If you are planning a Central Florida vacation without visiting the parks and still want to see characters you will be happy to know that you can. Disney World has several places around the resort that give you a chance to interact with characters without buying a Disney Park Ticket. Some of these experiences are even free!
Where to Meet Disney Characters without Park Tickets
Whether you are avoiding Disney World Parks your whole vacation or are simply looking for a way to enjoy characters on a non-park day in the middle of your Disney vacation, there are a couple of different ways to see Disney characters.
Disney Character Dining
Disney Character dining is the easiest way to meet characters and these experiences are available all the time. There are several character dining locations located outside of the parks. Most of these locations are located around the Magic Kingdom or Epcot Resorts area.
I do recommend getting Advanced Dining Reservations if you can for these restaurants. If you can’t find a reservation I suggest using Mousedining. Mousedining is a service that will send you alerts for tables that open up as your travel dates get closer. The basic email alert service is free.
‘Ohana – Breakfast with Lilo and Stitch at Disney’s Polynesian Resort. You meet Lilo, Stitch, Mickey Mouse, and Pluto.
Chef Mickey’s – This is one of the best Disney Character dining experiences outside of the parks. Breakfast, Brunch, Lunch, or Dinner you have the privilege of meeting Mickey Mouse, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, and Pluto.
1900 Park Faire – You meet Mary Poppins, Alice in Wonderland, The Mad Hatter, Tigger, and Winnie the Pooh during breakfast. During lunch and dinner, you may meet the Fairy Godmother Lady Tremaine, Anastasia, Drizella, Cinderella, and Prince Charming. (Currently closed since 2020)
Artist Point Storybook Character Dining – A delicious Prix fix meal where you meet Snow White, Dopey, Grumpy, and the Evil Queen.
Cape May Cafe – Daisy’s Beach Bash Breakfast. Menu offerings include Mickey waffles, scrambled eggs, seasoned potatoes, sausage, oatmeal, and more.
Garden Grove – Character dining experience at Disney’s Swan Resort during dinner and weekend breakfast times. You meet just Goofy and Pluto.
Topolino’s – Character breakfast at Disney’s Riviera resort. Mickey and his friends are dressed in their Parisian artist outfits. The food is very good!
Disney Characters Available During Holidays at the Resorts
Holidays such as Christmas, Easter, and Mardi Gras give you opportunities to meet special Disney characters inside the resorts. You may not be able to park at the resorts because these are also busy times, but you can park at the Ticket and Transportation Center and pay the parking charge. Another option is to park for free at Disney Springs and then catch a bus to the resort you are going to. Be aware though, some of the characters meet in the early morning, and bus service at Disney Springs does not start until 10 am.
Another lesser-known character greeting meant especially for kids is Cinderella’s Princess Promenade taking place on certain days at the Grand Floridian Resort. Cinderella and Prince Charming march down the grand staircase with little princesses and princes. Then Cinderella and Prince Charming dance to “So this is Love”. After a little bit, they break apart and dance with the kids. (This activity is temporarily paused)
runDisney Races are a great way to meet fun, and often times rarer Disney characters. There is a cost for runDisney races but you do not need to buy additional theme park tickets unless you want to visit the parks after the race.
Meeting Disney characters is such a wonderful experience for kids and adults alike. I am so glad Disney has opportunities outside of the parks for us to meet the most popular characters.
Where is your favorite place to meet characters outside of the Disney Parks?
Looking for more Disney Character fun? Check out these posts!