Walt Disney World has introduced new and returning character meet & greets all through 2023 in Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, and EPCOT. This publish shares timeframes, particulars, places, and commentary.
This follows right this moment’s different information about EPCOT’s New Nighttime Spectacular & Disney100 Anniversary Celebration in Late 2023. With EPCOT wrapping up its overhaul, the park will play host to the 100 Years of Marvel Celebration and a brand new nighttime spectacular, amongst different issues, whereas even have new devoted meet & greet areas.
This additionally follows earlier adjustments and updates for Disney’s Hollywood Studios, which not too long ago launched uncommon characters plus the Mandalorian and Child Yoda. So DHS followers shouldn’t really feel neglected, as you’ve arguably already gotten a jumpstart on all of this–and the most effective characters of the bunch, besides!
When it comes to right this moment’s information, Walt Disney World introduced that Moana will greet fellow voyagers on Discovery Island at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park starting April 22, 2023. That is simply in time for the park’s twenty fifth anniversary. (No phrase on how, or if, that milestone might be celebrated past cupcakes and banners.)
There’s a greater than gentle chance that this Moana meet & greet is foreshadowing a bigger enlargement of Animal Kingdom. Potential redevelopment and development alternatives have been teased on the D23 Expo, and people embody a Zootopia Metropolis and Moana Mini-Land. Our expectation is that each will occur, however the plans for Moana seem fairly concrete.
Turning to EPCOT, followers of Figment will get the possibility to hug the long-time icon on the Creativeness! pavilion starting in late Summer time 2023. As a few of these aforementioned Figment followers, we’re actually excited for this. It’s nice to see Figment returning, and I’m curious as to how it will differ from “FigZilla.” (I’m guessing that Dreamfinder will not be becoming a member of him, however I’d completely like to be flawed.)
I’ll spare you my hypothesis as to what this might imply for Figment’s future prospects, whether or not that is testing the water to see how a lot demand the character nonetheless instructions (exterior merchandise), and so forth. You’ll be able to see previous posts on the Figment Meet & Greet Coming to EPCOT and Figment Characteristic Movie Being Made by Seth Rogen for my wild hypothesis and wishful considering that doubtless gained’t come true.
Mickey Mouse and mates will even have a brand new residence at Communicore Corridor opening later this 12 months as a part of the EPCOT transformation. This can be a purpose-built location that’ll doubtless be just like the outdated one in Innoventions.
See our publish about CommuniCore Corridor and Plaza Coming to EPCOT for extra particulars about this venue as a complete. No different specifics have been shared as to the meet & greets coming to the World Celebration neighborhood of EPCOT.
At Magic Kingdom starting in Fall 2023, Mirabel from Walt Disney Animation Studios’ hit movie “Encanto” will greet visitors in Fairytale Backyard surrounded by whimsical décor impressed by La Familia Madrigal. (The picture on the high of the publish is from Disneyland, however Walt Disney World shared inventory footage from that, suggesting it may look equally.)
Fairytale Backyard is the official title of the situation the place Merida from “Courageous” at present meets, so it’s say to say that location is being repurposed. No phrase on whether or not Merida might be relocated to Princess Fairytale Corridor or elsewhere. Her meet & greet is shockingly fashionable given how “Courageous” underperformed (I hope the film has discovered an viewers since its launch–I believe it’s underrated), so I’d anticipate to see Merida moved fairly than retired.
These new experiences observe the return of a number of Magic Kingdom character experiences together with Pete’s Foolish Sideshow, Enchanted Tales with Belle, Ariel in her underwater grotto, and the return of character eating at Cinderella’s Royal Desk.
With regards to commentary, I’ll begin with the constructive: it’s good to see Walt Disney World including extra characters across the parks. Not addressed on this announcement, however Walt Disney World additionally not too long ago added a Princess Tiana ‘waving from the home windows’ character sighting in Liberty Sq..
This one is a bit bittersweet for me, as she seems in the identical spot close to Corridor of Presidents the place the Muppets Current … Nice Moments in American Historical past beforehand appeared. However what’s performed is completed–it’s good to see Tiana repeatedly showing and offering a nod to the way forward for this space(ish) of Magic Kingdom!
I additionally recognize the combination of meet & greets and distanced character sightings (or no matter they’re being referred to as now). With the brand new additions, Walt Disney World has performed a great job of balancing the 2, giving visitors a wide range of character interplay sorts–and time commitments.
The character sightings have been among the finest additions of the phased reopening, and we brazenly hoped that this sort of character encounter–combined with conventional meet & greets–would develop into a everlasting fixture of Walt Disney World.
Distanced characters are nice for livening up the park and providing leisure worth with out having to attend in an extended and slow-moving line. I’m pleased to see there be a wholesome combination of character experiences, and need Walt Disney World would do that with extra characters that draw ridiculous meet & greet waits. ( you, Jack Skellington!)
To that time, we’ll quickly (properly, in a number of extra months!) discover out simply how fashionable Encanto is amongst Walt Disney World visitors. Whereas I believe they setting they selected is objectively higher, I’m truthfully shocked Mirabel isn’t coming to City Sq. Theater, which has extra capability. I’m sufficiently old to recollect virtually a decade in the past when Anna and Elsa first debuted in Magic Kingdom, and had common wait occasions of 2-3 hours, and hit 4-5 hours on occasion.
Turning to critique, I’ll repeat what I’ve already bemoaned elsewhere (mainly rehashing a tangent from our unpopular article about Imagineering’s new robotic rabbit). Encanto got here out at Christmas 2021. It’s at present Spring 2023. This meet & greet debuts in Fall 2023. (How lengthy does it take to alter some backdrops?!)
Suffice to say, Encanto has been a smash hit for properly over a 12 months, and it’s nonetheless not attainable to satisfy Mirabel or some other character from the film in Magic Kingdom. This can be a large misstep and, like Bruno, we don’t discuss it sufficient. It’s nice that this meet & greet is lastly occurring, nevertheless it coming in a number of months–fairly than a number of months in the past or in a number of weeks–demonstrates an befuddling lack of urgency.
Turning Purple can also be now simply over one 12 months outdated, and the primary character meet & greet from this movie simply debuted at Shanghai Disneyland. Whereas the Purple Panda Mei is now showing in China, she nonetheless has not proven up at Walt Disney World or Disneyland.
In case you haven’t seen Turning Purple (not that anybody cares, nevertheless it’s my favourite Disney or Pixar film since Coco–I prefer it much more than Encanto), there’s actually a meet and greet with Purple Panda Mei within the film. It’s such an apparent concept that it’s embarrassing it has taken Disney so lengthy to roll out the character. A Purple Panda Mei meet & greet would pay for itself within the merchandise and plush gross sales it could assist push. I’m not even kidding.
Earlier this month, the Mandalorian and Child Yoda lastly debuted in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Walt Disney World. This was met with loads of reward locally, particularly because it’s virtually an open secret that bringing the duo to Florida was a herculean activity. I suppose the considering is thus that constructive reinforcement is acceptable–maybe Disney will see it and be extra inclined to deliver characters to the parks ~3 years after their tales debut.
I can perceive that to an extent, and would possibly share that perspective if the circumstances have been distinctive. However for all the discuss synergy, Disney has gotten actually unhealthy about selling fashionable characters from its streaming exhibits and films at Walt Disney World on tight turnaround occasions. They used to develop and debut complete parades sooner than they handle to stay a single character right into a cavalcade.
It’s too unhealthy there isn’t a small and nimble workforce devoted to those synergy efforts with the flexibility to maneuver shortly and authority to deliver these characters to the parks in significant methods, even when meaning overruling park administration. That is much more essential now as viewership has develop into fragmented and IP wants a little bit extra assist to enter the cultural zeitgeist. Disney ought to place a renewed emphasis on a day-and-date mannequin, however for its exhibits/films and promotional pushes within the parks.
Finally, extra characters is sweet information–even when it’s taking longer than I’d like. This has been a continued push over the past 12 months for the reason that return of conventional meet & greets, and has undoubtedly gained momentum for the reason that begin of 2023. Similar to with every part, a part of the obstacle has been staffing shortages, and people are lastly bettering with leisure.
My hope is that this development continues, and that extra meet & greets and different character sightings proceed to pop up all through the parks. It’d be good to see Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Social gathering and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Social gathering again to regular on the character entrance (and never having to tug performers from daytime schedules) at minimal–and ideally add a number of of the brand new characters that’ve debuted at Disneyland and Disney Cruise Line for these seasons. It’d even be nice if lacking meal companies might be restored at character eating experiences round Walt Disney World!
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What do you consider Mirabel coming to Magic Kingdom? What about Moana in Animal Kingdom? Ideas on Figment and Mickey Mouse & Associates in EPCOT? What about Disney’s sluggish rollout of character meet & greets from current Disney+ exhibits and films? Do you agree or disagree with our assessments? Any questions we can assist you reply? Listening to your suggestions–even while you disagree with us–is each fascinating to us and useful to different readers, so please share your ideas under within the feedback!