Guide to Encanto at Disney World: Characters, News & Rumors

Visiting Walt Disney World and wondering where your kids can find Mirabel and all things Encanto? This guide covers character locations in Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, and other parks, breaking the golden rule that we’re not supposed to talk about Bruno. (Updated August 15, 2023.)

This is the second time we’ve done one of these movie-specific character guides, with the first coming for Frozen following that film’s smash success almost a decade ago. In fact, there are a lot of parallels between the presence of Frozen and Encanto at Walt Disney World. Frozen took the world by storm during the holiday season and Walt Disney World guests naturally assumed Anna and Elsa would appear in the parks that Christmas. However, they were nowhere to be found outside of merchandise.

It took until the following spring before Anna and Elsa began appearing in Princess Fairytale Hall at Magic Kingdom, with average wait times measured in hours instead of minutes. Their meet & greet was regularly a 3-4 hour wait, with peaks of over 5 hours. It seemed like everyone had Frozen fever, and the only prescription was more Olaf, Anna and Elsa. Unfortunately, Walt Disney World was caught flat-footed, unable to keep up with guest excitement and dole out doses of the fan-favorite characters.

It’s been even worse with Encanto. Whereas it took a few months before Walt Disney World really ramped up the Frozen presence in the parks, it’s been well over a year (going on two) since Encanto became a smash success. Although Mirabel now appears in Magic Kingdom and there are other Encanto offerings in the parks, it’s been a slow process and Disney is still playing catch-up.

The good news is that the tides are turning, and in a way resembling when Walt Disney World started catching up to the Frozen frenzy. With that, the parks went from zero to sixty really fast, rolling out Frozen entertainment, celebrations, a ride reimagining, and even indoor snow. Fans went from complaining about the characters having no presence in the parks to bemoaning “Frozen fatigue” at Walt Disney World. It looks like we’re on the precipice of something similar with Encanto, although probably not to the same degree.

Let’s start with the latest update–and some good news! In celebration of Hispanic and Latin American Heritage Month–which runs September 15 through October 15, 2023–Walt Disney World has confirmed that new Encanto offerings will debut soon.

A fantastical member of the Familia Madrigal arrives at Magic Kingdom on September 15! Mirabel will begin meeting friends from all over the world in her magical Casita. This character greeting will extend beyond Hispanic and Latin American Heritage Month and will be available permanently.

Mirabel will greet guests in Fairytale Garden (where Merida from Brave previously met) surrounded by whimsical décor inspired by La Familia Madrigal. This setting is gorgeous and perfect for Mirabel, but it’s also very low capacity. Unlike many indoor venues, Fairytale Garden is an open air location that doesn’t have multiple rooms.

This means that Mirabel can’t magically meet multiple guests simultaneously, which leads to longer lines and wait times. (Not to ruin the illusion, but if you’re able to read this text you probably have a rough understanding of how this stuff works.) As such, waits are likely to be long for Mirabel–probably over an hour.

Speaking of the Familia Madrigal, Mirabel’s uncle, Bruno will join the Disney Adventure Friends Cavalcade at Magic Kingdom starting on September 15, 2023. Alongside Bruno, beloved characters like Miguel from Coco, Princess Elena of Avalor, and José Carioca will make their way throughout the park. This mini-parade rolls through the park multiple times per day and features a couple dozen Disney characters.

Disney Adventure Friends Cavalcade steps off in Frontierland near Tiana’s Bayou Adventure (the former Splash Mountain) and continues towards Liberty Square, passing Cinderella Castle before heading down Main Street, U.S.A. Mirabel is featured on top of the main float–you can’t miss her. This is a good way to see Mirabel from a distance and wave at her. Otherwise, this processional is nothing special–focus your attention on Festival of Fantasy Parade, instead. (No Encanto in that, but it’s much better.)

Unfortunately, there’s nothing to indicate that Bruno will appear as a meet & greet character anytime soon. Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party is already underway, and we know he isn’t appearing during that. Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is still a possibility, but it seems unlikely.

We met Bruno last year during Oogie Boogie Bash Halloween Party at Disney California Adventure, which has been his only appearance on either coast thus far. While initially skeptical that it would just be a dude in a poncho (sorta like Hiro from Big Hero 6–a boy in a sweatshirt!), the Bruno we met was quite convincing and emotive. Kids seemed to love the character meet & greet.

When the Bruno casting call first appeared and indicated that it was for “future special events,” our hope was that Bruno would come to the 2023 Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party in a new float and Encanto unit as part of Mickey’s Boo to You Parade. Sadly, that isn’t the case. (An Encanto unit probably wouldn’t make sense during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party…but family is at the heart of the holidays, so maybe?!)

Personally, we were hoping for a major parade presence rather than a meet & greet. If done right, Encanto could have an awesome float, whereas the Bruno meet & greet would have 90-120 minute waits…if not longer. (Having a Mirabel meet & greet is a given, but Bruno is a different story.)

Also in Magic Kingdom, you can make a reservation at Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique in Fantasyland and request the Encanto package. Young royals will enjoy regal hairstyling, festive dress and more, transforming them into stunning members of the Madrigal family!

With that said, Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique is really expensive and whether it’s worth the money is highly debatable. Sure, an in-park royal makeover is fun and your kid might love it…but they might also enjoy the <$25 version of the costume you can buy on the internet and pack for Walt Disney World. It doesn’t come with the ‘magical memory’ of an in-park makeover, but it also doesn’t come with the sting of the credit card bill at the end of the month, either. To each their own.

For now, that’s about it. Walt Disney World advertises Encanto elsewhere, but that’s all a bit of a stretch. At Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Encanto is technically now part of “Wonderful World of Animation,” which is a projection show presented on the facade of Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway.

Mirabel also makes an appearance in one of the montage scenes of the reimagined “Fantasmic!” However, both of these are blink and you’ll miss it type of appearances that were wedged into existing productions. If your kids are trying to get their Encanto fix, these nighttime spectaculars probably aren’t going to cut it. (With that said, the redone Fantasmic is exceptional and absolutely not to be missed. Fans of Frozen, Aladdin, and Moana will absolutely adore the new scenes.)

Previously, you could also find Encanto at EPCOT. In front of Spaceship Earth at the park’s entrance, there were character topiaries during this year’s Flower & Garden Festival. Topiaries of Mirabel, Antonio, Isabela and Luisa greet guests in the main entrance of EPCOT. Each Encanto topiary features details inspired by the characters, including Isabela creating beautiful flowers between her hands and an illuminated butterfly for Mirabel.

There’s about a 98% chance that these topiaries will return for the 2024 EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival, which will likely run from early March until late June or early July 2024. It’s rare for new topiaries to be retired after a single year (most last decades), and that’s doubly true when the characters and underlying IP are popular. The bigger question is whether they’re relocated away from the front entrance, or if there’s a bigger backdrop for them.

Disney Horticulture and Walt Disney Imagineering worked together to design, build and grow topiary displays featuring characters from Encanto. Artists developed sketches, Imagineers designed 3D models, skilled welders molded frames, and horticulture specialists chose plant materials.

This process of designing these additions for the EPCOT Flower & Garden Festival began over a year ago, which should underscore the absurd amount of lead-time Walt Disney World “requires” to make anything happen. (Back in the day, Disney could launch entire limited-run parades to debut alongside new summer movies…now, the biggest hit since Frozen still has next to no park presence over a year after becoming a smash success!)

Finally, there’s what’s rumored to be on the horizon. During the last D23 Expo, Disney Parks Chairman Josh D’Amaro teased what could be ‘Beyond Big Thunder’ as part of Magic Kingdom Expansion featuring Coco, Encanto & Villains Lands. This isn’t really rumor since it came directly from Disney…but it’s not really news, since it isn’t official. More like a “what if?” peek at a blue sky proposal that has likely been presented to the Walt Disney Company’s Board of Directors, but hasn’t been greenlit.

Following this, Bob Iger revealed a plan to invest $17 billion in Walt Disney World in the next decade, which almost certainly includes new lands in Magic Kingdom outside the existing berm of the park. Our expectation is that it will include some combination of Coco, Encanto, and Villains–likely as biomes that transition from the existing Frontierland to environments that fit those franchises.

Don’t get too excited about Encanto expansion in Magic Kingdom. If you have kids now who are excited about all things Encanto…they will probably be in high school by the time that opens. There’s a lot to sort out before spending starts on expansion–from the future of streaming, potential ESPN and Hulu deals, 20th Century Fox acquisition debt, and the current standoff with the state. Those are short-term speedbumps and Magic Kingdom expansion is a long-term solution to an ongoing issue. It will happen…but probably won’t be open until closer to 2030.

Another possibility that has been rumored is Colombia or a South America “catch-all” pavilion being added to World Showcase at EPCOT, which would feature Casa Madrigal and an Encanto ride. Last year, Lin-Manuel Miranda let slip that this was being discussed, saying he told dearly departed Disney CEO Bob Chapek that “I talked to him and said, ‘I know there’s a world in which this casita lives in a theme park and we get to actually walk through it in real life.’ And that’s really exciting, but the other byproduct of all these characters is that there’s a lot more folks want us to explore and a lot that’s being explored.”

Lin-Manuel Miranda was also asked whether he’d want to see an Encanto theme park attraction in Disney California Adventure or Epcot, and he expressed enthusiasm, saying that he and his kids rode Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure five times in a row. In comparing that ride to an Encanto attraction, Miranda said: “That’s where my brain goes. It’s like, I want to go in and out of this casita and see those characters and see the house respond because that’s something Disney can do that no one else can do.”

Miranda also says that he and Chapek haven’t talked specifics and that the future of the franchise for Encanto is in the “really early days” and he doesn’t yet know what it’ll entail. However, Encanto is the company’s biggest animated hit in a decade, and a true cultural phenomenon.

Along with Moana, it still performs well in Nielsen streaming data and racks up billions of minutes in viewership. My surprise is not that Disney is betting big on these newer properties, it’s that they haven’t already. These are new classics for a generation, and fans who think otherwise are probably just biased towards the movies they grew up with. It’s obvious that there’s more to come for Encanto.

Although trackless dark rides are arguably now “played out” at Walt Disney World, the concept I’d love to see is basically a Mystic Manor style ride-through of Casa Madrigal. That Hong Kong Disneyland attraction is one of Imagineering’s best creations in the world; it’s essentially a tour of an (ahem) manor that is mystical, brought to life through the magic of music. Sound familiar?

Mystic Manor would offer the perfect template for an Encanto attraction. The casita is one of the best “characters” in the movie, and exploring the enchanted house would open the door for original ideas in the attraction, rather than another “book report” ride. (The Little Mermaid dark ride would be a poor template for an Encanto attraction.)

Plus, with Mystic Manor as the blueprint, the development time could presumably be shorter and something could be built sooner rather than later. It’d be nice to have a Frozen Ever After-esque turnaround time, rather than TRON Lightcycle Run one.

Ultimately, even as someone who admittedly wasn’t huge on Encanto (I really wanted to love it, but it’s no Frozen or Moana for me), I still think Encanto “deserves” much more presence in the parks–including its own ride. From my perspective, the Casa Madrigal is the most compelling character and is practically tailor-made for a theme park attraction. Encanto is a bit like Avatar in that regard, which the setting made ideal for a theme park land without regard for the movie’s actual plot and characters.

Personally, I’m not “sold” on Encanto anchoring a new land in Magic Kingdom. I think focusing exclusively on a blockbuster Villains Land makes more sense there, while adding Coco and Encanto to EPCOT or even Animal Kingdom as a South America area. Imagineering could dust off plans for the almost-announced Brazil pavilion, repurposing some of that for a Colombia pavilion in EPCOT’s World Showcase. It could feature Carnival of Barranquilla, authentic exemplars of traditional colonial architecture (in addition to Casa Madrigal), and of course, the obligatory dining options.

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What do you think about more Encanto coming to Walt Disney World? Do Mirabel, Bruno, and Casa Madrigal deserve more of a presence in the park? Think an Encanto attraction or land would be good additions in EPCOT, Animal Kingdom, or Magic Kingdom? Would you prefer it in a Colombia pavilion at EPCOT, South America land at Animal Kingdom, or new biomes ‘Beyond Big Thunder’ in Magic Kingdom? Hopeful that Mirabel and other characters are added to entertainment or as meet & greets in Magic Kingdom ASAP? Do you agree or disagree with our commentary? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback–even when you disagree with us–is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!

11 Responses to “Guide to Encanto at Disney World: Characters, News & Rumors”
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