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Old 05-10-2012, 05:01 PM   #1
Chelseadene
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Character Question

I'm wondering about 'walk around' characters in the parks. On my last trip to Disney world (oh about 18 years ago) I remember being a child and being absolutely delighted with running in to characters that freely roamed the park (a memory of some Cinderella mice is coming to mind). Conversely, I also remember hating waiting in line to meet Mickey. My question is this: I know that there are various areas where you can meet and greet characters, but are there still characters freely roaming that I might bump in to? I don't really want to spend time seeking out characters, but an impromptu meeting with one would be pretty cool.

(I'm such an amateur!)
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Old 05-10-2012, 05:11 PM   #2
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Generally, the answer is no. You have to wait in line to meet characters.

However, when we were there in March 2011, the Tremaines were heading out for a meet and greet. We were stopped putting on sunscreen, and they stopped to chat with us for a few minutes. We all had on matching Mickey tie-dye shirts, so they commented about me being even worse at laundry than Cinderella, among other things. We didn't ask for autographs or photos because we were too wrapped up in the interaction. After a few minutes, they headed over to their meet-n-greet location.

So it might happen from time to time, but not something you can count on.
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Old 05-10-2012, 05:12 PM   #3
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I'm not sure about right now, but back when I was working in 2005, all of the characters had a character greeter with them and most of the characters were in specific spots. Then, one day I was in the gardens behind the UK pavilion and out came Alice all by herself! Now, I'm sure that the character greeter was around to keep an eye out, but I didn't see him. She played with a little girl because there were few people in the garden. She danced with the little girl and told her stories about her journey down the rabbit hole. Then, a little while later, her greeter came and told her that she was due at the Mad Hatters for a tea party and off she went.
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Old 05-10-2012, 05:30 PM   #4
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I remember those days! Walking around seeing characters roaming. I recall my last interaction like that was at Disneyland, and poor Mickey was mobbed with crazed parents trying to visit with the mouse. I guess that's why we have lines now, with a guard, I mean a greeter.
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Old 05-10-2012, 06:00 PM   #5
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If you want that, you have to go to Disneyland. They still do that somewhat there. Mary Poppins and often Bert stroll around in the morning, and if you want a photo with them, you better get in step and stroll with them. They will stop briefly to pose if you are taking a picture and then they keep moving. (Rapunzels- DD was trying to patiently wait her turn to see Mary as we followed her on her stroll and it seemed like every time someone would leave and she tried to move in, some new person would barge in and cut her off (often adults)). There are also some characters that wander around the castle in the afternoon. Last summer when we were there, Peter Pan was out playing with some kids, as were Sleeping Beauty and Snow White with no handlers in sight and no real formal lines. That was really nice.

It doesn't really happen at WDW, unless a character happens to stop briefly to say something to you on the way to their meet and greet spot.
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Old 05-10-2012, 06:10 PM   #6
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We were sitting on the curb in the UK pavilion of Epcot and Alice walked right up to my DD and started playing with her and dancing. It was awesome and spontaneous. I am sure that she was on her way to her meet and greet spot, but I think it still counts as "bumping" into a character without lines etc. Same thing happened near TOT in HS. Chip and Dale came out of the gate there and hung out with us for a while. I was pretty shocked because I hadn't ever seen them there before. After a few minutes, they went on their way into the park.

The one thing I will say is that most characters have a schedule to keep and can't stop for pictures. They always smile and wave, but keep moving. I think this upsets people, but its really only the way to get from point A to point B.
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Old 05-10-2012, 06:46 PM   #7
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Thanks for the answers. A little disappointing since I don't think as an adult I would seek out characters at their meet and greet spots. My niece requested Tigger's autograph, so that will probably be the only line I wait in. I guess the parks are busier than they were 18 years ago, so I can easily imagine characters being mobbed. But, it seems like there's such an opportunity for magic there. Sure, I was excited when I was a little kid to have Mickey's autograph after waiting in that long line, but it was much more magical to run in to the those 2 Cindarella mice. The gave me a hug. One of them danced with me and I got an autograph. I guess those days are bygone.
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Old 05-10-2012, 06:46 PM   #8
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I also had an encounter with Alice in the toy shop in the UK pavilion of WS in Epcot. I was in there checking out the unique toys and walked over to a fixture with books and on the back side of the fixture I heard a British speaking girl speaking to herself about a book. I didn't pay that much attention at the time. So I went around to the back side to look at the books there and the girl was gone, so I started looking through a copy of Winnie-the-Pooh, the classic literature one, and looked up and Alice was standing next to me and she went on to ask me if I liked the book and how it was one of her favorties and she would read it to Dinah her cat. It was a really unexpected, but cool experience.
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Old 05-10-2012, 06:50 PM   #9
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Man, it sounds like Alice is pretty awesome!
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Old 05-10-2012, 06:53 PM   #10
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There is the Green Army Man that runs around in Pixar Place at DHS. He is awesome. Lots of fun, will stop for a pic (and a lesson is posture as my DS14 learned LOL) and play around with people as they are passing by.
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Old 05-10-2012, 07:24 PM   #11
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Tigger and Pooh are usually in the UK at Epcot. I'm forgetting the name, but it's got like toys, kid books, beatle stuff, ect. Around the corner, in the same store is where they have a meet and greet, and the line will be DRASTICALLY shorter. Example, like 5 families waiting, compared to 20 or more at MK. Just an fyi timesaver...
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Old 05-10-2012, 07:37 PM   #12
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There is a video floating around from Disneyland Paris that looks like some sort of training video with Cinderella and Prince Charming that really shouldn't have been posted but anyway.

It showed how they do M&G without a queue. Yea its great thinking you will just happen upon a character around a corner like in the commercials. In really its a zoo with groups of people jumping in and out.

Most people in the US prefer only to have their own kids in a photo. Also Cindy and the Prince had to figure out which camera to look at with what set of kids.
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Old 05-10-2012, 11:45 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SenecaWolf View Post
There is the Green Army Man that runs around in Pixar Place at DHS. He is awesome. Lots of fun, will stop for a pic (and a lesson is posture as my DS14 learned LOL) and play around with people as they are passing by.
My dd loves them because you can actually play with them (there are usually 2 out at a time)! But when we're there during crowded times they get stuck doing photos and autographs a lot and it makes silly interaction impossible. But if it's slow...you can have a ball playing with the green army men!
They've played tag, hide and go seek, and done lots of other silly things.
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Old 05-11-2012, 12:40 AM   #14
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I need to know more about where and when these Army Men come out to play.. LOL Aside from Star Wars my boys only character requests have been "green army men from Toy Story".... I Don't want to disappoint them!!
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Old 05-11-2012, 05:21 AM   #15
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Quote:
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I need to know more about where and when these Army Men come out to play.. LOL Aside from Star Wars my boys only character requests have been "green army men from Toy Story".... I Don't want to disappoint them!!
In February, I saw them out at DHS, near TSM, kind of across the street from the (indoor) M&G for Woody & Buzz. It was late morning, when I was waiting for my FP time for TSM.
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