Disney World Handles Ariel Meet and Greets Perfectly to Avoid Confusion

Ariel meet and greet
Credit: Disney Parks

Ever since the new Disney World Ariel Meet and Greet was announced fans have had questions. Really, it just came down to one question on their mind: would this replace the animated version’s meet and greet? It was an interesting question since typically there is only one character meeting in a Park at any given time.

Guests worried that it would confuse kids who believe they are meeting the real deal.  Parents were angry at the potential to ruin the illusion for the kids. So how would Disney handle two versions of the same character?

As it turns out, they are handling it perfectly with minimal chances for awkward questions. “We just met Ariel, and there she is in the parade, but … why does she look so different?” That’s a loaded question no parent wants to answer. There isn’t really a way to answer it without ruining the magic ( “It’s just a person in a costume honey”). That was a primary concern for many who opposed the live-action Ariel meet and greet.

Disney, however, has put that concern to rest masterfully.  Both will still meet guests in the Parks giving guests the chsnce to meet their favorite (or meet both)! They have avoided the potential for confusion, though by splitting the meet and greets into two different parks.

Animated ariel

Credit: Disney

Animated Ariel is meeting at Magic Kingdom. That’s a smart move on Disney’s part. Magic Kingdom is where Ariel shows up the most: Ariel’s Grotto for meet and greets, Cinderella’s Royal Table for Character Dining, and in the Festival of Fantasy Parade. By sticking with the animated version, there’s cohesiveness in the Park. You won’t have the live-action version popping up in one place and animated in another.

Ariel meet and greet

Credit: Disney

Hollywood Studios is where you can meet the live-action version of Ariel. That’s also smart. With the closure of Voyages of the Little Mermaid, Ariel has no established presence in the Park. A Princess meet and greet was sorely needed here. In fact, before Ariel’s arrival, it was the only Disney Park where you couldn’t meet a Disney Princess. With no parades or Princess dining to speak of at Hollywood Studios, the potential for confusion is much lower.

There’s still the matter of Fantasmic! to consider, animated Ariel appears on the boat with a cast of other characters, but that is so brief Disney could theoretically cut it out. The character is a safety hazard anyway. Even if she isn’t removed from the boat scene, Ariel doesn’t play an integral role and has no significant presence in the show. This makes the odds of questions about cohesiveness much lower than at Magic Kingdom (or even EPCOT as she appears at Akershus).

So there you have it. This is how two different Ariels will meet at Walt Disney World and not “kill the magic.” We think this is the perfect solution. No one is left out, and everyone should be happy ( we know, we know…famous last words). To check times and exact locations for the new Disney World Ariel meet and greet, click here.

About Jill Bivins

Jill Bivins has been visiting Disney Parks since she was 2 years old and loves sharing her Disney adventures with the world. She likes to say Disney is in her blood and writing is in her bones — so any time she has the opportunity to combine these loves she is one happy camper! She has a deep abiding love for Epcot and as a die hard Star Wars fan has a serious love for Hollywood Studios as well. When she isn't exploring or writing about Disney Parks, Jill is homeschooling her 8 year old son, playing with her brand new baby son, or pretending to be a farmer on her family homestead (despite being unable to keep even a cactus alive). Find Jill on Instagram @minnieonmain.