To a Disney fanatic, a Disney character is akin to a Hollywood celebrity. Sure, I’m a grown adult who watches the nightly world news, does my taxes and scrubs my children’s stains out of the carpet until I’m blue in the face but when I come face-to-face with a Disney character I’m seven-years-old all over again, grinning like a banshee and ridiculously eager to snap my photo with them. It’s not too mind-boggling how Disney is able to bring out this side in most people—children and adults alike. These characters are amazing at their craft and keep to their role unwaveringly, making most forget that in that moment they aren’t actually meeting THE Gaston, Mickey Mouse, Alice, etc. That being said, there are some characters you just don’t see as often, making them a highly sought after photo opportunity for true Disney lovers. Like the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow, finding these elusive characters is like hitting the jackpot. Listed in no particular order, let’s take a look at some of the most elusive Disney characters at Walt Disney World and where YOU can find them!
Remember those two loveable ants from Disney’s animated movie, A Bug’s Life? Well, you won’t find them standing in any scheduled meet and greet area, but you can still snap a photo or two of them inside Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Twice a day for about a 25-30 minute duration there is something called the Dinoland Dance Party that has guests boogieing on down with some pretty rare Disney characters. As the music begins, a slew of them head out from Dinoland gate between Primeval Whirl and the gift shop, parading down the street until they break out into full-on dance mode. The characters will not sign autographs, nor are they allowed to stop and pose for pictures like you would find in a traditional meet and greet setting. They will, however, shuffle around and dance with your little ones, offering you the perfect opportunity to snap away with your camera. The characters vary during this daily entertainment, but Flik & Atta often make an appearance. Another rare character appearance that occasionally graces this dance party? Thumper!
8. The Seven Dwarfs
Not too many people have a photo of themselves with all seven dwarfs. In truth, you rarely see these characters all at once outside of the Main Street Electrical Parade. You will never find the seven dwarfs at a scheduled meet and greet save for a couple special events that take place inside the Magic Kingdom. At Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, you can find these lovable characters—every last one of them—near the new wall in Fantasyland. They won’t sign autographs, but will give you an opportunity to take a much-coveted photo with them.
7. Robin Hood
The adventurous outlaw of Sherwood Forest who robs from the rich to give to the poor is hard to pin down inside the Disney Parks. But because he HAS been spotted from time to time, he is considered an elusive-but-not-impossible-to-find character. Inside Hollywood Studios ONLY on nights they run Fantasmic they have something called a Character Palooza. This event is not scheduled and is highly subject to weather conditions, so there is always the “Will they or won’t they come out?” question, keeping the suspense alive for anxious guests hoping to see some rare character appearances. When they do make an appearance, it’s over at the gate near the Tower of Terror exit. The times vary and often change as it depends upon Fantasmic schedules, but there are usually a couple of meets lasting 15-20 minutes. The good news is, because the event is unpublished, the character lines are typically very short! The characters at this event also vary but Robin Hood has been spotted quite often, along with many other awesome Disney friends!
Though she has been spotted at the above-mentioned Character Palooza, you can also hope to see her inside Disney’s Animal Kingdom near the Discovery Island Trail. She is probably one of the least elusive among this list because she has a scheduled meet and greet, but still secures a spot because she is rarely seen outside of Animal Kingdom for pictures. Her meet and greet is also very subject to weather conditions, and in my experience if the weather even *hints* at rain she won’t be out there. What makes her meet and greet such a treasure is that many people come upon her unexpectedly along this trail, unaware that she is stationed near the Tree of Life for some wonderful guest interaction.
5. The Princes
There is always great demand to see the Disney princesses, but rarely do you hear someone throw a fit because Prince Phillip or Snow White’s Prince Florian isn’t posing for pictures that day. True, the princes are simply not as popular as their royal counterparts, but that still doesn’t mean they don’t make for a great photo op! So where can you find these dragon-slaying, princess-saving heroic men? They do occasionally pop up alongside their princesses, granting you a rare photo of romantic bliss. Though Aladdin (arguably not a prince) can be found daily at Epcot and Magic Kingdom with Jasmine – Prince Phillip, Prince Charming, and Prince Florian are harder to come by. Prince Naveen is probably spotted most often, meeting with Tiana at her gazebo in Liberty Square in the evenings only. Prince Charming can be seen with Cinderella, Lady Tremaine, Drizella and Anastasia at 1900 Park Fare (Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa) during their character dinner buffet. More recently, Flynn Rider & Prince Eric have been spotted at Trattoria al Forna during the Bon Voyage Breakfast (Boardwalk Resort)!
If you want to catch a glimpse of the others, you either need to come on Valentine’s Day or secure yourself a ticket to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. Only during these select events will you find these royal duos together in one place. (Please Note: Yes, you will see the princes with their princesses during stage shows, parades, etc. but at these events they are featured together for the official Meet and Greet, giving you the opportunity to mingle and capture pictures with them both!)
4. The Beast
Since the opening of New Fantasyland in Magic Kingdom, guests have eagerly explored the Beast’s Castle as they dined inside Be Our Guest, arguably the most popular dining location at Disney World right now. If you have secured a much coveted dinner reservation, you will be granted the opportunity to meet the Beast himself after you’ve completed your delicious dinner (he does not move from table to table, rather he is stationed with a Photopass Photographer at a location where you can meet him at your convenience). The Beast used to be available for a Meet and Greet with Belle inside Epcot’s France Pavilion, but since the opening of Be Our Guest you can ONLY mingle with the Beast at his castle for DINNER at Be Our Guest.
3. Brer Rabbit
Have you ever seen the flash mob-like street dance party at Magic Kingdom called the Frontierland Hoedown? Like the Dinoland Dance Party at Animal Kingdom, this event happens twice daily and features some Disney characters that don’t often come out of hiding these days. It takes places just outside of the Country Bear Jamboree and even showcases some of those beloved bears as they gather up friends and kids to line-dance with them. This dance party is just about the only time you’ll witness Brer Rabbit out and about amongst the guests. This rare appearance makes him a great target for that camera lens of yours, but don’t expect him to stop and pose for pics as you would in a traditional meet and greet setting. Another thing the Dinoland Dance Party and this Frontierland Hoedown have in common is that the characters are constantly moving (i.e. dancing) and aren’t there for official autographs/photographs. Taking photos are still encouraged, though, as they skip along the streets, dancing to some foot stompin’, leg slappin’, hand clappin’ beats with guests. Also seen here often are the rarely spotted Clarabelle Cow, Horace Horsecollar, Brer Bear, and Brer Fox.
2. Captain Hook/Mr. Smee
It’s one thing to see Disney characters on a parade float or at a special stage show, but it’s another thing to be able to ham it up with them one-on-one and pose for pics. Though villainous in every sense of the word, Captain Hook is one of those characters that people (kids especially!) just love to meet and can easily be spotted in the daytime Festival of Fantasy parade as well as the daily Dream Along with Mickey castle stage show. But you won’t be able to shake his hook there, no; Captain Hook in all his evil elusive glory does not stand around and pose with adoring fans inside Magic Kingdom. You can personally meet him along with his bumbling companion Mr. Smee at the Pirates and Pals Fireworks Voyage which sets sail from Disney’s Contemporary Resort. As a special ticketed admission, only guests who have made the reservation to be a part of this voyage are allowed to meet and greet the infamous baddie. Mr. Smee, however, does OCCASIONALLY make the random appearance at the Character Palooza (though I wouldn’t hold my breath for him there!).
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As a character straight out of one of the most beloved Disney classics, one would think there would be plenty of opportunities to meet the wooden-puppet-turned-real-boy at the Disney Parks. Though you can spot him in the parades, you won’t be able to find a scheduled meet and greet with this character or with his pals Gepetto and Jiminy Cricket. In truth, Jiminy Cricket does make a daily scheduled appearance during Earth Week at Disney’s Animal Kingdom but it is without his “Pinocchio” pals. Pinocchio and Gepetto are hard characters to strike a pose with because there is simply no way of knowing when and if they are going to make an appearance on any given day. If they DO, it is usually sporadically at Hollywood Studios’ Character Palooza or Epcot’s Character Training Spot. What is a Character Training Spot at Epcot? On random days during unpublished times, characters have been known to make an appearance in one of any given number of locations inside Epcot where the Cast Members (characters and/or photographers) are in a training session. These locations have been scattered throughout this Park, most notably at the World Showplace gates between Canada and the United Kingdom pavilions and the American Adventure gates to the immediate left of the attraction. Pinocchio and Gepetto have been spotted here as well as some other elusive favorites like Queen Grimhilde, Rafiki, Tarzan and Jane!
Have you ever snapped a rare photo with an elusive Disney character? Share that pic with us below!
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