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character meet and greet at epcot
Credit: Disney Parks

Look who’s back to greet Guests at EPCOT (plus a PhotoPass surprise for Guests)!

Sadly, one of the casualties of Disney World’s closure in 2020 in response to the global coronavirus pandemic was the Disney character meet-and-greets that were so popular with fans of all ages. Who didn’t love stopping by to chat up our favorite Disney and PIXAR characters, take a few selfies, smile for the PhotoPass photos, and tell them we’d be back soon to say hello again (even if we’ve technically “met” Woody and Buzz so many times that they’re like old friends to us now)?

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For a lot of us, character encounters never made it to the “one and done” list of attractions. No matter how old we get, we still get excited to see Mickey and Minnie and all of our favorite parks characters. Sadly, because of the high transmissibility rate of the COVID-19 virus, character encounters were shelved completely for a while, and the best we could get was the glimpse of a character cavalcade passing in front of us, but even that could be difficult to catch since there was no calendar of availability for the cavalcade. We never knew when they’d pop up!

Buzz Lightyear character cavalcade hollywood studios

Credit: Becky Burkett

We’re happy to announce that many of our Disney friends are back from their COVID-related hiatus, and we can’t wait to meet up again! Here’s who’s back, as well as information on when and where you can see them.

Donald Duck at the Mexico Pavilion at EPCOT

Donald Duck, Disney

If you’ll be visiting EPCOT’s World Showcase on your next visit to Walt Disney World, be sure to stop by and say “Hola!” to Donald Duck. He will be located at the Mexico Pavilion along the World Showcase. See him at any of the available times throughout the day (which are subject to change): 10:00 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 12:00 p.m., 12:30 p.m., 1:00 p.m., 1:30 p.m., 2:40 p.m., 3:10 p.m., 4:10 p.m., 4:40 p.m., and 5:10 p.m. Because times can change due to inclement weather or other events, be sure to check Disney’s calendar here so you know what times are available for meeting Donald Duck on the day of your visit.

Wreck-It-Ralph and Vanellope at ImageWorks located at World Celebration

Vanellope, Disney

Guests can say hello to Wreck-It-Ralph and Vanellope Von Schweetz at ImageWorks at World Celebration. According to Disney World’s website, greeting times are from 10:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and from 3:10 p.m. to 5:10 p.m. Be sure to check here for times on the day of your visit, just in case they’re have been any changes.

Joy (also) at Image Works at World Celebration

Joy, Disney

Joy from PIXAR’s Inside Out has also returned to visit with Guests at ImageWorks at World Celebration at EPCOT. You can say hello to her from 10:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and from 3:10 p.m. to 5:40 p.m. Watch here for any changes in greeting times on the day of your EPCOT visit. Meeting Joy is sure to create a very happy core memory for Guests!

Riley's Memories" Clip - Inside Out - YouTube

Credit: PIXAR Animation Studios

Thankfully, character encounters are back, but as with many things in a post-COVID world, the experiences are different. Remember that character encounters are now focused on experiencing the magic from a safe distance, so Guests are not permitted to stand next to the characters, but you can certainly get close enough for that special photo with your favorite character.

As an added bonus, Disney has now announced that PhotoPass photographers, who were recently only taking photos of Guests and characters during outdoor greetings, have now returned indoors to capture the magic of your character greeting in photos! For more information of PhotoPass photos and options, click here.

About Becky Burkett

Becky's from the Lone Star State and has been writing since she was 10 and encountered her first Disney Park when she was 11. It was love at first Main Street Electrical Parade. Joy is blank lined journals, 0.7 mm pens, and all things Walt, Woody and Buzz, PIXAR, Imagineering, Sleeping Beauty (make it blue!), Disney Parks history and EPCOT. At Disney World, you'll find her croonin' with the birdies at the Enchanted Tiki Room or hangin' with Woody and the gang at Toy Story Land. If you can dream, you really can do it!