DLRP Trip Report Part 2 – Characters

Firstly I want to say thank you to everyone who has checked out Part One of this trip report…yesterday was the most hits I’ve ever had on here, hehe. I hope it made you drool and run to the phone to book your Paris ADRs πŸ™‚

Secondly I’d want to give a shout out to Steve, Alan & Chris of Your MouseCast for letting me join them last night and record a trip report for their Disney podcast. I had great fun chatting with you guys and I’m still remembering things I forgot because you kept changing the subject, catching me off-guard and making me crack up laughing. So you’ll have to have me back on soon! LOL. So I wanted to make my second part to my blog’s report on something I forgot to give tips on which really annoys me because it’s what we spend the most time doing…MEETING CHARACTERS!!

Mark & Stitch @ Cafe Mickey's

So obviously in my previous post I stated how my family love to do Character Meals at various Disney restaurants, which is a good way to meet them and I’ll tell you why. For starters you get to sit and eat, rest your feet & legs from walking all over the park. As for the characters, the rule is that they go around visiting each table for autographs and photos. A lot of times kids from other tables will run around and will break in on your time with a character…this is one thing that REALLY annoys me. I know that not everyone are veterans when it comes to Character Meals or even meeting Characters in general, but you can see how it works as they make their way around the restaurant.

This is a small problem at Innoventions, when we’ve had other children come up to, say Dale, while he was with Gage (at our table) he would put his hand up to them “stop” and shoe them away “go back to your table”. What I’d like to see is for the Maitre’D instruct families on the ‘system’ when they are seated. But even when this happens, it is still a lot calmer than some of the meets in the parks.

In the parks there are designated areas to meet various characters and they can be found on the maps with this logo…

Character Meet Sign

Last week we didn’t see any characters just wondering about the park except for the weekend. On our last day we saw Donald, Uncle Scrooge, Pluto & Goofy near the Tea Cups & Dumbo in FantasyLand.

Princess Tiana, Tara, Gage, Prince Naveem & Mark

One thing we love to do as way of meeting Characters is the Character Express. This usually starts about 12.15pm and then a quarter past the hour for the next couple of hours…but be sure to check the schedule board on Main Street and/or the paper schedule that can be picked up with the maps. This train goes up Main Street with music that will get stuck in your head and parks up in front of the Castle.

Character Express

The Characters then disperse into different directions to be mauled by kids and adults for their autograph and photo. So my tip here is to decide who you want to meet the most and as soon as they step off the train follow them as closely as possible because behind you will be at least 20 more people wanting to meet them too. Also, remember to have your pens/markers ready…caps off and book open to the right page.

Crowd Around Pinocchio

Another thing my family & I do is hotel hop. In the mornings, usually from 8am to 11am or 12noon, various Characters do M&Gs in each of the park’s hotels. A lot of people don’t know this, but you CAN visit other hotels rather than just the one you are staying at for meet & greets (and shopping).

Each time we’ve gone to Sequoia Lodge (when we’ve stayed there in the past and stopping in) it is always Pooh Bear & Eeyore doing rotations but we have also caught Pluto there in the past. Hotel New York usually have Minnie, Mickey, Goofy, Pluto and Launchpad McQuack (from Ducktales). At Newport Bay Club we had Minnie, Mickey & Donald during our visit.

The best hotel for M&Gs in my opinion is the Disneyland Hotel just in front of the park. Normally they rotate eight different characters every, one every 30mins, from 8am – 12noon. From Mickey & Minnie to the Chipmunks, Donald & Daisy, Pluto, Goofy and even Friar Tuck has been seen there. One, or two, characters will be stationed in front of the Main Street Lounge fireplace with a queue area and a photographer (at the hotels there will be a hotel photographer taking purchasable photos as well as a Cast Member who is happy to take some on your own camera) and sometimes a couple of others wondering about the lounge. My son was sitting on one of the couches while we met Daisy and Geppetto just sat next to him and ‘chatted’ with him.

Gage & Geppetto

We love meeting Characters on our trips! This past trip we even made some new friends, meeting Captain Jack Sparrow, Tiana & Naveem, ummmm I think we’ve met Scrooge before. Tiana & Naveem were very hard to catch!! They were in the gazebo in Main Street Square each day at 1.30, 2.30 & 3.30 but when I went to queue up EARLY for the 3.30 meet I was told it was full and to come back the next day…so do get there EARLY for the 1.30 meet to insure you get to see them. Also Woody’s RoundUp is new just past Thunder Mountain in what used to be Critter Coral. There we were sent through a three-person meet & greet starting with Mickey in his country outfit, then Minnie and finally Woody. After that you can go into these areas that are set up with a model of Bullseye and Stinky Pete for photos. We do love catching Mickey & Minnie in a variety of outfits πŸ™‚

Gage with Country Mickey

What was also great about this meet & greet area is the houses they were in. The theming in them was terrific!! In Mickey’s you could find Goofy’s pants hanging up as well as Woody’s hat and vest and a lot of old, wild west furniture. Minnie had some great photos and a very old country dinning room set up which was absolutely precious.

Each trip we buy a new autograph book for our son to get signed and this year we did something a little different.

Thanks to the crew that followed Lou Mongello around during his 24hr live VidCast, my husband had an idea. What they did was bought a large VinylMation and all signed it as a little gift for Lou…what did we do? We had all the Characters sign one! A few characters weren’t sure about it at first…Pluto asked a Cast Member if he could sign it (something about a rule they have about not signing t-shirts??) and Pinocchio and Emile were very reluctant to sign as well. It took Mark three meets with Pinocchio to get him to sign it and pressuring Emile by going “Remy signed it, come on!”

Emile signing the VinylMation

A lot of the Face Characters said what an awesome idea it was, they’ve never seen someone do this before…Aladdin even ASKED “Can I sign it next?!” at the Stars ‘n Cars Parade. Mary Poppins and Bert saw it and motioned for a CM to get it to them to sign as they were on their carousel horses on their car and Princess Aurora took it after a show and walked ‘backstage’ with it and us right behind for her and Prince Phillip to sign. The finished product…

All the Princesses signed it, the Fab Five and LOADS more! And yes, this will be proudly displayed in our home once we find the right spot for him. πŸ™‚

Meeting Characters is always the most magical part of a Disney vacation in my mind. When you see your child’s face light up when Mickey or whoever it is gives them a huge hug…the waiting in line is SO worth it. I still get all bubbly everytime I find and meet the Genie and Eeyore just as my son still gets all excited when he sees Tigger.

I was in queue to meet Cinderella and behind me was a woman with her two small kids, about 5yrs old or so, and this woman really made me wonder WHY is she even here?!?! Her kids wanted to meet Cindy, there was a long line of others waiting and it was barely moving. She kept complaining, quite loudly, how long it was taking, what in the world was Cinderella doing up there to be taking so long, how ridiculous it was and a waste of time…all the while she was on the phone with her husband who was lost and she was trying to direct him to where they were and getting nowhere and she was quite loud and using some choice words (yes I’ve been known to use adult language at Disney but not shouting it for everyone elses kids to hear)…eventually I turned to her and told her what to tell him in order to get him there. Not long after my husband showed up and decided for us to go do other things and we’ll catch Cindy later…which he did. πŸ™‚ And was I glad because I wanted to meet Cindy but I was also about to give this woman a piece of my mind.

Another thing I saw that I wish I’d gotten a photo of is when we were in Innoventions, a kid (I believe he spoke French) had said something to Goofy while he was at our table and Goofy just stood there and then the kid hit his nose and said something else to him in French, to which Goofy grabbed his autograph book and wrote out a full sentence if not two in French and was like “there”. My jaw just hit the floor! One for this kid hitting a character, I mean he really just whopped him one on the nose and then for Goofy to ‘break kayfabe’ as it’s called in wrestling, and write something…I hope telling the kid to behave! I just wish I knew what the note said! I’m so nosey, hehe.

So that is it for my Character part of my report…I hope my tips will be helpful to you on your next visit to Disney. Oh and “P.S”…I GOT A KISS FROM GENIE!!!

Me & Minne @ Newport Bay Club

Meeting Cptn Jack Sparrow was interesting…we JUST caught him on our last day. We saw a sign the day before stating he’d be doing M&Gs in that area from 4pm…well an hour before he was due I saw him trapsing across the bridge into AdventureLand and we took off after him. He’d stop and do autographs and photos for a bit, bantering with the crowd…VERY in character…and then he’d take off again. Some people would follow others just gave up. I kept running after him after two of his take offs and when he stopped and saw that I was out of breath he told the guy who’s autograph book he had to wait a minute and turned his attention to me stating that I was crazy. To which I said that this was my last day and I had to meet him and he replied that he’d been there everyday and I said that I’d been busy elsewhere and that he’d been busy as well…it was great back and forth banter. Even when he signed people’s books he’d gaze off into another direction…very much in a drunken stooper…it was hillarious.

Me & Cptn Jack Sparrow

To meet characters, especially the ones you want…it takes time, patience, some planning and determination…Good luck!! Oh and “PS”…I FINALLY GOT A KISS FROM GENIE!!

Finally got my kiss!

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