Disney Tips #5 - Chasing Princesses
This Disney trip we did something we hadn't even thought about last time; we grabbed an autograph book and set about hunting Disney Character autographs, for the most part the princesses.
Even though a fair chunk of our time was dedicated to the signature hunt we definitely didn't collect them all, or even sight all of the characters that were around.
If you're looking to locate a princess, a cuddly friend or two, hopefully what we learned will be useful to you!
While I've mentioned that a third party app is more accurate when it comes to predicting ride wait times, the Disneyland app is pretty helpful in locating characters.
All you need to do is open the app and slide the top filter across to characters and (when the park is open) it will display where characters currently are in the park.
I don't think it tracks those characters that are wandering around, but it definitely helps finding those with meet and greet lines set up.
Disneyland - Sleeping Beauty Castle
We managed to meet our first few princesses by heading to the Sleeping Beauty Castle where 3 or 4 princesses are stationed pretty much constantly, I believe they rotate which ones.
Eve was pretty shy meeting the princesses but they all handled it very lovingly making it a really magical experience for her.
There are a few options for Character Dining packages (warning this is kind of pricey), we opted to book at Ariel's Grotto (in California Adventure Park), not knowing at that stage that Ariel is currently Eve's favourite.
At first I was a little disappointed as you only get to meet Ariel as you are heading to your table and that seemed to be all there was to it. Fortunately I was completely wrong and part way through our meal a rotation of princesses came out to chat and have photos.
Because which characters are coming changes we ended up doubling up on a couple of those we had already met, but much to her delight Eve got to meet Tiana and Belle who we hadn't seen anywhere else (except the parade) on our visit.
On top of a really nice meal, you'll get cute badges and an activity pack for any children in the party at your booking, it's a good way too to take a pause from the hustle and bustle that is Disney.
After show meet and greets
This tip we wouldn't have known about if it wasn't for a lovely guide named Marcel.
If you go to one of the live shows at the Royal theatre (which are kind of vaudevillian and hilarious) stay after the performance has finished and most of the other people have disappeared .
A few minutes later while the theatre is being cleaned cast members will come out for you meet with them, it's a much shorter line than you would often wait in and at least in our case you got the two characters instead of one.
While often they can't stop and sign your autograph books you can usually get a quick photo and maybe even a hug from characters that are walking around the park.
Looking for Elsa and Anna?
At this stage Elsa and Anna are only in California Adventure Park and are in huge demand, for tips on meeting them check out Do you want to meet a Snowman?
Be prepared for the occasional disappointment
If you spot a character line and there is are Disney staff members not only right by the character but standing at the entrance to the line it is highly likely that the line is closed and the character is about to move on.
We had tears on more than one occasion when Eve wanted to meet a character only to be told the line was closed.
If you can it would be a good idea to sent a scout ahead to make sure the line is open before your little character hunter sees the character or gets too invested in meeting them.
All in all hunting the characters is a bit of fun but not something I'd choose to dedicate that amount of time and running around for if it wasn't for the kids. If your little one has a favourite and you have time to save for it I would recommend checking if that character shows up at any of the character dining options and book that as they get a more personal meeting and you're not spending a lot of time seeking them out.
Want more Disney Tips? Check out my previous posts
And stay tuned for upcoming posts on
Tokyo vs California pros and cons