Home Disney World A European character fan tells his Disney World story

A European character fan tells his Disney World story


I would like to introduce myself. I’m Danny from the Netherlands, 34 years old and a Disney addict. I’ve been to Disneyland Paris about 30 times, to Walt Disney World 12 times and once to the Disneyland resort in Anaheim.  Next to collecting Disney merchandise , my family and I love meeting characters.  New characters that we metat Walt Disney World during this trip included Pinocchio, Lady Tremaine, The Tweedles, Baymax and Hiro and the Fairy Godmother. That brings my Total of Disney character meets to 109. I hope to meet Oswald the Lucky Rabbit and the Cheshire Cat one day.

The following story may sound like a commercial.  I wrote this story to say thank you to KtP.  I’ve never met him in real life and I’m not related to him in any way. I hope you like the story and have the same experience sometime in the future.

It was summer when I read a blog of a fellow WDW fan.  I saw the name of Kenny the Pirate in that blog and I thought:  “Let’s Google that name.”  It was not long before I saw what info I missed the previous 11 times I had visited the Walt Disney World Resort.  But with a trip to Orlando ahead of me I knew I could benefit from the Character Locator subscription this trip.

I have two daughters. They’re still very young at only 2 and 5 years old.  My oldest daughter is a Disney geek just like her father.  I asked her:  “What do you like more, characters or rides?”  Like any other 5 year old, there is no way of choosing:  “Daddy I want to do both, as many characters as possible, but I like the rides to.”

I spent hours prepping our vacation.  Because I have 3 women to please.  My wife said:”Danny, I think it is ok to please Izzy, but we have 2 little children so we have to do it at an easy pace.”

Of course she is right. (please don’t tell her I said that ) So 3 goals

  1. A lot of characters
  2. A lot of rides
  3. No rush

Are we still talking about Walt Disney World?  Yes. Are we still going in the Princess Marathon Weekend?  Yes.  A heck of a job isn’t it?  Not with Kenny the Pirate.

We had some luck because we stayed on property this time in The Art of Animation Resort.  Luck, because Anna & Elsa and the Seven Dwarfs Mine train are no problem anymore because of the FP+.

We also planned some character meals. We planned Crystal Palace at the end of our first day, Hollywood and Vine during lunch on the second day and the new Citricos Princess Breakfast (temporary meal while Cinderella’s Royal Table was refurbished) the day we left

Our Schedule was:

  1. Half day Magic Kingdom
  2. Hollywood Studios
  3. Swimming Day
  4. Half day Magic Kingdom
  5. Shopping Day
  6. Epcot
  7. Half day Magic Kingdom
  8. Going Home after breakfast

Of course I went back one day (with my oldest daughter) to see the Electrical parade and Fireworks in Magic Kingdom.

The last thing I did was for both my daughter was to create an autograph book of our own.  I used previous photos with signing options for characters.  (KtP Note:  You’re welcome to use any of my photos for personal autograph books.)  This made the interaction with most characters more fun.  Characters react very funny when they see you met them on previous occasions.

disney world character autograph book disney world character autograph book2

The First day offered a morning Extra Magic Hour in Magic Kingdom.  We had a lot of jetlag so we we’re awake at 04:30 AM to be in Magic Kingdom at 6:30 for a 7:00 AM opening.  We walked into the park at 6:50.  In the first hour we met Stitch, White Rabbit with Alice, Rapunzel & Cinderella, Goofy & Donald, Minnie and Daisy. Our total wait time: 0 minutes. We still had time to ride Buzz Lightyear, Peter Pan, the Teacups, Winnie the Pooh and the Barnstormer before the park opened at 8 AM. An important goal for today was Merida but whe had more than an hour before she came out. So we did Dumbo and Philharmagic before we met the Lady Tremaine .

We took a little hot chocolate break and wanted to get in line for Merida. It was still well before 9 AM, I was thrilled when I saw Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum. I never met them so meeting them was a no brainer.

Tweedledee and Tweedledum magic kingdom mad tea party

We met them and were the fourth in line for Merida at 9 AM. We had to wait 15 minutes due to her schedule, but before the line opened there where 60 people behind us. Just like Kenny told me.  And I said to my wife: “Told you so.” Merida was great fun to meet, when we left at 09:25 (my daughters did some colouring and bow shooting before we headed out). I heard a Cast Member say the wait was over an hour!!! We had Fastpasse for the Mine Train, Anna and Elsa and talking Mickey before we took our lunch oppurtunity at the Crystal palace. After meeting Piglet, Pooh, Eeyore and Tigger our grand Total of that morning was……..20 character and 8 rides. No rush and great fun.  (KtP Note:  This was by lunch :)

The rest of the week we had the same success. Three great things I would mention are:

  1. Character Palooza. 30 people waiting for a “secret” door to open and meeting 7 characters in 20 minutes. Our Palooza had the following characters: Stitch, Pinocchio, Tiana, The Evil Queen, Pocahontas, Mulan and Mushu. This is something I would never know without KtP.pinocchio character palooza
  2. Our meeting with Woody and Jesse. Of course we were the First in line at 10 AM. Woody and Jesse where great fun. Woody saw in an instant I was surrounded by women so he wanted to do a guys picture with me, and he ordered a women’s picture on the other side of the area. He let me know he felt sorry for me.
  3. Our meeting with Aurora at Epcot was the last meet I wanted to mention. She came out at 12:30. We where first in line at 12:15. She was so popular the line was closed before she appeared. Despite the long line she was great to my daughter and gave us plenty of time. One picture tells more than thousand words.princess aurora meet and greet girl dancing with princess aurora

We had a great week and the info given by Character Locator helped us. We met 51 different characters (some we met twice), we did all the major rides and shows. For example my daughter did the seven dwarfs mine train 6 times and we met Anna and Elsa 3 times! The longest waits (during a busy time) this week were for Merida, Aurora and Peter Pan. This was because we arrived 15 minutes before a new set, so the wait was 20 minutes. What are my tips for you:

  • Rope drop. Be there before any park opens. Every minute you are there after the parks opens you lose oppurtunity to do something without wait. You can do more in the first hour then you can do in at least the following 3 hours!!
  • Listen to KennythePirate!!! All the times and locations in Character Locator were exactly right! Sometimes we could add some bonus characters, but everything turned out to be true. If Kenny says be there at 9 AM or wait an hour it’s true. If he says the waittime usually is X minutes during the day it’s true.  We have a Dutch saying that states: “Het wiel opnieuw uitvinden”, what means, “If there is a best practice use it.”  Don’t think you can do it better. That is the lesson of today.
  • Have fun!! If something does not work out the way you planned move on and have fun. You’re in the happiest place on earth and with 17 million people visiting the Magic Kingdom you’re never alone.

I want to thank anyone who read the story and hope you enjoyed it. This year the plan is to visit Disneyland Paris in the summer and the Disneyland Resort in the autumn. I only could wish there where duplicate Kenny’s for those parks.  (Could be in the future, but for now there’s only Character Schedules above for Disneyland and California Adventure).


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  1. does anybody have a link for the passport pages? every site I look at gives me the same one and that site is closed now. we are going on a dcl and this would be perfect for my girls new book. I think she will like it since we have passports too. thanks hope someone can point me in the right direction

      • Since I couldn’t find it available, I simply created my own template in Word using my own character photos from previous trips for the passport photos. I then copy and pasted each passport into paint to convert to .jpeg. .jpegs were uploaded into disneyphotopass.com, and created a hardback 8.5×11 photo album that is actually an autograph book. You can simply do it yourself. I will admit the photopass photo album was expensive, but well worth it. Helped a friend create hers through shutterfly. My files are too large to simply email, so I am no help. I encourage you to be creative and make your own.


  2. Thanks! I ended up creating my own autograph book for my girls for our Disneyland trip this summer. Characters loved what I made with some spending time to write personal messages and drawings to our girls.

  3. Sherry, if you have Facebook connect me (Danny van den Essenburg) I Will help you. It’s not my own idea. Concepts are available online.

  4. Thank you for sharing. I have been obsessing over our trip and my husband thinks I am crazy to do so. I made him read this article and he is a believer now. I can’t wait for our trip to show him how being prepared with a plan makes it more enjoyable.

  5. For Danny: Love the autograph passport book idea you created for your children!! Do you have a template available for purchase as far as the signature passport shown? Would love to make something similar for my children on our upcoming trip to Disneyland! I have found the autograph books at the parks fill up fast, and I like how you customized this with your own pictures. We took photo mats this last time, and they were great! But, loving this book idea of yours!

  6. Fab story! We would LOVE to see Mushu. He’s my little boys favorite. I don’t even know how many times he’s watching the movie. We have custom ordered shirts and his has Mushu on it. Fingers crossed! (I’m tempted to pop over to this park more than once just for the Character Palooza).

  7. Thanks for this story.
    I’m also from the Netherlands and found Kenny the Pirate through another Dutch or Belgium forum member. I use the website for the crowd calendar and touring plan. But we also go with the flow.
    We’re hopefully gonna do the Palooza for the very first time in May. Never knew this before.

  8. Thanks for your story! Hoping to have a similar “relaxed but full of rides and characters” trip with my 2 and 6 year olds (who will turn 3 and 7 while we are there!) later this year.

  9. Awww!! Great History!! BTW regardless of our soccer Rivalry . I loved Amsterdam I was there twice in the past year due to the big Meeting every December – From the Online Hotel Site -that has their Headquarters in Amsterdam
    Even though we have no Kids I’m so into characters but bf beg me to be a more Relaxed Trip so glad to read your advice
    I love KTP to –
    @KTP: I thought I had the Character Locator App however it seems I’m completely mistaken :(
    Can I just download it from the Play Store? I have an Android
    I love your site! I’m schedule to go in September so trying to get all the info Possible pre trip

    Thanks Danny for sharing your story and pics –
    I’m sure you girls had a Magical Time

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