One of the major criticisms received by Walt Disney World as of late is the lack of spontaneity. You can’t just walk into a table service restaurant five minutes before you hope to eat without a reservation made in advance, nor can you expect to ride E-ticket attractions without waiting forever if you don’t have a FastPass+. One other aspect is the rigidity of meeting Disney characters. Back in the day (the 1900s!) you could find yourself meeting characters all over the parks just by your routine wanderings. This is something I remember fondly as a child – and it would be hard for me if I were a parent now waiting over an hour in line to meet my kid’s favorite character.
Sadly, a lot of the characters I remember from my childhood no longer roam the parks. I am always one to appreciate the past; and I have my autograph book from the first time I went to Disney World in 1990- in celebration of my fifth birthday. Here are some highlights:
- The autograph book itself: Nothing fancy, no place for photos. Bonus points to me for adorning the back with a Pocahontas patch (I must have done this on a subsequent trip)
- Gideon and Foulfellow: I remember these two plain as day: they are the definition of the Disney D-list- but it would be pretty cool to see them roaming the parks- maybe in Italy in Epcot?
- Pinocchio: yes, you can still find him in the parks, and yes, it makes sense he was hanging out with Gideon and Honest John- but he had a very interesting way of signing his name- I was 5- I don’t think I appreciated at the time that the Magic Kingdom was 19. Thanks for the history lesson, Pinocchio.
- Dreamfinder and Figment: ah, yes. This one makes me sad. Dreamfinder used to hang out near the Imagination Pavilion in Epcot- with Figment on his shoulder. Unfortunately, I don’t think you will ever see these two in the parks again, (unless it’s a special event) but a girl can dream!
- Friar Tuck: I remember seeing him in the Magic Kingdom on this trip. I don’t think the guy who is “Friends with Friar Tuck” took the Disney handwriting class.
Did you have any memories of characters from years gone by? Share them below!