Is there anything more quintessential on a Disney World trip than meeting Mickey Mouse? We’ll make the executive call: No, no there isn’t. 🙂
You’ve been able to meet Mickey since the very earliest days of Disney World and it’s a tradition that will likely stand the test of time for years to come. Still, meeting Mickey used to be a VERY different experience. Scoring that hug from the Mouse has changed a lot over the years. Now, you’ll have some decisions to make if you want to schmooze with the Big Cheese.
Characters used to be free-roaming (believe it or not)!
Back in the opening months of Magic Kingdom, Disney characters used to roam the parks freely. Nowadays, seeing Mickey take a stroll down Main Street, U.S.A. might cause some serious traffic jams!
Still, characters remain somewhat free-roaming over in Disneyland, but Disney World characters are a little more (ok a LOT more) scheduled.
To meet Mickey in Disney World today, you’ll need to head to an existing meet and greet location in the parks, or schedule a character meal. The good side of this is that these meetings are a lot more controlled than free-roaming. You can guarantee that precious face-to-face time with Mickey without having other guests clamoring for his attention too! On the other hand, you will have to pay for your experience — either with your time or money!
Now, meeting Mickey is a lot less random AND a lot less “free.”
If you’re looking to meet Mickey in present day, you have some options. You can choose to wait in a LONG line to meet the Mouse, spend one of your daily FastPasses, or book a character meal.
Meeting Mickey at a Meet and Greet
Let’s talk option one — meeting the Mouse in a meet and greet format. There is a Mickey meet and greet in every Disney World park. He meets at Town Square Theater in Magic Kingdom, in the theater in the Imagination Pavilion in Epcot, Adventurer’s Outpost in Animal Kingdom, and Mickey and Minnie Starring in Red Carpet Dreams in Hollywood Studios.
The meet and greets are free (with your park ticket, of course) but wait times can be over an hour and even spike above 90 minutes long at times. Whew! That’s a big chunk of your park day for a quick hug and a picture! So even though you’re not spending any extra cash, you’ll still “pay” with your time when you go the standby route!
Alternatively, you can snag a FastPass for the Mickey meet and greets in Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom. Just remember there’s currently no Fastpass option for the Epcot or Hollywood Studios meet and greets.
In this instance, you’ll be “paying” with one of your FastPasses. Since Magic Kingdom doesn’t have a tier system, you’ll be using up one of three potentially better-used FastPasses for a chance to briefly meet Mickey. This could work for you if meeting Mickey is a MUST for your family, but it could mean having to wait a couple of hours for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Space Mountain, or any other ride you gave up using that FastPass on.
In Animal Kingdom, the Adventurer’s Outpost is a Tier 2 Fastpass so you’ll be passing up on a Fastpass for Expedition Everest, Kilimanjaro Safaris, Dinosaur, or another popular attraction. But still, using your Fastpass in Animal Kingdom might be a better move than using one in Magic Kingdom since you can usually spot shorter waits for the Tier 2 attractions in this park.
Whichever way you choose to handle your Mickey meet and greet, you’ll be spending coveted park time or FastPasses, so be wary!
Meeting Mickey at Character Dining
Instead, you could opt to spend your money and go the character dining route. Mickey meets at Chef Mickey’s in Disney’s Contemporary Resort, ‘Ohana breakfast in Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, Tusker House in Animal Kingdom, Topolino’s Terrace breakfast in Disney’s Riviera Resort, Garden Grill in Epcot, and a few other locations. Click here to check em all out!
This option is great because you’re GUARANTEED time with Mickey AND other characters, a cute pic, and NO WAIT. Plus, you get to chow down while you’re at it. For us, food is always a plus. 🙂
On the other side of things, character dining tends to be expensive and a lot of times you might only get a quick hug and a pic before Mickey has to move on to another table.
Plus in this case, you’re paying for the experience ON TOP of a park ticket (unless you dine in one of the resort restaurants where he meets). That can get pretty pricy! But hey, you gotta eat, right? So if you can factor into your budget a character meal, this is a great way to meet Mickey (and more!).
Meeting Mickey at Hard-Ticketed Events
There’s a third option to meeting Mickey as well, although this one is under special circumstances. Some of the After Hours events in the parks feature Mickey. Mickey met guests at the Hollywood Studios After Hours, the Animal Kingdom After Hours, and the Magic Kingdom After Hours (NOT Villains!) plus Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party in the past.
If you’re headed to one of these events make sure to check in advance whether or not Mickey will be there! Remember though, this one is probably going to cost you just as much, if not MORE than the other options. You’ll be paying to attend the hard-ticketed event AND you’ll have to wait in line once you get there. So this one is a combo of money and time. Still, it’s important to note that it’s an option if you ARE planning to get your party on.
So, what’s the best way to meet your favorite character?
These tips don’t ONLY apply to Mickey. You’ll pay with money, fastpasses, or park time to meet other members of the Sensational Six, the Seven Dwarfs (you can meet a couple at Storybook Dining at Artist Point or the whole gang at the Halloween and Christmas parties), Winnie the Pooh and friends (at some character meals or the holiday parties), and the Princesses too!
That leaves us wondering, what’s the best way to meet your favorite character? Well, that depends on your family and your needs!
Wait in line for a meet and greet if…
- You don’t mind taking the time to wait.
- You’re willing to head to the park right when it opens or stay until it closes to get the shortest lines.
- You’re really hoping to use those FastPasses for other attractions.
Get a FastPass to meet your favorite character if…
- FastPass is an option for their meet and greet.
- Meeting your fave character is a must.
- You’re not bothered by losing out on other FastPasses.
- You see a day-of FastPass for the meet and greet when you’re in the park.
Head to a character meal if…
- You want to meet a bunch of characters all at once.
- You really don’t want to wait in line.
- You don’t mind spending the extra money for the experience.
Meet your favorite character at a hard-ticketed event if…
- You’re looking to meet your chosen character in a special, seasonal outfit.
- You’re hoping to meet a rare Disney character (like Jack and Sally at Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party).
- You’re already heading to a party and you’re looking to meet Mickey (or anyone else!) while you live it up!
So there you have it! We’ve laid out all the different ways that you can meet Mickey nowadays so that you can pick what’s best for YOUR trip!
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What’s your favorite way to meet Mickey? Tell us in the comments!