Disney Cruise Line offers a variety of opportunities to meet and take photos with characters on board the ship as well as on Castaway Cay. It's a good chance to get some photos with a variety of characters. It is often a much shorter wait compared to characters at Disney parks. There are also character dance parties throughout the trip for some fun dancing with characters rather than posing. Here are some things to know about the opportunities to meet characters on Disney Cruise Line.
[THANKS to our YouTube viewer kelseymorgan94 who asked to see our character photos and gave me the idea to write out this information!]
Before you board!
If you arrive for an early boarding time at Port Canaveral, you might catch a character in the terminal. It's a way to get guests excited even though they're about to wait in an incredibly long line. I arrived later (closer to 2:00) for my most recent cruise and there was no line for check in, but no characters either.
There will be plenty of chances to meet characters.
There will be multiple chances across multiple days to meet characters like Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Donald, Daisy, Chip & Dale, and Stitch. They're all pretty much staples to be on the schedule at some point almost every day. They're in different outfits for different nights (the above photos of Minnie in her beautiful dress was on formal night, Goofy was on a casual night.) The times are varying throughout the day and are usually in 15 minute increments. As long as you're lined up within that time frame, you'll get to meet your character. Some lines can be particularly long, like between dinner times, but there will likely be another chance later that day or later in the cruise.
There are a handful of princesses on a Disney Cruise, but not all of them. I've only ever seen Belle, Cinderella and Tiana. I do know they have select appearances that you have to get tickets for to meet Anna and Elsa, but that might not be on every cruise and they say the princesses rotate. The princesses do not appear every day, but there will definitely an opportunity to meet them. The lines are a bit longer than the other characters just because they're not out as often.
There are a handful of characters that might even be hard to catch in the Disney Theme Parks on a Disney Cruise. Peter Pan makes a frequent appearance, and I've seen him running around playing with kids throughout the ship, as well. I've seen Max Goof at a dance party. My most favorite character interaction that I've probably ever had is Hook and Smee. They're super hard to get together and get a photograph with in the Disney parks, but the themed Pirate Night on a Disney Cruise is the perfect opportunity. I even wore my vacation dad shirt and pirate bandanna.
There are chances to meet characters on Castaway Cay at scheduled times that are often a great opportunity to get some really good shots. I think the Castaway Cay photos generally turn out better than the photos on the ship solely because of great natural lighting. The lines are SO minimal as well. Also, sometimes a drunken Jack Sparrow roams around and you can't beat that.
The only downside that I noticed was that the cast members are perfectly happy to take photos with your own camera, just like in the theme parks, but the quality of the photos were never great. They were generally very dark, and usually very far away. They didn't always turn out the best. I probably need a re-do with Cinderella and Tiana.
but you can always take a selfie later.
Similarly to a trip to Walt Disney World, you can purchase a package that includes a digital copy of all photos taken on your cruise, but it's pretty damn expensive. They also have non-character photo spots and sometimes take photos at dinners and things, too, which are all available for purchase. Each photo is roughly $20, depending on size, and you can't purchase them digitally unless you buy the package, which isn't super convenient. I much prefer the Walt Disney World Memory Maker model. We have purchased a few hard copies from our trip that we just couldn't pass up.
Take some photos with Mickey, ya'll.