Top 6 Tips for Getting Autographs at Walt Disney World

Once upon a time in the Magic Kingdom guests didn't wait in a five-hour long line to meet a Disney princess and her sister the Queen of Arendelle. Way back in the old days, it seemed as if the Disney characters were free to roam the Kingdom and no one needed FastPass+ to see them. Ah, the good old days.

Now that has all changed. When you visit Walt Disney World today, you not only need a FastPass+ to meet some characters, but you should also be armed with an autograph book, reliable pen, and a whole lot of patience.

This is especially true if you're traveling with little ones who only have eyes for princesses and Mickey Mouse.

Top 6 Tips for Getting Autographs at Walt Disney WorldTop 6 Tips for Getting Autographs at Walt Disney World
Everyone wants to meet Mickey Mouse!Everyone wants to meet Mickey Mouse!

So what's a guest with young kids to do when it comes to getting autographs from the characters who inhabit the Walt Disney World theme parks? We have a few tips that might make your quest a little easier.

6. Bring an autograph book: It doesn't matter if you purchase an "official" Walt Disney World autograph book (prices range from $7 to $12) or if you bring a homemade autograph book, the kids will want to have something to hand the characters when they meet. If you don't want to use an autograph book some other suggestions are: a hat of some kind, a T-shirt, picture frame, or even just a plain old notebook.

The "official" autograph book at Walt Disney WorldThe "official" autograph book at Walt Disney World

5. Bring a good pen: Don't be the person at the front of the line searching for a pen. Make sure you bring several good pens with you. We really like the big retractable Sharpie pens. There's no lid to lose and the pens are big enough for the characters with big gloved hands to hold. We've learned from experience that small ball point pens just don't cut it. Also, make sure the kids have the book and pen ready when they meet the characters.

4. Have an idea of what meet-and-greets you want to visit: If there's a popular meet-and-greet (for example, Anna and Elsa) and there's a FastPass+ available for it, we suggest giving up one of your FastPass+ selections for a character meet-and-greet. No one wants to spend their day waiting in the queue for a five minute encounter. For most character locations you can check the Daily Times Guide and plan your day around the times.

Get your Fastpass+ now for this meet-and-greetGet your Fastpass+ now for this meet-and-greet

3. Skip the lines and do a character meal: There are quite a few good (and even a couple great) character meals at Walt Disney World where you'll enjoy a sit down meal and (the best part!) the characters come to you. Meet the Fab Five at Chef Mickey's, find the favorite princesses at Akershus or Cinderella's Royal Table, or meet Winnie the Pooh and friends at the Crystal Palace.

We like characters meals simply for the fact that we can rest our feet, get a good meal, and wait for the characters to make their rounds. Once the characters arrive at your table you can get autographs and take some cute photos. Just remember, if you're with a large group, make sure you have all the autograph books open and stacked for the character. It makes things much easier.

Character meals are a great place to get autographsCharacter meals are a great place to get autographs

2. Enjoy the moment, but not for too long: It's easy to get caught up in the moment of meeting Mickey Mouse or Cinderella and it's even easier to lose track of time. While it is fun and wonderful to watch the kids interact with the princesses or the Head Mouse, it's always good to remember that there is a whole queue of little kids waiting for the same experience. No one wants to rush the first time meeting between Ariel and her biggest fan, but once the photos are taken and the autographs are given, it's a good idea to gently coax your small one to the next magical attraction.

1. Don't force the characters on the kids: Imagine for a moment that you're 3 years old and suddenly you're standing in front of a human size Mouse. That might be a bit terrifying. We've all seen the epic meltdowns in the character meet-and-greet areas when the little ones are really, really scared of the "fur" characters (those would be the ones wearing the masks and costumes). If this happens we suggest taking the kids out of the line and trying again when they're older. The "face" characters can also be scary sometimes (think: Lady Tremaine), so take the fear factor into account when thinking about character meet-and-greets.

He might be cute, but little kids might also be scared of the Big CheeseHe might be cute, but little kids might also be scared of the Big Cheese

An autograph book full of character's signatures is a great souvenir for kids of all ages, and character meet-and-greets are a regular part of planning a day with kids at Walt Disney World. So bring a good pen and something to write on. You never know who you might meet.

Do you have a favorite character autograph that you must get at Walt Disney World? Leave us a comment and let us know.

Kristen K. wrote on Sun, 08/03/2014 - 16:31:

Kristen K.'s picture

I've never been a big autograph seeker, but these are great tips. Thanks Traci!

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