Here at DFB, we’ve been lucky enough to spot quite a few celebrities in the parks!
Just like us, they like to visit Disney World with their families and enjoy a little magic from time to time. Whether they’re there for work or pleasure, it can be a little challenging to spot them if you’re not looking in the right places — the parks are pretty big, and usually, these people are just trying to blend into the crowd. But don’t worry, if you’re looking to find some famous people, there are a few places where you can always find them in the Disney World parks!
Leave a Legacy Walls in EPCOT
Remember the Leave a Legacy monoliths that used to be directly in front of Spaceship Earth with a bunch of different photos on them? Well, now those photos have been transferred to the Leave a Legacy walls outside of the EPCOT entrance and if your family’s picture was there before, you should be able to find it still!
And hardcore EPCOT fans will know that among these thousands of photos of guests, you can find pictures of the members of *NSYNC, the popular 90s boy band! If you were a big fan of these guys in the 90s, then try using the photo search feature to look for them on your next trip.
Kali River Rapids
If we hadn’t already listed it as the header of this section, we’d try to make you guess what Michael Jackson’s favorite Disney World ride was. He loved Kali River Rapids at Disney’s Animal Kingdom so much that the Imagineers decided to place a special nod to him in the queue!
See that “guest” in the painting with his arms in the air? As you’re walking through the queue, you’ll spot a painting of the ride, and on the raft is the King of Pop himself!
Hollywood Brown Derby
If you book a dining reservation at the Hollywood Brown Derby in Hollywood Studios, there are several places you can spot celebrity references. The first is in the autograph book on display! Many famous people who’ve dined at this restaurant have signed their names on these pages, so you never know whose signature you’ll see. We’ve spotted many sketches and autographs from Disney and Pixar directors, A-list actors, musicians, and more! Cast Members flip the pages often so each time you check back you might find a new page!
Besides the book, you’ll also notice several photographs of celebrities on the wall! Take a moment to check out these black-and-whites to see if there’s someone you recognize.
These photos are from the ORIGINAL Derby in Hollywood, not the Hollywood Studios version, but the autographs are real! Since Hollywood Brown Derby is one of Disney World’s fancier restaurants, it doesn’t come as a surprise that so many famous people have eaten here. Next time you snag a reservation, just think about who may have sat at your table before you!
Sticking around in Hollywood Studios, make sure to stop by the Chinese Theatre if you’re looking for some celebrity cameos. Just like at the original theater in California, you’ll find tons of handprints and signatures in the pavement out front!
And besides regular famous people, you may also find nods to popular Disney characters, like Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Donald, and Kermit the Frog!
Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano
Similar to Hollywood Brown Derby, you’ll also find tons of celebrity photos on the walls of Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano. There are so many photos on these walls that you should have no problem occupying your time while you wait for your table!
Many of these were headshots from a promotion in Hollywood Studios (then MGM Studios) earliest years. Different “celebs” would be scheduled to visit the parks, sign autographs, and meet guests. A lot of their headshots made the wall at Mama’s! She was the (fictional) chef to the stars on the lot, after all. 😉 If you’re searching for celeb pictures, it looks like Hollywood Studios is the place to be!
Walt Disney Presents
Inside the One Man’s Dream exhibit at Walt Disney Presents, you’ll find tons of photos and mementos of Walt Disney’s life. And besides just memories from Walt’s life, you’ll find history nuggets from the company as a whole!
We’ve seen pictures of Walt with important people from the company as well as pictures from hit shows and movies like The Mickey Mouse Club. History buffs will love this one!
Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster
Now let’s talk about the RIDES where you can find your favorite celebs. One of the obvious choices is over at Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith where you’ll see — you guessed it — Aerosmith!
Not only will you see the band members on a poster outside the ride, but if you watch the pre-show, you’ll get to watch them in action. Then, you can listen to one of their hit songs for the 70-second thrill ride!
Journey Into Imagination with Figment
Inside the Journey Into Imagination with Figment queue, lookout for a photo of one of the biggest celebrity cameos in the parks — Robin Williams! In the “lobby” of the Imagination Institute, there’s a tribute to Professor Philip Brainard, Williams’ role in the hit film, Flubber.
And besides that photo, you can spot Rick Moranis reprising his role as Wayne Szalinski from the Honey I Shrunk the Kids films! You’ll also notice that the ride is hosted by Eric Idle playing Dr. Nigel Channing. Idle is known for his roles in the Monty Python films, and now he’s known among Disney fans for hanging out with a mischievous purple dragon!
Pirates of the Caribbean
If you stop by Adventureland and take a turn on Pirates of the Caribbean, you’ll notice a few animatronics of a very famous pirate…Captain Jack Sparrow! The animatronics modeled after Johnny Depp were added to the ride after the success of the film series.
Of all the figures on the ride, the Depp ones are by far the most realistic. It’s hard to believe that it’s not a real person! In fact, Depp himself has popped into the Disneyland version of the ride a couple of times in years past (in costume!) to surprise guests!
Rise of the Resistance
Want to catch a bunch of Star Wars stars in one place? Snag a boarding group for Rise of the Resistance!
Spread across the various scenes of this attraction, you’ll encounter several of the stars from the sequel trilogies in animatronic, video, and holographic projection form. Some of the big ones are Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Adam Driver, and Domhnall Gleeson.
Flight of Passage
As you exit Flight of Passage in Pandora, keep your eyes peeled for three red handprints on the wall. Each of the handprints has a set of initials below it, telling guests who they belong to.
“JR” stands for Joe Rohde, the lead Imagineer behind the ride and the land. For some big celebrity status, you’ll want to check out “JL” and “JC.” These prints belong to Jon Landau and James Cameron, the producer and director of Avatar.
Narrators at Various Attractions
Some rides and attractions have celebrity appearances that you’ll hear instead of see, thanks to some star-studded narrations. Spaceship Earth in EPCOT is narrated by none other than Dame Judi Dench.
The recently-opened show Canada Far and Wide is narrated by none other than Schitt’s Creek stars Eugene Levy and Catherine O’Hara and if you stop by Awesome Planet, you’ll hear the voice of Ty Burell from Modern Family.
Several Ride Pre-Shows
And last but not least, let’s talk about one of the most star-studded parts of Disney World, the ride pre-shows! At the Animal Kingdom thrill ride DINOSAUR, you’ll see both Wallace Langham and Phylicia Rashad on-screen.
Head on over to Star Tours and you may recognize the voice of Allison Janney in the safety video. And if you’re a fan of Rules of Engagement, Family Guy, or The Emperor’s New Groove, then you need to catch Patrick Warburton in one of Disney World’s most iconic pre-shows at Soarin’. (Nice work, pal!)
And finally, take a spin on Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run to watch the pre-show with the impressive animatronic of Hondo Ohnaka. You may not be able to tell because of the character’s accent, but he’s voiced by Jim Cummings, the same voice actor behind Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, and dozens of other cartoon characters!
Which of these celebrities is your favorite to spot in the parks? Stay tuned to DFB for more news, tips, and planning advice from Walt Disney World, plus all the fun tips and hidden secrets you want to know!
Have you ever seen a celebrity in Disney World?