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The Best Disney Character Appearances of 2020

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Around the TouringPlans watercooler, Julia and I were chatting about how dramatic things changed this year. When we look back at the photos and blog posts from the beginning of 2020, it is stunning to realize how we had no idea what was coming and how the whole world would turn upside down, including Walt Disney World, of course. But, there are a few bright spots, one of them being how character appearances changed in 2020.

Although many of us miss the personal interaction that was often experienced during traditional character meet and greets, it is nice not dealing with lines and crowds. And even though there is no published schedule for the character cavalcades and distanced character appearances, they happen so frequently it is pretty easy to see a few characters during your day in the parks.

Jose Carioca and Clarabelle Cow – two rare characters make a distanced appearance – August 2020
Magic Kingdom Reopening Social Distance Character Greeting July 2020

Animal Kingdom’s character cavalcades win for being so unique, taking place in decorated boats along the Discovery River. It is nice to see movement on the river after being dormant for so long.

Animal Kingdom Character Cavalcade

Both the Halloween season and the winter holiday season brought some fantastic character appearances, especially at Magic Kingdom. Essentially parts of the Boo to You Parade and the Very Merry Christmas Parade were broken into individual cavalcades. This gave Magic Kingdom guests a chance to experience these elaborate floats and costumes during the day and without special event admission.

Mini-Boo to You Character Cavalcade at Magic Kingdom
Princess Christmas Character Cavalcade Magic Kingdom
Clarabelle Christmas Character Cavalcade Magic Kingdom

And right now during the holiday season you can see Santa Claus in all four parks. Personally, I am really digging the totally Floridian appearance of Santa on a pontoon boat at Disney Springs.

Santa Boat at Disney Springs
Santa Claus Cavalcade at EPCOT

One character appearance that felt very awkward this year was Cinderella at Cinderella’s Royal Table. We’re now accustomed to social distant character dining, but her appearance was very distant and pretty brief. Then again, she is royalty.

Did you have a chance to see any of the characters at Walt Disney World this year? 


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Born and raised in the land of sunshine and dreams come true, Dani is a proud Orlando Native who loves sharing her hometown with others. She's worked in nearly all of Orlando's theme parks, on board Disney Cruise Line, and in hotel management. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @thisfloridalife