For me, meeting characters is a huge part of the Disney experience. I understand that’s not an opinion shared by all (if character meet and greets aren’t your thing, join Team Beth, here — nothing but love for ya, girl!), but for me, meeting characters is the closest I get to believing I’m in the world of Disney stories — and I love it! There are some characters, though, who I’d love to meet, but who don’t come out to play. Here are my top picks…
7. Grandmother Willow (Pocahontas)
She’s sassy, she’s wise, and she’s not afraid to scare the beejeezus out of some snooping settlers. Grandmother Willow is a
champ among trees. I bet she and Groot would get along great! (Ok, now I’m picturing Baby Groot playing with her hanging leaves and it’s adorable. This needs to happen. Calling artistically inclined friends: draw this???) Obviously I understand the complexity of arranging for meet-ups with a massive, stationary, talking weeping willow, but you can’t tell me she wouldn’t have the most sage advice for all who come to see her.
6. Dumbo and Timothy (Dumbo)
I know, I know — Kim wants to meet Dumbo???? Precisely zero people are surprised. While I know that meet-ups with characters who don’t talk can be incredible, I think this meet and greet would step up to the next level if Timothy was able to join in and help translate for Dumbo. Plus, he’s a ball of energy and motivation. Who doesn’t need a pick-me-up from Timothy every once in a while? He’s a little guy who knows how to dream big, and sometimes it’s important to see the world through eyes who see the sky as the limit.
5. Hei Hei (Moana)
Just picture the mayhem here with me. I feel like you’d need a very creative soul to capture the spirit of Hei Hei, but under the right conditions, I imagine this meet and greet would leave everybody in stitches. This is another one where I feel like a pair would work well. Can you imagine trying to have a conversation with Moana while she’s constantly trying to keep Hei Hei from accidentally injuring or killing himself? Maybe this could be a situation similar to meeting Star-Lord and Baby Groot! (I’d 100% wear this Disney Bound when meeting Hei Hei.)
4. Kevin (Up)
I like ridiculous, brightly-colored birds; sue me! Bonus points if Kevin brings her babies with her because I’d be content to just stare at them and squeal over how adorable those little pom-poms are. Watching Up, I’ve always been impressed with precisely how much emotion Kevin can convey with such limited movements. Her imitation of Carl? Golden. The grumpier your friends are, the better this interaction would be.
3. Gramma Tala (Moana)
I’m ashamed to admit that I had zero clue that Moana’s grandmother had a credited name. I always just called her “Moana’s Grandmother” or “The Village Crazy Lady.” It’s this nickname that makes me want to meet her so badly. When Moana’s own mother was telling her that some dreams simply aren’t meant to be, Gramma Tala was encouraging Moana to listen to the voice inside and follow her heart, no matter how unusual the path may seem. 10/10 would be down to dance with Gramma Tala and the mischievous waves.
2. Maximus (Tangled)
I mean, come ON. Maximus’s dedication, stubbornness, and need for order in a world filled with chaos are endlessly entertaining. While I have no doubt Maximus can stand alone, he’d be a great one to pair up with Flynn, since the two get along sooo well, all the time. Right? I just know I’d spend my entire meet-up time with Maximus saying ridiculous things to try to get a rise out of him. Perhaps a discussion about how the kingdom should ban apples? I’d love to hear his thoughts on that one.
1. Zazu (Lion King)
I think what I’ve learned in making this list is that Disney really needs to step up their bird meet and greet game. I don’t want to hear any excuses about logistical complications. This can totally work. Disney has magic. If they can make Flight of Passage, they can let me meet a talking bird. I feel as though Zazu would get along well with Maximus (considering their shared affinity for rules), and I think I’d enjoy ruffling Zazu’s feathers as much as I’d enjoy the aghast expression I’d be aiming to get from Maximus. Maybe I could even convince Zazu to sing to me! (So long as he doesn’t pick the Small World song!)
I couldn’t write this post in good faith without mentioning some other favorites who I have yet to meet, but who HAVE been spotted in the past: Mushu, Carl Fredricksen, and Genie. I’m anxiously awaiting my opportunity to bump into these rare characters (and Ben is dying to meet Rabbit!), but they weren’t included above because they are merely rare. For a good chance to see some rare characters, make sure to check out PhotoPass Day at both Walt Disney World and Disneyland on August 19! You could see some uncommon characters and get some special magic shots, too!
I absolutely adore meeting characters all around Disney (including at character meals!). I’d like to note, that these characters are unavailable only as far as I can tell. I’d honestly love to be wrong here, so if you know of where I can meet any, please let me know! With the entire Disney universe at your disposal, who do you want to meet most?