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