Episode 23: Character Tips From a Character Hunter


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Heather W from our team is a character hunter and has greeted over 173 unique Disney characters she joins Britt and Steph this week as they all share tips for greeting characters and getting autographs (unique ideas). Heather shares some secrets for getting unique and rare characters; as well as tips for the characters YOU and your kids might want to greet the most. We also share some magical character moments.


Heather W
Brittney Leavitt

Show Notes

Board Book Autographs:

Characterpalooza info

If the first Fantasmic is:
-before 7:30pm, then Characterpalooza will not occur
-at 7:30pm, characters will appear from 4:50pm to 5:10pm – One 20 min set
-at 8:00pm, characters will appear from 4:50pm to 5:50pm – Three 20 min sets (3rd set is same characters as first)
-at 8:30pm, characters will appear from 4:50pm to 5:50pm – Two 40 min sets (both sets different characters)
-at 9:00pm, characters will appear from 4:50pm to 6:30pm – Four 25 min sets (1st and 3rd set same characters, 2nd and 4th set same characters)
If Fantasmic isnโ€™t scheduled, characters will appear from 4:50pm to 6:50pm – Four 30 min sets
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ย Picks With Pixie Dust

Britt's Pick:
Heather's Pick:
Steph's Pick:
Newsies Musical iPhone app
  • melanie

    I love reading your posts and I don’t normally make fun of things… but I have to ask, is that an “a” or an “e” in the Rapunzel photo? I do hope she knows how to spell her own name.

    That gave me a chuckle.

    Anyway, love what you’re doing… ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Haha, Melanie!! EVERYONE asks me that. Everyone thinks she spelled it wrong. But she didn’t. It’s just a wonky E!!!

  • Such wonderful tips!! LOVED this show.

    Great tip on going to see the character as soon as you see them instead of waiting. The ONE character I wanted to see on our last trip was Mickey in his tuxedo. We saw him on our 1’st day walking into the park… and since it was our first day I thought we’d see him later. WEll…. we never saw him again. sniff sniff. I’m so sad I didn’t get to meet him and get a picture of our family with him.

    • You didn’t get a Mickey picture at all?? Or just not in his Tuxedo?

      • We got pictures with mickey, just not in his tuxedo. ๐Ÿ™ I looked for him everywhere, but we only saw him that first day when we walked into the park.

  • Becky

    What a great podcast! I wish I had been able to soak in some of the info before our trip but I’m really hoping there’s a “next time” in our future.
    One thing I wanted to share from my experience is that I found there were few photopass photographers with the characters. When my infant and I went to see Sully I handed my new camera to a random person in line behind me and while I got great shots, I was a little flustered. I learned after that the character handlers will often shoot with your camera but I didn’t think to ask him (He was at the end of the line). Just thought I’d share! Thanks for a great show.

    • Steph

      Greta tip! Use the handlers to take photos if there isn’t a PhotoPass photographer. Sometimes, though, there aren’t handlers either. Then, you have no choice but to rely on a nice person in line behind you if you want your photo with your whole group and the character. These are the times I usually pass off my phone, unless the person behind me happens to have a DSLR. If they have a DSLR, I set it up and pass it off.

  • Sue Rhinehart

    Fun show, thanks for all the tips, I think i love the Character more then the kids in my family. I had to drag them to take a photo with me and mickey this year at Christmas

    • Steph

      I’ve been known to do that on occasion as well ๐Ÿ˜‰ That’s why I’m okay waiting for super long lines when they decide they want to meet a specific character.

  • Missy

    Great show! We love getting photos with characters! I hate to admit this but…We’ve been to WDW 20+ times in the last 5 years (DVC and AP) and not once have we gotten any autographs! Love the board book idea. Since my little guy is learning his ABCs, this podcast gave me a great idea to make him a Disney Character ABC album–using Project Mouse supplies of course!

    • Steph

      I can’t wait for you to start collecting Autographs! It’s so fun!

    • What a fabulous idea!! If you do one, PLEASE share it with us!

  • I loved the show. I remember one character interaction I had about 15 years ago in Disneyland. We were in Toontown early in the morning getting on Gadget’s Go Coaster when Chip or Dale (I’ll have to find the picture to confirm) came up the queue area. I thought he was just going to play with those waiting in line. It was hardly crowed and there were plenty of empty seats on the coaster. The next thing I know he sat down right behind me and rode the ride! I thought that was so cool, I’d seen pictures of characters on rides in brochures, but never in real life!

  • Linda

    SO glad I listened to your show before we went to Disneyland last week! The clickable Sharpies were a HUGE hit with the characters – especially with Stitch! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Robin B

    I just read that the “Limited Time Magic” at Disneyland during the week of April 8-14 will be Long-Lost Disney Friends.

    Showing up next week will be Esmeralda, Clopin & Frollo from The Hunchback of Notre Dame; Pocahontas, John Smith, Meeko & Govenor Ratcliffe from Pocahontas; Robin Hood, Friar Tuck, Prince John & Sheriff of Nottingham from Robin Hood; and Scrogge McDuck & Ludwig Von Drake. The website also indicates that there will be others that they’re not announcing.

    All these characters are going to be at Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree in Frontierland.

    I sure wish I could go, but our trip to Disneyland isn’t until July. Anyone going next week, have fun and tell all these characters “Hi” for me.

  • Becca

    LOVED this episode/tips!!
    We had a Character Meal on our 2nd night at Disneyland Paris in November and I was actually a little bummed that Rabbit was one of the characters. Not that I didn’t want to meet Rabbit, but just a bummer that we didn’t see Minnie or Donald during our entire trip. However, after hearing that Rabbit is a “rare” character, I’ve changed my tune!
    I wish I would’ve been more character-focused during our trip. Definitely missed out, but oh well… an excuse to go back soon, right?!?

  • Jennifer

    Only 30-40 characters? There are 60ish original characters, not including costume changes or character meals, out at all the parks at one time.

    • Steph

      I’m sorry, it’s been so long since we recorded this show, I’m not sure what you are referring to. Can you refresh my mind?

  • Sab

    I’ve never seen the Character Palooza! We’ve been twice… first time was Star Wars Weekends in 2011 and we just LOVED meeting all the characters (second time was this last November and we missed a lot as our kids were 5, 3, and 9months). When we were waiting in line, one of the Clone Troopers came up to us and just gravitated to my 1yr old son (it was his birthday) and my son was beaming, and grinning, and smiling and laughing. The Clone posed for photos, let my son see his blaster, but my son was just entranced with his helmet and just loved it! My daughter had some lovely interaction with her first character meet that same year. She was 2 1/2, and met Chip and Dale (there wasn’t really a line, this at Epcot). They knelt down and the cast member pet Chip’s nose, then asked her to try, and we got her to give them hugs, and it was the most adorable thing! This last trip, I waited with the baby to see the parade and held our spot while my husband went to Belle’s Tales with the two older kids, and at the end when everyone is allowed to go see Belle (in a line of course) my 3 year old son just RAN up to her and gave her this huge hug before my husband could stop him. Apparently they got adorable pictures, but my husband just had his phone and we didn’t buy the photopass (so sad… I should have). My son was upset because I wasn’t with them.

    I really want to go again! I’m pregnant with number 4 so we will likely wait another year and a half… and I really want to meet more characters. I LOVE that part of the trip. A tip I have is to make your own autograph books. The last trip I made the books for my kids, and drew my own picture of all the princesses and they all had to look through the book to see them. Prince Naveen was SO fun. We have a fantastic photo of him making a suprised face when looking at the book. And Snow White is my favorite for interaction. My daughter still talks about how Snow White commented on he shopping in her closet (she was wearing a Snow White costume). We saw her twice that trip and the second time she saw her ‘previous signature’ and commented on how she just had to see the drawing ‘again’ and loved meeting us before. It was adorable! I also felt really lucky to get to meet Gov Ratcliff right near Pocahontus at her last ‘showing’.

    Oh man, I can’t wait to go back!