More characters debut and return to Walt Disney World! This article covers dates, details and everything you need to know about Friends of Encanto, star warsand other films that will soon begin appearing in the Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, Fort Wilderness and beyond.
Before the start of summer, meet and greets from traditional characters with hugs, autographs, high-fives, and more. at Walt Disney World. Presumably, it was strategically timed so Disney could capitalize on the best movie of the summer, Top Gun: Maverick. After all, who doesn’t want to give Goofy one of those iconic high fives? !
At this time, a bunch of previously existing “Sightings” were instantly restored to “Meetings”. These include Mickey at Town Square Theatre, Princess Tiana and a Visiting Princess at Princess Fairytale Hall, Cinderella and a Visiting Princess at Princess Fairytale Hall, Olaf at Celebrity Spotlight, Disney Stars at Red Carpet Dreams, Anna and Elsa at Royal Sommerhus, and others I probably forget. A bunch of other character encounters also returned on or around this date, and according to wait time data, these have been among the top 10 attractions at every park since.
Along with this, several character meals have also returned to normal. This includes dining experiences with furry characters like Breakfast à la Art at the Topolino Terrace — Flavors of the Riviera and Minnie’s seasonal dinner at DHS. It also includes Dine in a Storybook at Artist Point with Snow Whitebut not most other face character locations.
Even though he’s been back for a while, Cinderella’s royal table is not normal. Likewise, Akershus and Bon Voyage remain closed, as do other locations that previously featured a face character. Not to spoil the illusion or anything, but we’ve heard it’s because Walt Disney World is currently experiencing a pronounced “princess shortage.”
In any case, we have good news on the character side, with a rather notable expansion of options. Here is the announcement from Walt Disney World…
Let’s start with Magic Kingdom. We may not be talking about Bruno, but we can definitely talk about Mirabel who will be making his debut in the “Disney Adventure Friends Cavalcade” on June 26, 2022!
The young hero from Walt Disney Animation Studios’ hit ‘Encanto’ will join Miguel from ‘Coco’, Nick and Judy from ‘Zootopia’, Max, Goof, Moana and more as this cavalcade passes through Magic Kingdom multiple times a day.
Although Mirabel is seen daily in Frontierland at Disneyland and Paradise Gardens Park at Disney California Adventure, it seems she will only appear in the cavalcade at Magic Kingdom.
Given the popularity of all things Encanto, it is surprising that it took so long for Mirabel to be present at Walt Disney World. While this is a positive first step, I hope she gets a dedicated meet and greet soon!
Looking ahead to next month, the ever-iconic Minnie Mouse will join Mickey Mouse starting July 6, 2022 at the Magic Kingdom’s Town Square Theater. The two will be ready for hugs and photos in their EARidescent apparel designed specifically for Walt Disney World’s 50th anniversary celebration.
Hopefully, this also marks the return of human photographers to the memorable encounter. Automated cameras just don’t capture those magical moments and emotions in the same way.
On July 10, 2022, keep an eye out for familiar Fantasyland friends Peter Pan and Snow White as they once again welcome guests to the Magic Kingdom.
No word on where these encounters will take place. I seem to remember meeting Peter Pan outside of the long queue for Peter Pan’s flight near Columbia Harbor House, but my memory is fuzzy as to when it happened.
July 6, 2022 also marks the return of Chip ‘N Dale’s Campfire Sing-A-Long to Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground. There you can join the crazy friends for a campfire celebration followed by a classic Disney movie under the stars. (Placeholder photo above until I can locate one of the real sing-a-longs.)
From my perspective, this is the most exciting news of all. I know it’s the thing the fewest Walt Disney World fans will experience, but it’s long been a highlight at The Fort – I remember a version of it even as a kid. I was worried Chip ‘N Dale’s Campfire Sing-A-Long would never come back. Very happy to hear that is not the case!
At Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Star Wars Launch Bay returns on July 17, 2022!
A celebration of the legendary space saga, Star Wars Launch Bay is your place for a warm embrace with Chewbacca, a face-droid encounter with BB-8, or an encounter with Darth Vader himself for those brave enough. (This is one of two instances where Disney uses the term “warm embrace” in the press release. I cut the other one but couldn’t resist including it.)
It’s only the next few weeks! Walt Disney World has even more hugs, high fives and memories on the horizon. In the coming months, a visit to the Magic Kingdom will offer chances to meet friends from Aladdin, Jasmine, Merida, Pooh, Tigger, and Storybook Circus like the Great Goofini in Pete’s Silly Sideshow.
Your favorite toys will be ready for playtime in Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Donald Duck and friends will join their prehistoric party at “Donald’s Dino-Bash!” at DinoLand USA at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
In short, good news on the character side. Slowly but surely, Walt Disney World is bringing back artists and other entertainment. It’s nice to see Mirabel making its debut, the return of Star Wars Launch Bay, and other important character hangouts and hangouts on the horizon.
Not to be too negative, but there’s always the feeling of What’s taking so long?! We spent some time at Disneyland recently (I was actually working on an entertainment article when this news broke) and the character scene is a night and day difference between the coasts. Disneyland feels really close to normal, with free roaming characters, dedicated meet and greets, and even new faces (e.g. Captain Buzz Lightyear and Boba Fett) all appearing with regularity.
At Disneyland, Mirabel has been appearing for months as part of meet & greets at both parks. You can also meet Raya, Miguel, Nick, and Judy Hopps, plus any Flavor of the Day appearing in a Marvel series on Disney+ in Avengers Campus, and countless other characters.
It’s easy to dismiss this as Disneyland has easier “access” to performers due to its location, but that excuse doesn’t hold a ton of water when you actually visit the respective parks and see how pronounced the difference is – both in face and fur-characters is in fact. Here’s hoping Walt Disney World starts accelerating the return of entertainment – it makes a huge difference to the atmosphere and energy levels of the parks.
Planning a trip to Walt Disney World? Learn more about the hotels on our Walt Disney World Hotel Reviews page. To find out where to eat, read our Walt Disney World restaurant reviews. To save money on tickets or figure out which type to buy, read our tips for saving money on Walt Disney World tickets. Our What to Pack for Disney Trips article takes a unique look at smart items to pack. To know what to do and when to do it, our Walt Disney World Ride guides will help you. For comprehensive advice, the best place to start is our Walt Disney World Travel Planning Guide for everything you need to know!
What do you think of this news about the characters of Walt Disney World? Excited for Mirabel to debut and Star Wars Launch Bay to return? Would you like to see more characters, or do you think Walt Disney World did a good job bringing them back? Do you agree or disagree with our assessment? Questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback, even when you disagree with us, is both interesting for us and helpful for other readers, so share your thoughts below in the comments!