Walt Disney World Character Scorecard – character gains and losses

I’ve been tracking character movement for over a year now and I’ve discovered a pretty big decline in overall scheduled character meets available.  For a person whose family has enjoyed meeting a variety of characters over the years it’s quite disappointing to see the continuing decline in the number of available meets.  Sure, I’m as excited as the next person to see the new costumes and meet areas for Donald, Daisy, Goofy, Minnie and Ariel.  It’s a terrific move to include Gaston near his Tavern.   He’s a great character to interact with, almost as much fun as the Tremaine Family.  It’s wonderful to know that Wreck-it Ralph is coming to Hollywood Studios with Vanellope, but adding the shiny, new stuff doesn’t hide the fact that a number of meets and meet areas are gone for the foreseeable future.  I’ll break down all the character meets that have been eliminated, moved or added over the last year or so.

Animal Kingdom

The Animal Kingdom has been hit harder in the entertainment and character areas than any other park.  The park has lost Jiminy Cricket from Rafiki’s Planet Watch, Pocahontas only meets in Camp Minnie Mickey.  Meeko, Thumper, Miss Bunny and random Brer sightings are gone as well as Daisy’s lunch meet in Camp Minnie Mickey.  Flik was retired but replaced by Dug and Russell.  Lilo and Stitch were eliminated from the park and their meet area currently goes unused.  Goofy used to meet in both Camp Minnie Mickey and Dinoland, but now only meets in Dinoland.  Terk was eliminated from the park and Baloo and Louie were relocated to Camp Minnie Mickey.  Chip n Dale were moved from Camp Minnie Mickey to Rafiki’s.  Timon used to meet in the Oasis in the early morning and was sometimes accompanied by other rare characters like Gov. Ratcliffe as well as Pluto and Goofy, but that meet is gone.  The Animal Kingdom is a sad place to visit with only some bad DJ shows offered as entertainment.

Score:  Animal Kingdom losses 11, Gains 2

Epcot

Epcot has had the most stale character meets for quite some time now.  You could set your watch by the characters set schedules that usually only changed slightly for seasonal crowd increases.  Recently, Beast was eliminated from regular in-park meet and greets (Rumors have him meeting for dinner guests only at Be Our Guest Restaurant).  Marie was moved from France in Epcot to the Flag Pole in the Magic Kingdom.  Other characters continue to meet, but I suspect more cuts will come.  I’d guess that we’ll see only one Donald meet in Mexico very soon.

Score:  Epcot Losses 2, Gains 0

Hollywood Studios

Recently the Hundred Acre Wood characters and Mrs. Incredible were eliminated from in-park meets.  That meant that Piglet can only be met at the Crystal Palace at an additional cost.  Mrs. Incredible will no longer meet guests.  One can still find Eeyore at Animal Kingdom and Tigger & Pooh meet at Epcot and Magic Kingdom.  By the end of October, Wreck-it Ralph and Vanellope will move into Winnie the Pooh’s old spot in the Magic of Animation.

Score:  Hollywood Studios Losses 5, Gains 2

Magic Kingdom

The always popular Flynn Rider was eliminated from regular meets.  Rapunzel was moved twice into her currently partial-day meet at Town Square Theater.  Aurora was booted out of the theater and given the location next to City Hall.  Pinocchio was completely retired from regularly scheduled meets (but I’ve heard a rumor that he might return at some point to Fantasyland).  Rosetta, Terance and Vidia only meet on very rare occasions since Periwinkle has moved in with her sister in Adventureland.  Merida’s bear brothers were eliminated and the cart was eventually removed.   Marie was relocated to the Flag Pole and Chip n Dale were moved from Tomorrowland to Frontierland.  Daisy/Minnie and Donald/Goofy were moved into Pete’s Silly Sideshow.  With Ariel’s relocation and regaining fins, Eric has been eliminated from meet and greets.  Gaston has been added (soft opening) to New Fantasyland.

Score:  Magic Kingdom Losses 7, Gains 2

Total character meet and greet Losses over 24, Gains 6

This table demonstrates the characters that have been lost entirely from regular meet and greets or gained over the last year or so.

Losses 17 Gains 6
Beast Dug
Flik Russell
Flynn Rider Wreck-it Ralph
Jiminy Cricket Vanellope
Lilo Periwinkle
Meeko Gaston
Miss Bunny
Mrs.   Incredible
Piglet
Pinocchio
Prince Eric
Rosetta
Terance
Terk
Thumper
Timon
Vidia

There are currenlty 56 different characters that offer scheduled meets at Disney World.  8 others can be met at a character meal or experience at additional cost.  Other characters may appear for training meets or character palooza (seasonal).  What do you think about the current state of the variety of meet and greets in Walt Disney World?

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22 thoughts on “Walt Disney World Character Scorecard – character gains and losses”

  1. Please, please bring Jiminy Cricket back. I will be at Disney World for the first time in my life this December (almost 59). I love Jiminy Cricket & really want to see him.

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  2. This breaks my heart. We hardly ever stopped for M&Gs when I was a kid because my parents wanted to get in more rides so now that we are going down as adults my sister and I were hoping to nab as many photo opportunities as possible. I really hope Beast will meet outside of BoG dinners because we’re not that thrilled with the food choices and he’s the one character on my ‘must meet’ list for the past 20 years. Even big kids can be disappointed about this decline.

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  3. Our last visit in August my son wanted to meet with Dug and Russell. We tried, but it was very hard to find the spot of their meet and great and when we did finally find it, they were not running on the schedule. My son was dissapointed, I agree that some villains would be a great add, not just at the mnsshp. Not everyone can get to that!

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  4. It was nice meeting you a couple weeks ago on thAt crazy jack and sally line..anyway thanks again for listing all these chararacters that are vannishing in wdw day by day..I wish it would get bk to people are in charge of these character poor choices they make.I cant inderstand how disney could ever be so tight or in debt with money that they cant change up and add characters more than they do.Its sad that all the other disney parks are better for characters than the first disney world ever built.I can tell you this,i wont be booking any more trips out there to meet there same old easy to find characters anymore.And the mnsshp stunk it was basically same party as the one before same characters lame.Its time to fly to disneyland to enjoy different parks and characters.

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  5. I really hate that so many characters left Animal Kingdom. The lack of rides for younger kids coupled with lack of characters made us a change our AK plans to just a half day this year, and even then we were done early. Yes, they have animals. With the exception of the safari though, you’re not seeing much more than you’d see at a good zoo. And we also live near a drive through safari where you can feed the animals from your car. So while we like the safari, its not enough reason to go to the park.

    I would also like to see more villains!

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  6. DAK’s random Brer sightings have not been eliminated.

    Also, I’ve been told that as part of the Next-Gen initiative, they’re planning to have more random unnanounced character greeting sets throughout the parks, which would include characters that are lower in demand, so there’s a silver lining in this cloud.

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    1. If Brers still appear in Camp it is extremely uncommon these days. Just two years ago they were common in Camp every morning.

      I’ve not heard of any plans to bring back a great deal of old characters, but they do seem to be moving toward not publishing schedules much. They have two apps that they can use for character schedules and only use them sparingly outside of Epcot. I’d be happy to see more of the older characters in the parks, but it isn’t looking very likely when the actual number of character appearances and the hours that the characters appear continues to dwindle.

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      1. More simple, unplanned character meet-and-greets ARE in the works as part of the whole NextGen initiative!

        It WILL result in an increased variety of meet-and-greet characters and return current not-so-common characters to normal regular meet-and-greet duties (but which specific ones appear in those sets will vary from day to day, of course, like with DHS’s Character-Palooza).

        It makes sense to do it that way anyway, while having the REALLY in-demand/VIP characters (like the “Excellent Eight”, Lilo & Stitch, the Pooh characters, the Princesses, the Fairies and some of the Pixar characters) greet guests in custom-built locations with formal queue areas.

        Just because you haven’t heard it yourself doesn’t mean it’s false.

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  7. I get that they have to bring in new characters but can’t they keep the older ones too. For those of us who still remember them as well

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  8. That is a sad trend. Character greetings, in themed environments is what makes Disney magical and separates them from other parks! All you need to do is see how long character lines are, and you’d see that it is a highlight of many visitors vacations. They need a larger variety of characters, not just put Chip and Dale at every corner either. I agree with the huge catalog of Disney characters, only 56 is pitifull.

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  9. I heard a rumour about having a new meet where Snow White’s Scary Adventure used to be. Do you think some of them might get reintroduced there?

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  10. I think it’s horrible. With as many Disney characters that exist there should be way more than 56 available. Bring out the villains more often than just at MNSSHP for example.

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