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Disney Cruise Characters: Meet and Greets on the Disney Cruise Line

Most kids love seeing the Disney characters at Walt Disney World. When my children were younger, we spent so much time in search of various characters – from the Fab Five to all of the Disney Princesses. If you are planning a Disney Cruise, however, you can also find Disney characters on the ship. While there are still lines, you’ll generally find it much easier to see the characters and get autographs. Here’s everything that you need to know about Disney Cruise characters: Meet and Greets on the Disney Cruise Line.

I am a former member of the Disney Parks Moms Panel and have been on one press trip on the Disney Cruise Line. I’ve paid for my other Disney cruises. This post contains affiliate links, and we may make a commission if you make a purchase through one of these links at no additional cost to you. All opinions are my own. 

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Related: See our reviews of the Disney MagicDisney Wonder, Disney Dream, and Disney Fantasy here.

Disney Cruise Characters: Meet and Greets on the Disney Cruise Line

Character meet and greets on the Disney Cruise Line.


Character appearances are shown in the navigator

Booking Character Greeting Reservations in Advance

After you make your final Disney Cruise Line payment, and are within your Castaway Club booking window, you’ll be able to book activities and excursions. At this point, if it’s offered, you’ll be able to book the Princess Gathering and the Frozen Gathering. On the Disney Dream, these are offered on separate days of the cruise. The gatherings are offered at no cost to cruisers, but you do need to get a ticket.

Reserve in advance, and you’ll receive location information and your tickets once you are on board. If your children are under the age of eight, they’ll need to be accompanied by an adult, but children ages 8 and up don’t need a chaperone. Limited reservations may be available on board, but it’s best to reserve in advance.

Minnie with kids

Finding Disney Characters on the Ship

There are plenty of characters that you can find on the ship, without making reservations. Your first opportunity is right in the cruise port, where you’ll see either Mickey or Minnie in their cruise apparel – they usually switch off throughout the afternoon. There’s typically a pretty long line, but if you are already waiting for your boarding group to be called, it’s worth waiting. The line moves quickly. Get your camera ready so you can take this first photo of your cruise!

Once you are on board, you’ll find countless character greeting opportunities. It’s best to check your Disney Cruise Line app or the paper Personal Navigator that you’ll receive each day. Depending on your cruise destinations and the type of cruise you are on, you’ll often find the characters in different costumes.

For instance, during our Very Merrytime Christmas Cruise last year, the characters were wearing adorable winter sweaters. I haven’t yet been on an Alaskan Cruise, but I’ve seen the cute photos of the characters in their arctic apparel.

If your cruise includes a stop at Castaway Cay, you’ll also have the opportunity to see characters on the island. Just like on the ship, these opportunities will be listed on the app and in the navigator. In addition, the characters sometimes visit the kids’ clubs. My kids got to see Chip n Dale at the Oceaneer Club on the ship when we first arrived. 

Dopey with boy
Dopey shows my son that he appreciates his baseball shirt.

Tips for Meeting Disney Cruise Characters

Here are our tips for meeting the Disney Cruise Characters:

  • Check the Disney Cruise Line app or Navigator for times
  • Purchase an autograph book and carry it around with you for any opportunities. You can find autograph books on the ship, but I recommend purchasing in advance, because the stores aren’t open when you first board the ship. You can find them online at ShopDisney here.
  • Arrive a few minutes before the posted time for a character interaction to minimize lines. If you arrive at the end of the window, you risk missing the character.
  • When you see a character that you want to meet, get in line. That way, you won’t be looking for that character later in your cruise.
  • If you have Frozen and/or Princess lovers in your family, be sure to get those gathering tickets in advance, if they are available.

What are your favorite characters to see on the Disney Cruise Line?

When booking a Disney Cruise, I recommend booking with Get Away Today. Plus, when you mention Family Travel Magazine, you get an extra $25 on board credit! Give their agents a call at 877-510-2929.

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