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Part of the Disneyland experience that many of us have missed is seeing our favorite characters. We all want to give Mickey a big hug, but sadly, when Disneyland reopens, we will have to settle for a socially distanced wave and picture. Disneyland has released some details about how guests can enjoy characters in the parks once they reopen.
How Will Character Encounters Look At Disneyland in 2021
In fact, during a recent Disneyland with Kids podcast recording, I told Jessica that I really think this will be an amazing change. (Be sure to listen to the entire Reservations and Tickets episode as we also cover a lot of the changes coming to the parks.
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What changes will we see to Disneyland character encounters?
Disneyland will no longer have traditional meet and greets for characters. This means you will no longer be standing in a line, hugging a character, and getting an autograph. And while this may be sad, as we saw at Walt Disney World, the new character encounters add a lot of extra magic to your visit.
Characters will be seen throughout the parks, doing activities, waving to guests, and more!
Honestly, to me it makes it feel more like the characters LIVE there, and less like you are simply going and standing in line to meet someone. I am super excited about this.
In a way, Disneyland has prepped us for this in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, where the characters lived and worked in the land. While we were still able to get up close, there were often times where Storm Troopers were up above, or Chewbacca would be behind a fenced area, working on a ship.
The video above was captured in November 2019, and is expected to be a common character encounter when the parks reopen.
And while I am excited about this, if characters are a big part of your Disneyland vacation, you may be looking for specifics. Disneyland has released details about the new character encounters you can expect when the parks reopen.
Keep in mind, these are just some of the surprise character encounters you may experience when Disneyland Reopens.
Character Experiences at Disneyland Park
- Main Street, U.S.A. – Mickey Mouse and some of his pals may be seen waving from the steps of the Disneyland Railroad station.
- Royal Theatre in Fantasyland – From Cinderella to Rapunzel, Snow White, Mulan, Elena of Avalor and many others, guests will be delighted as they are greeted by Disney Royalty. Princesses will pose and wave at a distance for photos with their royal guests.
- Small World Terrace – Alice and other wonderful Disney friends frolic in the fun as they invite guests to see them at a distance at Small World Terrace.
- New Orleans Square – The characters of New Orleans Square have returned to their old haunts, and some new ones: Tiana and the pirate known as Redd take up residence on some of the more elevated positions in the land, interacting with guests from afar on the balcony of the 21 Royal Residence, above Pirates of the Caribbean.
- Mickey’s Toontown – Mickey Mouse and his friends have returned to their homes at Mickey’s Toontown where guests can wave to them and take photos from a distance outside their wacky abodes, and at the Toontown gazebo.
- Rancho del Zocalo in Frontierland – At Zocalo Park, guests may spot Miguel dressed in mariachi finery and waving to everyone from among the colorful marigolds and papel picado décor inspired by Disney and Pixar’s award-winning film, “Coco.”
- Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge – While living their own adventures in a galaxy far, far away, guests are likely to come across familiar faces as they explore the Black Spire Outpost on the planet Batuu. Heroes of the Resistance including Rey, Chewbacca and Vi Moradi may be spotted on the platforms above the speeder garage in Black Spire Station. A contingent of First Order Stormtroopers join Kylo Ren in patrolling the landing platform at Docking Bay 9 beneath their TIE Echelon vehicle.
Character Experiences at California Adventure
- Carthay Fountain/Buena Vista Street – As guests reach the heart of Disney California Adventure, they will find themselves drawn to the fountain as the center of the action. Mickey Mouse and his friends have stepped out on the town in order to wave hello and welcome back all their friends.
- Super Heroes – When Disneyland Resort reopens, Earth’s Mightiest Heroes will make their way to the Hollywood Backlot Stage, where adoring fans can wave and cheer for Black Widow, Captain America, Thor, Spider-Man, Black Panther and the Dora Milaje, as they strike heroic poses throughout the day.
- Cars Land – At Radiator Springs, guests can share a laugh and take memorable photos with some of their favorite characters such as Mater, Lightning McQueen and Red the fire truck along the land’s Route 66.
- Pixar Pals – A variety of Pixar characters such as Woody, Jessie, Mr. and Mrs. Incredible, Edna Mode, Frozone, and Joy and Sadness will wave and pose from the Pixar Pier bandshell stage.
- Disney Junior – Favorite Disney Junior stars, from Vampirina to Doc McStuffins, wave and interact with their friends from the stage of the Disney Theater in Hollywood Land.
- Paradise Gardens Park – Guests may see Officer Judy Hopps and her friend Nick Wilde from Disney’s “Zootopia” on patrol.
Are you excited for these new character encounters or are you counting down the days to when you can hug your favorites again?
Still wondering if it is worth it to visit Disneyland Resort when it reopens? Check out which rides will be open when Disneyland opens.