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One of the most magical parts of visiting Disneyland is meeting a princess. I don't remember this, but my mom (Flora, or Mommy Frog, to all of you) says that I wore a Belle dress to my first visit to Disneyland. Since then, I've made it a point to always visit a princess. What's really great is that new princesses seem to appear every time we visit! They also move about and keep us on our froggy toes when they pop up in unexpected locations. The Disneyland princesses like to keep their subjects guessing, so they do move locations and make appearances at different times and places. (It must help keep the paparazzi away.) But we’ve figured out the most likely places to find them.
The princesses are out in the morning from park opening until about 5:00 p.m. or 6:00 p.m. (although Anna and Elsa tend to be available later). You don’t usually see most princcess after dark except to wave to them in a parade, in Fantasmic! or at special events. During some Disneyland After Dark events and Halloween parties, princesses, including rare ones, come out to greet guests. We can't wait to see if they appear at the new Disneyland Halloween Party, the Oogie Boogie Bash at Disney California Adventure. Here are the best spots and our hop tips for meeting your favorite princesses at Disneyland.
Locations for Meeting the Princesses at Disneyland
The Royal Hall and Fantasy Faire
Where do you expect to meet a princess? Near the castle, of course. In Fantasy Faire’s Royal Hall (to the left of the castle), you can usually find three different princesses inside and a princess and a royal friend outside under an umbrella in Fantasy Faire. The lineup is always changing, but inside the Royal Hall, you might meet Snow White, Cinderella, Ariel, Jasmine or any surprise friend. If one of them needs to go about her duties as a princess, a different Disney character or princess will step in to take her place.
In front of the Royal Hall, there is an umbrella where you can meet long-haired Rapunzel and Flynn Rider, Belle or Elena of Avalor. We've also seen Jasmine and her buddy Aladdin drop in. They alternate throughout the day.
The Wishing Well
The area of the Wishing Well (to the right of the castle) is a popular meeting spot for princesses and their friends. You might spot Aurora, Ariel or Jasmine and Aladdin.
Ever the voyager, Moana, can't stay in one place. When she is not in Montonui, you may find her strolling about Adventureland. She likes to hide in the foliage near Tarzan’s Treehouse, although she has been away on her voyages more often lately.
New Orleans Square/Frontierland
Princess Tiana greets guests in front of the water or near the Petrified Tree by Rivers of America. You may also find her on the Mark Twain Riverboat, or dancing to live music in New Orleans Square. Dr. Facilier also wanders about New Orleans Square.(I think Tiana and I would make a great team, me being a frog and all!) At times, we have spied Pocahontas waiting just around the river bend ... of Rivers of America, that is. This is a rare treat when she is not out exploring the wilderness.
You never know who you might find strolling through Fantasyland. You might encounter Belle wandering through, perhaps arm in arm with the Beast or even taking a spin on the King Arthur Carrousel! We got to ride with her once. It was toadally awesome! Aurora may decide to greet guests in her castle courtyard.
Always keep your eye out for rare and unusual characters in Fantasyland. Spunky Merida just might strike up a conversation with you. She appears less than some other princesses, but she's fun. Some princesses stand still, allowing a line to form. Others stay on the move, so you'll have to keep up with them if you want quality time or a photo.
I know Tinker Bell is not a princess, but she wears a tutu, and that’s good enough for me! You can find Tink and her fairy friends in Pixie Hollow.
Is there a better surprise than meeting a princess right when you enter Disneyland? Nope. Sometimes princesses greet guests near the entrance to the park. Keep an eye out for them when you enter and leave the park. We have spotted Mulan there, which is an extra special treat because she usually only makes regular meet-and-greet appearances at Disney California Adventure during Lunar New Year with her buddy Mushu. From time to time, we have spotted most other princesses near the park entrance at least once, so it’s definitely a good spot to have your camera and autograph book ready just in case.
Princess Friends and Acquaintances
Some characters are closely associated with the princesses. What does a princess aspire to be? A queen, of course, but hopefully a nice queen. If you are brave and know how to properly bow, you can meet Snow White's evil stepmother, the Queen. She is often somewhere on the path from Main Street, U.S.A. to the Matterhorn. We've encountered the Queen near the wishing well, too.
Every princess could use a fairy godmother from time to time. You can find Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother in Fantasyland, and maybe even one of Cinderella's helpful mouse friends. Cinderella’s evil stepmother and stepsisters may also lurk about during the Halloween party.
Gaston wanders around Fantasy Faire and Fantasyland. He is always on the lookout for Belle. The Beast also wanders through Fantasyland from time to time. Rumor has it that the Beast and Gaston do not get along. ;) Anyhoo, there are many other characters you might find at Disneyland if you keep your eyes open.
Locations for Meeting the Princesses at Disney California Adventure
While the Princesses generally stay in Disneyland Park, you can still meet Anna and Elsa, and occasionally Olaf and Kristoff, in California Adventure in the Animation Academy of Hollywood Land. They are there from park opening to evening. Check the entertainment guide for the last time they'll be available before they have to go feed Sven, which can vary each day. Sofia the First is not often greeting guests in Hollywood Land these days because she is super busy with princess life.
Disney California Adventure hosts special princesses during certain holidays. Mulan, along with her buddy Mushu, come out to greet guests in Paradise Gardens during Lunar New Year. You might see Elena during Fiesta Navidad during the Festival of Holidays at Holiday Time.
Tips for Meeting Princesses at Disneyland
Visit them early in the day. Arrive before lines get long. Reserve a FASTPASS for your favorite attraction and then spend an hour hopping around to find the princesses. Now that you know where to find them, you can meet most of them pretty easily. Lines are shortest in the morning.
Look for royal attendants to ask about meeting princesses. They usually stand in place before a character arrives and near the Royal Hall in Fantasy Faire. You can ask them who is coming and be among the first in line to greet them. The lines form quickly once the character arrives and other guests hop over. These cast members can also give you good insider tips about meeting other characters. There is something called a Toon Finder. Ask a cast member when and where to find your favorite character, and they can consult a Toon Finder to get you your answers.
Use the Disneyland app. You can see many character locations on the map. If you click on a particular character, you view their appearance times. It's not always accurate, but it will give you a good idea of when and where to find your favorite princess. Only the regular characters are listed, so an unusual character will not appear in the app. You just have to magically encounter them, and when you do, it really is magic!
Dress like a princess, too! Guests under 14 can wear costumes to Disneyland (older guests can DisneyBound and dress with colors or elements of a princess without wearing a costume). The park sells princess dresses and accessories if you do not bring your own. Guests 3 to 12 can get made up with a variety of packages at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique (for an added cost, and reservations are recommended). One benefit you can ask about is skipping the line to meet princesses in the Royal Hall after getting certain princess makeovers. If you are lucky, you just might find a fairy godmother outside of the store. Every princess can use a fairy godmother from time to time, right? She’s great if you need a hug.
Have your autograph book and pen ready. Some kids like to collect autographs from characters. I prefer a good hug and to talk to the princesses, although there are some fun do-it-yourself crafts that you can have the princesses sign (picture frames, pillowcases, ornaments, shirts, picture books and more). The nice part about the princesses is that they actually can talk to you. Masked characters usually cannot talk.
Realize that a princess needs to take a break, too. If she is not at her regular spot, just be patient and check back later. Sometimes the princesses take turns in a location so you might see one princess there, and if you come back later you can meet the other one. Be a good sport if she needs to take a break before it is your turn. Remember to use your courtly manners.
Find princesses on a rainy day. If you visit on a rainy day, the princesses will not be out in the wet weather. They do not want to ruin their hair, makeup and beautiful gowns. You can usually find them indoors on rainy days, specifically in the hallway where Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln takes place. We lucked out and saw three princesses there on a rainy day! The princesses may have wraps or changes to their clothing to keep them warm in colder weather.
Catch a show to see princesses in action. You can watch Anna and Elsa on stage in Frozen – Live at the Hyperion in Disney California Adventure, or in Tangled or Beauty and the Beast at the Royal Theatre in Disneyland. Sometimes Belle and Rapunzel greet guests after the shows. At times, Belle and the Beast appear with the Disneyland Band in front of the castle. Pocahontas, Mulan and Tiana make appearances in the Mickey and the Magical Map show. During Lunar New Year, Mulan and Mushu are part of a procession. And during Holiday Time, Elena sings and tells stories during Princess Elena's Musical Grand Arrival.
Attend a character dining experience. A really nice and relaxing way to guarantee that you'll be meeting princesses at Disneyland is to attend the Disney Princess Adventures character dining experience. You'll see a lot of princesses and get to spend some quality time with them. You'll meet one princess when you enter the Napa Rose Lounge at the Grand Californian Hotel. While you dine, several more princesses will visit your table. You'll have story time with another princess and get a photo op final farewell with yet another princess. The princesses may vary, but you can expect to meet about six of the following adventurous princesses: Ariel, Rapunzel, Tiana, Belle, Jasmine, Mulan, Pocahontas or Aurora.
Who is your favorite Disney princess? Do you have any tips to share for meeting princesses at Disneyland? Let us know in the comments below! Good luck trying to find those princesses!