I met a lot of literal characters whilst at the parks. Towards the end, I wanted to meet them all but realized that was a little crazy. So I ended up meeting who I could and then just meeting my favorites! Lines varied- I had pamphlets, time sheets and Character Attendents [the cast members dressed in blue shirts, kahki bottoms and make sure we don’t jump the Characters but also know the times for most characters] to help me out.
The waiting time varied from a minute [being there early helps] for Mary Poppins & Alice in Wonderland and up to an hour and fifteen minutes for Rapunzel [so long!]. But hey, it was a lot of fun all the same! Most of them really do look a bit like their characters and it can be fun. I mean, Goofy stepped on my foot sure, but he also gave me some great hugs and a ton of kisses and made fun of Pluto. I saw Donald play with a little toy, Dug lick another dog, Princesses leave kisses on little boys’ cheeks, and more.
One of my favorites was Princess Tiana and Prince Naveen. I think the fact that I met them on my last evening in the parks had a bit to do with it. Plus, I’d wanted to meet Prince Naveen [mostly because of my sister Jenessa and her love for The Princess and the Frog]. Anyways, Prince Naveen comes out most evenings but only as it starts to get dark. It wasn’t my first time trying to meet him- I’d just had really bad luck last time because he was out of town or something. So they said I’d have to have really really bad luck not to get him next time.
Surprise. He wasn’t there. So I stayed in line to meet Princess Tiana and I got to her and asked where he was because I really had to see him. She apologized and said he’s always playing around. She’s conversive so she asked my name and where I’m from. I told her San Diego and that I was actually leaving to return that night. I mentioned I had really been hoping to see Naveen, since he wasn’t there last time I had come around. That’s when she said that I could come by the back gate in about two hours and he should be there then. She left a spot for his name on my bag and said she’d remember me.
I sort of fought over it after that because I’d really been hoping to see him but I hadn’t planned to stay there any longer. She was expecting me to wait another two hours? I wanted to go to Hollywood Studios and do Star Tours one last time, for goodness sake. But in the end, I stuck around.
I watched another set, where Princess Tiana met two little boys, gave them big kisses on the cheeks [left a mark] and played leap frog, jumping over to the gate like frogs. It was so cute! One was so little he didn’t understand and just sort of hopped/walked to the gate. About then, Peter Pan was heading inside but stopped at the exit gate to watch, and decided he wanted to join in! So he came inside, and beat them all. He laughed and joked around for a minute. (But once people wanted to get pictures with him, he shook his head and said he had to go)
(I do have a picture of Peter Pan, Princess Tiana, and the boys, but I have yet to upload them to the computer, sorry) BUT you can enjoy Peter Pan and I until then!!
FINALLY, after wandering around for two hours, I came back around and got in line. I asked the character attendant, “he’ll be here this time, right?” and she NODDED. You can’t imagine how much relief poured over my shoulders in that moment. I swear if he wasn’t going to show up I probably would have curled and died or something.
And I saw him walk out! Now Tiana always walks the long way around from her gate over to the little gazebo mostly because the line starts next to the gate where she enters the park/exits the meet and greet. Naveen however, glanced around and smirked. “I’m going to try and beat her!” He decides, opens the rope and smirks at us waiting in line. “Hello, sorry, excuse me,” he laughs and makes his way through us to get to Tiana.
Quite the first impression!
Anyways, after that I just sat down and waited. I was towards the end of the line, third in last I believe, so it was almost thirty minutes before I got close. But somehow, thank goodness, waiting in line for characters seems to not take that long.
The girl right in front of me was about 2 years old, and with her dad. She gets her hat signed while still in her dad’s arms, but won’t look at Prince Naveen. They realize that and her dad says she’s really shy and kind of scared of him. Scared of Naveen!
He apologizes, and leaves the little gazebo to stand behind the photographer. The dad also hands him his iphone to take a picture with that. Naveen suddenly poses, confused that the iphone doesn’t really take a picture of him. But he’s soon restless and bored after that, and starts going behind the flower pots beside Tiana to get in the picture! He nearly tips them over, grabbing onto the gazebo to make it into the picture, posing on the other side of the dad! He manages to wave to the little girl who doesn’t burst into tears, and that’s a wrap.
Princess Tiana did recognize me though. Prince Naveen asked my name and where I’m from, and I told him. He got really excited. “That’s- that’s really close. You know, to us- I mean Disneyland! You’re so close to Disneyland. Do you go there often?” I told him yes. “Great! Did you get to see us there?”
I had no idea what he was talking about, but it did get me excited.
“When our movie came out,” he explains, “we got to go on the river on a big party, and Luis was there and everything!”
“Luis was there? That sounds great!” I couldn’t believe I hadn’t heard of this. “I can’t believe I missed out on that!”
He nods, saying how fun it was. Then he sees Tiana’s name already there- with a “and” mark just waiting for him. “Aww,” he says “she was waiting for me!” And I explain I had already come by and was trying to find him as well.
Then I also ask for their signatures on a notebook. “Could you sign one more time? I need something for my sister, she’s an even bigger fan, such a big fan of you two!” I explain.
“Of course! What’s her name?” Naveen asks cheerfully. I tell him it’s Jenessa, and she’s away at school now.
“Okay, but make sure you tell her hi, okay? Naveen says hi to Jenessa!” I laugh, and nod. He’s trying to close the notebook though, and I tell him I need it from Princess Tiana one last time as well.
He apologizes then, since he took up the whole page with that autograph. I laugh, shaking my head. “No, it’s fine. The bigger the better, you know?”
He smirks. “You should have told me that before! I would have done one letter each page!” But we laugh about that and she finishes that.
“But make sure she doesn’t kiss any frogs,” Prince Naveen tells me suddenly. “Don’t kiss frogs. No kissing frogs- unless they have really good teeth. And- and really good eyebrows! You see my eyebrows? Beautiful. Very good teeth, too.”
Tiana nods at me. “It has to be a good frog. Any frog that looks like Buzz Lightyear.”
“What is that?” Naveen asks. “He is bald.”
But Tiana shares a look with me. “It’s the teeth, you know?”
“Oh, I know,” I nod back at her.
Tiana grins at Naveen. “See, it’s a girl thing.”
“What? I don’t understand, I don’t see.”
Princess Tiana nods. “Yes, because it’s a girl thing, isn’t it? You wouldn’t understand.”
“No?” Prince Naveen looks at us, pouting. “Fine. Can I just stand here and look pretty then? I don’t see.”
I laugh, and agree. “That’ll work fine.”
“Okay,” he beams. “Now let’s take the picture. And make sure you tell your sister hi, yes?”
“Can do!” I promise him. “Thanks so much you two!”
And that was the best character interaction I had. Sure, Rapunzel said I looked lovely in my dress [purple and gold means royal, so you must be a princess!], and I was wished well on my many adventures of course. I received quite a few kisses- especially from the Monkey king in the Jungle Book.