How to Meet Characters on Your Disney Cruise Vacation

Let's face it - kids (and some of us adults!) love meeting characters when we travel to Disney destinations.  A Disney Cruise Line vacation is no different and gives you a number of ways to meet & interact with characters while on board.  Check out these tips to make the most of your opportunities to meet characters while cruising with your family!

You can reserve some character experiences ahead of time


Just like FastPass+ and Advanced Dining Reservations can be booked prior to a Walt Disney World Resort vacation, guests sailing on Disney Cruise Line can book some experiences ahead of their cruise.  Some of these include character meet & greets! While I'm sure the reservation options may vary - particularly on special sailings - you will definitely want to check them out on the "My Cruise Activities" section of your reservation.  For our cruise, there were a few Frozen meet and greets plus several Princess meet and greets.  The ONLY way to participate in these is with a reservation - and they do book up quickly!  Also, depending on your sailing, there may be character dining experiences too.  Be sure to log into your "My Cruise Activities" as soon as your window opens to have the best chance of getting what you want to book.



Check those schedules


Your Disney Cruise Line app is home to all of your cruise activities, including when and where to meet characters.   Warning - there are A LOT!!!  The DCL app makes it easy to narrow down the character experiences as you can filter your daily activities.  On the app, you'll find the time and location of your character greetings plus a note as to how long the character is expected to be there - usually either 15 or 30 minutes.  Lines for popular characters can get long fast so be mindful and plan accordingly.  If Jack Sparrow is meeting on Pirate Night at 5:30, you may want to plan on lining up at 5:10 or 5:15 to make sure you get in.  This is exactly what we did and we ended up being the 3rd family in line.  By the time we entered the D lounge to begin the meet at 5:30, the line wrapped around the entire lounge area.  Cast members are great at monitoring the lines and will close them down so you don't end up spending time waiting to be disappointed.  And don't forget that characters have regular meetings scheduled on Castaway Cay as well!

Keep your eyes open for roaming characters


I feel like the parks have really moved away from roaming characters, except maybe for party nights or special occasions, but roaming characters are not uncommon to see on the cruise ship.  We ran into Goofy, Max, Cinderella, and Belle on our last cruise without planning to meet up with them.  Since you never know just who you'll run into and when, we were never without our autograph book.  Check out this article on collecting autographs for ideas about what you can bring for characters to sign on your vacation.  My favorite is still the Disney Junior Encyclopedia of Animated Characters - it fits easily into our backpack, makes a nice book to look through at home, and challenges us to meet new characters to add to our collection rather than collecting the same autographs each trip.  The one place you won't be able to snap that great photo memory or snag an autograph with roaming characters though is inside the various kids club locations. Characters are known to pop by and visit throughout the day or evening, but these activities are often reserved just for the kids - no grown ups allowed!


All in all, I think meeting characters on a Disney Cruise Line vacation is much easier than in the parks as everything just seems more accessible and less crowded.  But don't expect to just walk up and meet every character you want either.  There is a little planning and a little magic that comes into play to make your character greetings memorable on your Disney Cruise Line vacation!

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