Meet and greets at Walt Disney World are temporarily on hold because they can’t be done safely, but that doesn’t mean that there are no characters. I think that I’ve seen more characters in the parks since they reopened than on a typical day pre-pandemic. Last week I was able to get a last minute Disney Park Pass reservation for Disney’s Animal Kingdom. I was going solo, so I thought I’d do some character research and share it here.
The character processions in the parks are called Character Cavalcades. Since Disney’s Animal Kingdom has them on the Discovery River, there they are also known as Character Cruises. If you wait long enough you could see Mickey, Minnie, and Pluto, two different floats representing Donald’s DinoBash!, Rafiki (he’s wise enough to stay away from others), and a Pocahontas float. There could be more, but in my two visits to the park since the reopening those are the ones that I’ve seen. The Discovery Island Drummers also have a delightful float, it’s a high energy performance that is sure to put a smile on your masked face.
My goal was to find the best place to watch as the cruises go by. My favorite spot by far is on the bridge between Pandora and Africa. Many people don’t know about this back entrance, so it was hardly ever crowded even before all this mess. I found a shaded spot that is close to the Africa side, and waited. It was glorious! This is the closest that we will be able to get to characters for the foreseeable future. There was a lot of interaction from the characters, and since I was the only one there for part of the time I knew that all of the love was for me.
I found one other spot that I liked watching from. The seating areas for Rivers of Light were open. I got a cup of ice water, then found a seat in the front row. I was on the Asia side. What I liked about this spot was that I could watch the boats coming and going. I wasn’t as close, but it was still a good spot. At one point one boat was leaving as another returned, and the characters waved to each other. The problem with this spot is that there is no shade. The theater was built for a nighttime show, there was no need for shade in the design. If I watch from there again I’ll make sure that I have an umbrella and create my own shade.
It takes about ten minutes for a boat to make the loop around Discovery Island. There is no set time when the characters will come out. I tried timing it, but there was no pattern. Sometimes there would be three sets of characters in ten minutes, at other times there would be a 25 minute gap in between. I know that the lack of an obvious schedule is to keep people from gathering in one spot for too long.
There are also some really poor spots to watch. There are parts where there are plants and objects that will not allow for a good view. There is one mask Relaxation Station that offers good views, but I didn’t want to watch from there because there were several people already doing that and I don’t want to be too close to others without masks at the moment.
I miss meet and greets, but Character Cavalcades allow us to still see our favorites and interact with them. I’ve added several videos of them on both Facebook and Instagram. If you haven’t already, check them out! And follow or like my pages, if you have yet to do that. I appreciate the support.