An autograph book can be a child’s most cherished souvenir from their Disney vacation. Once home, they flip through the dog-eared pages, each Disney signature evoking a special memory of a magical encounter with a beloved character.
How and where can you find the Disney characters and score those sought-after Disney “celebrity” autographs?
Here are some useful tips and advice by Sue Pisaturo of Small World Vacations:
- Before you leave home, sign up for a MyDisneyExperience account and download the free corresponding app. You can find out where and when to meet your favorite Disney pals!. Choose Characters in the drop-down menu for characters by park, and their greetings times and locations
- Guests staying at a Disney (and a few non-Disney) Resort can make FastPasses for select character meets 60 days in advance in their MyDisneyExperience account
- When you get to Walt Disney World, check the printed “Times Guide” (or, of course, the My Disney Experience app) for each park to determine which characters will be available each day and where you can find them. You can also inquire at the concierge at your resort, City Hall in the Magic Kingdom or Guest Relations in the other parks for the most up-to-date character locations. Cast members sometimes have a special phone number to call for character locations
- Character Greeting areas are indicated on theme park maps with a Mickey Hand in a red square
- For more leisurely time with the characters, book off-time dining reservations at Disney Character Meals. Here, the characters stop by your table for personal one-on-one interaction and photos! Character meals at the Disney resorts (not including Chef Mickey’s or the 1900 Park Fare at the Grand Floridian) are generally less popular than those in the parks. Click here for a list from Disney Food Blog of Disney Character meals
- Label your autograph book with your name, cell phone, and Disney Resort hotel in case you lose it
- Bring an assortment of colored fat pens or Sharpie pens with retractable tips for ease of use for characters without five fingers. Use fabric pens if you want to get clothing, pillow cases or hats autographed
- Be ready with your autograph book open to a clean page. Have the parents hand the item to be autographed to the Cast Member. Take a photo of your child with the character or have a Cast Member take a group photo. Keep the opposite autograph page blank and when you get home, glue the photo of that character and your child on the empty page for a special memory
- A child’s first character encounter can be intimidating. Let your child warm up to the characters at their own pace. Sometimes, your child is only ready for a simple wave to a character from a “safe” distance
- Characters whose face is uncovered, such as a Disney Princess, can speak with you. “Furry” Characters are silent but happily communicate through pantomime. You will be surprised at how expressive they can be
- Be aware that some characters’ vision is impaired by their costume. Try to approach them from the front
- Look for characters in the countries of EPCOT’s World Showcase. You’ll find them in the location where their story is set such as Mulan in China, Belle in France, Aladdin and Jasmin in Morocco, Alice and/or Mary Poppins in the UK
Disney Visa Cardholders can show their credit card for access to two exclusive character meets and receive complimentary downloads of their photos:
1. Epcot Disney Character Experience – Daily from 1PM – 7PM at the Cardmember location at the Disney Visa Photo Spot at EPCOT® in Future World, next to Journey into Imagination with Figment.
2. Star Wars™ Character Experience – Daily from 11AM – 4PM at the private Cardmember location at the Star Wars™ Launch Bay in the Animation Courtyard at Disney’s Hollywood Studios®.
- Shannon’s tip: Bring a Disney picture book with a collection of different Disney stories. Ask the character to sign the first page of their story
- Kathy’s tip: We have always enjoyed asking non-character Cast Members for their autograph. Cast members get a real kick out of it, and the extra memories can create a special keepsake. For example: Monorail, Train, Bus or Ferryboat driver; Mousekeeper (housekeeping); and Cast Member we Pin traded with
- Andrea’s tip: Head to character locations when the park opens, as most guests are off to ride the more popular attractions. The line for autographs gets super long as the day goes on. I have seen people get a lot of things signed by characters like hats, shirts and once I saw a woman have a small lampshade autographed!
- Jill’s tip: My favorite idea is the photo mat – the kind you can get at a craft store to add to a framed picture. Characters sign the mat, then you frame your favorite picture. Hats are another good one for us – because they have a purpose beyond just collecting the signature
- Tracy’s tip: Have members of your party split up and each stand in line for a different character. Text each other when you get close to the front of the line
You’ve got a friend in us! Contact Small World Vacations today for a free no-obligation quote for a Walt Disney World Vacation.