HS Tips and Secrets

SONY DSC

°o° Crowds tend to head to the big rides first (Toy Story Midway Mania, Rock’n’Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror etc), so if you don’t want to be stuck in hour long queues, save these for later in the day, or get your Fastpasses early as they’re snapped up quick.

°o° In midday heat or pouring rain, head to one of the many indoor attractions: Muppets 3D, Animation Academy etc.

°o° Try not to rush around, there are a tonne of tiny details you’ll miss otherwise!

°o° The gas pump when you enter the park represents the opening date of the park.

°o° Pull the rope of the well by Indiana Jones Stunt Show, you might just hear something!

°o° Watch out for the fire hydrant near Muppet Vision if you don’t want to get wet!

°o° Get a photo ‘Singing in the Rain’!

°o° Each limo in the Rock’n’Roller Coaster plays a different Aerosmith track.

°o° In Muppet Vision 3D, there is a sign saying ‘back in 5 minutes, key is under the mat’. Why don’t you check for the key?

°o° The nautical flags above Dockside Diner actually spell out Dockside Diner!

°o° The back of the Tower of Terror is designed so that when you see if from nearby Epcot, it blends in with the Morocco Pavilion.

°o° Outside The Great Movie Ride are a load of hand prints in the ground, have fun finding which famous person you match with.

°o° Young wannabe Jedis can try their skills out at Jedi Academy, and even face Darth Vader himself!

°o° The Fantasmic lake is only 18 inches deep.

Meeting Characters in Disney World

Character meets can be a truly magical experience for everyone involved!

Make your memories more magical with these top tips:

1. Go to character meals

SONY DSC

A great way to meet loads of characters without having to queue or fight through crowds is to book character meals. These are available in restaurants all over the parks and some deluxe resorts, from princess meals to Mickey and friends to the Winnie the Pooh gang. They’re also great for children who tend to be a little more shy as you’re not being taken out of your comfort zone.

2. Do your research, find out who you can meet and where.

wd031wdw2014239113802175

You’ll be amazed how many characters you can meet throughout the parks, sometimes its just a case of going slightly out of your way to find them. Who are your favourites? Park maps and schedules tell you who you can meet, where they are and what time they’ll be there, from Russell and Doug in Disney’s Animal Kingdom to Mary Poppins in the UK Pavilion at Epcot.

3. Make your meetings special.

wd015wdw2014239113845240

While preparing for your Disney trip, why not have your kids make gifts for their favourite characters? Characters aren’t allowed to accept tips, but you can make their day with drawings or small handmade items; you might even get an extra minute out of it! Alternatively, why not do something different during your character meet? Ask princesses to dance with you, show Mr Incredibles your crime fighting skills!

4. Prepare a few excuses.

wd018wdw2014230110383715

This sounds bad, I promise its not! Kids are curious, and everyone knows how much they love to ask questions, so prepare a couple of white lies for why certain characters don’t speak (‘Goofy’s got a big show later, he needs to save his voice’), or why they take so many breaks (‘I think Pluto’s had a bit too much to drink, toilet time!’).

5. Get autographs

wd013wdw2014227109340753

Get yourself an autograph book, or some kind of alternative (I’ve seen people have characters sign t-shirts, pillowcases etc). You’ll be able to look back at all the characters you’ve met during your trip. Be sure to have a large pen, like a sharpie, as they’re easier for characters with larger hands.

6. Book Fastpasses

wd012wdw2014239113781383

Some characters, especially Elsa and Anna in the Princess Fairytale hall, will have a long queue time if you don’t Fastpass them (Elsa and Anna Fastpasses book out up to 60 days in advance, plan ahead!). You don’t want to take away from the magical experience of meeting your favourite characters with an hour long queue for a 5 minute meet.

7. Decide if meeting characters is something you really want to do

wd033wdw2014229110138251

Character meeting can be time consuming, so if you’re on a tight schedule and you’re not that fussed, don’t waste your time, or a place in a queue that someone else would appreciate more. For younger kids who can’t do as many rides though, characters are the true magic of Disney World.

8. Amaze yourself

wd029wdw2014238113708123

You will truly be amazed by how well characters play their part, so play along with their conversations, or test them by introducing a new topic and see how brilliantly they can cope. On my last trip, Princess Aurora offered to set me up with one of Prince Phillip’s handsome single friends!

9. Appreciate the cast members

wd024wdw2014239113802169

Characters need to take breaks, so sometimes your queue time will be lengthened as they do so. Remember that characters are real people too, so be patient with them.

10. If you only see one character, make it Magician Mickey!

wd033wdw2014239114092984

In the Town Square Theater, you can meet Mickey at his most magical. Take a trip to backstage of Mickey’s magic show, and meet the main man himself in a way you’ve never seen him before, or heard! That’s right, Mickey speaks to you! It is the only opportunity in Disney World to meet him where he can speak to you, answer questions and even show you his latest magic trick!