My generation’s associations with Disney are Mickey Mouse, Pluto and Donald. Today, Anna, Elsa, Cars or Dorie are much more trendy. But who would we meet in Disneyland? What character experiences would we have in the park?
I have to admit that Mickey is kind of cool, but my personal favourite has always been Goofy. I just love his somewhat, well, goofy character. So one of my biggest hopes was to meet Goofy in Disneyland and to get a picture with him to take home. My hopes came true! We had been on Disney property for maybe ten minutes and who did I see in the lobby of our hotel? GOOFY!
Can that be a coincidence? I whipped out my phone immediately and took some pictures and already the day was magical. And let’s be real here, it does look like Goofy had been waiting just for me!
Meeting the characters in the hotel
The popular Disney characters come out in the hotels at fixed times in specific places. When we were in Disneyland for the first time in 2003, some of the characters even walked through the hotel’s breakfast room.
In the Disney Hotel Santa Fe, there is a little stage where dreams come true between 08.15 and 11.00 in the morning. There was a different character on stage every day. We were lucky and met Goofy and Pluto. On the third morning, we were already on our way to the park at that time and we missed the next character.
Kids and adults alike started queuing well in advance to get an autograph and a picture with the star. We gave that a miss but we still took pictures. That is a bit tricky as there is always someone with the character that you don’t really want to take a picture of.
Meeting the characters in the park
There are three character meeting spots in the Disney Studios and 12 spots in the Disneyland Park (if I didn’t miscount) where guests can meet the Disney stars. Every spot is indicated on the park map that is available at the entrance. There are signposts at every character spot that read who is going to show up next and when.
The characters that appear at the different spots fit the theme of the area.
Aladdin, for example, can be seen near the Café Agrabah in Adventureland. We saw beautiful Jasmin and shortly after also the Genie.
At every spot, guests were queueing to have their picture taken. It is a little amusing to observe how awed adults approach Jasmin and how cautiously they hand over their autograph books. The kids were generally a little more spontaneous. Their approach was often corresponding to their current emotion so they either ran away screaming or they flew into the character’s open arms.
Fans of the “younger” characters can meet Buzz Lightyear and his friends on Toon Plaza or say hi to Moana in the Toon Studio.
I like the “older” characters a bit better and I felt like at some point Patrick was a little annoyed by me permanently pointing out “Look, there is …!”. But in the end, I didn’t queue for a picture. We just tried to get a good snapshot of everyone. I think, we were quite lucky and caught some really cool characters on camera.
If you stay until the light show and the fireworks in the evening you even get to say goodbye to Mickey Mouse at the park exit.