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My family cruised on the Disney Magic for the first time this year, and it was quite an adventure. From the moment we stepped foot inside the terminal in Port Canaveral, Florida, I knew we were in for a special vacation. Among the many reasons we chose to cruise on this particular itinerary and ship was the fact that Caroline would get to meet one of her heroes, Captain America. 

Even the 5 year-olds understand that Marvel and Disney go hand in hand now (as does the Star Wars franchise), but they don’t quite understand why we can’t meet anyone in the parks yet (legal blah, blah if you ask me), so a cruise with at least one Marvel character was our best bet for fulfilling her Marvel superhero dream at the moment.

My girls were also thrilled to learn that Anna, Elsa, and Olaf were on board as we hadn’t attempted to see them in 2 years (not wasting precious park time for a 3-hour wait ever again), and they were both still moderately excited about that particular franchise as well. Will the excitement continue for “Frozen 2?” Only time will tell. I digress.

Meeting characters on a Disney Cruise is one of the most pleasant character experiences you will ever partake in. Follow my easy tips when preparing for your meets, and you’ll be back to your regularly scheduled activities with plenty of time to spare.

Don’t Wait to Get a Ticket

On the Disney Magic, guests are allowed to pre-book excursions, cabanas, dining, and other on and off-ship activities online. Character meets are not one of those things. Everyone who wishes to meet the princesses and the Frozen crew will need to get a ticket on the first day of their cruise. They can run out of tickets, so I encourage you not to leisurely board. Don’t go to your room first. Don’t go eat first. Make your party aware that this is important and stick to it.

When you board the vessel, head straight to the Port Adventures desk. I have heard from friends who sailed on the Disney Dream that the character line meet tickets was looooong (up to 1 hour or more), so they encouraged me to run straight there to avoid the wait. Thankfully, there was no wait. Zero. Nada. Zilch. I’m sure Neil and I looked ridiculous scurrying up to the desk as fast as we could with no one there, but the horror stories of hour-long waits had me in determination mode.

I’m not sure why the wait is so long on other ships and there was no wait on the Magic, but I still think it’s wise to head there first so you don’t miss out. At the desk, we asked for 2 tickets for all the character meets, discussed the best time for us to do that, received our tickets, and were back on our merry way in less than 10 minutes. Regardless of which ship you sail, if this is an important event for yourself or your children, head straight to the desk (yes, with your luggage in tow), and wait.

Arrive on Time

Being given a time to meet a character was new to us. We were used to having to get in line and wait (FastPass+ or not). On Disney cruises, there isn’t a lot of room for guests to just stand around in long lines and wait (I imagine it’s a safety issue), so you are given a specific time to come back and meet. Don’t be more than 5 minutes early, and don’t be late either. It’s rude to other passengers who have a meeting time after yours.

The cast members are extremely efficient in moving everyone along without making the experience feel rushed. You will have plenty of time with each character.

Be Prepared

Be ready to take your child’s picture by having your camera on and your settings set. You wouldn’t believe the number of folks who sauntered up to the waiting princess and fumbled around with their camera for what seemed like an eternity. If you are using the ship’s photographer, fine, but, again, think of the other families waiting and prepare yourself, please.

Make sure your princess also has all her needs for her photo. We had a few people trying to “hold” spots in line while someone dashed back to the cabin for a tiara or a plush toy. There is a reason you were given a specific time on your ticket. Prepare your group before you arrive, and it will make the whole experience a lot less stressful.

Check Your App or Daily Navigator

Each day, your cabin will be given a paper copy of what’s going on on the ship. From games to movies to dining, it’s all right there in your daily newsletter. You can also check with the Disney Cruise Line app on your phone, which is magically synced to the ship’s wifi (that is solely meant to allow the app to function) and updates itself with all of that great information as well.

In addition to the ticketed character meets, there are tons of opportunities to meet other characters like Mickey and the gang, Captain Hook, and Captain Jack Sparrow. On our last night, the girls had just put on their PJs to head to the Oceaneer Club for “Pluto’s Pajama Party,” when we happened upon a meet and greet of Mickey, Daisy, Donald, and Goofy all dressed in their sailing attire.

Where else can you meet Captain Mickey while barefoot and in PJs but on a Disney cruise? That is a memory I will always cherish. Meeting characters is not the only reason to cruise with Disney Cruise Line, but it is certainly a great one. Do you have any tips for how to handle character meets onboard a Disney cruise? I’d love to hear them!