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In this, the third part of my Character Experiences series, I’m going to touch on the exciting world of meet and greets at my personal favorite park, Epcot.
While Epcot has evolved quite a lot over the years in many ways, one thing that I’ve found to be very consistant is the amount of characters that you can find roaming about the park. The thing with characters in Epcot is that you don’t always see them right out in the open and you may walk right by them and not even know it. Some of the meet and greet locations are tucked away or off to the side. This rings true for World Showcase especially so keep your eyes open!
It’s time to take a look at Future World and the meet and greets that are available in this innovative section of Epcot. When you arrive in the morning at the main entrance you’ll be greeted by both Stitch and and Daisy Duck. Yeah, I think it’s a weird combo too and I don’t really understand the method of thinking behind that one but I just go with it. Stitch is always one of the most interactive and hilarious characters to be around so even if you’ve never seen Lilo and Stitch or find Stitch’s character sort of off-putting… give him a shot!
If you’re at the park for rope drop inside of Future World, you’ll most likely get a quick opportunity to get an autograph and maybe a picture with one of the Fab Five if you’re right up to the rope. Characters come around to welcome everyone to Epcot before rope drop so get your cameras ready.
At this time there isn’t a totally organized schedule for characters appearing outside of Mission: Space but I have seen characters such as Chip and Dale and Goofy appearing in astronaut garb. I love seeing characters in “themed” outfits!
Moving over to The Land pavillion you have the only character meal in Future World. Garden Grill Restaurant is a family-style dining experience in which your table will actually revolve around the kitchen area in a very slow circular motion. While you’re eating turkey and blueberry Buckle, Chip and Dale, Mickey, and Pluto all come by to visit your table, sign autographs, and take pictures. Make sure to get an Advanced Dining Reservation if this location interests you.
I don’t know if some of you would think of Turtle Talk with Crush in The Living Seas a character experience but I sure would. Granted, you don’t pose for pictures with Crush or have him sign your autograph book (imagine how cool that would be if you could) but he does chat live with the audience and even gives little dudes some one on one time to ask him some of their burning questions. On my honeymoon, Crush chatted with my husband and I and instructed everyone else to turn around and congratulate us. It was so cool!
Innoventions West welcomes guests to greet Chip ‘n’ Dale throughout the middle part of the day. Since they are tucked away from crowds, the lines are usually quite short. Perfect for Chip ‘n’ Dale fans!
The last and most popular place to find characters is the Character Spot across from Innoventions West. Mickey and friends appears regularly all day long so if you’re trying to get the “main” characters done, this is the place to do it! I suggest hitting this up first thing in the morning or later at night when the crowds are lighter. Also, be sure to ask how long the current wait is before jumping in the line because it can become a doozy.
Making our way across the park to the World Showcase, (perhaps my favorite part of the entire Walt Disney World Resort) if you stop by the Showcase Plaza you’ll find the bear we all love to hate or hate to love… Duffy. While I understand that Duffy is simply a kid-friendly marketing tool, I approve of his cuteness. I know some of you are fighting rolling your eyes at me but let’s just agree to disagree on this one.
Moving around the World Showcase clockwise, we come to Donald Duck dressed in total Mexican garb, somebrero and all. He’s so adorable all dressed up in Mexico that he’s become one of my favorite character experiences!
Norway’s sit-down restaurant, Akershus Royal Banquet Hall, hosts a character meal fit for the little ladies in your traveling party or a single guy looking for a hot date. While dining in a “medieval castle,” your party is greeted by numerous Disney Princesses that are ready to sign autographs and take pictures. This is a very popular restaurant so make sure to get an Advanced Dining Reservation if you’re planning to dine here for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
The rest of the World Showcase is very princess friendly. In China you’ll find Mulan greeting guests and in Germany you can see Snow White and sometimes Dopey with her. Morocco is the place to find two people that always bring long lines… Aladdin and Jasmine!
For some odd reason France is a hot spot for character greetings. Throughout the day Belle, Beast, Princess Aurora, and Marie all make appearances. If you happen to be dining at Les Chefs de France then you are in luck! Remy from Ratatouille comes out and chats with guest as they are chowing down. No, wait. The French don’t “chow down.” What am I thinking? They… nibble delicately. Yeah, that sounds about right.
In the United Kingdom you can find Pooh & Friends ready to give you hugs. Back in March I jumped around with Tigger and Pooh and had a grand ol’ time. You can have a jolly holiday with the lovely Mary Poppins in the United Kingdom as well! Lastly, Alice from Alice in Wonderland hangs out in this pavillion… probably looking for some tea. The backdrop of the United Kingdom provides some of the prettiest and most unique character photographs I’ve ever seen.
Years ago I saw characters from Brother Bear roaming about Canada but I can’t seem to figure out if they still appear from time to time to greet guests. Has anyone seen them lately or have they been hibernating?
I think it’s great that Epcot has so many characters to interact with despite the park not being “character centric.” What are some of your memorable meet and greets at Epcot? Are there any characters that you think would fit right in some place but Disney just hasn’t thought of it yet? Let me know!