April 18th, 2022 marks the day traditional meet and greets returned to the theme parks at Walt Disney World. I immediately made a park reservation for Magic Kingdom when this news was announced. This day feels very special to me because I was a theme park performer before the COVID-19 closures, and to see things coming back like this makes my heart so happy. It’s about time that hugs made a return to the parks.
My first stop at Magic Kingdom was Town Square Theater to see Mickey Mouse. Before the pandemic, Tinker Bell used to meet at this location as well. Her meet and greet is not up and running yet, but hopefully, soon, she will be back. Disney did say that they would be opening these meet and greets in phases. The characters are doing autographs, so make sure to pack those autograph books for your next vacation. I didn’t know what to expect with the wait times because I wasn’t sure if people would be as excited as I was. The wait time for Mickey Mouse was 45 minutes, but I waited about 50 minutes, which wasn’t too bad. I wouldn’t usually wait that long, but it being the first day back, I didn’t mind. Mickey seemed excited to see all of his friends and give them hugs. The character attendant was terrific and did a great job capturing the moment. At this time, they do not have a PhotoPass photographer at the location, but the attendants are doing their best to capture those special moments.
After meeting Mickey Mouse, I went to Princess Fairytale Hall. Princess Fairytale Hall is the other meet and greet location open at Magic Kingdom. Here there are two lines, and they each lead to two princesses. One line takes you to Rapunzel and a visiting princess; the other takes you to Princess Elena and Cinderella. I picked the Rapunzel line because I wanted to see what princess was visiting today. Ariel was the visiting princess, so I am happy that I chose that line. That line also moved a lot faster than the one that led to Cinderella. I waited 30 minutes, and the posted time was 40 minutes to meet Rapunzel and Ariel. The other line was a 60-minute wait, and it seemed to move slower, so I think it was indeed a 60-minute wait since the line was out the front door.
The best part of the day was seeing all the kids dressed up with their autograph books, excited to meet their favorite characters. Getting those autographs is a great souvenir and a great memory to keep. I still have so many autograph books from when I was younger, and I hold them close to my heart, along with all the character pictures I have from my first character hug to now. I can’t wait to go to the other parks a see what other meet and greets are available for hugs and autographs. Slowly but surely, things are returning “normal,” and it feels great.
What’s your favorite meet and greet location? Let us know in the comments.