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Character Hunting at Disneyland Resort - Our Top 10 Places!
DisneyDan  Monday, February 13, 2012 12:10:56 PM
Welcome to this third edition in a special series of articles looking at the top 10 best places for meeting the Disney Characters at the Disney Parks and Resorts. Our first edition looked at Walt Disney World in Florida. In the second, we visited Disneyland Paris.
In this third edition we look at Disneyland California's top ten. Throughout the article you can click the links to the specific places mentioned to find more detailed information about meeting characters there. At the end of the top ten, be sure to check our links to other hints and tips pages on this site!

Ok, here we go! First up, Disneyland Park!

1. Main Street USA - We begin our character hunting on Main Street. In Town Square you can frequently find any number of the VIPs (Goofy, Pluto, Chip, Dale etc) greeting their fans. Alice, the Mad Hatter and Cruella de Vil also makes appearances regularly.
Further up the street at the Refreshment Corner you may find any combination of Peter Pan, Mary Poppins, Bert, Alice, the Mad Hatter or the Queen of Hearts.
At the Carnation Plaza area you can randomly find Princesses or Mary Poppins. This is a great place to meet them as there are rarely people even in this area, let alone lines!
It should be noted though that the Carnation Plaza area will soon be closed to become the new Fantasy Faire in Fantasyland.

2. Princess Fantasy Faire - Over in Fantasyland why not stop by Fantasy Faire to meet the Princesses? Although any three of the Big 5 are the usual suspects here, you may be lucky and get Pocahontas or Mulan (we have in the past!). If the line is long, instead of waiting in the heat for an hour, standing up, why not check back when the Royal Coronation Ceremony is taking place? You can have a nice seat, enjoy the show, AND get to meet the Princesses afterwards with relatively no line! (and I bet you're in and out before you would have even gotten to the front of the regular meet 'n' greet line!)

3. Fantasyland - Aside from Fantasy Faire, Fantasyland itself is worth a separate mention on our Top 10 list. Here you can often find Peter Pan, Alice, the Mad Hatter or the Queen of Hearts all roaming.
Fantasyland also hosts Pixie Hollow, home to Tinker Bell and her Fairy friends. As well as Tink herself you could meet any other one or two Fairies who may be visiting from Neverland, such as Terence, Vidia or Silvermist to name a few!
Over by the Wishing Well you can often find The Fairy Godmother, The Queen or Snow White.
In the Castle Courtyard, Rapunzel has her own private indoor meet 'n' greet area, and sometimes around the Castle you find some random Princesses too, such as Aurora or Cinderella.

4. Critter Country - Critter Country regularly features the Pooh friends. These are usually Pooh himself, Tigger and Eeyore, but Rabbit has been known to make appearances from time to time also.
Brer Fox and Brer Bear randomly roam about Critter Country, so watch out for that villainous pair while down by the bayou!

5. Minnie's Breakfast in the Park at the Plaza Inn - Back on Main Street you should get reservations for breakfast at Minnie's Breakfast in the Park at the Plaza Inn. The food is quite good, and is buffet style. There are always a bunch of random characters (as well as Minnie herself of course, donning her cooking apron!). In the past we have met Captain Hook, Max Goof, Eeyore, Rafiki and the Fairy Godmother here, to name but a few unusual ones!

6. Toontown - Toontown is a good place to meet all your favourite pals such as Goofy, Pluto, Chip and Dale. They can often be found wandering about.
Minnie Mouse meets her fans at her house.
Mickey also meets his fans at his house, in the Movie Barn. The experience of waiting in line is interesting in itself, as you get to go through some neat areas. I won't spoil the surprise! When you finally get to Mickey himself, depending on which cartoon he is working on that day you could find him in his Steamboat Mickey outfit, his Sorcerer's Apprentice robes, Band Leader costume or just in his regular attire.

7. Holidays and Seasons - One of the best times to visit Disneyland is during some sort of holiday, festival or celebration. Christmas and Halloween seasons both see the VIPs greeting their fans on Main Street (or sometimes other areas of the park) in appropriate attire. You may find Count Mickey at Halloween for example, or Chip 'n' Dale in their winter knit wear.
As well as the VIPs in costumes, you can also meet some neat characters that aren't normally out. Halloween is a lot of fun, as the Villains come out to play regularly in Fantasyland. Last year Dr. Facilier, the Tremaines and Foulfellow all appeared, to name a few.
Also, at Halloween Time, be sure to attend the special Halloween Parties (ticketed events), where some really cool characters come out to play! Last year (2011) for example none other than Perry the Platypus was there!
At Christmas you can meet Santa and Mrs Claus in Frontierland.

Now let's hop over to Disney California Adventure...

8. Hollywood Pictures Backlot - Hollywood Pictures Backlot (soon to be renamed Hollywoodland - a nod to the original sign up on the hill!) features a number of good character opportunities. Sulley, Mr and Mrs Incredible, and Jake from the Neverland Pirates all meet here regularly. In the past Handy Manny, Goofy and Max have also hung out here, but I'm not sure of their fate more recently to be honest.
If you hang around after the Disney Dance Crew show at the Backlot Stage, you can have the chance to meet Mickey in his hip hop outfit! He only comes down for a brief set though, so be waiting near the front as soon as the show ends!
If you have a Disney Visa credit card, you can also take advantage of the free, private, meet 'n' greet which is open at select times only. You can meet Chip and Dale in cute, unique, Hollywood agent outfits. They do switch with Pluto (who doesn't have a special outfit sadly), so you may want to sneakily try to grab a glimpse around the corner if you really want the twins!

9. Paradise Pier - Although there aren't too many character appearances in Paradise Pier, there are a couple worth mentioning. You can meet Mickey and Duffy (separately) in their sailor outfits near Ariel's Grotto.
Woody, Jessie and Green Army Men sometimes appear down near the Midway Mania attraction, and Goofy has recently been greeting fans in his pilot's outfit or California vacation wear, near the Little Mermaid attraction.
I'll also give a passing mention to Ariel's Grotto Princess Dining where you can eat with Ariel and her Princess friends. To be honest, the food here is pretty dire, and I have utter contempt for the restaurant itself - it's a completely miserable looking place. So unless you are sure beyond doubt you want to meet the Princesses here, then my advice would be to try meet them at any of the other places I listed above!

Finally we travel to the Hotels of the Disneyland Resort...

10. Goofy's Kitchen at the Disneyland Hotel - Goofy's Kitchen is a great place to either start the day with a buffet breakfast, or end the day with a buffet meal! You will get the chance to meet Goofy, Pluto, Minnie, Chip and Dale in their special chef outfits, as well as a number of other random characters. In the past we have seen everyone from the Mad Hatter, Prince Phillip and Princesses such as Cinderella and Jasmine. It's a good restaurant, with a good number of random characters, so be sure to dine here!

I hope you all found that useful! You might also want to check out our special Hints and Tips Blog Post here, and join our members discussion about hints and tips for meeting characters here on our Forum. Other users have posted some great tips, so be sure to check those out and maybe make your own contributions!

Stay tuned over the next few days for my next article in this series, which will be Tokyo Disney Resort and Hong Kong Disneyland's Top 10!

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