How important are characters during your visit to Disneyland Paris?




I was inspired to write this article after listening to episode 2 of the In My Disney Opinion (IMDO) podcast where they debated the pros and cons of meeting characters randomly around the resort versus seeing them at organised meet and greets. It made me think about what I prefer and when coming to that conclusion, I also wondered what other people prefer and just how much of an importance seeing the characters around Disneyland Paris is on someone’s holiday.

There are three types of organised character meet and greets. Firstly there are those that have their own permanent location around the parks; like the Princess Palliation in Fantasyland and Duffy the Disney Bear On Main Street USA – though lack of popularity has seen him being dumped until Halloween, in favour of a random rotation of other characters. The second type are those who are scheduled to be in certain places between certain times; like Goofy in the Front Lot of Walt Disney Studios. The third is a character meal such as Cafe Mickey or Inventions. No matter when you book your meal you are guaranteed to see characters, and usually the same ones; Mickey and pals, with some 100 Acre Wood characters thrown in for good measure. In contrast, the random meets can come anywhere in the parks at any time and are when you bump into a character who is not advertised as being anywhere.

Steve meets Duffy the Disney Bear in Disneyland Paris

As I’ve mentioned previously, and as was discussed on the IMDO Podcast, the random character meets and are becoming less and less, as Disneyland Paris seem to moving all character interaction towards permanent location meet and greets. For me personally, this dramatically cuts down on the number of characters we’ll meet and have photos taken with on our trips. Meeting characters is not a big deal for us, to the point where we simply will not queue up and therefore the random meets were perfect and were usually the only time we would have a photo taken with one, aside from the few character meals we had almost a decade ago. They are a nice occurrence when you bump into one, but worthy of our time waiting in queues.

Back in the early – mid 2000s we had one trip which saw Denise, my wife, getting a photo with around 30 different characters during our trip to Disneyland Paris, and almost all of them from random character meets. The others being from meals at the aforementioned Inventions and Cafe Mickey. The one and only time, in 11 trips to Disneyland Paris, that we have ever queued up to see a character was back in 2003 when we had a photo taken with Mickey outside his trailer, as you used to be able to do in Walt Disney Studios. It was our honeymoon so we had to get one photo with the big mouse on campus. This was made easier it being early December, so the queue wasn’t that big anyway.

Steve with Mickey Mouse in Disneyland Paris

Fast forward a few years to 2007 and we had just finished a yummy Pizza in Bella Notte when we noticed not one, not two but three characters milling about outside, with nobody near them. This then became the perfect opportunity for me to get photos with Snow White, Ariel and Stitch. If I wanted to get a photo with a Princess these days I’d have to wait in the line at the Princess Pavilion for between an hour to 90 minutes, and that’s not going to happen, not on our holiday anyway! I guess we’re lucky in that our 4 year old son Lucas doesn’t like the characters from closer than 10 feet away, but he does like seeing them around.

Steve with Ariel in Disneyland Paris

So for us, meeting the characters is quite low on our list of priorities, though for Lucas’ sake it’s nice seeing them out and about. When we look at photos from recent holidays to Disneyland Parents, very few have us with characters in them due to the dramatic decrease in random character meets. How about you – do you like meeting characters? Do you prefer random meets or do you like the swing towards more organised meet and greets that we’ve seen. If you are not bothered about actually meeting them, do you still like seeing them around the resort? Just how important are seeing the characters to you, not including shows and parades of course?

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As the founder of Dedicated to DLP Steve is a self confessed Disneyland Paris fanatic and has an unrivaled passion for the resort, its history and what makes it work. He has a particular love of Pirates of the Caribbean, which he often talks about as the host of the podcast and the weekly YouTube show.

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4 Responses to “How important are characters during your visit to Disneyland Paris?”

  1. Funkychopsta says:

    For me, my son loves to meet the characters. We will wait for mickey, but I find in DLP tr random ones are terribly unorganised.

    The best place for us is Cafe Mickey. Tho once we were just looking aroun the disneyland resort an saw minne walking along a corridor and got a couple of photos with her. There was great interaction due to there being no pressure to get the next guest in.

  2. Nikki Desborough says:

    I like to see the characters around although I’ve only had close encounters with two, Pluto at the entrance to Walt Disney World and The Beast at one of the special meet n greets a good few years ago. I felt a bit of a berk queuing up with all the tiny girls in their princess dresses but I was determined to have my pic with the Beast who is a great favourite of mine. It’s on the wall as I speak and finally dispels a long held family myth that I am a vampire which explains why I never appear in family photos of any kind. Other than that I’ve never sought out any of the other characters for pix.

  3. Nessie says:

    I originally went to DLP when it first opened, several times, and as soon as you walked though the gates ther was an amazing feeling. Excitement, I’m young again, WOW……..! I can’t put a single word to it. To see the characters walking around the park added to that feeling. I have since been to Disney in Florida but the feeling wasn’t there it seemed commercial and you could have been in Alton Towers. I am taking my nieces and nephew to DLP next year, I do hope that feeling is still present and that the characters are still seen walking around after all what would it be without the characters, just another amusement park………..!

  4. david says:

    AS LONG AS I SEE MY FAVOURITE CHARACTERS BALOO AND GASTON I AM HAPPY I HAVENT EVER SEEN ANY MEGA RARE CHARACTERS

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