When my three daughters were younger, we went through a several year period when we lived in the world of princesses. Every day was a full-on immersion in all things regal, from tiaras and teatime to proclamations and petticoats. If a princesses had it in her life, we had it in ours.
Of course, there’s really no better place to get your princess on that at Walt Disney World. If you’ve got a young royal in your family, here’s what you need to know to find EVERYTHING princess at the parks.
Oh, and just so we’re all on the same royal page, I’m discussing here the official Disney princess canon: Ariel, Aurora (Sleeping Beauty), Belle, Cinderella, Jasmine, Merida, Mulan, Pocahantas, Rapunzel, Snow White, and Tiana, plus the presumptive ascendants to the throne, Anna & Elsa.
MEETING PRINCESSES at Meet & Greet locations
Character Meet & Greets come in two forms: regularly scheduled and impromptu. As of late January 2015, the following are the regularly scheduled princess Meet & Greet locations. These are the greetings that happen daily at specific times. Hours vary, so be sure to confirm with the free Times Guide as you enter the park.
- Anna & Elsa (To date, they only appear in tandem.): In the Princess Fairytale Hall, Fantasyland, Magic Kingdom.
- Ariel: At Ariel’s Grotto, Fantasyland, Magic Kingdom. She’s flippin’ her fins at this location; it’s the place to see her in her mermaid form.
- Aurora: Sometimes at Epcot, near the France pavilion.
- Belle: At Epcot, near the France pavilion. Also at the Magic Kingdom Enchanted Tales with Belle attraction (see below).
- Cinderella: In the Princess Fairytale Hall, Fantasyland, Magic Kingdom.
- Jasmine: In Adventureland, Magic Kingdom. At the Morocco pavilion, Epcot.
- Merida: In the Fairytale Garden, Magic Kingdom.
- Mulan: At Epcot, in the China pavilion.
- Pocahantas: At the Animal Kingdom, near the Discovery Island Trail tortoise exhibit.
- Rapunzel: In the Princess Fairytale Hall, Magic Kingdom.
- Snow White: At Epcot, near the Germany pavilion.
- Tiana: At the Magic Kingdom, at the gazebo near Liberty Square.
In addition to the regularly scheduled greeting opportunities, there are occasional surprise greetings. Keep your eyes open.
MEETING PRINCESSES at Meals
Princesses make appearances at the following meals. Please note that while the princess appearances are generally consistent, there are occasional last-minute line up changes. Reservations for any character meal are STRONGLY recommended.
You won’t have to wait in a line to meet a princess at a meal, they come and chat with guests at their tables. You will, however, have to purchase a meal. The non-meal Meet & Greets are free with park admission.
- Cinderella’s Royal Table, Magic Kingdom. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner.: Ariel (in her human ball gown), Aurora, Cinderella, Jasmine, and Snow White. (Please note that the Royal Table is undergoing temporary refurbishment. This meal is currently taking place at Citricos at the Grand Floridian. It’s expected to be back in the Castle in March 2015. While at Citricos, only breakfast and lunch will be available as a character experience.)
- Akershus Royal Banquet Hall, Epcot, Norway pavilion. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner.: Ariel (in her human ball gown), Aurora, Belle, Cinderella, Jasmine, and Snow White.
- 1900 Park Fare, Grand Floridian. Dinner.: Cinderella, along with her step family and Prince Charming. (Please note that non-princess characters appear at this location at breakfast.)
- Hollywood & Vine, Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Breakfast and lunch.: No “real” Disney princesses appear here, but Disney Junior princess-ette Sofia the First does make appearances here.
- My Disney Girl Perfectly Princess Tea Party, Grand Floridian. 10:30am on select days.: Aurora. (This is a very expensive and very princessey event. While dress-up is not absolutely required at any character experience, you will find that the vast majority of girls are dressed up in gowns here. They’re gifted with a doll, a rose, a silver bracelet, and a few other items. Aurora’s pal Rose Petal performs a bit. And there’s pink everywhere.
- The Be Our Guest restaurant in the Magic Kingdom has no princess appearances (the Beast does appear at dinner), but there are elements related to Belle’s stay at the Beast’s Castle throughout.
MEETING PRINCESSES at Special Events
Princesses also appear at some special events.
- Disney Visa Meet & Greets. Disney Visa card holders are invited to a Meet & Greet location at Innoventions West at Epcot from 1:00-7:00pm on most days. The greeting includes a free 5X7 photo. The character here is sometimes a princess, often Belle. Lines are typically shorter than for other greeting locations.
- RunDisney events. The characters at runDisney events won’t be announced in advance, but it’s quite possible that princesses could be in the mix.
- Magic Kingdom Parties, Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. Princesses will typically appear at both events, often in a unique costume (Belle in her winter cloak, for example) or with other characters from their story (some years Snow White has greeted guests along with all seven dwarfs, for example).
SEEING PRINCESSES in Shows
Many Disney shows include princess participants. With one execption, you can’t meet them here, but you can see them. The exact participants may vary slightly, but in general look for these:
- For the First Time in Forever, Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Live action performance with singing, and singing along.: Anna & Elsa.
- Voyage of the Little Mermaid, Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Live action performance with singing.: Ariel.
- Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage, Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Live action performance with singing.: Belle.
- Magic Kingdom, Enchanted Tales with Belle. You can meet live Belle here and pose for a photo, but only if you participate in the show. She will not sign autographs at this location.
- Magic Kingdom Welcome Show, at park opening, on most non-early-entry days. Characters arrive by train.: Anna & Elsa, Aurora, Snow White, Tiana.
- Celebrate the Magic, Magic Kingdom.: This is the Wishes firework pre-show Castle projection. The exact images change periodically, but expect to see elements from several princess films.
- Dream Along with Mickey, Castle Forecourt, Magic Kingdom.: Aurora, Cinderella, Snow White.
- Fantasmic, Disney’s Hollywood Studios.: Ariel, Belle, Jasmine, Mulan, Pocahantas, Snow White, Tiana.
SEEING PRINCESSES in Parades
Here again, you can see princesses in parades, but you won’t be able to chat with them.
- Festival of Fantasy, Magic Kingdom.: Anna & Elsa, Ariel, Belle, Cinderella, Merida, Rapunzel, Snow White, Tiana.
- Main Street Electrical Parade, Magic Kingdom.: Cinderella, Snow White.
- Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party parade, Magic Kingdom (seaonal, ticketed event): Jasmine, Snow White.
- Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party parade, Magic Kingdom (seasonal, ticketed event): Anna & Elsa, Ariel, Aurora, Belle, Cinderella, Jasmine, Snow White, Tiana.
PRINCESS THEMED RIDES
Several rides have princess-centric themes. They are:
- Magic Kingdom, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. Snow White animatronic during the ride.
- Magic Kingdom. Magic Carpets of Aladdin. Themed from the film, but characters do not appear during the ride.
- Magic Kingdom, Mickey’s PhilharMagic. Animated Ariel and Jasmine appear. Also “Be Our Guest” from “Beauty and the Beast” is sung.
- Magic Kingdom, Prince Charming Regal Carousel. Scenes from the Cinderella film are painted on the exterior of the ride, near the canopy.
- Magic Kingdom, Under the Sea Journey of the Little Mermaid. Animatronic Ariel throughout.
Port Orleans Riverside offers “Royal Rooms” themed with dozens of princess elements including a Jasmine magic carpet woven into the carpeting, princess portraits on the walls, a printed royal welcome proclamation, and magic lamp bathroom faucets. These rooms are in an out-of-the-way location at the resort, but if you’ve got princess fiend, the schlep may be worth it.
The Art of Animation resort is primarily two-room family suites, but they do have one section of the hotel composed of standard single rooms, themed to The Little Mermaid. The room interiors and a nearby pool are an immersive Little Mermaid experience. As with the Royal Rooms, the Mermaid rooms are at the farthest corner of the resort, but Ariel lovers will be in heaven.
Of course there’s also the uber-posh Cinderella Suite located in the Magic Kingdom in the Castle. Several years ago, this was used almost nightly as surprise guest housing. However, now it is used sporadically, usually for VIPs (Tom Cruise, the Jonas Brothers) or contest winners. You can’t book it, but you can dream.
Princess dresses and other accessories are found in dozens of locations throughout Walt Disney World. They’re all but impossible to avoid. In addition to attire, the range of princess themed merchandise is nearly endless. Look for towels, tees, plush toys, jewelry, and much, much more.
There are two locations of the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, at the Magic Kingdom and at the World of Disney store at Downtown Disney. The “Fairy Godmothers in Training” at the BBB give makeovers to girls ages 3-12, including hair styling, makeup application, and more. Reservations are a necessity.
Look for thematic elements throughout Walt Disney World, particularly at the Magic Kingdom. For example, no visit to the Magic Kingdom is complete without a walk through the Castle to view the gorgeous mosaics depicting the Cinderella Story. Cinderella’s fountain is located near the back of the Castle. And a lovely Wishing Well is in the Rose Garden at the front of the Castle. Keep an eye out for princess decor in many of the WDW shops, particularly Castle Couture in the Magic Kingdom. And if you’re in the mood for an odd, but charming, treat, pay a visit to the restrooms at the edge of Fantasyland just past It’s A Small World. They’re themed as if they live in the land of Rapunzel!
During the springtime Flower & Garden Festival at Epcot, look for life-size princess-themed topiaries. And there’s always a chance that Disney will come out with an edible item with a princess motif.
What’s your favorite princess item in the parks? Is your daughter or granddaughter in a princess phase? How have you coped with princess mania? Let us know in the comments below.