Walt Disney World Anniversary: 50 Favorite Character Sightings

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In honor of the upcoming 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World, which opened on October 1, 1971, we are highlighting the top 50 of some of our favorite things about the most magical place on earth! This week, we take a look at some of the best character sightings throughout WDW.

During “normal times”, there are lots of opportunities to spot your favorite characters throughout the parks and resorts, including character meet & greets, character dining, stage shows, and parades. These days, the characters appear more through daily cavalcades, socially-distanced photo opps, and some of the returning stage shows. Check Disney’s website for the most up-to-date information.

Below we break down (in no particular order) some of the best characters that have appeared in recent years. Hopefully, you will have a chance to see some of them during your next trip!

Make sure to check out our Instagram for even more photos of our favorite characters at WDW!

  1. Mickey – the one who started it all!
  2. Minnie – a style icon, whether rocking the dots, evening wear, or safari gear
  3. Donald – often seen causing some trouble, but always in good fun
  4. Goofy – may leave you saying “gawrsh”
  5. Pluto – a mouse’s best friend
  6. Chip & Dale – can you name a more classic Disney duo?
  7. Snow White – Disney’s first princess is still a favorite of many
  8. Dwarfs – these guys are elusive; usually only spotted during character dining or Christmastime
  9. Cinderella – arguably the most classic princess of all time
  10. Aurora – also known as Sleeping Beauty, appearing in pink, not blue
  11. Ariel – you may spot her on dry land in either mermaid or human form
  12. Belle – can be seen in her equally-classic yellow ball gown or blue day dress
  13. Beast – he may look intimidating, but he’s really a big softy
  14. Gaston – no one meets like Gaston, no one greets like Gaston, no one goes tromping around down Main Street like Gaston
  15. Aladdin – it’s like stepping into a whole new world when you spot this street rat with a heart of gold
  16. Jasmine – seeing her is pretty special, but remember: she’s not a prize to be won
  17. Pocahontas – try saying “wingapo” to greet her
  18. Mulan – after saving China, anything else is just a walk in the (theme) park
  19. Tiana – you don’t have to make it down to New Orleans to see this hardworking princess
  20. Rapunzel – a modern favorite sporting her famous (and magical) hair in its signature braid
  21. Merida – she’ll blow you away with her wild hair and impressive archery skills
  22. Anna & Elsa – always appearing together, these two are the epitome of sisterly love
  23. Winnie the Pooh – this silly old bear really is stuffed with fluff, not honey
  24. Tigger – the most wonderful thing about Tiggers is that they are a lot of fun to meet!
  25. Piglet – may be timid at first, but he’ll warm up in the end (just like a lot of kids when they first see the characters)
  26. Eeyore – he’s just glad you noticed him
  27. Stitch – Experiment 626 may be acting mischievous but he’s also very loyal
  28. Peter Pan – the boy who refused to grow up will enjoy seeing the young and young-at-heart
  29. Tinker Bell – with a sprinkle of pixie dust she may inspire you to visit Neverland
  30. Jack Sparrow – this is the day you will always remember as the day you saw Captain Jack Sparrow
  31. Jack Skellington – a traditional Halloween time staple from Halloween Town
  32. Maleficent – pretty frightening in both human and dragon form
  33. Mary Poppins – it’s always a jolly holiday with Mary
  34. Alice – you don’t have to fall down a rabbit hole to catch a glimpse of Alice
  35. Mad Hatter – he may be a little mad, but aren’t we all after a day at the parks?
  36. Joy – she’s always happy to see you, and will make you happy too!
  37. Baymax – world’s cutest, albeit slowest, health care companion
  38. Woody – you’ve certainly got a friend in Woody
  39. Buzz Lightyear – seeing Buzz will make you feel like you’ve gone to infinity and beyond
  40. Jessie – you’ll always have a rootin’ tootin’ good time with her
  41. Chewbacca – he may be a sore loser, but a generally friendly Wookie
  42. BB-8 – for a good and loyal sidekick, this is the droid you’re looking for
  43. Darth Vader – definitely scary for some kids, so proceed with caution
  44. Doc McStuffins – one of several Disney Jr. favorites you may spot
  45. The Incredibles – saving the world and visiting Disney are both family affairs
  46. Olaf – although he likes warm hugs, you’ll have to settle for waving right now
  47. Sulley – there’s no need to fear this world’s greatest scarer
  48. Rafiki – this wise old baboon will (unfortunately) not hold up your baby “Circle of Life” style
  49. Timon – always up for a laugh or an adventure
  50. Russel & Dug – these two love seeing guests almost as much as they love exploring the wilderness

Whether it is up close, from a distance, on a float, or on stage, it is always fun to see some of our all-time favorite characters come to life! With new movies regularly being released, we know there will continue to be a good balance of classic and new characters throughout Walt Disney World for years to come!

Who are your favorite characters to see at the parks? Let us know in the comments!

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Amy Crockett

Amy Crockett is a native Michigander who works at a library by day and dreams of Disney by night. Planning Disney trips is her favorite thing in the entire world to do (apart from the trip itself)! In addition to all things Disney, she loves reading, musical theatre, playing tennis, traveling, and cheering on the Detroit Tigers.

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