All About Characters at Walt Disney World: Cavalcades, Character Dining, Meet & Greets & More

And where can you actually talk to the Princesses?

Don’t miss the chance to meet your adorable old friends.

Updated November 2, 2023

Know someone who’d like to discuss the Force with a Jedi? Or have a chat with some Disney royalty? Ready to pose with the Mouse who started it all? It’s possible at the Most Magical Place on Earth.

If this is your first visit to Walt Disney World in Orlando, meeting Mickey is just the beginning. You can meet and pose with dozens and dozens of live Disney characters. No matter how old you are. Our Disney vacation clients routinely tell us the same thing:

Meeting Disney characters are the highlights of a whole trip.

Surprising? One might think that it’d be a bit like meeting Santa Claus. When you’re young enough that you still believe in Santa? A thrill. If you’re old enough to know that he’s just a regular Joe in a red suit? Less magical.

That’s not what happens at Disney. No matter how old you are, when you come face-to-face with live characters that you’ve grown up with, something profound happens. Just wait. We’ve seen grown men cry.

In this post, we’re talking about live performers who interact with guests every day. Not attractions with Audio-Animatronic robots. This is a guide to the hundreds of Disney characters that come to life at Walt Disney World, including Disney’s newest heroine Asha from Wish!

Asha from Disney's film

Actually finding the characters can be haphazard and confusing.

Still, it’s surprisingly difficult to know exactly when and where you’ll find these characters. They’re only out for certain hours of the day. Many are hidden behind long queues. That is, if you can find the queues. Even the My Disney Experience app doesn’t always help you.

Thankfully, as an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner, we’re in the theme parks every week — and we know all the spots to find all the perky personalities who wore out your VCR & DVD players — or who are keeping the kids blissfully entranced on DisneyPlus. Not only that, but Chris from Wishful Thinking worked as a Cast Member in the characters department at EPCOT, so let’s just say that this whole topic has a lot of sentimental value. 🙂

Below, we’re proud to present a comprehensive guide to the Walt Disney World characters. We share it with all our travel clients, and we’re excited to share it with you, too.


Want free help choosing a hotel? Plan a trip to Walt Disney World ▸


What characters are new in 2023?

Typically, characters begin appearing in the parks a few years after their film debut. Others take longer. In 2023, a number of characters are now making their first regular appearances ever. Mirabel and Bruno from Encanto, Miguel from Coco, Marie from The Aristocats, and Nick & Judy from Zootopia are new this year at Magic Kingdom. The real mascot of EPCOT, Figment has just returned after many years of appearing merely in our imagination. And to help commemorate Disney’s newest attraction, Montunui’s bravest wayfinder now meets guests outside the transporting Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana.

Moana poses for Walt Disney World guests at Disney's Animal Kingdom theme park
Figment, the adorable purple dragon from EPCOT's Journey Into Imagination Pavilion, smiles for guests at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida

Six ways to see characters

To begin, let’s list the 6 different ways to see & interact with Disney characters at Walt Disney World:

  • 1 | Character Cavalcades | Short miniature parades with anywhere from 2 to 15 characters, sometimes within boats on water!
  • 2 | Parades | Full-scale parades where more than 100 characters wave as they pass down the street.
  • 3 | Meet & Greet Locations | Dedicated areas where you’ll wait in an organized queue, then have (nearly) private alone time to talk and pose with characters.
  • 4 | Freely roaming | Unannounced, surprise appearances where characters walk through an area, posing for quick photographs & interacting with guests.
  • 5 | Live shows | Musical song & dance performances, plus interactive live performances with photo ops for younger guests.
  • 6 | Character Dining | Select restaurants where characters stop by your table as you dine.

We’ll organize all the character interactions into these categories below, and then finish with a massive, comprehensive glossary of every character — and note where you can find them.

Tinker Bell rides atop a treasure in the Magic Kingdom character cavalcade in 2020 at Walt Disney World

1 | What’s a Character Cavalcade?

In mid-2020, right at the the height of the pandemic, up-close hugs and photos with Disney characters were off-limits. So Disney created Character Cavalcades as a miniature parade with a group of characters who would zoom by in a matter of seconds.

They were found in all the Disney parks around the world, and although their schedules and locations weren’t announced, Disney guests loved them. It brought a fun sense of spontaneous whimsy to the parks.

Pocohontas and Meeko wave to guests along the Discovery River at Disney's Animal Kingdom in Walt Disney World in 2020

Are Character Cavalcades still happening in 2023 and 2024?

Yes — Character Cavalcades still appear at Animal Kingdom and Magic Kingdom, but there are far fewer of them than before. Let’s go park by park, listing the characters and routes.

Magic Kingdom Character Cavalcades:

  • Disney Adventure Friends Cavalcade | Typically one or two appearances per day, late afternoon | Aladdin, Alice, Baloo, Bert, Bruno, Clarabelle Cow, Elastigirl, Elena, Gaston, Genie, Jasmine, Jessie, Jose Carioca, Judy Hopps, King Louie, Mary Poppins, Marie, Max Goof, Meeko, Merida, Miguel Rivera, Mr. Incredible, Moana, Mulan, Nick Wilde, Panchito Pistoles, Stitch, Terk, Timon, Woody

The Magic Kingdom cavalcade route begins beside Tiana’s Bayou Adventure (formerly Splash Mountain, currently under construction), passes through Frontierland to Liberty Square, then into the Castle circular hub, then down Main Street USA, and exits beside City Hall. Disney Cast Members will clear the route as the cavalcade approaches, but you can view them quite easily from the sidewalks along the route — no need to show up early.

To view the schedule, open the My Disney Experience app on the day of your visit and search for Disney Adventure Friends Cavalcade. Please note that only TODAY’S remaining times are displayed, and the schedule varies from day to day.

Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, & Pluto sail along the Discovery River while returning from safari in Disney's Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida

Animal Kingdom Character Cavalcades:

  • Adventure Flotilla | Darkwing Duck, Scrooge McDuck | Regular appearances throughout the day
  • Adventure Flotilla – Up | Russell, Dug | Regular appearances throughout the day
  • Dino-Bash Flotilla | Goofy, Pluto | Regular appearances throughout the day
  • Discovery River Cruise | Pocohontas, Meeko | Regular appearances throughout the day
  • Discovery River Cruise – The Lion King | Timon, Rafiki | Regular appearances throughout the day
  • Santa Claus | Regular daytime appearances from mid-November through Dec. 31

Animal Kingdom’s cavalcade route is the river that encircles Discovery Island. The boats enter (and exit) at the green bridge beside Expedition Everest in Asia, then navigate a circle around Discovery Island before exiting. You can view the boats most easily from the bridges that cross the river — heading toward Pandora, Asia, and Africa. The outdoor dining locations at Drinkwallah and Flame Tree Barbecue also offer terrific views. The closest viewing location is underneath the bridge that passes over the walking path between Pandora and Africa — it’s close enough that Pocohontas will typically say hello.

To view the schedule, open the My Disney Experience app on the day of your visit and search for the name of the cavalcade. Please note that only TODAY’S remaining times are displayed, and the schedule varies from day to day.

Donald Duck and Daisy Duck dance and wave to guests during the Festival of Fantasy Parade at the Magic Kingdom within Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida

2 | Where & when are Disney World’s parades?

In 2023, Walt Disney World only has one full-fledged parade: Festival of Fantasy in Magic Kingdom. (Over the decades, parades have appeared in all four parks — that’s not the case now.) There are no nighttime parades — except during the Halloween and Christmas parties. Disney’s famous Main Street Electrical Parade stopped appearing in Florida in 2016.

Parade characters | No characters are ever guaranteed, but you should expect to see Aladdin, Alice, Anna, Ariel, Beast, Belle, Captain Hook, Chip, Cinderella, Daisy Duck, Dale, Donald Duck, Goofy, Elsa, Flynn Rider, Jiminy Cricket, Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Prince Naveen, Prince Charming, Peter Pan, Pinocchio, Pluto, Rapunzel, the Seven Dwarfs, Smee, Snow White, Tiana, Tinker Bell, and Wendy Darling.

Parade Schedule | Weather permitting, the parade appears every day — but the performance time (and frequency) vary widely. Some days, there are two parade performances. Other days, just one. Performance times are only finalized about 6 weeks in advance. Within the My Disney Experience app, you can only view the parade time for today — but be warned: that schedule may be different during your visit. On their actual website, you can view the published schedule for future dates. Visit this link, then tap the date and miniature calendar icon to see future dates:

View the performance calendar for Festival of Fantasy parade at Magic Kingdom ▸

During a bright sunny day, Ariel sits in her shell and waves to guests at Disney's Magic Kingdom park in Orlando, Florida

Location & parade route | The Magic Kingdom parade route for Festival of Fantasy begins beside Tiana’s Bayou Adventure (formerly Splash Mountain, currently under construction), passes through Frontierland to Liberty Square, then into the Castle circular hub, then down Main Street USA, and exits beside City Hall. Unlike Disneyland in California, every parade moves in the same direction.

Best viewing locations | Crowds begin forming along the parade route about 30 minutes beforehand. Depending on the time of day (and time of year), different viewing locations enjoy sunshine or shade, but to avoid the densest crowds, it’s best to avoid watching right from Main Street U.S.A. One of the most reliably comfortable spots is near Country Bear Jamboree in Frontierland. It’s often in the shade, there are platforms for some guests to sit, and if you arrive early you can treat yourself to delicious Dole Whip from the nearby Aloha Isle. If you don’t mind a slightly obstructed view — a few palm trees — vie for one of the outdoor tables at the quick service restaurant Pecos Bill’s Cafe.

Ariel from Disney's live-action adaptation of The Little Mermaid looks through a spyglass at Disney Hollywood Studios park in Walt Disney World

3 | What are character meet & greets?

Meet and greets are a dedicated space where characters take time with each set of guests to chat, pose for photos, and trade hugs. They’ll sign autographs, too. (The one thing they absolutely will not do? Drop their character!) At Walt Disney World, most meet & greet locations (and their queue space) are indoors, so they operate rain or shine. A handful of Disney Cast Members — and sometimes a Disney photographer — are there to assist.

Meet & greet locations have a specific schedule and a queue. When it’s your turn, you’ll have a minute or two to trade hugs, snap photos, and enjoy a brief chat.

Belle from Beauty and the Beast greets guests at EPCOT's France Pavilion in the World Showcase at Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida

The characters are endlessly entertaining, and ready to talk! You can discuss the White Rabbit’s hijinks with Alice. Compare sword fighting stances with Mulan. We recently overheard an adorable kid ask Mary Poppins to please come to her home and become her nanny. Tiana, Snow White, & Aurora are all happy to grant a royal audience, and Belle loves to trade book recommendations!

The characters typically appear within themed settings — an Arendelle summer house for Anna & Elsa, an market bazaar for Jasmine, Inside Out’s Imagination Land for Joy — and the queues are often themed, too.

Vi Moradi sneaks around Star Wars Galaxy's Edge village of Batuu in Disney's Hollywood Studios in 2020

4 | Which characters roam freely?

Some characters are free to roam around and improvise, helping to build up the interactive atmosphere of the land.

That’s especially true within Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge at Hollywood Studios, where you’ll see the Mandalorian (with Baby Yoda, i.e., Grogu), Kylo Ren, Rey, Chewbacca and Vi Moradi regularly wandering the Black Spire Outpost. These characters might pause for a quick photo, but it’s all about interacting with the crowd. Storm Troopers are never far away.

Walt Disney World is very different from Disneyland. In Florida, park-roaming is usually restricted to lesser-known personalities, so they won’t get mobbed by screaming fans. The tropical bird Kevin from Up wanders in Animal Kingdom, while Cinderella’s stepsisters, and the Country Bears are often seen in Magic Kingdom. It’s not unusual to see Peter Pan, Gaston, or Jack Sparrow roaming about.

Jack Sparrow from Pirates of the Caribbean at Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World

5 | Which characters appear within live stage shows?

Especially for the youngest guests, simply seeing a Disney character sing and dance — right there — is more than enough. Here’s a list of all the live shows with Disney characters. These shows happen every day — although note that some of the stages are open-air, and won’t perform when the raindrops are falling.

Let the Magic Begin opens the Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World with Cinderella Castle stage show appearances by Donald Duck, Daisy Duck, Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse

MAGIC KINGDOM

Let the Magic Begin | Cinderella Castle stage | weather-permitting | A ‘welcome to Magic Kingdom’ show that opens the park every day, about 3 minutes long. | Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Donald, Daisy, Tiana, Naveen, Rapunzel, Flynn

Enchanted Tales with Belle | Fantasyland | After entering Belle’s family chateau, young guests are invited to re-enact the story of Beauty and the Beast — and every kid who wants to participate is given a part. Think: elementary school pageant. | Interactions with Belle — at the end of the presentation, each kid gets about 3 seconds for a quick photo with the beauty in the golden gown. A bit like a receiving line at a wedding. Disney’s PhotoPass photographers are on hand.

Tiana, Louis and Prince Naveen sing and dance to New Orleans Jazz during MIckey's Magical Friendship Faire at Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World on the Cinderella Castle stage

Mickey’s Magical Friendship Faire | Cinderella Castle Stage | weather-permitting | A fun medley of Disney songs and dances, about 15 minutes long | Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Donald, Daisy, Tiana, Naveen, Louis, Rapunzel, Flynn, the Ruffians, Anna, Elsa, Olaf

Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor | Humans of all ages join Mike Wazowski’s hilarious hijinks to keep the power flowing through Monstropolis. It’s an improvised live show where monsters appear on a large screen and talk with guests. Watch out for Roz… she’s always watching! | Original characters, plus Mike Wazowski, and Roz

EPCOT

There are no costumed character shows at EPCOT. However…

Turtle Talk with Crush | Young audience members are invited to chat up Finding Nemo’s sea turtle who sounds like a SoCal surfer. He appears on a large animated screen; the improvised laughs come plentifully. About 20 minutes. | Crush, Squirt, Bailey

HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS

Beauty and the Beast – Live on Stage | Hollywood Boulevard | An especially cheesy re-enactment of the film, about 20 minutes long. | Belle, Beast, Cogsworth, Lumiere, Mrs. Potts, Chip, Gaston

Fantasmic! | Hollywood Boulevard | The greatest nighttime spectacular in Disney history, also found at Disneyland. 25 minutes of magical bliss. | Aladdin, Ariel, Beast, Baloo, Belle, Chip, Cinderella, Daisy Duck, Dale, Donald Duck, Evil Queen, Genie, Gepetto, Goofy, Elsa, Jafar, Jiminy Cricket, John Smith, Maleficent, Meeko, Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Moana, Mulan, Pocahontas, Pinocchio, Pluto, Prince Charming, Prince Eric, Prince Florian, Prince Naveen, Prince Phillip, Rafiki, Seven Dwarfs, Snow White, Stitch, Tiana

For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration | Echo Lake | Two comical Arendelle storytellers join Anna, Olaf and Kristoff to lead the audience through scenes from the film, with follow-the-bouncing-snowflake lyrics on the screen. The entire theater transforms into a snow-blowing top-of-your-lungs croon-fest when Elsa arrives to “Let it Go.” About 20 minutes long | Anna, Elsa, Olaf, Kristoff

Muppet Vision 3-D | Muppet Courtyard | A terrifically old-school show that combines a 3-D film (with voices by the original Muppet voice cast, including Jim Henson) and Audio-Animatronic Muppet characters. About 20 minutes long | Many Muppets on screen, with in-theater appearances by Statler, Waldorf, Swedish Chef and Sweetums

Disney Jr. Dance Party | Popular characters from Disney Junior join a live DJ on stage in a get-on-your-feet jamfest. It’s a great indoor spot for grownups to have a seat while their young ones expend some energy on wall-to-wall carpet with cool lighting and fog machines. | Mickey Mouse, Doc McStuffins, Vampirina, Fancy Nancy and Timon

An orange Nemo puppet peers through an anemone from Finding Nemo - The Great Big Blue... and Beyond musical show at Disney's Animal Kingdom Park

ANIMAL KINGDOM

Festival of the Lion King | Africa | A mashup medley of songs from Elton John’s award-winning score, sung by 4 talented singers, accompanied by a large cast of acrobats, dancers and puppets. About 30 minutes long. | Simba, Pumbaa, Timon

Finding Nemo: The Big Blue… and Beyond! | Asia | A remarkably poignant original musical adaptation of the hit Pixar film with colorful puppets, a large cast of Broadway-level musical theater performers, and songs by modern-day Disney legends Robert Lopez & Kristen Anderson-Lopez. About 25 minutes long. | Nemo, Dory, Marlin, Crush, Bruce, and their many fish friends.

At Chef Mickey's in Disney's Contemporary Resort hotel, Donald Duck in a chef hat asserts his superiority

6 | How does character dining work at Walt Disney World?

Countless Disney blogs and social media influencers mention character dining — assuming you already know what it is. Recently, one of our clients asked, “during character dining, what do the characters eat?”

A perfectly rational question!

In the late 1980s / early 1990s, Character dining was borne of two problems: long, dull lines to meet Disney characters, and empty restaurants that needed an extra incentives to get Disney guests in for breakfasts before their busy theme park days.

Disney’s Imagineers had a brilliant idea: what if we could feed the guests while they were waiting to meet Mickey and pals? And what if we could place these beloved Disney characters in the restaurants that need an extra draw? What if the characters were the ones in a line, so to speak, going from table to table and saying hello?

A big hug with Donald Duck at Tusker House restaurant at Disney's Animal Kingdom theme park in Walt Disney World

The idea was a hit. Suddenly, some of Disney less-popular restaurants were instantly booked solid. Today, most of Disney’s character dining is found in the resort hotels — but all four theme parks have at least one character dining experience.

And no, the characters themselves don’t eat, but character dining meals are timed perfectly. During the hour or so that you’re at your table, each character will follow a path from table to table, taking time to stop by, share hugs, pose for pictures, leaving you with unique memories.

Are they a good value? Yes. The food is typically tasty American food; most feature an elaborate crowd-pleasing buffet. Two restaurants aim for higher gastronomic standards (Cinderella’s Royal Table and Topolino’s Terrace). In the whole range of Disney dining prices, character dining is priced right in the middle. Not as economical as the most casual table service (i.e., burgers and pizza joints), but not as pricy as fine dining Signature restaurants. Guests who are younger than 3 are free. They’ve all got a set price, so the meal costs the same no matter what you eat.

Before handing you the check, your server will make sure that you had time to interact with all the characters on hand. If you missed anyone — say, if you were at the buffet table when a character passed by your table — your server will invite that character to return before you’re out the door.

List of all the character dining restaurants at Walt Disney World

Here’s a list of every character dining experience, location, meal service, and the characters that typically appear. We’ll note whether a meal features a prix-fixe menu (where you select courses that are cooked to order), a walk-through buffet, or is served family style (where large serving dishes of food are brought to your table, with refills upon request). Hours can vary at the restaurants — especially during the in-park holiday parties. However, remember that in order to dine at any restaurant inside a Theme Park, all guests (age 3 and above) must have a valid theme park ticket and valid entry for that day.

Tigger pals around with Winnie the Pooh and friends from the Hundred Acre Wood at Disney's Crystal Palace restaurant in the Magic Kingdom

CHARACTER DINING IN THE THEME PARKS

Magic Kingdom

  • Be Our Guest | Fantasyland | Prix-Fixe | Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner | Beast
  • Cinderella’s Royal Table | Inside Cinderella Castle | Prix-Fixe | Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner | Cinderella (note: pre-pandemic, a group of Disney princesses appeared here — now, only Cinderella appears)
  • Crystal Palace | between Main Street U.S.A. and Adventureland | Buffet | Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner | Winnie the Pooh, Eeyore, Piglet, Tigger
Princess Tiana smiles for guests who dine at Walt Disney World's Akershus Royal Banquet Hall in the Norway Pavilion at EPCOT

EPCOT

  • Askerhus Royal Banquet Hall | Norway Pavillion | Family Style | Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner | Princesses: Ariel, Aurora, Belle, Snow White, and Tiana are most common, but others may appear (note: this is now the only dining experience at Walt Disney World where you’ll interact with many Disney princesses at one meal)
  • Garden Grill | World Nature | Family Style | Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner | Mickey Mouse (dressed as a farmer), Chip, Dale, Pluto

Hollywood Studios

  • Hollywood & Vine | Echo Lake | Buffet | Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner | Characters vary based on the meal service and time of year. Breakfasts typically feature Disney Jr. characters: Doc McStuffins, Fancy Nancy, Vampirina and Goofy. Most lunches & dinners feature Minnie Mouse, Mickey Mouse, Goofy and Pluto — dressed for the season.

Animal Kingdom

  • Tusker House | Africa | Buffet | Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner | Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy — all dressed in their safari outfits
Chip 'n Dale's Campfire Sing-A-Long at Disney's Fort Wilderness Campground Resort delights guests from an outdoor stage

CHARACTER DINING IN THE RESORT HOTELS

Anyone can visit a Disney resort hotel for dining — you do not need to be an overnight guest at that hotel. In fact, visiting one of the hotels in the middle of a theme park day is a great way to get a refreshing break from the crowds. Currently, character dining is only found in Disney’s deluxe resort hotels.

Minnie Mouse poses in her beach hat and dress at Cape May Cafe in Disney's Beach Club Resort at Walt Disney World

However, getting to one of the resort hotels for a character breakfast can be a logistics challenge — Disney buses don’t travel from hotel to hotel. If you have a car, you’re welcome to park for free during your meal. If the hotel is along the route of the Disney Monorail, Skyliner Gondola, or a water craft, these systems begin running about hour hour before Early Park Admission begins. Many guests opt for a ride share, Minnie Van, or taxi to get to an early breakfast reservation. See our transportation tips ▸

Here are all the character dining experiences in the Disney resort hotels:

  • Cape May Cafe | Disney’s Beach Club Resort, walkable to EPCOT | Buffet | Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner | Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Daisy Duck, Goofy – all dressed for a beach holiday
  • Chef Mickey’s | Disney’s Contemporary Resort, walkable to Magic Kingdom | Buffet | Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner | Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy, Pluto – all dressed as chefs
  • Chip ‘n’ Dale’s Campfire Sing-A-Long | Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground, boat ride to Magic Kingdom | Free to attend, s’mores kits available for purchase | Chip, Dale
  • ‘Ohana | Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, monorail to Magic Kingdom | Family Style | Breakfast / Brunch | Lilo, Stitch, Mickey Mouse — dressed in a Hawaiian shirt
  • Ravello | Four Seasons Resort Orlando | Buffet | Breakfast | Goofy, Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse
  • Storybook Dining at Artist’s Point | Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, boat ride to Magic Kingdom | Prix-Fixe | Snow White, Evil Queen, Dopey, Grumpy
  • Topolino’s Terrace | Disney’s Riviera Resort, Skyliner Gondola ride to EPCOT or Hollywood Studios | Prix-Fixe | Breakfast | Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Daisy Duck, Donald Duck — all dressed as European artists

It’s worth noting that Storybook Dining at Artist’s Point is one of the most difficult reservations to get — we’ve got smart insights on how to get a table Disney’s most popular restaurants:

View our list of the most popular restaurants at Walt Disney World ▸

Ariel in Ariel's Grotto at Magic Kingdom combs her hair with a dinglehopper

How do I find character times and locations in the My Disney Experience app?

This is harder than it might seem. Because Disney’s characters appear in so many different types of settings, their locations and schedules are scattered all over different menus in the My Disney Experience app.

It’s a bit nonsensical. Let’s take some time and break it down.

Dressed as Powerline, Max Goof dances for Disney Hollywood Studios guests in Walt Disney World

Download and sign into the My Disney Experience app. (You’ll need the app, not the website.) We’ve got a full guide to My Disney Experience here ▸

The app only displays what’s still scheduled to appear TODAY. So during park hours — preferably first thing in the morning — open the app and tap the ‘map marker’ icon along the bottom row. Note the new drop down menu at the top center.

The characters are found under three main categories here:

  • Characters | Most of the characters are listed under Characters. However… many are not. Don’t ask us why.
  • Entertainment | Those which have their own permanent meet & greet locations and appear every day — like Winnie the Pooh, Mirabel, Anna & Elsa, the Disney princesses in Magic Kingdom, and those in Pete’s Silly Sideshow — are listed under the Entertainment category. Don’t ask us why. Most of the live stage shows and parades are listed here, as well.
  • Attractions | The interactive shows like Enchanted Tales with Belle, Turtle Talk with Crush, Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor and Disney Jr. Dance Party are entertaining, sure, but they’re listed under Attractions. Don’t ask us why.

Typically, the characters that are roaming the park will not be listed on the app. They’re meant to be a surprise. However, if you’re lucky to speak to a Disney Cast Member who is helping to organize and mind the queue at any character’s meet & greet — known as character attendants — they often know when that day’s ‘surprises’ will happen. It’s worth a shot to ask.

Chip 'n' Dale Rescue Rangers amp up their antics for fun-loving guests at Disney's Hollywood Studios

Full list of ALL the live characters at Walt Disney World

Want a full rundown of every Disney character who typically appears live in the theme parks, restaurants, shows, parades and cavalcades? Here it is. This list is comprehensive, and it tells you ALL the spots where you can see your favorite pals.

(We’re not including the attractions which don’t feature live performers, like Peter Pan’s Flight or Guardians of the Galaxy – Cosmic Rewind.)

Although we’ve got a lot of Disney nerds among our friends, we know that not everyone is so familiar with the colorful residents of the Most Magical Place on Earth, so we’ll also include a quick description and a link to their primary origin film / story. (Although nearly all of these characters appear in many films and TV shows)

Planning your kiddo’s first Disney outing? Here’s a thought: binge some of these classics and play a fun game of ‘spot the character’ on your trip!

  • Aladdin | Youthful scoundrel-turned-prince in Aladdin | Live appearances: Adventure Friends cavalcade, Festival of Fantasy Parade, Fantasmic!, meet & greets in Adventureland
  • Alice | Young blonde curious wanderer in Alice in Wonderland | Live appearances: Adventure Friends cavalcade, Festival of Fantasy Parade, meet & greets in Fantasyland, UK Pavilion
  • Anastasia | Evil red-headed stepsister of Cinderella | Not to be mistaken for the recently Disney-acquired Don Bluth film | Live appearances: Freely roaming in Fantasyland | Dining: none, see below
  • Anna | Plucky lovestruck princess in Frozen | Live appearances: Festival of Fantasy Parade, Mickey’s Magical Friendship Faire, For the First Time in Forever – A Frozen Sing-Along, meet & greets in Norway Pavilion
  • Ariel | Mermaid with a golden voice in The Little Mermaid (animated film) and The Little Mermaid (live-action film) | Live appearances: Disney never uses terms like ‘white Ariel’ or ‘Black Ariel.’ Here’s how Disney distinguishes them: Ariel (From the Animated Story) is seen in the Festival of Fantasy Parade and at Ariel’s Grotto meet & greet. Ariel (From the Live-Action Story) is seen in a meet & greet at Walt Disney Presents in Hollywood Studios. | Dining: none, see below
  • Asha | Disney’s newest heroine, stargazer in Wish (in theaters) | Live appearances: meet & greet in EPCOT near World Showcase Plaza
  • Aurora | Sequestered somnolent princess in Sleeping Beauty | Live appearances: Festival of Fantasy Parade, meet & greets at Princess Fairytale Hall in Fantasyland and France pavilion | Dining: Akershus Royal Banquet Hall
  • Baloo | Big cuddly “Bear Necessities” pal of Mowgli in The Jungle Book | Live appearances: Adventure Friends cavalcade, Festival of Fantasy Parade
  • BB-8 | Spherical soccer-ball-esque droid in Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Eposide VII) | Live appearances: meet & greets in Star Wars Launch Bay
  • Belle | Bookish winsome mademoiselle in Beauty and the Beast | Live appearances: Festival of Fantasy Parade, meet & greets in France Pavilion | Dining: Akershus Royal Banquet Hall
  • Bert | Chimney sweep & amiable pal in Mary Poppins | Live appearances: Adventure Friends cavalcade, Festival of Fantasy Parade
  • Bo Peep | Shepherd crook-wielding toy in Toy Story | Live appearances: rare meet & greets in Toy Story Land
  • Bruno | Visionary future-predictor (who we don’t talk about) in Encanto | Live appearances: Adventure Friends cavalcade
  • Buzz Lightyear | Toy space ranger with Napoleon complex in Toy Story | Live appearances: meet & greets in Tomorrowland and Toy Story Land
  • Captain Hook | Infamous hook-handed nemesis of Peter Pan | Live appearances: Festival of Fantasy Parade
  • Captain Jack Sparrow | Rum-swilling scallywag in Pirates of the Caribbean | Live appearances: roaming in Adventureland
  • Chewbacca | Valiant Wookie in Star Wars: A New Hope (Episode IV) | Live appearances: meet & greet in Star Wars Launch Bay, roaming in Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge
  • Chip and Dale | Cheeky chipmunk duo in classic Walt Disney short films | Live appearances: Let the Magic Begin, Festival of Fantasy Parade, Fantasmic!, freely roaming with meet & greets in Frontierland and Hollywood Studios | Dining: Garden Grill, Chip ‘n’ Dale’s Campfire Sing-A-Long
  • Cinderella | Kind-hearted pumpkin passenger in Cinderella | Live appearances: Festival of Fantasy Parade, Princess Fairytale Hall, Fantasmic! | Dining: Cinderella’s Royal Table, Akershus Royal Banquet Hall
  • Clarabelle Cow | Heel-stomping bovine diva in classic Walt Disney short films | Live appearances: Adventure Friends cavalcade, Festival of Fantasy Parade, Very Merry Christmas Party castle stage show
  • Daisy Duck | Fashion-forward gal pal of Donald Duck in classic Walt Disney short films | Live appearances: Festival of Fantasy Parade, Let the Magic Begin, Mickey’s Magical Friendship Faire, Fantasmic!, meet & greets in Pete’s Silly Sideshow, EPCOT International Gateway, Donald’s Dino-Bash | Dining: Cape May Cafe, Topolino’s Terrace
  • Darkwing Duck | Flying ace in DuckTales | Live appearances: Discovery River boat cavalcade
  • Darth Vader | Black-clad daddy baddie in Star Wars: A New Hope (Episode 4) | Live appearances: meet & greet in Star Wars Launch Bay
  • Doc McStuffins | Bright kid and make-believe veterinarian in Doc McStuffins | Live appearances: Disney Junior Dance Party, meet & greet in Animation Courtyard | Dining: Hollywood & Dine breakfasts
  • Donald Duck | Lovable tempestuous quacker in classic Walt Disney short films | Live appearances: Let the Magic Begin, Festival of Fantasy Parade, Mickey’s Friendship Faire, Fantasmic!, meet & greets in Pete’s Silly Sideshow, Donald’s Dino-Bash | Dining: Chef Mickey’s, Tusker House, Cape May Cafe, Topolino’s Terrace
  • Drizella | Evil brown-haired stepsister of Cinderella | Live appearances: Freely roaming in Fantasyland | Dining: none, see below
  • Dug | Squirrel-loving talking dog in Up | Live appearances: Discovery River boat cavalcade
  • Edna Mode | Fabulous supersuit designer in The Incredibles | Live appearances: meet & greet in Pixar Place / Toy Story Land
  • Eeyore | Grey melancholic donkey in Winnie the Pooh | Dining: Crystal Palace
  • Elastigirl | Astonishingly flexible superhero mom in The Incredibles | Live appearances: Adventure Friends cavalcade, meet & greets in Pixar Place / Toy Story Land
  • Elena | Bilingual latina teenage princess in Elena of Avalor | Live appearances: Adventure Friends cavalcade
  • Elsa | Frosty ice palace architect in Frozen | Live appearances: Festival of Fantasy Parade, Mickey’s Magical Friendship Faire, For the First Time in Forever – A Frozen Sing-Along, meet & greets in Norway Pavilion
  • Evil Queen | Vain apple poisoner in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs | Live appearances: Fantasmic! | Dining: Storybook Dining at Artists’ Point
  • Fairy Godmother | Bibbidi bobbidi boo magic-maker in Cinderella | Live appearances: Festival of Fantasy Parade
  • Fancy Nancy | Ballet-dancing pint-sized bon vivant in Fancy Nancy | Live appearances: Disney Junior Dance Party, meet & greet in Animation Courtyard | Dining: Hollywood & Dine breakfasts
  • Fauna, Flora & Merriweather | Trio of magical fairy aunties in Sleeping Beauty | Live appearances: Festival of Fantasy Parade
  • Flynn Rider | Sticky-fingered rascal in Tangled | Live appearances: Festival of Fantasy Parade | Dining: none, see below
  • Gaston | Muscle-bound narcissist in Beauty and the Beast | Live appearances: Adventure friends cavalcade, meet & greets in Fantasyland, Beauty & the Beast – Live on Stage!
  • Genie | Blue comical wish-granter in a magical lamp in Aladdin | Live appearances: Adventure friends cavalcade, Fantasmic!
  • Gepetto | Kindly wood carver who creates Pinocchio | Live appearances: Adventure friends cavalcade, Fantasmic!
  • Goofy | Clumsy, lovable dippity dawg in classic Walt Disney short films | Live appearances: Adventure Friends cavalcade, Festival of Fantasy Parade, Let the Magic Begin, Mickey’s Magical Friendship Faire, Fantasmic!, meet & greets in Pete’s Silly Sideshow and EPCOT | Dining: Cape May Cafe, Chef Mickey’s, Hollywood & Dine, Ravello, Tusker House
  • Jasmine | Carpet-flying princess in Aladdin | Live appearances: Adventure Friends cavalcade, Festival of Fantasy Parade, Fantasmic!, meet & greets in Adventureland and Morocco pavilion
  • Jessie | Yodeling cowgirl pal of Woody in Toy Story 2 | Live appearances: Adventure Friends cavalcade, rare meet & greets in Toy Story Land
  • Jiminy Cricket | Cricket conscience who croons “When You Wish Upon a Star” in Pinocchio | Live appearances: Adventure Friends cavalcade, Festival of Fantasy Parade, Fantasmic!
  • John Smith | British colonizer in Pocahontas | Live appearances: Fantasmic!
  • Jose Carioca | Brazilian green parrot in The Three Caballeros | Live appearances: Adventure Friends cavalcade
  • Judy Hopps | Overachiever bunny cop in Zootopia | Live appearances: Adventure Friends cavalcade, Fantasmic!
  • Kevin | Elusive tropical bird from Paradise Falls in Up | Live appearances: Roaming around Discovery Island
  • King Louie | Fire-hungry orangutan in The Jungle Book | Live appearances: Adventure Friends cavalcade, Fantasmic!
  • Kristoff | Ice block delivery guy who loves reindeer and likes Anna in Frozen | Live appearances: For The First Time in Forever – a Frozen Sing-Along
  • Kylo Ren | Red lightsaber-wielding problem progeny in Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Episode VII) | Live appearances: roaming in Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge
  • Lilo | Hawaiian tyke who adopts an alien in Lilo and Stitch | Live appearances: ‘Ohana, rare meet & greets at Typhoon Lagoon
  • Louis | Aligator jazz trumpeter in The Princess and the Frog | Live appearances: Let the Magic Begin, Mickey’s Friendship Faire, Fantasmic!
  • Mad Hatter | Kooky tea partier in Alice in Wonderland | Live appearances: Festival of Fantasy Parade
  • Mary Poppins | Practically perfect nanny in Mary Poppins | Live appearances: Let the Magic Begin, Festival of Fantasy Parade, Adventure Friends cavalcade, Fantasmic!
  • Marie | Fluffy white kitten in The Aristocats | Live appearances: Adventure Friends cavalcade
  • Max Goof | Son of Goofy in A Goofy Movie | Live appearances: Adventure Friends cavalcade, meet & greets in Hollywood Studios
  • Meeko | Mischievous raccoon in Pocahontas | Live appearances: Adventure Friends cavalcade, Fantasmic!, Discovery River cavalcade boats in Animal Kingdom
  • Merida | Arrow-slinging redhead princess in Brave | Live appearances: Adventure Friends cavalcade
  • Mickey Mouse | The planet’s most widely-recognized cartoon character, debuting in 1928’s Steamboat Willie | Live appearances: Let the Magic Begin, Festival of Fantasy Parade, Mickey’s Friendship Faire, Fantasmic!, meet & greets in Main Street USA (Magic Kingdom), Journey into Imagination (EPCOT), Red Carpet Dreams (Hollywood Studios), Discovery Island (Animal Kingdom) | Dining: Chef Mickey’s, Hollywood & Vine, ‘Ohana, Ravello, Topolino’s Terrace, Tusker House
  • Miguel Rivera | Aspiring mariachi boy musician in Coco | Live appearances: Adventure Friends cavalcade
  • Minnie Mouse | Mickey’s bow-adorned sweetheart in classic Walt Disney short films | Live appearances: Festival of Fantasy Parade, Let the Magic Begin, Mickey’s Friendship Faire, Animal Kingdom flotilla, meet & greets in Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, EPCOT, Pete’s Silly Sideshow | Dining: Cape May Cafe, Chef Mickey’s, Garden Grill, Hollywood & Dine, Ravello, Topolino’s Terrace, Tusker House
  • Mirabel Madrigal | Green bespectacled Colombian heroine in Encanto | Live appearances: Adventure Friends cavalcade
  • Mr. Incredible | Burly superhero dad in The Incredibles | Live appearances: Adventure Friends cavalcade
  • Mr. Smee | Stout, genial sidekick of Captain Hook in Peter Pan | Live appearances: Festival of Fantasy Parade
  • Moana | Wayfinding ocean adventurer princess in Moana | Live appearances: Adventure Friends cavalcade, Festival of Fantasy Parade, meet & greets in at Journey of Water, Inspired by Moana
  • Mulan | Chinese warrior beauty in Mulan | Live appearances: Adventure Friends cavalcade, meet & greets in China Pavilion
  • Nick Wilde | Sly fox hustler in Zootopia | Live appearances: Adventure Friends cavalcade, Fantasmic!
  • Olaf | Snowman who likes warm hugs in Frozen | Live appearances: Let the Magic Begin, For the First Time in Forever – A Frozen Sing-Along, meet & greet in Hollywood Studios
  • Panchito Pistoles | Sombrero-wearing Mexican rooster in The Three Caballeros | Live appearances: Adventure Friends cavalcade
  • Peter Pan | Flying boy who won’t grow up in Peter Pan | Live appearances: Adventure Friends cavalcade, Festival of Fantasy Parade, roaming / meet & greets in Fantasyland, Fantasmic!
  • Piglet | Fearful pink pig in Winnie the Pooh | Dining: Crystal Palace
  • Pinocchio | Wooden boy with a nose that grows in Pinocchio | Festival of Fantasy Parade, Fantasmic!
  • Pluto | Mickey’s faithful pup in classic Walt Disney short films | Live appearances: Adventure Friends cavalcade, Festival of Fantasy Parade, Let the Magic Begin | Dining: Chef Mickey’s, Garden Grill, Tusker House
  • Pocahontas | Ahistorical Powatan Native-American adventurer in Pocohontas | Live appearances: Adventure Friends cavalcade, Fantasmic!, Discovery River cavalcade boat in Animal Kingdom
  • Prince Charming | Pretty boy royal who falls for Cinderella | Live appearances: Festival of Fantasy Parade, Fantasmic!
  • Prince Eric | Pretty boy royal who falls for Ariel in The Little Mermaid | Live appearances: Fantasmic! | Dining: none, see below
  • Prince Florian | Pretty boy royal who falls for Snow White | Live appearances: Fantasmic!
  • Prince Naveen | Pretty boy royal who falls for every girl he sees in The Princess and the Frog | Live appearances: Let the Magic Begin, Mickey’s Magical Friendship Faire, Festival of Fantasy Parade, Fantasmic!
  • Prince Phillip | Pretty boy royal and dragon-slayer in Sleeping Beauty | Live appearances: Festival of Fantasy Parade
  • Pumbaa | Flatulent warthog in The Lion King | Live appearances: Festival of the Lion King
  • Rapunzel | Long-haired, locked-up princess in Tangled | Live appearances: Let the Magic Begin, Festival of Fantasy Parade, Mickey’s Magical Friendship Faire, Fantasmic!, meet & greet at Princess Fairytale Hall | Dining: none, see below
  • Rafiki | Shaman mandrill who holds baby Simba aloft in The Lion King | Live appearances: Adventure Friends cavalcade, Fantasmic!, Animal Kingdom cavalcade
  • Raya | Thrill-seeking scavenger in Raya and the Last Dragon | Live appearances: Adventure Friends cavalcade
  • Rey | Desert-dwelling adventure-seeking Jedi in Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Episode VII) | Live appearances: meet & greet in Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge
  • Russel | Wilderness Explorer scout and flying house tag-along in Up | Live appearances: Discovery River boat cavalcade
  • Scrooge McDuck | Money-counting miser in DuckTales | Live appearances: Discovery River boat cavalcade
  • Seven Dwarfs | Gem miners who heigh ho in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs | Live appearances: Festival of Fantasy Parade, Fantasmic! | Dining: Storybook Dining at Artists’ Point — exclusively Dopey and Grumpy
  • Simba | Throne-avoiding lion cub in The Lion King | Live appearances: Festival of the Lion King
  • Sleeping Beauty | See Aurora, above
  • Snow White | Disney’s first princess — the fairest of them all — in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs | Live appearances: Festival of Fantasy Parade, Fantasmic! | Dining: Akershus Royal Banquet Hall, Storybook Dining at Artists’ Point
  • Stitch | Adorable impish blue alien in Lilo and Stitch | Live appearances: Adventure Friends cavalcade, Festival of Fantasy Parade, meet & greets in Tomorrowland | Dining: ‘Ohana
  • Terk | Gorilla cousin and friend of Tarzan | Live appearances: Adventure Friends cavalcade, rare meet & greets in Animal Kingdom, see below
  • Tiana | New Orleans aspiring entrepreneur in The Princess and the Frog | Live appearances: Let the Magic Begin, Festival of Fantasy Parade, meet & greet at Princess Fairytale Hall | Dining: Akershus Royal Banquet Hall
  • Tigger | Bouncy, trouncy tiger in Winnie the Pooh | Live appearances: Adventure Friends cavalcade, meet & greet in Fantasyland | Dining: Crystal Palace
  • Timon | Comical Hakuna Matata meerkat in The Lion King | Live appearances: Adventure Friends cavalcade, Disney Jr. Dance Party, Festival of the Lion King
  • Tinker Bell | Feisty pixie-dust fairy in Peter Pan | Live appearances: Festival of Fantasy Parade, Happily Ever After fireworks spectacular, rare meet & greets in Magic Kingdom
  • Vampirina | Bat-eared kid from Transylvania in Vampirina | Live appearances: Disney Junior Dance Party, meet & greet in Animation Courtyard | Dining: Hollywood & Dine breakfasts
  • Wendy Darling | ‘Tween Londoner who flies off to Neverland in Peter Pan | Festival of Fantasy Parade
  • Winnie the Pooh | Hunny-loving silly old bear in The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh | Live appearances: Adventure Friends cavalcade, meet & greet in Fantasyland, meet & greet in UK Pavilion | Dining: Crystal Palace
  • Woody | Cowboy sheriff, Andy’s favorite in Toy Story | Live appearances: Adventure Friends cavalcade, Fantasmic!, meet & greets in Toy Story Land
At Animal Kingdom park, a sign for Adventurers Outpost invites guests to meet MIckey and Minnie

Holiday party characters

At the Magic Kingdom’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and Very Merry Christmas Party, an entirely unique array of characters appear. To learn more, see our information about Disney’s Holiday Parties ▸

On the 4th of July, Pluto, Mickey and Goofy pose for Walt Disney World guests in fun tri-cornered hats and colonial American outfits

Seasonal characters, rare characters and paused / cancelled appearances

Disney adores surprises, and from time to time, there are characters who are unannounced — but simply appear within the parks as a surprise. Some of them are more predictable — especially around special days and holidays — and they’re worth mentioning here.

HOLIDAY / SPECIAL DAY CHARACTERS

  • Christmas | Santa Claus has meet & greets at Magic Kingdom and Disney Springs, and appears on the Discovery River boat cavalcades, typically from mid-November through Dec 31
  • Easter | Easter Bunnies typically appear in special Easter cavalcades and meet & greets at Magic Kingdom on the Friday / Saturday / Sunday of Easter weekend
  • Independence Day | Mickey Mouse, Goofy and Pluto typically appear in Colonial three-cornered hats at the American Adventure Pavilion at EPCOT on the 4th of July
  • Earth Day | April 22 is both Earth Day and the opening day anniversary of Animal Kingdom, and surprise characters often include Koda and Kenai from Brother Bear, Tarzan, Jane Porter, and Terk from Tarzan, and Gypsy from A Bug’s Life
  • Star Wars Day | On May 4th, it’s common to see additional characters appear in Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge, especially Boba Fett, the Mandalorian (with Grogu) and Phasma
  • World Oceans Day | On June 8th, you can often see Mickey Mouse scuba diving in the blue aquarium of the Nemo & Friends pavilion in EPCOT
Scuba diving Mickey Mouse at EPCOT's giant saltwater aquarium tank at the Seas Pavilion with Nemo and Friends
Terk and Jane Porter from Tarzan greet guests on Earth Day at Animal Kingdom park in Walt Disney World

SURPRISE CHARACTERS & LOCATIONS

Other characters or meet and greet locations are unannounced — but happen quite often. Every week, Disney’s characters make surprise appearances in the Walt Disney World Resort Hotels. Typically they’ll be in the resort hotel lobby or outdoor recreation area, but you never know who will show up, or when they’ll come.

It’s common to see Mickey, Minnie and pals waving to guests from the balcony of the Main Street U.S.A. Walt Disney Railroad train station, especially during the opening and closing hours of the park. This occurs at nearly every Disney castle park worldwide.

From time to time, Goofy will swing by Typhoon Lagoon or Blizzard Beach in his swimming attire to get some summer sun. But if you’re really, really lucky, you might see Goofy waterskiing the Seven Seas Lagoon outside Magic Kingdom.

RARE CHARACTERS AT PRIVATE EVENTS

The rarest characters often appear at special events like the RunDisney races and DVC Vacation Club Moonlight Magic private parties.

The actual list of rare characters is lengthy, but recent events have included Angel, Cheshire Cat, Duffy the Disney Bear, George Sanderson, Hercules, Lotso, March Hare, Penelope Von Schweetz, Queen of Hearts, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, Roger Rabbit, Sadness, Tweedle-Dum and Tweedle-Dee, White Rabbit, and Wreck-It-Ralph.

A number of characters appear regularly at Disneyland (in California) but never appear at Walt Disney World, including Cruella DeVil, Karl (from Up), and nearly all the superheroes of Avengers Campus, including Black Panther, Black Widow, Captain America, Dr. Strange, Iron Man, Spider-Man, and Thor.

CANCELLED / PAUSED APPEARANCES

Due to the pandemic’s closures in 2020, a number of character shows and character dining were paused (or cancelled) and have not returned:

  • Ariel (as a human), Prince Eric, Rapunzel & Flynn Rider appeared at a character breakfast at Trattoria al Forno at Disney’s Boardwalk Inn
  • Anastasia, Drizella, Cinderella, Lady Tremaine and Prince Charming appeared at 1900 Park Fare in Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
  • Guardians of the Galaxy appeared in a live show at EPCOT called “Awesome Mix – LIVE!”

Here are all the places to meet Disney characters. Rely on this comprehensive, deeply detailed list of all Walt Disney World's character dining locations, character cavalcades, parades, shows, and park-by-park meet & greet locations!

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