All About Characters at Disneyland and California Adventure

Updated June 16, 2018

Characters are a big part of the Disneyland experience! Be sure to know how to find who you’re looking for during your visit.

Unlike WDW, Disneyland characters are often free roaming and without character attendants. Very few have official meet-n-greets.

Between this post, the Disneyland app, and well trained cast members, you should be able to meet who you’re hoping to.

Follow me to find out how.

The Disneyland App for Characters

The Disneyland app is an excellent way to find characters, so be sure to have that downloaded to your phone before arriving.

It’s simple to use. Go to the character option in the app. Narrow down your options by the park you’re visiting. Then, use the list or map to find who you are looking for. Click on the character for details on location and times.

Let’s walk through how to use it.

First, download the app. It looks like this:

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Spend some time practicing on the app from home before your visit. Being familiar with it will help while you’re in the park.

Next, scroll at the top to where it says, “Characters”. That looks like this:

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All those Mickey silhouettes note where characters are at the time you pull up this screen. So many to see! Let’s choose one. I’m going to hover over the one to the left of Dumbo. That looks like this:

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Informative, yes? Let’s go a step further and click on that name. That will bring you to this:

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Now you can see when she should be and when. If she were going to be located in two places, there would be a drop down arrow noting the other location with times, too.

To find her, I originally used the “map” option that shows up first when you scroll to characters. You can also find characters from a list. Click on the three lines in the bottom, right hand portion of this screen:

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And, you’ll be brought to a list. It looks like this:

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You can click on the characters here, too, for locations and times. See how Goofy has an arrow next to his name? As previously mentioned, that means he can be found in more than one location.

In between snack breaks and super quick naps because he couldn’t actually be in two places at once because there’s only one Goofy. Got it?

Moving on……

The app will also allow you to narrow down characters per park. See that flashlight looking icon to the bottom right of the screen above? Click on it and find this:

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Click on the park you’re interested in and it will omit characters from the other. Click on “More Options” and find this:

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Characters are rarely found at hotels, but I have seen Goofy wandering The Disneyland Hotel Lobby once or twice. And, I’ve seen Pluto at the pool at The Grand Californian Hotel. During Holidays at the Disneyland Resort, the fab five can often be found in the lobby of Paradise Pier Hotel. Can’t hurt to look!

I totally encourage you to know this app for your visit. It’s not fool proof and there are occasionally errors, but it’s an excellent resource overall for finding characters.

Where (and How) to see A LOT of Characters All at Once

Visit this post on Facebook to see exactly how all of this goes down, but essentially (during ‘normal’ days at the parks – meaning, not seasonal), you can wait in one spot – at the path parallel to the Pixie Hollow Path – around 12:10pm and see many characters walk by. They are on their way to join The Disneyland Band perform their show in front of the castle and then walk down Main to do the final show in front of the Railroad Station.

This is the path:

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While The Disneyland Band sets up in front of the castle, the characters will walk down this path and then toward Snow White’s Grotto and into the Enchanted Chamber shop in the castle to wait until it’s their turn to join the show.

Here are a few walking by:

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After they walk by, go set up to the left of the small Thumper statue that sits beyond the gate on the path to Snow White’s Grotto, facing the castle. From there, you’ll get to see them cross the bridge. It will look like this:

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Then, move back into the hub and wait for them to walk by on their way down Main Street before stopping finally at the Main Street Railroad Station for their show. You’ll see them walk by like in this photo. Join them. It’s fun!

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***At no point can any of these characters stop to take selfies, photos, or sign autograph books. They’re en route to perform. But, very few people know to set up in these spots for an up close view. Enjoy it. 🙂

Some Tips on How to Meet the Characters

  • Try to relax. Remember, without telling your children, that there are people inside the costumes. I try to be gracious and silly and make them as comfortable as they’re trying to make me.
  • With children, bring an autograph book. This gives the child some time to take in exactly what is going on. Even 30 seconds – while the character signs his or her book – will give him or her some time to breathe and realize that a real life chipmunk or mouse is standing inches away, ready to hug and take photos. The autograph book can be a great buffer.
  • For children with special needs or cognitive disabilities, check out a previous post I wrote for advice on your park experience in general, with details on character interactions.
  • Be silly and have fun. You’re never going to see these people again. Enjoy it.

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Ways to Minimize Your Line Time in the Parks to Meet Characters 

  • If your budget allows, I highly recommend a character meal. This will allow you one-on-one time with the characters with almost no wait time, a more personal interaction and better photos. This will also allow you to cross all of the characters from your character meal from your list and that will allow you more time in the parks for attractions, shows and other characters.
  • The best character meals for traditional characters are Minnie and Friends Breakfast in the Park at Disneyland (Minnie, Eeyore, Hook, etc) and Surfs Up! at PCH Grill Breakfast at the Paradise Pier Hotel (Mickey, Minnie and Stitch, etc). *****Characters are never guaranteed, but these are consistent from what I have seen.

Who You Can Meet at the Character Meals

Goofy’s Kitchen at the Disneyland Hotel: Pluto, Chip n Dale, Goofy, and Minnie. See more from our visit, too.

Surf’s Up! at the PCH Grill in the Paradise Pier Hotel: Mickey, Minnie, Stitch, Pluto and Daisy. See more.

Minnie’s Breakfast in the Park at Disneyland: Chip n Dale, Minnie, Hook, Tigger, Eeyore, Fairy Godmother, Winnie the Pooh, and Rafiki. (By far the most I’ve seen at a character meal – and they have GREAT interaction.) See more.

Chip n Dale’s Critter Breakfast at Storyteller’s Cafe in the Grand Californian Hotel: Brother Bears (Kenai or Koda), Pluto, Chip n Dale, Meeko, and Brer Fox. See more. *****Note: this is the only character meal that is not included in the PhotoPass+ program.

***Again, characters are never guaranteed at these experiences, but these are the ones most people (and I) encounter.

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The Main Characters and Where to Meet Them

Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy, and Pluto can almost always be found at the Town Square, which is the space between the Disneyland Railroad Station and Main Street. The lines are long during busy times. Be prepared. And, often, the line will end because characters need a break (or need to switch with others ready to fill spots). If a cast member tells you that the line has ended, he or she should give you a time to return to see that character again – which is usually within a 15 minute time frame, so position yourself nearby and be ready to be first in line when that character reappears.

The fab five can also be found in California Adventure on Buena Vista Street, along with Chip n Dale. They’re often in less classic clothing – including more “dapper” wear and Minnie is often in her “flapper girl” dress.

Cast Members who know characters – and who want to help you with characters – wear buttons detailing such. Look 11201107_764951273602518_5848380841227745618_nfor them and ask questions when needed. Try and locate someone wearing the button in the image to the right. They are the character experts.

Occasionally, you’ll see Daisy Duck, Chip n Dale, Pinocchio (rarely) and others in Town Square. Don’t count on seeing them there, but jump in line if you do.

For Mickey Mouse and possibly Minnie Mouse, visit Toontown for an easy meet-n-greet. Minnie isn’t always seeing guests, but Mickey is. Tour his house and then wait at the back for the special “backstage” experience. It’s nice to stand in line inside and in air-conditioning, rather than on Main Street in the sun.

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Princesses

Princesses can be found at the Fantasy Faire Meet-n-Greet. Check my princess post for full details on everything princessy and how you can make the most out of your visit. Princesses vary throughout the day at the meet-n-greet, so be ready for some change, but they’re all wonderful experiences.

If you are princess focused and want to skip the rest of the park to go straight there, follow this map:

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I have also seen many princesses roaming the parks on their own. If you are WDW vet, this will be unusual for you. But, at Disneyland, princesses often handle their meet-n-greets solo. I’ve seen Aurora near Dumbo and also near Snow White’s Grotto. I’ve seen Snow White near the Disneyland Railroad Station, to the right, if you’re looking at the station, close to a souvenir kiosk. Snow White also seems to wander the front of the park, too.

Aurora can often be found near Snow White’s Grotto and Wishing Well, plus behind Dumbo in Disneyland.

Belle is harder to find. She makes fewer appearances, it seems, and causes quite a fuss when she does, so get in line quickly if you see her. She’s typically in front of the Flower Mickey at Disneyland. Belle, Rapunzel and Merida can be seen randomly under the umbrella near where you meet the princesses at Fantasy Faire, too.

Cinderella is very poised and polite, yet, she gets down to business. If your child is lucky enough for her to take his or her hand, follow them. She’ll be setting up for a photo op or she’ll be leaving the immediate area – regardless – it’s a rare privilege to walk through the park with a real live princess. This happens in Disneyland. She’s often in front of the Flower Mickey.

Ariel makes appearances in the front of the park, too, near the flower Mickey in Disneyland. She’s not out often and her timing is short, but if you see her, jump in line. She’s darling and makes for great photo ops.

Tiana can most often be found in New Orleans Square in Disneyland and is sometimes on the Mark Twain Riverboat.

Merida is seen with Rapunzel, typically outside Fantasy Faire, under an umbrella. She trades out with Rapunzel to see guests before they go into the Fantasy Faire official meet-n-greet.

Moanawanders Adventureland. If she’s not on the app and you cannot locate her, ask a cast member where to find her.

Mulan is a rare character to see. But, if she’s out, she’s most commonly near the Flower Mickey at the front of the park in Disneyland.

Pocahontas is a rarity, but has been seen in the parks more and more, as of fall 2017. She’s typically in Frontierland.

Rapunzel can be found walking through Fantasy Faire in Disneyland sometimes. She often sets up near the line to see the other princesses, under the umbrella, as I described Merida, above. They switch out spots to greet children before the actual meet-n-greet. And, randomly, you can see Flynn Rider with her after the Tangled Show in the Fantasy Faire Theatre.

Snow White can be found near the Disneyland Railroad Station, to the right, if you’re looking at the station, close to the souvenir kiosk. She also walks around the Flower Mickey.

Jasmine can be found with Aladdin and the Genie near Aladdin’s Oasis in Adventureland in Disneyland. She’s sometimes spotted with the same entourage under the umbrella near Fantasy Faire.

Elena of Avalor is at Disneyland now. Find her in the line just outside Fantasy Hall where you meet up to three princesses. Look for the sign with her name on it.

***Fairy Godmother often roams Fantasyland.

Tinker Bell

Tinker Bell (currently with or without “friends of Tinker Bell”) can be found at Pixie Hollow, which is to the right of the castle, just before you arrive at it. If you’re facing the castle, look to the right, find the fountain and walk over to see it. It’s en route to the Matterhorn. This line gets busy fast and the interactions take a bit, so be ready to commit some time to this encounter.

Anna, Elsa and Olaf

Check out my post on Frozen for all things Frozen. (That was redundant on purpose.) Essentially, Anna and Elsa can be found in Animation Academy on Hollywood Blvd in Hollywood Land. Olaf is typically seen outside of Stage 17, to the right of it. To find this building, head toward Monster’s Inc in Hollywood Land and look to the left of that attraction.

Star Wars Characters

Definitely check out this post for all things Star Wars, including character meet-n-greets.

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Super Heroes/Marvel

Super Heroes can be found at California Adventure in Hollywood Land.

Find Thor and Loki close to the large stage across from Monster’s Inc.

Black Panther is meeting guests inside Stage 17, which is located to the left of Monsters Inc.

Dr. Strange roams Hollywood Land.

Here is where you can meet Spider-Man and Captain America:

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Get in line before they arrive and see both Captain America and Spider-Man, one after the other.

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Don’t be scared to act like a fool.

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Spider-Man is super chatty. They both sign autographs, too.

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Villains – My Favorite

So, Halloween Time will bring an entirely different set of villains, so for now, I’m concentrating on what you can see on a daily basis via the parks.

The two main villains that can be found at Disneyland are The Evil Queen (all hail) and Cruella de Vil. Note: Both characters STAY IN CHARACTER, so if you have a timid child, do not pursue this option. I’ve heard the following from these two:

The Evil Queen:

“No smiling, children. Stop it.” (she will not allow smiling in her photos)

“Who is Elsa? You’re wearing the wrong shirt.” (to a sweet, unsuspecting child approaching her)

Cruella De Vil:

“Oh, that rat would make a lovely rug.” (to my daughter, holding her stuffed animal – Cruella took it from her)

“I don’t have time for you.”

Both are amazing and entertaining, but not for everyone. You have been warned.

Both can also be found only in Disneyland and Cruella rarely stops moving. You have to track her down to stop her to take a photo. The Evil Queen, instead, will stand there disgusted with everyone in line. I love that about her. She once told me I looked like a sparkly rodent.

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All The Others

Some of these are my favorites, so please don’t be offended with the title of this section. There are simply too many to categorize. I’m going to go in alphabetical order.

***I mention “wandering characters” in some descriptions below. This notes when a character doesn’t actually stop and allow guests to line up. Instead, he or she wanders, allowing guests to catch a glimpse and snap a photo. These guests are super popular and simply couldn’t handle the lines they would attract.

Aladdin, The Genie and Jasmine (my husband’s shameless crush) are typically near Aladdin’s Oasis in Adventureland in Disneyland. Since Moana recently crashed their party there, they’ve been spotted outside Fantasy Faire.

Alice in Wonderland is part of the 10am-ish band celebration at the front of Disneyland and also can be found at the Coca Cola Corner with the Mad Hatter and other friends playing musical chairs around 2pm every day. Early mornings often take her and the Mad Hatter into the small picnic peninsula just behind Edelweiss Snacks, which faces the Matterhorn in Fantasyland. I see them there a lot having tea parties with guests. This provides the most delightful photo op. Alice also walks the park quite a bit.

The Beast is a rarely seen wandering character. He can sometimes be found wandering Fantasyland with Belle. He also dances with Belle in front of the castle on occasion.

Bert and Mary Poppins wander the park often and also frequent the Jolly Holiday Bakery (obviously) in Disneyland. They’re lovely. Bert is my unofficial boyfriend. But, we keep that on the down low. (Character integrity – you understand.)

Citizens of Buena Vista Street in California Adventure are quickly become some of my favorites. They include Officer Blue, Millie or Molly the Messenger, Donna the Dog Lady, and Phiphi the Photographer. Stop and chat with any of these guys while you’re on Buena Vista Street. They are so much fun.

Buzz Lightyear can most often be found at Paradise Pier in California Adventure (after 10am – if not later). Occasionally, you can see him in Tomorrowland in Disneyland, too.

Captain Hook loves to roam. I’ve seen him throughout Fantasyland in Disneyland mostly. He seems to always be looking for Peter Pan for a rumble.

Chewbacca can be seen at the Star Wars Launch Bay in Tomorrowland in Disneyland.

Chip ‘n Dale are typically easy to find. They’re on Main Street and Town Square in Disneyland and in California Adventure on Buena Vista Street. I LOVE them. They’re so silly! If they’re both available for a photo, ask them to do a “kissy” picture. They’ll each kiss you on the cheek.

Clarabelle joined us during Festival of Holidays in 2017. She’s in DCA at the front of the path that goes through the festival, near Carthay Circle.

Country Bears come out for the Festival of Holidays. Shaker and crew are set up near Grizzly Peak’s water wheel, closer to Ariel’s Undersea Adventure. They are complete fools and I love them.

Daisy Duck can often be found in Town Square in Disneyland, but occasionally in Toontown, too. She can also be found near Carthay Circle Restaurant in California Adventure.

Darth Vader walks through Tomorrowland in Disneyland randomly. He’s also sharing space with Kylo Ren in the Star Wars Launch Bay. He scares me.

Doc McStuffins can be found with other Disney Jr friends near the theatre on Hollywood Blvd in California Adventure.

Eeyore, one of my favorites, can be found in Critter Country in Disneyland with Tigger and Pooh. I love him.

Evil Stepmother and Daughters are rarely out to meet guests, but they’re easily seen in the Christmas Fantasy Parade during Holidays at Disneyland.

Fairy Godmother is most often seen in Fantasyland, near Snow White’s Grotto or behind the castle – all in Disneyland. Occasionally, she will have Suzy and Perla with her.

Farley the Fiddler is now near the Pioneer Mercantile at the front of Frontierland.

Flik can be found wandering Bugs Land (naturally) in California Adventure.

Flynn Rider occasionally hangs out in Fantasyland with Rapunzel under the umbrella in the middle of Fantasy Faire.

Gaston is a wandering character, marching through Fantasyland, reminding people how good looking he is. Take a photo quickly if you see him because he has other people to find and impress.

Geppetto is rare, but I’ve seen him walking around Fantasyland.

Jack Skellington and Sally can most often be found near the Haunted Mansion in Disneyland between September and January. It’s rare to see them during other months.

Jack Sparrow is rare. He appears when new Pirates movies come out. Find him around the attraction and into New Orleans Square.

Jake from the Neverland Pirates sometimes hangs out on Hollywood Blvd (that sounds wrong) in Hollywood Land in California Adventure.

Jessie can be found at Paradise Pier in California Adventure with Woody.

Judy Hopps and Nick Wilde can be found near Ariel’s Undersea Adventure in Paradise Pier.

Kylo Ren is currently horrifying guests in the Star Wars Launch Bay in Disneyland. He terrifies me.

Lightning McQueen, Red and Mater can all be found in Cars Land in front of the Cozy Cone Motel in California Adventure. Red can also be found by walking down the road into Cars Land and taking a left before it ends. Walk towards Bugs Land and you could find him on the left sometimes.

Loki arrived in Hollywood Land in DCA late 2017. He can often be found with Thor, wandering.

Mad Hatter is usually in so many places, you won’t even know where to look. He follows the traditional Disneyland Band at the beginning of the morning and he can also be seen with Alice at the Coca Cola Corner around 2pm for musical chairs and other mischief.

Oswald is usually very easy to find at the entrance of California Adventure, to the left as you walk in, not far from the store that shares his name. Sometimes, he’s on the opposite side of the path near the entrance. However, you will almost always see him at the front of the park. Why? As you walk down Buena Vista Street, you’re following a timeline, which starts at the front of the park, where Walt Disney arrived on Buena Vista Street. You’ll finish the timeline as you walk further into the park, near Carthay Circle. As you get closer to Carthay Circle, you’ll find Mickey Mouse. Since Oswald and Mickey existed in different times, they’re never seen together. Oswald is at the front. Mickey is further in.

Peter Pan loves to float around Fantasyland – often near Snow White’s Grotto, in Disneyland. He’s so friendly and approachable.

Pinocchio is a rare treat! I’ve seen him at both Town Square and in Fantasyland in Disneyland.

Queen of Hearts mostly comes out during Halloween, but I’ve seen her randomly terrorizing people throughout the year. Hold onto your spouse if you see her. She once pushed me out of the photo so that she could get closer to my cute husband.

Redd from Pirates of the Caribbean can be found around New Orleans Square.

Sofia the First can be located with Doc Mc Stuffins and Jake on Hollywood Blvd in Hollywood Land in California Adventure.

Stitch is rarely seen in the parks. I’ve only ever seen Stitch at the Surf’s Up! Breakfast at Paradise Pier Hotel. He can be seen in the Mickey and the Magical Map show in Disneyland, but isn’t available to meet guests there. Find him at the Disney Visa meet-n-greet, too. (More on that, below.)

Storm Troopers often wander Tomorrowland in Disneyland scaring me because I was terrified of them as a child.

Sully can sometimes be found outside the Monsters Ride in DCA. Totally random, though.

Thor wanders Hollywood Land in DCA.

Three Caballeros arrive each year during the Festival of Holidays and can be seen in DCA in the Paradise Gardens section at the back of the park. Walk down Paradise Pier, pass Goofy’s Sky School, and enter the garden area to find them on your right.

Tigger can be found with other Hundred Acre Woods friends in Critter Country in Disneyland. He’ll be with Pooh, Rabbit and/or Eeyore.

Tinker Bell can be found in the Pixie Hollow meet-n-greet in Disneyland, to the right of the castle, en route to Tomorrowland.

Winnie the Pooh can be found with Eeyore and Tigger in Critter Country in Disneyland.

Woody can be found in Paradise Pier in California Adventure. He’s often seen with Jessie and Buzz Lightyear.

Disney Visa Meet-n-Greets

For the Disney Visa meet-n-greets, know the following general schedule:

DCA hosts Minnie, Stitch, OR Daisy from 10:30am-1:30pm in Hollywood Land. This is for Disney Visa Credit and Debit Card holders.

Disneyland hosts Darth Vader or Kylo Ren in the Star Wars Launch Bay at 4:30pm. This is for Disney Visa Credit Card holders ONLY.

Valid ID is required for both events.

Both events allow up to 6 people per card.

More information from Disney here.

Other Tips for Meeting Characters

Don’t be scared to act silly. Have fun. You’re on vacation!

Characters love to interact and if you give them something to do, they’ll appreciate it. Sword fight (pretend, please) with Captain Hook. Ask Chip ‘n Dale to kiss each of your cheeks. Act evil like any villain you encounter. Call them on their game. They’ll appreciate it very much.

I’ve spent some time with characters and have learned their “signature poses” or I have created my own. Take a look. Don’t be scared to ask characters what they prefer and how to pose like them. This is a great way to break the ice if you’re nervous meeting a character.

Some of My Own Character Interactions and Ideas for Yours:

Not much to do with Anna and Elsa except to just try to fit in. I love them:

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Selfies – of any kind – are encouraged. Especially with scary Star Wars type people. I see you, smiler in the background.

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LOVE the elves at Christmas time. Find them tending to Santa in the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail in DCA. More on this in my holiday post.

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Impromptu visit behind the castle. What a treat.

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At Chip n Dale’s Critter Breakfast in Storyteller’s Cafe at the Grand Californian.

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With Hook at Minnie’s Breakfast in the Park.
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Olaf! I couldn’t stop laughing because he kept pointing his carrot nose at my phone when I asked to take a selfie.

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Minnie’s Breakfast in the Park – absolutely my favorite.

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If Cinderella grabs your daughter’s hand? Drop everything – except your camera – and follow. It’s pure magic.

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Be creative. My sister randomly posed for this photo upon Hook’s arrival in the room. It’s now one of my favorites.

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Adore.

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Look for characters everywhere – including Officer Blue on Buena Vista Street in California Adventure. Love him.
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Back to Storyteller’s Cafe – We can’t say enough good about this experience.

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From Minnie’s Breakfast:

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With Dapper Mickey on Buena Vista Street in California Adventure.

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Seasonal characters show up at Disneyland sometimes. This was during the springtime, 2015.

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Don’t limit yourself to just Disney characters. I miss the goats. 🙁

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And, if you meet Bert – THIS BERT – try to remain composed. Please try and do better than I did. He is 100% perfection and I was a giggly school girl during this photo. Just look at him.

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If you encounter a snow monster, protect the young.

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And, if you are star struck. Be star struck. Pinocchio is so rarely seen. I didn’t know what to do with myself.

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Let your husband sit with Jasmine. Just let it go, as Elsa says.

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And, always – ALWAYS – be ready for the first encounter with Mickey Mouse. There is truly nothing like it, friends.

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Take a look at how Get Away Today can help with your vacation

87 COMMENTS

  1. I have a potentially stupid question. 🙂 On the app, I have noticed that the majority of the characters are listed for 30-minute windows. However, some (such as Rapunzel and Flynn) only have 5-minute time slots. Are they really only there 5 minutes? If so, is that an indicator that they don’t actually stop and meet anyone?

  2. Hi Casey!

    Looks like Jack Sparrow may be a bit more common now; within the last month, my boyfriend and I spotted him 3 times! The first time, my boyfriend saw him on the raft coming back to New Orleans Square from Pirate’s Lair. He was in a hurry to head back to the cast member area once he made landfall, but he was nice enough to slow down to let my boyfriend take a few pics of me with him! The second time, Jack was on the raft heading TO Pirate’s Lair; we were headed elsewhere, though (drat!). The third time was this past Saturday; we saw him in front of the door to the cast member area just to the left of the Bengal Barbecue. He had obviously stopped to allow for a few guests to get pics with him before he disappeared into the no man’s land of the cast member area; he waved goodbye and took his leave before I could get my camera ready. D’oh! If it helps, this all happened earlier in the day, i.e. before 11 AM.

    Hopefully, he’ll be out again on our next trip!

  3. I love Nick Wilde! <3 Thanks for sharing that pic and likewise both him and Judy Hopps are still meeting in California Adventure. 🙂

  4. Four years ago, I found a tip to see the Fab 5 (maybe even more) in front of the flower mickey/train station near the front entrance at a specific time for great photos. They posed, then a line formed for photos. One of my favorite family photos! Is this still an option? Do you know what time? I had found a tip that said to watch for them to walk out of door to the front and then follow them! Thanks for all of your tips!

  5. I love these tips! I read these last year and I’m taking a refresher lol In January, my 6 and 7 year old were fortunate enough to have Peter wander over to them while sitting on the stationary Dumbo for the photo-op. They took pictures and he scampered off as Hook arrived. Hook had my kids follow him on a search for Peter and a couple of other kids followed suit. It was the cutest thing ever! I got an awesome video and some terrific photos of them with Peter and Hook together 🙂

  6. One thing I saw that might of been mistaken was Oswald being easy to find. I sat there for hours trying to find him in California Adventure 2 days in a row and never found him. I only saw him walking out of no where and to the exit. But he was really friendly when I saw him at least. He let me hug him and he even kissed me on the hand. I’ll just say I’m a Disney junkie and he was the only one that would take time to actually stop walking to the exit and actually “talk.”

  7. I was there on September 4th and I saw Pinocchio and Captain Jack! Only took a picture with Jack though, now I feel like I missed a special opportunity haha! Nice post! Keep up the great work!

  8. You made me laugh so hard with the comment of your husband and Jazmin let it go!!! Hahaha and you are right that first encounter with Mickey just melt my heart I record that moment that my daughter had.

  9. I have met almost all of the characters but mostly I like to meet my favorite characters. I really want to meet Peter but he is so hard to find sometimes.

  10. Arghhhhh I really want to meet Pinocchio & Gepetto. I also want to meet Horace and Clairebelle cow. Any sightings of them lately?

  11. (August 2017) I was here on my own and I found not one but THEEE disney baddies off by the matterhorn: the evil queen from snow white, captain hook and gaston. Didnt get a chance to say hi to Hook but did get some photos of Gaston and impressed the evil queen enough for her to put her arm around me in a photo. Would never have started looking if I hadnt been inspired by your guide. Thanks a million!

  12. Moana is in the same area the Aladdin and Jasmine were at between the Tiki room and the Jungle Cruise ride. She is doing meet and greets now! Pocahontas has been roaming around adventureland, she’s usually up near Bug Thunder Mtn. We got pictures with her in March and got pictures with moana today (April 2017).

    Gaston has been roaming around too! He doesn’t do autographs, but he LOVES to show off his muscles for some pictures. He’s roams between the dumbo ride and over by the princess area/royal theatre. He’s hilarious! (So full of himself)

  13. I love this post! I’m a WDW expert, but have never been and my family is going for the first time in a few months and this is SO helpful! Your whole website is! Love all the pictures with the characters!

  14. Hello Casey
    I have been wondering but am I allowed to give “gifts” to the Characters? Like I go to Storytellers cafe every time I go to Disneyland and I have always have had great times with Kenai because I always wore a bear totem necklace that I bought online. I recently bought a new one that looks better, So I want to give my old necklace to Kenai to keep. But am I allowed to do that and what do you think will happen if I do offer the necklace?

  15. Hi Casey,
    I am wondering if Belle is ever in her blue town dress? Where/when? Coming to DL in a few weeks and my daughter would love to see her dressed in blue. Thanks!

  16. We don’t have smart phones – gasp! Is there another way to get the schedule of character appearances without the Disneyland app?

  17. Thank you, Casey, for all of this helpful info! We’re 17 days and counting from our first ever DLR visit and are using your site pretty much exclusively for planning. I’ve been playing with the Disneyland app to get a sense of wait time and fast pass ‘sell out’ patterns and to plan out some character meets. The app lists the same 3 princesses as being in the royal hall all day, but you mention here that they actually rotate. Do you have a sense of how long the intervals are for those rotations? We’re aiming to squeeze in every possible princess. Thanks!

  18. Casey,

    I’m sure your great tips will come in handy at our DL visit next week. But what I really wanted to comment on was how dapper YOU look in all your photos! One cute outfit after another. Clearly, I’m going to have to reconsider my outfit choices…

    Laurie

  19. Thank you for this post! I am taking my girls for their first trip in May. I’m making autograph books and it’s great to know who we might see. Do you know how much room the characters need to sign? Right now I have a space about 3 in. by 5 in. Do you think that will be big enough? Thank you!

  20. What about Carl, Russell, and Doug from Up? I’ve seen them a couple of times by Grizzly River Rapids, especially when GRR is closed and when that Grizzly Air Peak section was being redone. I have also seen Dr. Facilier from Princess and the Frog many times by the river in front of New Orleans Square. Just thought I’d add a couple 🙂

  21. My ONLY wish for character meet-and-greet is to share a photo with Zootopia’s Nick Wilde and Judy Hopps at California Adventure. It’s one thing to know they’ll be there starting in April 2016, but whether they’re available all days. Time of day doesn’t matter to me. I’d wait all day to find them both if necessary.

    • They’re actually already in the parks since this week! In Hollywood Land, off of Hollywood Blvd, in front of the Hyperion Theatre. Use the app for locating. I’ll be there this week to find more details and update this post. Will be posting on Facebook what I find out.

  22. Hi, we were just in Disneyland at the beginning of March. Now that the mark twain riverboat is “docked” for a while, we were able to find Tiana and also Dr Facilier on board. While we just saw Tiana as we were walking by, we stopped in and talked with the voodoo man. He was fabulous!! Very well cast and certainly stayed in character to the delight of my 15 year old daughter.

  23. We just saw Pocahontas (one of my daughter’s all time favorites) today on the covered bridge between Cinderella’s castle and Frontierland. We had park hopped from DCA just so my daughter could see her in Mickie’s Magical Map. One of the cast members there mentioned she was in the park today, but hard to find. We decided to head over to the Mark Twain Riverboat to wait and see if we could find get there. Luckily, my daughter was wearing her Pocahontas outfit I made her. As we walked through the bridge, Pocahontas came around the corner and see our daughter all dressed up. She stopped completely and spent five or so minutes of unscheduled time talking to my daughter and posed for several pictures with her (happy to share!) She even signed an autograph, even though her “handler” was trying to move everyone out.

    It was totally unplanned and absolutely lucky. My husband and I were totally star struck and blown away that she stopped for our daughter and not the other way around. She was absolutely lively and friendly.

  24. My mom told me that on my first visit to Disneyland(I was about 5, so I don’t remember that well) I tripped and got some cuts all over my arms. I started to cry and, unknown to us all, Peter Pan was by us. So he heard me crying and walked over to me, knelt down, and started to pretend to cry. That got me to stop, so he stopped and offered to let me be his favorite Lost Girl if I didn’t cry anymore(and didn’t tell Wendy). He was my favorite so of course I agreed. So we took pictures and then he took me to near where Cinderall was and told me he had to go check on the Lost Boys but that he’d be back and he thought I would love it if I would spend some time with another Princess like me. I’ll never forget that day.

  25. Hi Casey

    Amazing site. We were last at the park about ten years ago and I remember that at DCA there was a roaming Beaker (from the Muppets – may not have spelt it right) on a bicycle, and he would actually talk to guests. It was amazing to watch. Has this innovation continued, are there more talking characters (apart from the ‘faces’)? I also seem to recall seeing somewhere that Mickey, Minnie etc had blinking eyes and moving mouths now, am I right?

    Also, we’ll be taking our two young boys, our youngest will spend his fifth birthday in the park and he is absolutely crazy for Mickey Mouse. We’re coming all the way from New Zealand and have been saving for a few years to make it happen for him. Do you have any tips for birthday kids, any neat extra special experiences they might get or anything to make his big day extra special?

    Thanks so much!

  26. I have a unique story! I used to be an annual passholder, and I would often go to Disneyland with my ex. One night, we went dinner with his family and they were really rude to me. My ex and I were walking towards the exit and started to fight. I sat at the bottom of the stairs of the train station crying when I looked up and saw Pinocchio dancing to cheer me up. Although the reason for that experience sucked, I now have a completely unique memory that makes me chuckle when I look back on it!

  27. This was such a great post! I’ve been to Disneyland 3 times (2007, 2011, 2012), and in about a month I’m going back for my fourth! I’ve seen both Lilo & Stitch in California Adventure 🙂

  28. Do you have any advice for taking larger groups of kiddos to meet the characters? I’m going with my 5 nieces (ages 2-5) in September (when the crowds are smaller).

    Also what do you know about Tinkerbell? Is Pixie Hollow still a thing?

    • I can’t believe I left off Tinker Bell! Will add.

      Large groups should go through the lines just as the rest of the guests. I was just behind 20 girls on a school trip and the handlers did it well. They had autographs done first and then photos. Totally do-able.

  29. Hi,
    I was wondering if you could say which princess will most likely be at the royal hall first thing in the morning! I want to go there first thing at 8:00 to avoid the lines. Last time I was there, two years ago, it was Cinderella, Ariel, and Aurora. I wonder if they usually open the park and the princess change as time goes on?

    I really want to meet Cinderella and Ariel, especially Ariel (I’ve got the cutest Ariel shirt)!!

    Thanks!

    • It’s so hard to predict and Disney won’t guarantee any specific characters to be out. I wish I could provide you with specifics! They typically at least have 2 of the classics – Snow White, Cinderella, Belle, , etc. etc.

  30. Went to DL last June with my twin DD who were 19. We spent the majority of our time hanging around Fantasy Faire. Saw Merida multiple times and she quickly became our favorite. We learned each morning to ask the character attendant at FF which character would be at the umbrella and what time. Had some amazing interactions with Rapunzel.

  31. Ah!! Love this! My favorite character meet was Stitch at Surf’s up. We were walking in outside the hotel and he spotted us throughout the big window from inside the restaurant. He ran up to the window and started banging on it like a little kid at the zoo. So I did it right back! It was fun and silly. Inside, he played with my son’s toy cars and made them crash. And he made it perfectly clear that he did not like that I took a picture with Mickey and not him. And gave me lots of kisses too. Stich is awesome!
    We also saw Captain Hook by Casey’s Train and Ariel behind Dumbo. Not many people saw her, so the line was short.
    My son wanted to focus on rides more, so we only did impromptu characters plus the breakfast. One suggestion to people going to character meals, is to please allow time for the other kids at the table next to you. The table next to us, the kids got excited, which was understandable, but rushed to them when they were interacting with my son and it cut his time short. But Stitch made up for it.

  32. Casey,
    Do you have any idea why the locations and times for characters is “top secret” at Disneyland, yet broadcast everywhere at WDW?
    Thanks,
    Lisa

    • Hi, Lisa.

      I don’t know. But, with that little frustration, we counteract it with impromptu character meetings and free roaming characters. So, there are pros and cons to both set ups.

  33. This is great! On our next trip, we want to meet as many characters as we can. Thank you!!

    We love meeting Stitch at Surfs Up! He is so playful and will spend lots of time with the kids (and adults) and we have also learned he LOVES taking selfies!!

    Chip and Dale are another favorite. My daughter talks to them about them teasing Pluto in Mickey’s Christmas tree. This always brings laughter and relaxes my daughter so she is more willing to play with them.

    We were the 2nd to last group to see Tink on our last visit. This turned out to be a great thing as Silvermist joined Tink for some pictures. We were over joyed to have 2 Pixies in 1 picture. One of the Cast members said it was a rare thing for the 2 to join together.

    We have learned, that for my daughter, bringing up things she remembers from the movies and shows helps to get her past the shyness with most characters. However with some, like Elsa and Tinker Bell, she is just star struck no matter what! Which makes for some cute pictures.

    We are looking forward to more interactions in October.

  34. Can we talk about the dress you’re wearing in your picture with Mary and Bert?! I haven’t even read this post yet because I need to tell you RIGHT NOW how awesome it is!!

  35. Always fabulous tips, Casey! I love talking to my kids before meeting characters and asking them what they might like to talk about during their meet-n-greets. This came in handy when Alice and the Mad Hatter took my daughters for a stroll and asked where they were going; my oldest didn’t miss a beat and said, “To Wonderland of course!” Priceless!

  36. Great post! My kid’s favorites are the Disney Jr. characters over by the Disney Jr. theater. This year they saw Jake, Sophia, and Doc McStuffins!

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