6 Character Updates Happening Now at Walt Disney World (September 2016)

One of the most important parts of a Walt Disney World vacations is the Characters. Character meets in the parks and Character Dining are always big parts of most guests excitement and pleasure. Here in this article, Theme Park Tourist takes a look at current happenings and changes going on at the parks with Characters involved!

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.

This month’s character changes include the confirmation of a new character coming soon to the resort, the continuation of a temporary character experience, plus seasonal changes at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, some more moves at that same park, and even the return of a fan favorite character experience at Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party!

1. New character Moana is confirmed to be coming this fall to Walt Disney World

Image: Disney

Perhaps unsurprisingly, it has been confirmed via an audition listing that a new character experience with upcoming Disney heroine Moana is in the works for this fall to coincide with the launch of the new film of the same name, which is being released in November. Though its not uncommon for these kinds of casting calls to go out for character meet and greets several months before a film’s release, Stitch Kingdom speculates that since the casting call is being filled by Disney Creative Entertainment, that Disney could be doing something more with Moana than just a simple character meet and greet.

Perhaps this new Disney character could be getting her own pre-show for Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire at the Magic Kingdom similar to Elena’s Royal Welcome? Or maybe Moana could be integrated at Disney’s Spirit of Aloha dinner show at the Polynesian Resort? There are plenty of possibilities, and hopefully we’ll find out some details about how guests can see Moana at Walt Disney World in the very near future!

2. New costumes revealed for latest Hollywood & Vine character dining experience at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Image: Disney

As summer gives way to fall, the seasonal character dining at Disney’s Hollywood Studios will be changing as well, transforming this month into Minnie’s Halloween Dine. Both Mickey and Minnie will be meeting guests in the spooky attire pictured above, and hungry diners will be able to partake in some Halloween-themed treats during this seasonal experience as well, which takes place daily at the Hollywood and Dine restaurant and kicks off in just a few weeks on September 12, and will last just until November 6, just a little past Halloween!

3. Character dance parties in Tomorrowland and Frontierland return to this year’s Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party

Image: Dex, Flickr (license)

Good news for fans who like interacting with characters at Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party without waiting in line: character resource Kenny the Pirate is reporting that both the Toy Story Dance Party in Frontierland as well as the Monsters Inc Dance Party in Tomorrowland will be returning to this special event. This is certainly good news, as these dance parties help spread crowds out during this event and allow guests to meet characters like Jessie, Woody, Sully and more without a big line and interact with them in a fun, casual way.

4. Elena’s Royal Welcome mini-show extended for another month at the Magic Kingdom

One of the big sucesses of this summer at Magic Kingdom has been the Elena’s Royal Welcome limited time character experience, which has drawn crowds that sometime exceed that of the show it preceeds (Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire). As a result, Disney has opted to extend this new show into the month of September, ensuring that guests will continue to get the chance to see this new Disney Channel princess at Walt Disney World early this fall.

5.  Belle Memory Maker character experience at the Magic Kingdom discontinued

Image: Disney

Though the Elena character experience has been a smashing success, the Memory Maker character meet and greet with Belle hasn’t been all that popular, and it looks like Disney is going to be ending this experience at the end of August. Unfortunately, this special offering was not very well-publicized, and the Heritage House is not exactly the easiest place to find. Couple this with the fact that Belle already has a character experience in the same park plus the fact that times were erratic for this experience, and it’s not really surprising that this character option was discontinued. However, hopefully Disney has learned from its mistakes and will offer more limited-time and exclusive character opportunities in the future, as we’ve seen that they can be very effective at boosting attendance.

6. Disney’s Hollywood Studios characters move to the back of the park

Image: Disney

Just after last month’s character shuffle at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, it looks like Goofy as well as Chip and Dale are on the move again. Meeting in their “regular” (non-Studios) attire, all three of these characters have been moved all the way down Commissary Lane, with Chip and Dale meeting guests next to the entrance of Mickey and Minnie in Red Carpet Dreams, and Goofy posing for pictures right next to the construction wall adjacent to the Writer’s Stop (yes – what a glamorous location!).

Unfortunately, not only does this character placement make for some awkward queue spots (guests meeting Goofy recently had to line up along one of the construction walls where the Streets of America demolition was taking place), but it also creates a huge bottleneck for guests trying to get from the Echo Lake area of the park to Star Tours as well as the Muppet Courtyard, so we’re really hoping that Disney shuffles these characters at this park again soon.

Are you a big character fan? Will any of these recent character moves affect your next trip to Walt Disney World? Let us know what you think of all these current and upcoming character changes in the comments below!

Please remember to contact Destinations With Character Travel for ALL of your Disney, Universal, Seaworld, and Orlando Area Vacations, Adventures by Disney, and Cruising Needs.

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Don Korta
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