There's probably a good four or five autograph books from my childhood, at least, sitting on a shelf at home, and I can almost guarantee that the majority of the autographs in those books are from Mickey and Pluto. And then there was a period where I didn't really care much about characters or autographs at all, which lasted until I really became a part of the Disney community on Instagram and watched as so many others had memorable experiences with characters. Now, since bringing my friends to Walt Disney World for the first time, I've really been trying to meet more characters, and as with any trip, I found a few new ones.
Disney World and Disneyland are very different in regards to characters. In Florida, each character has an attendant nearby to help control the line and any unruly children that may be around. At Disneyland this isn't always the case, as usually face characters will roam more on their own, sometimes without even a photopass photographer. Second, the variety of characters is much wider at Disneyland, and it's where I managed to pick up a couple of characters that I'd never be able to meet in Florida, like Oswald!
There are opportunities to meet rare characters at Walt Disney World, but you just have to keep an eye out for them. This past January, my Mom attended the inaugural Club Villain event, and when there was an opportunity for her to bring me this May, we took the chance. At Club Villain, which I'll blog more about later, you have the opportunity to meet four distinct Disney villains, none of which you'll find anywhere else at Walt Disney World on a regular basis: Maleficent, The Queen of Hearts, The Evil Queen, and Cruella de Vil. Dr. Facilier is there as well, hosting, and while you can't necessarily meet him, he does stand near the back for a good portion of the show, where you can catch a picture with him if you wish (I didn't, unfortunately).
While you used to only be able to meet Olaf out at Disney California Adventure, he recently made the move to Florida again, and this time it seems like he'll be staying. Currently, or at least when I met him, he's in his own little private meet and greet near Star Tours in one of the old sound stages, and honestly you can't beat the adorableness that this snowman is all the time.
Early in my trip, I happened to be walking around World Showcase and had stopped to listen to Alberta Bound in the Canada Pavilion when the gates to the old Millennium Celebration building opened, revealing a wealth of rare characters. I'm talking Baloo, Captain Hook, Smee, the Country Bears, and a few others. Since I wanted to round out the performance by Alberta Bound, I only had time to stand for one character, and despite my love for Captain Hook, I went with Baloo, who was just super sweet!
And finally, I was walking out of Animal Kingdom in the mid-afternoon one day when, suddenly, off to the side, a head popped out of the brush. Tarzan happened to be meeting on a side trail near the Tree of Life, and since he was out of the way and not directly visible, no one was there. Another family went in addition to ours, so we waited for a minute or two, but my conversation with Tarzan about cameras and bananas was well worth the stop!
I must say that despite the fact that there are so many half-empty autograph books at home, I'm almost finished with the one I started a couple of years ago with my friends. We've met a lot of characters, and I'm always looking for new ones! I am saving one special page for Flynn Rider though, whom I met once. I didn't get his autograph then, and I'm definitely determined to get one next time!
Who's your favorite rare character to find in the Disney Parks?
Have a magical day!