When guests think of Disney's Animal Kingdom, their minds might not immediately go to character meet-and-greets. They probably think about the Tree of Life or how wet Kali River Rapids is going to make them. With that being said, there are some incredible characters that would love to meet your family.
Located in Asia near Flights of Wonder you will find two lovable characters: Baloo and King Louie.
You'll remember Baloo from the movie, "The Jungle Book", and maybe even from the spin-off TV Show TaleSpin. King Louie was also from the Jungle Book and was the rowdy orangutan that was crowned king of the Apes.
These two characters make for a great meet-and-greet because you get two lively friends in one. They are so big and furry you can't help but want to hug them. Also, even though the line can get a little long, it's a shady area. In Disney's Animal Kingdom, shade is always worth the wait. Remember with the new live action Jungle Book coming out, it's a great introduction to these characters for younger children.
On the edge of Africa, in the village of Harambe, you will find the Harambe Train Station. Many guests choose to skip this but they are doing themselves a big injustice. Board the Wildlife Express and head over to Rafiki's Planet Watch. There you can find four very different but important characters Rafiki, Chip, Dale, and Jiminy Cricket.
This area is the park's conservation headquarters. It's where you can pet animals, learn about Disney's conservation initiatives and their research. It makes perfect sense that's where you will find Rafiki. He was all about taking care of people and the planet. Speaking of loving the planet, you might hear people mentioning Pocahontas being here. She used to be but they moved her. I only mention it because a lot of people head there to meet her. I'll tell you where to find her in a minute.
There isn't much to say about the Chip and Dale meet. There is never a long line-up, and to be honest you can find them all over Walt Disney World. If you miss them here, you will easily find them somewhere else.
I'm sure by now someone reading this has commented that Jiminy Cricket is not in the area. Well, he is and he isn't. After a long vacation, Disney decided to bring him out for Earth Day week. If you happen to be visiting during this time, you can find him on the left side of the main building. Rumour is he will be appearing this upcoming year as well. Always take the time to meet rare characters because you never know when Disney will bring them out again.
Something that has always amazed me about the Disney Parks is the fact they have hundreds of characters to choose from but they choose to put Donald Duck everywhere instead. Don't get me wrong Donald Duck is my family's favourite and my husband turns into a five-year-old every time Donald is around. I'm just always surprised by how many meet-and-greets he does. Sorry, I'll stop my rant here.
You'll find the Cretaceous Trail located near the Dinosaur attraction. It's a little hidden but here's a tip. Go towards the smell of cigarette smoke, and you will find it. I'm not sure why people choose to smoke a few feet from a character signing but they do. I think it's because there is a little-hidden area where people can hide, but that's not masking the smell. Besides the smell, this is actually a really nice place to meet Donald Duck. It has a really cool backdrop for the picture. Walk towards Dinosaur and you can't miss it.
Dug and Russell's Wilderness Explorers Clubhouse
Let's all take a moment to remember how great the movie Up! was. It's hard to miss this meet-and-greet and thank goodness for that. Here you will meet Russell the very dedicated and decorated Wilderness Explorer, and Dug from the movie. One line, two characters, and a line no longer than 20 minutes sounds pretty great right?
Is Flik from A Bugs Life one of your kid's favourite characters? Well, you're in luck because you can meet him in Discovery Island. Once you enter the park stay to the left and keep walking. If you pass Starbucks you have gone too far. While some characters get elaborate meet-and-greet areas, Flik really doesn't. He is just sort of on the side of the path. Oddly, a lot of people don't even notice him and walk right by. Many times I have seen only one or two families waiting during the regular season.
It should be noted that on the official Disney Character map, they have him in a different location. I have always seen him where this article states. While writing this post I went to double check and he was visiting with guests where I thought he was. Please keep that in mind.
You will also find your favourite Jungle couple in Discovery Island: Tarzan and Jane. Let me be more specific actually. You will find Tarzan there and Jane will sometimes be with him. Tarzan has moved many times during his time in the park. Like all character signings, make sure to check with your Disney contact to confirm character appearances haven't changed. Currently, you will find him on the side of the road beside Island Mercantile.
I mentioned earlier I would tell you where Pocahontas moved to and this is where. She, like Tarzan, is a character who has moved a few times. With a serious lack of princesses or face characters in this park, most guests are glad to hear she is still around. Plus who doesn't love "Colors of the Wind"? Sorry, did I just get the song stuck in your head?
Dinoland U.S.A Service Station
Some guests love to hate this section of the park but I think it's fun. I do always wonder if the parents regret winning all the toys later because they have to carry them around for the rest of the day. In this section, you will find Goofy and Pluto, two classic characters who are always fun to meet. Goofy has to be one of the most animated characters to visit with.
This is the only character meet-and-greet in the Animal Kingdom that has a FastPass+ option. You can use one of your FastPasses here to meet Safari Minnie Mouse and Safari Mickey Mouse. If character meeting is big on your list then go ahead and use one here. Honestly, I would save it for a different attraction. The lines are usually about 20-25 minutes here which is way less than Kali River Rapids or Kilimanjaro Safari. You can save a lot more time using one of your FastPasses on one of those. Regardless if you use a FastPass or not, make sure to stop by and say hi to Mickey and Minnie. Even in the Jungle, they are Disney Royalty.
You might have to search a little more for the character meet-and-greet locations at Disney's Animal Kingdom but there is something for everyone. Since the characters are so varied, everyone in your family will be excited to at least see one. It's a jungle of characters out there, so go on and explore it.
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