More characters are debuting and returning to Walt Disney World! This post covers dates, details, and everything you need to know about the friends from Encanto, Star Wars, and other movies that’ll soon begin appearing at Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, Fort Wilderness, and beyond.
Prior to the start of summer, traditional character meet & greets with hugs, autographs, high-fives, etc. returned to Walt Disney World. Presumably, this was strategically-timed so Disney could capitalize on the best film of summer, Top Gun: Maverick. After all, who doesn’t want to give Goofy one of those iconic high fives?!
At that time, a bunch of previously existing “Sightings” were instantly restored to “Meetings.” Those include Mickey at Town Square Theater, Princess Tiana and a Visiting Princess at Princess Fairytale Hall, Cinderella and a Visiting Princess at Princess Fairytale Hall, Olaf at Celebrity Spotlight, Disney Stars at Red Carpet Dreams, Anna and Elsa at Royal Sommerhus, and others I’m probably forgetting. A bunch of other character meet & greets also returned on or around that date, and according to the wait time data, these have among the top 10 attractions in every park since.
Along with this, several character meals also returned to normal. This includes fur character dining experiences like Breakfast à la Art at Topolino’s Terrace — Flavors of the Riviera and Minnie’s Seasonal Dine at DHS. It also includes Story Book Dining at Artist Point with Snow White, but not most other face character locations.
Even though it has been back for a while, Cinderella’s Royal Table is not normal. Likewise, Akershus and Bon Voyage remain closed, as do other locations that previously featured face character. Not to ruin the illusion or anything, but we’ve heard that this is because Walt Disney World is currently experiencing a pronounced ‘princess shortage.’
In any case, we have some good news on the character front, with a fairly noteworthy expansion to options. Here’s the announcement from Walt Disney World…
Let’s kick things off with Magic Kingdom. We may not talk about Bruno, but we can definitely talk about Mirabel making her debut in the “Disney Adventure Friends Cavalcade” on June 26, 2022!
The young hero from Walt Disney Animation Studios’ hit film “Encanto” will join Miguel from “Coco,” Nick and Judy from “Zootopia,” Max, Goof, Moana and more as this cavalcade winds through Magic Kingdom several times each day.
Although Mirabel meets daily in both Frontierland at Disneyland and Paradise Gardens Park at Disney California Adventure, it sounds like she’ll only appear in the cavalcade at Magic Kingdom.
Given the popularity of all things Encanto, it’s surprising it’s taken so long for Mirabel to have a presence at Walt Disney World. While this is a positive first step, hopefully she gets a dedicated meet & greet soon!
Looking ahead to next month, the always iconic Minnie Mouse will join Mickey Mouse starting on July 6, 2022 in Town Square Theater at Magic Kingdom. Both will be ready for hugs and photos in their EARidescent fashions designed specifically for the Walt Disney World 50th Anniversary celebration.
Hopefully this also marks the return of human photographers to the memorable meet & greet. Automated cameras just don’t capture those magical moments and emotions quite the same.
On July 10, 2022, keep an eye out for familiar Fantasyland friends Peter Pan and Snow White as they greet guests at Magic Kingdom once again.
No word on where these meet & greets will occur. I seem to recall Peter Pan meeting outside the extended queue for Peter Pan’s Flight near Columbia Harbour House, but my memory is hazy on how long ago that was.
July 6, 2022 also marks the return of Chip ‘N Dale’s Campfire Sing-A-Long at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground. There, you can join the nutty friends for a campfire celebration followed by a classic Disney movie under the stars. (Placeholder photo above until I can locate one of the actual sing-a-long.)
From my perspective, this is the most exciting news of all. I know it’s the thing the fewest Walt Disney World fans will experience, but this has long been a highlight at the Fort–I remember some version of this even when I was a kid. My fear was that Chip ‘N Dale’s Campfire Sing-A-Long would never return. Very happy to hear that’s not the case!
Over at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Star Wars Launch Bay returns on July 17, 2022!
A celebration of the legendary space saga, Star Wars Launch Bay is your place for a warm embrace with Chewbacca, a face-to-droid encounter with BB-8 or a run-in with Darth Vader himself for those brave enough. (This is one of two instances of Disney using the “warm embrace” term in the press release. I cut out the other but couldn’t resist including this.)
Those are just the next few weeks! Walt Disney World has even more hugs, high fives, and memories on the horizon. In the coming months, a visit to Magic Kingdom will bring chances to meet Aladdin, Jasmine, Merida, Pooh, Tigger and Storybook Circus pals like the Great Goofini in Pete’s Silly Sideshow.
Your favorite toys will be ready for playtime in Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Donald Duck and friends will rejoin their prehistoric party at “Donald’s Dino-Bash!” in DinoLand U.S.A. at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
Ultimately, good news on the character front. Slowly but surely, Walt Disney World is bringing back performers and other entertainment. It’s nice to see Mirabel make her debut, Star Wars Launch Bay return, and other prominent character meet & greet locations on the horizon.
Not to be overly negative, but there’s still the sense of what’s taking so long?! We’ve been spending time at Disneyland recently (I was actually working on an entertainment post when this news broke) and the character scene is a night and day difference between the coasts. Disneyland feels really close to normal, with free roaming characters, dedicated meet & greets, and even new faces (e.g. Captain Buzz Lightyear and Boba Fett) all appearing with regularity.
At Disneyland, Mirabel has been appearing for months as a part of meet & greets in both parks. You can also meet Raya, Miguel, Nick and Judy Hopps, plus whatever flavor of the day is appearing in a Marvel series on Disney+ in Avengers Campus, and countless other characters.
It’s easy to dismiss this as Disneyland having easier “access” to performers by virtue of its location, but that excuse doesn’t hold a ton of water when you actually visit the respective parks and see just how pronounced the difference–in both face and fur–characters actually is. Here’s hoping Walt Disney World starts expediting entertainment’s return–it makes a huge difference in the atmosphere and energy levels of the parks.
Planning a Walt Disney World trip? Learn about hotels on our Walt Disney World Hotels Reviews page. For where to eat, read our Walt Disney World Restaurant Reviews. To save money on tickets or determine which type to buy, read our Tips for Saving Money on Walt Disney World Tickets post. Our What to Pack for Disney Trips post takes a unique look at clever items to take. For what to do and when to do it, our Walt Disney World Ride Guides will help. For comprehensive advice, the best place to start is our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide for everything you need to know!
What do you think of this Walt Disney World character news? Excited that Mirabel is debuting and Star Wars Launch Bay is returning? Would you like to see more characters, or think Walt Disney World has done a good job bringing them back? Do you agree or disagree with our assessment? 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!