Disney World testing queues for outdoor character meet and greets

Walt Disney World has brought back character meet and greets, now known as “Character Sightings.” While some characters have been doing this for some time, we noticed a new setup for the experience while visiting Epcot. Character Attendant cast members were seen having guests form a queue instead of allowing a walk-up-and-go-when-you-please experience. Is this going to be the new norm for outdoor character encounters?

Outdoor queue testing for the new character meet and greet sighting experiences.

Over in the Norway Pavilion at Epcot is Anna and Elsa’s Royal Sommerhus. While getting in line for character meet and greets seems like a no-brainer, it is something we haven’t seen since the start of the pandemic. Mickey Mouse just began meeting guests again at Town Square Theater and select princesses have returned to the Princess Fairytale Hall in Magic Kingdom.

We have written before on how Walt Disney World entertainment has been lacking, stating that “even on the My Disney Experience app, there is no specific time or location for characters to do social meet-and-greets. While many Disney experts may know that Anna and Elsa come out daily at the Norway Pavilion, your everyday visitor would not.” It appears that, perhaps, many more guests have caught on, and thus created a negative crowd experience for this specific character sighting.

Anna meeting guests outside of the Norway Pavilion's Royal Sommerhus.

The Anna and Elsa Sighting location may be the testing grounds, and we could eventually see the return of queues everywhere to interact with beloved Disney characters. Cavalcades, motorcades and flotillas — which are like miniature parades on land and on boats, depending on the park — are still offered at Magic Kingdom, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom. At Epcot, though, these Character Sightings are now the only way to meet and interact with Disney characters.

Currently, when on the My Disney Experience app and using the new Genie service, it doesn’t specifically showcase these character sightings. However, the return of queues could be the stepping-off point to make timed and location-specific Sightings that Genie could recommend. It is expected that character locations that offered FastPass+ before, like Princess Fairytale Hall, will get Lightning Lane access in the near future.

Did you prefer the random character pop-ups, or would you rather wait in line and know you will see a specific character? Let us know in the comments below.


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