-From Theme Park Tourist
By Amanda Kondolojy, Thursday, September 15, 2016 05:57
Character meet and greets are a big part of what makes a trip to Walt Disney World so special, and in recent months Disney has taken it upon themselves to make a number of improvements and changes to its character line-up. While not all of these changes have been popular with guests, Disney is constantly making adjustments to try and make its character offerings as diverse as possible while still keeping things running efficiently around the parks.
In this month’s second character update, we take a look at a number of character cuts coming very soon to the Magic Kingdom, as well as a curious addition to Disney Springs that could be the beginning of a new trend. We also take a look at some character additions happening outside Walt Disney World as well this month! But first, let’s get the bad news out of the way…
1. Even more character cuts are coming soon to the Magic Kingdom
Though we reported earlier this week that it looks like budget cuts are rolling out across Walt Disney World, less than 24 hours later we found out that some well-known characters will be leaving the Magic Kingdom. In addition to the aforementioned departure of Main Street USA mainstay Scoop Sanderson (which is happening in just a few weeks), reports have surfaced that Disney is going to removing three more characters from the Magic Kingdom lineup in the coming weeks.
Effective October 2, 2016, Toy Story characters Woody and Jessie will no longer be meeting guests at the Magic Kingdom in Frontierland (next to Splash Mountain). And while Woody meets guests currently at Disney’s Hollywood Studios’ Pixar Place, the Magic Kingdom has historically been the only place where Jessie can be met, which means guests who want to see this character one last time will need to do so before the beginning of next month (Saturday, October 1, 2016 will be her final day)
Aside from the loss of these two characters, it looks like Rafiki (who has been meeting in Adventureland for the past few months next to the Skipper Canteen) will also be leaving the Magic Kingdom soon as well, although no firm date has been given for this character’s departure. However, like Woody, Rafiki can still be met at Walt Disney World, as this character appears daily in the Rafiki’s Planet Watch area of Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
2. A non-Disney character is now meeting guests at Disney Springs
Though characters haven’t traditionally been very present at Disney Springs, it looks like the newly-opened Coca-Cola Store located in the Town Center area of the shopping district will be debuting its own meet and greet experience. Beginning this week, guests who visit this location will be able to meet the iconic Coca-Cola Polar Bear in his frozen hideaway tucked inside the store. Though the polar bear won’t be walking around outside this shop, it is very interesting that Disney is allowing a third-party character to meet guests on their property. Interestingly, Disney will also be using its own PhotoPass service to support the new experience, which is definitely an unexpected development as well, and could pave the way for additional non-Disney characters to come to the shopping district in the future.
3. A redesigned Princess Jasmine hits the Magic Kingdom and Epcot
Earlier this month a newly redesigned Princess Jasmine hit the Magic Kingdom during Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. and in the days since, this new character look has rolled out to Epcot as well. As you can see above, this princess’ new design swaps her trademark billowy blue pants and crop top with a full-body dress that features a high neck, long sleeves, and goes all the way down to the floor. The dress also includes a jeweled bust accent, a gold belt and glittering embroidery throughout. In addition to the costume overhaul, Jasmine’s hair also seems to have gotten a bit of a redesign, as she now has small flyaway bangs. We’ve got a lot more on why Disney made changes to this character (and why it matters) here.
4. Redesigned Mickey and Minnie Mouse hit the Disneyland Resort
In addition to the character changes happening at Walt Disney World, it looks like Disneyland Resort is also getting some adjustments to its character lineup as well. First up, Mickey and Minnie Mouse’s latest redesign (which debuted at Shanghai Disneyland earlier this year and made its stateside debut at Walt Disney World just a few months ago with Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire) has now come to Anaheim.
Just a day after Disneyland’s 60th anniversary Diamond Celebration concluded earlier this month, the “new” Mickey and Minnie Mouse began meeting guests on Main Street USA, and were implemented in all of the entertainment (including Mickey’s Soundsational Parade) throughout the resort. You can see the new character design in action in the video above.
5. Elena of Avalor will begin meeting guests at Disney California Adventure this fall
And while it looks like Walt Disney World is subtracting characters, the Disneyland Resort continues to add characters as it has been confirmed that new Disney Channel princess Elena of Avalor will make her Disneyland Resort debut this fall during the brand new Festival of Holidays event at Disney California Adventure. And in even better news, it has been confirmed that after this event concludes on January 8, Elena will be sticking around indefinitely to continue visiting with guests. Of course, this is in sharp contrast to Walt Disney World, which will be losing the Elena’s Royal Welcome show (pictured above) later this month, and has yet to confirm if a meet and greet version of this character will ever be available at the resort.
Are you a big character fan? Will any of these recent character moves affect your next trip to Walt Disney World or Disneyland Resort? Let us know what you think of all these current and upcoming character changes in the comments below!
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