back more and more, and now there is very little new to see year on year, which is really unfortunate. At any rate, what they do have is pretty, and we like to walk around taking photos of all the topiaries, and occasionally sampling the different foods and drinks (while the number of topiaries has been reduced over the years, the festival seems to have taken on the role of "Food and Wine Festival 2.0", adding more and more food stands in place of the flowers!).   [ Read More... ]
NEWS - Kylo Ren coming to Disney Parks, Tokyo DisneySea 15th anniversary and more closures at DHS
DisneyDan  Friday, January 15, 2016 4:31:51 PM
Hello everyone,

Today the Disney Parks Blog announced that Kylo Ren, the main villain of the new "Star Wars - Force Awakens" movie, will be coming to Disney's Hollywood Studios and Disneyland park in California. Kylo Ren will feature at the Star Wars Launch Bay at both parks, replacing Darth Vader. It is not currently known if he will also appear at the Disney Visa meet 'n' greet at Disney's Hollywood Studios, replacing Darth Vader when he appears there, too. This is really exciting news for Star Wars fans, and fans of the new movie, as it will, for the first time, bring a   [ Read More... ]
Character Central Advent Calendar - 2nd December
DisneyDan  Wednesday, December 2, 2015 7:46:27 AM
Hello everyone,

Today is the 2nd December, so it is time to open the second door of our very special Character Central advent calendar.

So let's see who it is today!

  [ Read More... ]
NEWS - Star Wars Weekends not to return in 2016! Plus other Star Wars news
DisneyDan  Monday, November 9, 2015 11:46:18 AM
Hello everyone,

Today the Disney Parks Blog announced that in preparation for the brand new 14 acre Star Wars Land coming to Disney's Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World, Star Wars Weekends would no longer be presented, making this past year retrospectively the last one. This is quite a blow for the park, and Star Wars Weekends will be desperately missed by pretty much everyone.

In the same announcement they confirmed that the Star Wars Launch Bay - a new in-between attraction in preparation for the new land - will open on December 1st, and will feature character   [ Read More... ]
NEWS - New seasonal character dining coming to Hollywood and Vine!
DisneyDan  Tuesday, October 20, 2015 8:21:23 AM
Hello everyone,

Today the Disney Parks Blog announced that a brand new rotational seasonal dining experience, titled "Minnie's Seasonal Dine at Hollywood and Vine", will take place at the Hollywood and Vine at Disney's Hollywood Studios.

A little while ago Walt Disney World shocked fans by announcing a brand new Christmas meal there this year, which I talked about in detail here on the blog. Now, it would appear that Walt Disney World have decided that along with the former Star Wars meal, there was enough interest in seasonal dining that they would offer it year round!

To quote the Disney Parks Blog, the restaurant will now offer "cheerful togetherness of the holidays, the glamour of Hollywood, the delight of spring, the excitement of summer and the frightening fun of Halloween. With each new season, look for unique music, décor, all-new costumes, menu items and interactive musical moments."

In the comments section, it was confirmed by Rachel Brent of the Disney Parks Blog, that the Disney Junior meal that currently takes place there will continue for breakfast and lunch, before Minnie and friends arrive in the early evening.

The first meal, which will run from January 4th to March 20th, 2016, will "a dinner party celebrating the magic of the movies and the glamour of Hollywood."

For those of you who have ever been to Disneyland Paris, and are aware of Inventions there, you will know that themed dining is something that fans who visit both Walt Disney World and Disneyland Paris have wanted to transplant from the Parisian resort for a long time. Inventions has a weekly themed Sunday Brunch, which always offers special characters and special costumes. While expensive, it is a great way to meet some rare and cool characters, and see your favorite characters in special outfits. Obviously, this new seasonal dining at Hollywood Studios doesn't quite go to that extent, but it's a refreshing change, and one that we very much welcome.

Reservations for the new meal, starting January 4th, will open from October 27th this year.

Have a great day everyone,

Dan.
Happy Force Friday!
DisneyDan  Friday, September 4, 2015 9:07:32 AM
Today has been dubbed Force Friday by Disney, in celebration of the upcoming film, Star Wars: The Force Awakens. To celebrate the day, I thought I'd share with you just a few of our photos from   [ Read More... ]
Walt Disney World Photo Trip Report, May 2015 - Part 2: Character Fun at the Parks
DisneyDan  Thursday, June 11, 2015 10:17:24 AM
Hello everyone,

This is the second part of my Walt Disney World trip report for May 2015. Part one covered the Four Season character breakfast, the 24 hour event at the Magic Kingdom and Star Wars Weekends. In this part we'll be covering everything else from around the parks.

This report is very photo-heavy, so be sure to have a good connection before continuing.

  [ Read More... ]
Walt Disney World Photo Trip Report, May 2015 - Part 1: Star Wars Weekends
DisneyDan  Wednesday, June 10, 2015 11:15:22 AM
Hello everyone,

At the end of May we spent ten days at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, where we attended (part of) the 24 hour event and two Star Wars Weekends. In this first part of my photo trip report, I'm going to cover the 24 hour event, the Four Seasons breakfast and Star War Weekends. The second part of this report will cover everything else.

This report is very photo-heavy, so be sure you have a good connection before clicking to continue.

  [ Read More... ]
Your Frequently Asked Character Questions Answered! - Walt Disney World Edition
DisneyDan  Thursday, March 19, 2015 11:59:40 AM
Hello everyone,

Here at Character Central we always strive to have good, reliable and up-to-date information, which is why I don't tend to use the blog to make these kinds of posts usually. Character locations and information are usually updated via the individual location and character profile pages on this site, as it is easier to control. However, recently we have received a lot more requests for information about how to find characters at the Walt Disney World theme parks. The reason I don't like to make blog posts about this is because things can change frequently, and I don't want to mislead anyone, especially when our location and character pages are updated often.

With that said, and I realise that was quite a detailed reasoning, I thought that it wouldn't hurt to answer some of the questions we get asked. Please remember that these are the most frequently asked questions that we get for Walt Disney World only.

Where can I find Mickey Mouse?


Meeting Mickey Mouse

Mickey Mouse appears at set locations at all four of the Walt Disney World theme parks. His appearances are daily, and usually hold long hours (often, though not guaranteed, from around opening to just before closing. Check on the day of your visit). At the Magic Kingdom, you can meet magician Mickey near the park entrance, where talks and interacts with guests at Town Square Theater (on Main Street USA). At Epcot, he wears his classic outfit at the Epcot Character Spot in Future World. At Disney's Hollywood Studios, Mickey dons his Sorcerer's Apprentice robes to greet budding sorcerers. At Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park, Mickey wears his safari outfit at the Adventurer's Outpost on Discovery Island. The Magic Kingdom, Epcot and Animal Kingdom locations all offer Disney's Fastpass+ service, which allow you to make your greeting reservation in advance of your visit.

Who else appears besides Mickey Mouse? Can I meet the Disney Princesses, for example?


Ariel

Across all four Walt Disney World theme parks, you can nearly always meet Minnie Mouse, Goofy, Donald Duck, Chip, Dale and Pluto. All six of those have regular locations at all four parks, but times and availability may change depending on the day of your visit. The Disney Princesses appear at the Magic Kingdom at various locations, such as Princess Fairytale Hall, Ariel's Grotto, around the Fantasyland walls, the Fairytale Garden and, schedule depending, in the garden next to City Hall on Main Street USA. Princess Fairytale Hall is the current home of Cinderella, Rapunzel, Anna and Elsa, although of course Disney could change this at any time. Princess Fairytale Hall accepts Disney's FastPass+ reservations. You can either reserve Cinderella and Rapunzel OR Anna and Elsa. If you want to meet all four, you need to make separate reservations. Other characters, such as Peter Pan, Mary Poppins, Winnie the Pooh, and many more, all appear throughout the theme parks. You should check the schedules for the day of your visit (see further below for more information).

Do the Disney characters appear randomly at the Disney Parks?


Merida

Most of the character appearances at the Disney theme parks are on the published schedule, which can be picked up upon entering the theme parks. There are some that are not always listed though, depending on whether there are other events happening, and how much space is dedicated to the characters on that schedule. If a character does appear that is not on that day's schedule, chances are they nearly always out in the parks anyway. Infrequently, characters may appear at other locations around the parks, and these are not scheduled. For example, when we were a recent trip, Peter Pan, Merida and Ariel all appeared at the International Gateway at Epcot's World Showcase. These greetings are not scheduled, and are not repeated regularly.

Do the Disney characters walk freely around the Disney Parks?


WDW Dec 2010 - Meeting Tiana and Naveen

The short answer to this, really, is no. The Disney characters at the Walt Disney World theme parks nearly always have set locations that have a queue line in order to meet them, even the randomly appearing ones that I described above. Sometimes, however, you may be walking around and suddenly a character will appear, and they may not form a line. This is fairly unusual, but it can happen. Experiences like this can actually be fun, as sometimes the characters will take the opportunity to roam and explore the park. Like I said though, for Walt Disney World, this is pretty unusual.

Do the Disney characters visit the Disney Resort Hotels?


Meeting Mr Easter Bunny

The Disney characters do not regularly make appearances at the Disney Hotels. In the past, Easter Sunday has seen the Easter Bunnies and some other characters appear at the deluxe resorts (such as Mr Easter Bunny and Chip 'n' Dale at the Contemporary). Around the week of Halloween and the week of Christmas you may also find characters in themed outfits at any number of the resort hotels, deluxe or otherwise. None of these appearances are ever guaranteed and you should not expect to find them during your stay.

Do rare characters appear at the Disney theme parks?


Characters come out to play at the American Adventure!

This one is a tricky one to answer, but overall the answer is, "no, not nearly as often as we'd like!" Of course, the definition of "rare" can change considerably from one year to the next, but generally speaking, if a character has not appeared in over a year, and show no signs of returning, then they are pretty "rare". Characters at the Christmas and Halloween parties, although not appearing daily, aren't so much rare as they are seasonal or event specific. We would not consider Scrooge McDuck to be rare, since he appears almost nightly for two months at the Christmas parties, but he definitely is not a regular. Mr Walrus from Alice in Wonderland however, who hasn't appeared in around seven years, is considered rare.

Do you have any tips for a better experience when meeting the characters? Do the characters sign autographs, for example?


Character Autograph

This one is pretty open ended, but I would say that if you're going to meet a character, be sure to know who they are! Before your trip, if you think there is a chance you may meet one particular character, watch their movie before you visit. When you visit them, you can ask them about their adventures, their friends and families, etc. For example, if you are going to meet Aladdin, ask him how Abu is and if he has gotten into any more trouble lately. You could ask Mickey - when he's feeling talkative at the Magic Kingdom's Town Square Theater - to perhaps send a special message to your friends back home; be sure to have your camera recording, because you never know what he might say! Characters also love seeing themselves on clothing and accessories, bags, pins and lanyards, etc. Be sure to have your cameras ready to capture any cute moments, and buy an autograph book and a pen that works, so they characters can sign their names. Something which we have taken to doing recently, which both us and the characters really enjoy, is taking along our Disney Tsum Tsums to meet the characters. If we know we are going to meet a specific character on any given day, we try to take with us the Tsum Tsum of them, or someone related to them. They’ll often (though not always) pose with the Tsum Tsums, making for super-cute photos!

Do the characters appear in shows and parades?


Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade

The Disney characters appear in many shows and parades across the Walt Disney World theme parks. Currently, and always subject to change, the most popular ones include: Disney Fantasy of Festival Parade, the Main Street Electrical Parade, and Dream Along with Mickey at the Magic Kingdom, Festival of the Lion King and Finding Nemo - The Musical at Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park, and Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage, Voyage of the Little Mermaid and For the First Time in Forever - A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration at Disney's Hollywood Studios.

Can I dine with the Disney characters?


Play N Dine at Hollywood and Vine

Yes! You most certainly can! Character dining is a fun way to meet the Disney characters while enjoying a great meal at one of Disney's fabulous themed restaurants. Currently, and again, always subject to change, the most popular ones include: Chef Mickey's at the Contemporary (Mickey and friends), Ohana at the Polynesian Village (Stitch, Mickey and friends), 1900 Park Fare at the Grand Floridian (time of day depending, Cinderella and friends or Pooh, Alice and friends), Cape May Cafe at the Beach Club Resort (Minnie and friends), Cinderella's Royal Table at the Magic Kingdom (princesses), Garden Grill (Mickey and friends) and Akershus Royal Banquet Hall (princesses) at Epcot, Hollywood and Vine at Disney's Hollywood Studios (Disney Jr) and Donald’s Dining Safari at Breakfast and Lunch (Donald and friends) at Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park. What's fun about these meals is that at many of them, the characters wear special themed outfits for the occasion, for example Hawaiian shirts at Ohana, chef outfits at Chef Mickey's and safari gear at the Tusker House. Reservations are essential, and should be made well in advance of your visit (nearly all Walt Disney World Resort dining locations open their availability 180 days in advance).

Where can I find more information?


WDW Oct 2011 - Spaceship Earth

Here are some of my suggestions for finding out more about how and where to meet the Disney characters. Words highlighted in blue take you to that specific link.

  • The official Walt Disney World Resort website has some limited character greeting information, however, I personally have found this to sometimes not have all the information I want.
  • Here at Character Central we have a vast guidebook for all the Disney parks, locations and characters. A good start for a good general overview would be what we call our "cheat sheet" for finding characters at the parks. On this cheat sheet we list the characters we have seen at Walt Disney World, rate the chances of you finding them, and the general location you might spot them.
  • I cannot endorse the accuracy of this next one, but it has not failed me yet, but take note I have no control over it. WDWEnt is a good source for all current Walt Disney World theme park schedules, and at the time of writing the person who runs it seems to update it frequently.

Those last two links are of course only my recommendations, and should be used as a guide for planning only. Anything can change at any time, without notice from Disney.

If you have any further questions, you can join our friendly forum, and us or our members will happily help you out!

Have a great day everyone,

Dan.
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