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Things I Wish I'd Known For My First Walt Disney World Visit

  The first visit to Walt Disney World is stressful, confusing, and a dream come true. I am not the first on...

Friday, July 29, 2016

Where to Meet Mickey and Pals

Magic Kingdom
Mickey Mouse is stationed at the very front of the park in Town Square Theater. Here, Mickey will want to show you some the magic tricks he has been working on. Mickey meets guests here from park open to park close. Fastpasses are available for this meet and greet. And fastpasses might be needed as the line to meet the big Mouse himself is usually very long.

Minnie, Daisy, Goofy and Donald can be seen under the big top at Peter's Silly Sideshow, located towards the back of Storybook Circus. Here they are dressed up as circus performers. The times are changing, but typically they will meet from 10am-9pm. It should be noted that there are two queues. One queue is for Minnie and Daisy, and the other queue is for Goofy and Donald. The line to meet these pals are not typically very long.

Sometimes Minnie and Pluto can be seen in Town Square in the mornings. Minnie will be in her traditional red and white polka dot dress, and Pluto in his traditional green collar. Keep an eye out for them between park open and early afternoon.

The best place to meet Mickey and pals is at EPCOT's Character Spot. This is located to the right of Spaceship Earth as you enter the park. It is under the breezeway that leads to the Land Pavilion. Here is where Mickey, Minnie and Goofy are from park open to park close. Fastpasses are available, but lines can be short at times.

Sometimes Daisy or Pluto can be seen at Legacy Plaza West. This is at the entrance of the park, right across from Stroller Rentals. The characters typically meet from park open to about 4pm.

Donald Duck has a permanent meet and greet spot in the Mexico Pavilion. Here he will be adorning a colorful sombrero. His meet and greet location is tucked around a corner, but he can be found between the pyramid and Anna and Elsa's Royal Sommerhus. He meets typically from noon to about 7pm.

Hollywood Studios
Hollywood Studios has an all new meet and greet for Mickey and Minnie! They are located across from the Sci-Fi Diner from park open to park close.

Animal Kingdom
Mickey and Minnie meet at Adventures Outpost, located on Discovery Island, next to the Asia bridge. Here they are dressed to explore in their safari outfits. Fastpasses are available for this experience.

Pluto and Goofy can be dissevered in Dinoland. Dressed as tourists, they take pictures in front of giant postcard. They meet everyday, usually between 11am and 6:30pm.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Where to Meet the Disney Princesses

Snow White
The fairest of them all has a permanent meet and greet location at the wishing well in the Germany Pavilion in EPCOT. She typically meets 12pm-6pm.

Sometimes she meets out in Main Street in Magic Kingdom. She will appear in the mornings. Her location is always changing on Main Street, so ask a Cast Member or keep an eye out.

Cinderella has a permanent meet and greet location in Princess Fairytale Hall in Fantasyland. This is right next to her castle and carousel. This can be an especially long wait. She meets from park opening to park close. Fast Passes are available to meet her here.

Aurora Sometimes Aurora meets on Main Street in the morning. There is a picture of her castle by City Hall, and that's where her queue is.

The most obvious place to meet Ariel is in the Little Mermaid section of Magic Kingdom. Next to her dark ride is Ariel's Grotto. This is her meet and greet area. Lines to meet her can be fairly long, around half an hour. She usually meets from park open to half an hour before park close. A Fast Pass can be obtained to meet her.  The great thing about her queue is it is in shade and air conditioning, so this is a good place to escape the heat for a while.

Belle's main meet and greet location is in the France Pavilion in EPCOT. She typically meets on the side closets to Morocco. Her line is one of the longest for characters at EPCOT. At this location she usually wears her blue and white dress. She meets mid-morning to evening. Check schedules for more specific times.

There is also Enchanted Tales with Belle. This isn't so much of a meet and greet, but children can get a quick pic with Belle here. She will not sign autographs here. She wears her gold ball gown at this location.

Aladdin and Princess Jasmine can be found next to the Magic Carpet ride in Adventureland. Their permanent meet and greet location is between Aloha Isle (Dole Whip stand) and the Agrabah Bazaar. This meet and greet is open from half an hour after park opening until 6 at night.

When Jasmine isn't in Agrabah, she likes to fly on the magic carpet to Morocco. Her spot is tucked way in the back of the Morocco Pavilion of EPCOT. She meet periodically from 11:45 am to 5:30pm.

Since Poca is a friend to all animals, she meets at Animal Kingdom. Her meet and greet area can be tricky to find if you don't keep your eyes open. It is on Discovery Island, next to the Dinoland bridge. Look for the sign and the Cast Member in a blue shirt. You will then head down a secluded path behind foliage and trees. This queue definitely sets up the atmosphere to meet the Powhatan Princess. Fun Fact: Pocahontas' meet and greet location is actually the queue to an abandoned attraction called Discovery River Boats. .

The hero of China meets in China, of course! Because this is the only "Mulan" experience in all of Walt Disney World, she draws a big crowd at EPCOT. She used to meet wearing her pink matchmaker dress, but recently she got a new outfit just for the parks. She meets periodically between 11am and 5pm.

 As of summer 2016, Tiana will sometimes meet alongside Cinderella or Rapunzel in Princess Fairytale Hall. Check schedules for the exact days she appears!

Rapunzel meets everyday in Princess Fairytale Hall from park opening to park close. Since she is a popular princess, her wait time can be rather long. Fast Passes are available to meet her here.

Fantasyland's Fairytale Garden has been decorated with tapestries and archery targets just for Merida! Fairytale Garden is located by the Fantasyland bridge and just across from Cosmic Ray's. She meets everyday from park opening to 7pm. Merida's line can become longest in the middle of the day. Her queue is fun to wait in for little ones, as there is a coloring table. 

Elsa and Anna
These two sisters now have a permanent meet and greet location in the Norway Pavilion of EPCOT. They meet park open to park close

Moana does not have a permanent meet and greet location, but she does currently meet in Hollywood Studios. She can be found inside Animation Courtyard. Check with a Cast Member for specific times. 

Here is a cheat sheet:

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Disney Darling News - Princess Fairytale Hall

Princess Fairytale Hall has opened its doors to regal guests for 3 years now. When it originally opened, the idea was to have Cinderella and Rapunzel be permanent residents and circulate two "visiting" princesses. There were two rooms in Fairytale Hall. One room was Cinderella and a surprise princess. The second room was Rapunzel and a surprise princess. But all that changed in 2014 when Frozen attacked. Anna and Elsa originally met in Norway in EPCOT, but due to their unprecedented popularity, the little location was not cutting it. So Disney moved Anna and Elsa to Fairytale Hall for more space. Cinderella and Rapunzel took the second room. This summer, a permanent meet and greet was built for the sisters in Norway - called the Royal Sommerhus. Now, this summer, the Princess Fairytale Hall will return to its original set up. Cinderella and a visiting princess will be in one room, and Rapunzel and another will be in the second room. 

The visiting princesses are most likely going to be either Snow White, Aurora or Tiana. Sometimes Jasmine or Mulan might visit. Each day Cast Members put out a sign in front of Fairytale Hall that announces who the surprise princesses will be. 

Princess Fairytale Hall is open from park open to park close. Fastpasses can be obtained for this attraction. The lines are usually crazy long, so getting a fastpass can be beneficial to cut down on time. It is also recommended to visit first thing at rope drop, during the parades, or Wishes when lines are more likely to be shorter.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Where to Meet Winnie the Pooh Characters

Pooh and pals usually draw a long line as they are incredibly cuddly. Give Pooh a big bear hug when you meet him! He is stuffed with fluff, after all. 

Magic Kingdom
You can meet Pooh and Tigger right next to The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh ride in Fantasyland. They meet mid-morning to evening, usually 10am-8pm. Check schedules for more specific times. 

Pooh and Tigger meet in their homeland of the UK in EPCOT. You can find them in the back of the pavilion by the shops. If it is raining, they will move their meet and greet inside one of the shops. They typically meet in the afternoon. Check schedules for specific times. 

Pooh and Tigger in EPCOT

The Crystal Palace is a buffet style restaurant featuring Winnie the Pooh and pals. Join Pooh, Tigger, Eeyore and Piglet for breakfast, lunch or dinner. The Crystal Palace is themed around greenhouses in the turn of the century. You'll be surrounded by beautiful plants as you eat. I recommend making reservations as this restaurant is popular. 

Topiaries of Pooh characters in the Crystal Palace

You can also dine with Pooh and Tigger outside of the parks. They host breakfast at 1900 Park Fare along with Alice and Mary Poppins. 

Friday, July 15, 2016

Where to Meet Mary Poppins

It's always a jolly holiday with Mary! Mary holds a special place in many fan's hearts, so her line can be long - and it is often filled with older guests!

Magic Kingdom
Mary typically meets in a grassy area of the hub near the castle. But sometimes she will meet inside the train station or Town Square. You can see her walk down Main Street as she makes her way to there meet and greet location. Be sure to say "hello!" if you walk past her. She meets in the morning, usually from park opening to noon. The earlier it is in the day, the shorter her line will be.

Mary meets in her homeland of the UK. She will be in the back of the pavilion by the gardens. She usually meets 11am-2pm. Her schedule is posted on a sign near her meet and greet spot, so be sure to check that for more accurate times.

Join Mary for a Supercalifragilistic breakfast at 1900 Park Fare in the Grand Floridan Resort. She hosts breakfast along with her other pals from England such as Alice and Pooh. Be sure to make reservations for this dining experience as it is very popular.

Sometimes you can see Mary at the end of Fantasmic with Bert.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Where To Meet Alice

Alice is a very fun character to meet! She signs autographs and her line is usually not too long. When you meet her, be sure to wish her a very merry unbirthday! 

Magic Kingdom
You can meet Alice next to her ride, the Mad Tea Party. This is located in Fantasyland near Cosmic Ray's. Sometimes she will meet with a friend! You can expect her friend to be either the Mad Hatter or the White Rabbit. She meets in the morning, usually between 9-12pm. Check schedules for specific times. 

Alice also meets in her homeland of the UK in EPCOT. She does not usually bring a friend to EPCOT. She meets right outside the cottage. If it is raining, she will move her tea party inside a gift shop. She meets from the mid-morning to evening, usually 11am-5pm. Check schedules for specific times. I recommend meeting her later in the day as lines will be shorter. 

Alice is a frequent to 1900 Park Fare's breakfast, along with her other friends from England such as Mary Poppins and Winnie the Pooh. This restaurant is very popular, so be sure to make reservations if you are interested.

Alice and friends also host the Wonderland Tea Party at 1900 Park Fare. This event takes place in the afternoon, and it's designed especially for kids ages 4-10. If you have a child that is crazy about wandering down rabbit holes, this is a good option. Alice and friends (Mad Hatter) will host games, stories and cupcake designing. 

Alice is also apart of the Festival of Fantasy Parade and the Main Street Electrical Parade. Seeing Alice in the parades is a good alternative to meeting her in person, especially if your child is shy or you do not want to wait in long lines to meet her. Both parades are in Magic Kingdom. The Festival of Fantasy Parade takes place in the afternoon and the Electrical Parade takes place just before Celebrate the Magic at night.

Did you have any memorable moments while meeting Alice? Share your experiences in the comment section below!

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How To Pin Trade

Why should I pin trade?
It's a good souvenir idea. My favorite pins are the ones that have a memory behind them. My Animal Kingdom pin I bought because I worked there, my mushroom pin I found after playing Fantasia mini golf with my friends, the matching "I'll be your Minnie/I'll be your Mickey" pins my boyfriend and I wore on Dapper Day, and the Disneyland Diamond pins my friend bought for me after she went to Disneyland. Furthermore, it will help children build social skills. Plenty of parents teach their kids to say "may I see your pins, please?" and "thank you" when pin trading. It can help some kids overcome shyness because they have to go up and talk to people in order to trade. 
BEWARE: Pin trading is addicting!

Cast Members pin trading with guests


1. Starting out

I recommend either a Starter Pack (Lanyard with pins)o r a big mystery pin pack. This way you can keep the ones you like and trade away the ones you don't like.

TIP: The point is to trade, so it's okay to buy some pins you don't really like. You'll be trading them for pins you DO like.

Do NOT buy in bulk off of ebay. You may get fake pins. You will not be allowed to trade fake pins.

2. Trading
Look for Cast Members with a black lanyard or black pouch on their belts. Wait for a time to trade. If they are busy talking to another guest or ringing someone up at the cash register, wait. Ask to trade pins. The Cast Member will show you all of their pins. You may choose which ever one you want. The Cast Member cannot say "no" unless you are trading a fake pin.

Here are some of the rules for pin trading with Cast Members

Mystery pins
Sometimes a Cast Member may have a pin turned around backwards so that you cannot see what it is. These are mystery pins. You can trade for a mystery pin, but you will not know what you get. If you end up not liking it, you can always trade it again! Sometimes Cast Members will reveal to you what the mystery pin is - if you answer a Disney trivia question! An example of a question a Cast Member might ask you is "How many bricks is Cinderella's castle made of?" (Zero. It's all made of fiberglass!)

Pin board
Sometimes a gift shop might have a pin board. This is exactly what it sounds like - a bulletin board filled with different pins. These offer a lot more variety and choices. And sometimes Cast Members get very creative with their pin boards! The custodians have a pin trashcan, and the strollers in Animal Kingdom have a pin stroller. Theses are usually not on display, but you can always ask a Cast Member if they have a pin board.

Pin Treasure Chest

Trading with other guests
The rules are stricter when it comes to trading with other guests. You will have to make a bargain. Whereas with Cast Members you can give them any pin you want to and take any pin of theirs that you want to.

3. What pins do I trade for?
Anything that strikes your fancy! I've met a pin trader that only looked for Stitch pins and a pin trader that only looked for black-and-white colored pins. A friend of mine who is from California only collected Disneyland pins (yes, there are Disneyland pins in Disney World).

Sometimes pins come in collections. There is a collection of Mickey ears, the original Disneyland paper tickets, shoes decorated like various Disney characters...
Part of the shoe collection

Hidden Mickey Pins
There are some pins that are not available to buy in stores. These are only given out to Cast Members to trade. You can recognize these by a tiny Mickey shape on the bottom of the pin.

Some of the Cast Member exclusive pins

4. Buying more pins
Disney sells a lot of single pins - pins that don't come in trading packs. You can still buy these and trade them if you so choose, but these are more expensive than buying packs. If you are trying to save money, I suggest only buying a few of your favorite single pins or buying one pin from every park. each park has pins that are unique to the rides there. It was pretty common for a dad to buy his son a Mount Everest pin at the end of their day to commemorate the son's first time riding it.