The Secret to Experiencing Disney Characters Without Entering Disney Parks

Mickey Mouse at Riviera Resort
Credit: Disney

Seeing Disney Characters is an integral part of any Disney vacation. In fact, the overall Disney experience is only ever complete after you’ve met and mingled a bit with all your favorite pals live and in person. And because there’s so much more to Disney vacationing than merely visiting theme parks, you may wonder if there are any viable ways to still have personal one-on-one encounters with Disney Characters without ever setting foot in a Disney Park. Well, it just so happens that there are. Here are just eight great suggestions for how you can do just that.

RELATED: Where to Find Disney Characters OUTSIDE the Parks

Character Dining at Disney Resorts

One of the best-known ways to interact with Characters outside of Disney Parks is to pursue one of any existing Character Dining opportunities held on location of a Disney Resort. Many Disney Parks worldwide have hotel-based restaurants where Disney Character dining events are held regularly. Current Character Meals at Walt Disney World Resort specifically include the following options:

  • Chef Mickey’s buffet at Disney’s Contemporary Resort has attending friends Mickey, Minnie, Pluto, Donald, and Goofy for both breakfast and dinner.
  • ’Ohana at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort features the Best Friends Breakfast with Lilo and Stitch. Mickey and Pluto, join Lilo, and Stitch for this family-style feast.
  • Cape May Café at Disney’s Beach Club Resort presents Minnie’s Beach Bash Breakfast buffet. In addition to Minnie Mouse being on the scene, you also get to see Goofy, Donald, and Daisy donning their beachy keenest attire.
  • Topolino’s Terrace at Disney’s Riviera Resort features Breakfast à la Art. Joining you here are Mickey, Minnie, Donald, and Daisy.
  • Storybook Dining at Artist Point is onsite at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge and features a Snow White-themed dinnertime engagement, which includes appearances by Snow White, Dopey, Grumpy, and even the Evil Queen.
Storybook Dining with Dopey

Credit: Disney


Believe it or not, there are even opportunities to dine in the presence of your favorite Disney Pals at some non-Disney Resorts. For example, the Italian restaurant Ravello, on location at the Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort, offers a special Good Morning Breakfast with Goofy and His Pals. Occurring on Thursdays, Saturdays, and select Tuesdays from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m., these breakfast buffet events feature Goofy, of course, but also include Mickey and Minnie Mouse.

On location at the Walt Disney World Swan Hotel, Garden Grove Restaurant also formerly offered Character Dining breakfasts on weekends. However, these offerings remain temporarily suspended at the present time.

Ravello's Character Dining Event

Credit: Disney

RELATED: Have You Had These Character Experiences at Walt Disney World Resort Hotels?

Chip ‘n’ Dale Campfire Sing-Alongs

Many Disney Resorts are known for showcasing Movies Under the Stars outdoor evening events. But Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground offers a precursor event on select nights—Chip ‘n’ Dale Campfire Sing-Alongs. It’s pretty self-explanatory as to what these events entail. Guests gather around a campfire, roasting marshmallows, and making s’mores alongside two nutty Disney Characters—those rascal chipmunks Chip and Dale. Cast Members lead attendees in fun songs as the evening progresses, eventually topping things off with that evening’s big-screen film showing.

Take note that this event is free and open for anyone to attend. You do not need to stay at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground to participate.

Chip 'n' Dale Campfire

Credit: Disney


Aulani, A Disney Resort in Hawaii, has no associated theme parks adjoining its premises. Just the same, it emanates all the main magical components of Disney vacationing. And that, of course, includes onsite Character experiences. From Character Dining to having some of your favorite friends join you for Resort-wide activities, Aulani boasts many extended opportunities for mingling with Characters independently of any Disney Park affiliations.

Disney Characters at Aulani

Credit: Aulani

RELATED: Here’s Why You Need to Vacation at Disney’s Aulani Resort

Other Disney Resorts

While it’s true that Aulani is the primary Disney Vacation Club Resort headlining Character engagement on location, Disney’s two other independent Vacation Club Resorts aren’t entirely void of onsite Character visitations either. In the past, Disney’s Vero Beach Resort offered Character Meals with Donald and Goofy at their resident Wind & Waves Grill. Unfortunately, this event has been indefinitely halted and there are no announcements for a potential return date. Goofy’s still been known to spontaneously drop in around the Resort, though. However, there is no fixed schedule for when such happenings can be expected.

Goofy at Vero Beach

Credit: Disney

It was also recently announced that Chip and Dale will soon be heading to Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort in South Carolina. While we still have very few details on what this will entail, we know it will provide yet another opportunity for Character interactions outside of a Disney theme park.

Disney Cruise Line

Many know the Disney Cruise Line as the ultimate magical voyage on the water. Because the ships are equipped with all the same wish-granting callouts you find within Disney Parks and Resorts, it goes without saying that you will be setting sail with the Disney Characters while cruising along with any destination you opt for.

Characters on Disney Cruise Line

Credit: Disney

RELATED: Disney Cruise Line Announces Home Port for Behemoth Ship

Disney On Ice

If you can’t book an escape to a Disney Resort or theme park, another excellent option awaits you closer to home, allowing you to see all your favorite Disney Characters in an all-new way. I’m talking about that highly acclaimed traveling ice skating show Disney On Ice. Here you can head to the nearest arena and take in one of many different show options, featuring original performances from some of your favorite Disney Characters. Options for whom you will see depend on a given show, but rest assured that Mickey Mouse is a part of each and every production. You may also book extra engagements that allow you to interact directly with Characters via fun activities before showtime.

Mickey, Donald, and Minnie at Disney On Ice

Credit: Disney On Ice

RELATED: Here’s What You Need to Know About ‘Disney On Ice’

Caravanning ‘Round the World

If you’re staying at a Walt Disney World Resort, you may even randomly run into a couple of Characters roaming the property. That’s all thanks to the Disney Caravanning ‘Round the World RV. What is it exactly? It’s a large RV, packed with a bunch of Disney Characters—well-known classics and otherwise less-common ones—which occasionally makes impromptu stops at various Disney Resorts. Again, it’s all very random, so there are no guarantees that you will get to experience such happenings at your Disney Resort. But it’s still a fun treat when you luck out by being at the right place at the right time!

Character Caravan RV

Credit: Disney Tips

RELATED: The Disney Character Experience That Most Guests Don’t Know About

Sure, we all love having an excuse to head to our favorite Disney Park. Still, it’s refreshing to know we have alternative options available to us, allowing us to visit with our Disney besties while foregoing the hassle of making a Park Reservation or paying for a ticket.

About Laura

Laura Catherine aka “LC” is a writer who resides in Maryland with her family and several pets. She visits Walt Disney World whenever she can. Additionally, she is a published author of three novels, a children’s book, and has a passion for gardening.