One of the. coolest. things about Disney Cruise Line is the characters. In the Parks, I’m not likely to wait in a line in the sweltering heat. And I never thought I’d be that kind of person on a ship, either. But that’s sort of the best thing about it: The longest time you’ll ever wait in line for a character greeting on the ship is 15 minutes.
You see, there are a few different ways you can meet characters on the trip. First, of course, you can meet them while they’re just walking around the boat. And, yes, that totally happens. You can also meet them during scheduled dance parties in the atrium and on Castaway Cay.
Then there are the scheduled meetings. In your Navigator newsletter (or on the DCL app), you can access a daily list of which characters are where and when. I grabbed a Navigator at random (coincidentally, it was from one of our Castaway Cay days) and counted 20 different opportunities to meet characters throughout that day.
What’s great about these meetings is that they are time limited. For example, on this day, Goofy was meeting in the atrium from 5:15 to 5:30 p.m. You can line up for the meet 5-10 minutes early. And when the line reaches capacity–meaning, when there are enough people in line that it will take Goofy 15 minutes to meet them all–the Cast Members cut off the line. That’s it. You always know exactly the wait you’re in for, and you never lose a big chunk of your day to a character. And if you get cut off now, well … Goofy met 4 different times on that one day alone for 15 minutes each time.
As a brief aside, there are ticketed meetings with select characters. On our sailing, the only characters you needed tickets for were Princesses. Those tickets had to be reserved on the first day of the cruise starting at 11:30 a.m. at the Port Adventures Desk. We did not attempt to get these tickets, but we heard from families on the ship that they went quickly. It’s worth noting that, though you couldn’t meet all of the princesses without the tickets, various princesses were out for 5 different 15-minute periods throughout the trip, so it was possible to meet them without tickets if you made it a priority.
So. No lines. And, even better, the characters are wearing rare, unique and cruise-specific outfits, which make for photos that are super, duper fun. This especially appeals to Dan, but I really quite enjoyed it, as well. Some of the unique costumes include …
I so very much loved these nautical-inspired get-ups, which the characters wore on the first and last nights of the trip. On our sail-away day, I also made sure to wear my nautical-themed pashmina afghan (or a dress and sweater combo), so I fit right in.
Normally, you’d have to tie me up and threaten my parents to get me to pose for a photo in a bathing suit, but how often do you get to meet Goofy in his swimming trunks? Answer: Not often enough. Not nearly often enough. So I made an exception.
Also: Captain Jack Sparrow asked me where all the rum went. (Spoiler alert: I drank it.)
This was the best night of the cruise, I think. Crazy and action-packed, to be sure. But so fun. The characters were at their most rowdy … and I am always at my most rowdy. So a good time was had by all. And it’s possible that Pirate Goofy tried to woo me away from Dan.
We also met with Peter Pan, who was out along with Captain Hook, Smee and Tink, on Pirate Night. This Peter was … drunk? Drunk on never growing up? He was very entertained by the very cool custom Peter Pan necklace I was wearing for the occasion.
Dan captured this shot of Minnie looking totally classic on Formal Night. Mickey was totally mobbed, but he was wearing a very fancy suit. And even Goofy, Chip & Dale were in tails for the occasion!
On our final morning aboard (on the way to Palo brunch), we were also lucky enough to meet Running Man Goofy (heading to hang out with the little sailors on the Sports Deck) and Princess Minnie, who was only out in her fairy tale garb for 30-total minutes. I was so glad we (unexpectedly!) caught her. Such a unique photo!
Overall, the character meet and greets were a huge, brilliantly fun part of the trip. And with so many time, location and costume options, there’s really something for everyone. I can’t wait for the next cruise … I wonder if there’ll be special Canada-inspired outfits?!
Who is your favorite character to meet in the Parks or on a DCL ship? Let us know in the comments!!