Daisy Duck in DinoLand USA at Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park

Where to Find Disney World Characters – Animal Kingdom Edition

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If you’re anything like us, no trip to one of the Disney Parks is complete without meeting a Disney character (or five). After all, you can’t go to Walt Disney World and not say “hiya pal” to Mickey, the mouse who started it all.

For many visiting The Most Magical Place on Earth, the likes of Magic Kingdom, Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios often top the list when it comes to character spotting due to their sheer number of character meet-and-greets, character-focused attractions and many Disney Princesses or Star Wars characters that call the parks home.

However, for folks hoping to meet furrier Disney characters (like the big cheese himself), there’s no better place than Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park. So, if you’re heading to the wildest theme park at Walt Disney World, grab your autograph book, put on your safari gear and read on as we go over where to see your favorite Disney characters at Animal Kingdom Theme Park.

Tree of Life at Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park

Where Can You Meet Walt Disney World Characters at Animal Kingdom?

Nothing compares to the magic of seeing your favorite Disney characters come to life before your eyes. From warm hugs to sweet conversations, these up-close interactions can transform your trip from ordinary to extraordinary. Here are some things to keep in mind when searching for Disney characters at Animal Kingdom Park.

What is the best way to see Disney characters at Animal Kingdom Park?

That depends on the characters on your list, how much time you have to spend, the kind of interaction you’re hoping for and, for some, the size of your travel budget. Character meet-and-greets offer a more personal experience and are included in the cost of your ticket, while a character meal gives a similarly intimate interaction for an additional cost.

Alternatively, you can also see them float by on a Discovery River character cruise, watch them take to the stage during a live show or even immerse yourself in their world on a character-inspired attraction. (Heck, why not do it all?)

The simplest way to see where your favorite characters are located is with the My Disney Experience app. Here you’ll find everything from meet-and-greet locations and appearance times to character flotilla sailings and much, much more. You can even reserve a character dining experience.

For a complete list of Animal Kingdom characters currently appearing at the park, simply tap the location icon at the bottom of the screen, then select “Characters” from the drop-down list at the top. To book a character meal, choose “Dining” and then filter for “Character Dining” under the “Dining Experience” category.

Bambi and Thumper statue in front of the Tree of Life at Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park

What time are characters out in Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park?

Character appearance times can vary greatly depending on who you want to see. At Animal Kingdom, characters typically begin greeting guests shortly after park opening and continue on and off throughout the remainder of the day until an hour or so before closing time.

Mickey and Minnie, meanwhile, mingle with guests all day long at their meet-and-greet location, Adventurers Outpost, on Discovery Island. For current appearance times, refer to the My Disney Experience app.

Do Animal Kingdom characters walk around the park?

Sadly, unlike at Disneyland and California Adventure, where characters are more likely to wander around the parks, most Animal Kingdom characters tend to be in a dedicated meet-and-greet location. However, there are some exceptions. Kevin, the colorful bird from Up, can often be found roaming Discovery Island, while DiVine, a wood nymph-like character, typically creeps around The Oasis near the park’s main entrance.

Where can you meet Mickey Mouse at Animal Kingdom?

Mickey Mouse, and his main squeeze Minnie, meet guests throughout the day at Adventurers Outpost on Discovery Island. You can also see Mickey and Minnie, along with their faithful friend Pluto, cruise by on the Discovery River several times each day during the Mickey and Friends Flotilla.

Harambe Village in Africa at Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park

Where to Find Animal Kingdom Characters Right Now

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park has seen some changes through the years when it comes to Disney character sightings. Years ago, characters like Brer Rabbit, Brer Fox and Brer Bear took to the streets as part of Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade. Everyone’s favorite mice—along with furry friends like Miss Bunny, Thumper and characters from Brother Bear—greeted guests in Camp Minnie-Mickey (what is now Pandora – The World of Avatar).

You could meet Pooh and other Hundred Acre Wood pals at Character Landing on Discovery Island, see Tarzan near the base of the Tree of Life, shake hands with Jiminy Cricket and King Louie and play games with Chip ‘n’ Dale at Rafiki’s Planet Watch. There was even a talking palm tree à la Push the Trash Can called Wes Palm that used to welcome guests to the park.

Sadly, that is no longer the case. That said, while you won’t find as many characters at Animal Kingdom as at Magic Kingdom or other Disney Parks, there are still plenty of opportunities to see your furry or feathered favorites at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park, from formal meet-and-greets and character meals to Discovery River cruises and character-filled attractions.

DiVine near the entrance to Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park

Animal Kingdom Character Meet-and-Greet Locations

Saving some time for meeting characters during your visit to Animal Kingdom? While Character Landing is (for now) a thing of the past, many of your favorite Disney pals still greet their adoring fans at Disney World’s wildest park. Here’s everywhere you can meet characters at Animal Kingdom in 2023.

The Oasis Sightings

Animal Kingdom is all about the beauty of nature. So, what better way to start your visit than by coming face to face with Disney’s take on Mother Nature? DiVine, a stunning stilt walker, welcomes visitors to Animal Kingdom in The Oasis, the Eden-like area near the theme park’s main entrance.

Harambe Village in Africa at Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park

Discovery Island Meet-and-Greets & Sightings

Discovery Island is the heart of Animal Kingdom. Naturally, this is also where you’ll find two of the shining stars of the Walt Disney Company: Mickey and Minnie. Stop by Adventurers Outpost, which is located not too far from the Tree of Life on the path toward Asia, for a chance to see the dynamic duo. They also sign autographs, so be sure to bring your book or something else for them to write on.

While exploring Discovery Island, you’ll also want to be on the lookout for Kevin. This colorful bird from the Pixar film Up has been known to wander the wooded paths around this central part of the park, making her a must-see for Wilderness Explorers of all ages.

DinoLand USA at Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park

DinoLand USA Meet-and-Greets & Sightings

Then, leave Discovery Island and make your way to DinoLand USA for Donald’s Dino-Bash, where you can meet your favorite Animal Kingdom characters in a prehistoric setting. Similar to Character Landing and Camp Minnie-Mickey in the past, DinoLand USA is a hub for close-up character interactions.

Here, beloved Disney pals like Donald Duck, Daisy Duck and Chip ‘n’ Dale greet guests as part of Donald’s Dino-Bash. As the master of ceremonies, Donald holds court at the DinoLand USA Welcome Center. Meanwhile, his lady love, Daisy, shows off her fashion creations at Daisy’s Design Studio, which is just a short walk from Restaurantosaurus.

From there, stroll over to the Upper Cretaceous Trail to see Chip ‘n’ Dale. In honor of Donald’s Dino-Bash, those rascally chipmunks are dressed for the occasion in adorable dinosaur costumes, making for an extra-cute photo opportunity. Afterward, take a short stroll over to DINOSAUR for a glimpse of Dino-Sue, a recreation of the most complete T-Rex skeleton ever found.

Daisy Duck in DinoLand USA at Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park

Other Ways to See Disney Characters in Animal Kingdom

Luckily, meet-and-greets are the only ways to see your favorite Animal Kingdom characters. They also star in character flotillas, stage shows, attractions and a character meal at Tusker House Restaurant, too.

Disney Character Flotillas & Discovery River Cruises

One of the easiest ways to see Animal Kingdom characters is the park’s Disney character flotillas. Featuring the Discovery Island Drummers and an array of characters, these character-filled cruises float around Discovery Island several times each day. Similar to character cavalcades at other parks, these fun-filled flotillas provide a splash of pixie dust without the time commitment of having to wait in line.

So, where are the best places to see your favorite Disney pals set sail? Most bridges over the Discovery River provide great views of the characters below. However, we also like to watch from the Discovery River Amphitheater near Expedition Everest or from one of the covered dining pavilions at Flame Tree Barbecue (preferably with some BBQ in hand). Along with the Discovery Island Drummers, character river cruises include:

Russell and Dug statues in Asia at Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park

Adventure Flotilla

Characters: Scrooge McDuck and Launchpad McQuack

Showtimes: 8:45 AM, 9:45 AM, 10:45 AM, 11:45 AM, 1:45 PM, 2:45 PM, 3:45 PM

Adventure Flotilla – Up

Characters: Russell and Dug

Showtimes: 9:15 AM, 10:15 AM, 11:15 AM,  12:15 PM, 2:15 PM, 3:15 PM, 4:15 PM

Discovery River Cruise – Pocahontas

Characters: Pocahontas and (sometimes) Meeko

Showtimes: 8:45 AM, 9:45 AM, 10:45 AM, 11:45 AM, 1:45 PM, 2:45 PM, 3:45 PM

Lion King statue in Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park

Discovery River Cruise – The Lion King

Characters: Timon and Rafiki

Showtimes: 9:15 AM, 10:15 AM, 11:15 AM,  12:15 PM, 2:15 PM, 3:15 PM, 4:15 PM

Mickey and Friends Flotilla

Characters: Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and Pluto

Showtimes: 8:45 AM, 9:45 AM, 10:45 AM, 12:45 PM, 1:45 PM, 2:45 PM, 3:45 PM

Actors dressed in Lion King costumes

Stage Shows

Without a doubt, one of our favorite ways to see characters at the Disney Parks is with a stage show, and Animal Kingdom is no exception. Not only are they a ton of fun, but they’re also a great chance to rest your feet and soak up some much-deserved A/C.

This wild park is home to two different live productions, one in Africa and one between Asia and DinoLand USA. Showtimes are subject to change, so check the My Disney Experience app for the most up-to-date schedule.

Festival of the Lion King

Celebrate the circle of life at the Festival of the Lion King. With a talented cast of singers, acrobats and puppeteers, appearances by the likes of Timon and Simba and some of the film’s most popular songs, this is easily one of the best stage shows at Walt Disney World. And we’re not “lion.” The show takes place several times each day in the Harambe Theater, just a short walk from Tusker House Restaurant and Kilimanjaro Safaris.

Characters: Simba, Timon and Pumba

Showtimes: 10:00 AM, 11:00 AM, 12:00 PM, 2:00 PM, 3:00 PM, 4:00 PM, 5:00 PM (subject to change)

Actors on stage with sea creature costumes

Finding Nemo: The Big Blue… and Beyond!

Dive into the big, blue world with Finding Nemo The Musical. This aquatic spectacular features impressive puppetry and a catchy soundtrack written by famed songwriting duo Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez, who also penned songs for Frozen and Coco. In other words, like the Festival of the Lion King, this is one stage show you won’t want to miss.

Characters: Nemo, Marlin, Dory, Crush and more

Showtimes: 11:00 AM, 12:00 PM, 1:00 PM, 2:30 PM, 3:30 PM, 4:30 PM (subject to change)

Disney Character Dining

Looking for a unique way to see some Disney characters and save some time in the process? Then Disney character dining might be for you. During these magical meals, characters visit your table to pose for photos, sign autograph books and, of course, give hugs, making for a convenient (and tasty!) way to enjoy some one-on-one time with your favorites.

Though pricier than your typical table-service restaurants at Disney World, we think the cost is definitely worth it for the experience. Plus, since you won’t have to wait in line to see characters later, it frees up time in your day for other activities on your to-do list. As you can imagine, character dining is incredibly popular, so be sure to make a reservation or risk being at the mercy of the walk-up list.

Tusker House Restaurant during Christmas

Tusker House Restaurant

Located in Africa, Tusker House Restaurant is the only character meal at Animal Kingdom. Here you can meet Donald Duck and his furry or feathered friends, who are each decked out in their finest safari gear. Along with appearances by some of the most iconic Disney characters, Tusker House also cooks up one of the more unique meals at Animal Kingdom, with a bountiful buffet of African-inspired dishes like berbere-marinated pork and jollof rice.

Characters: Donald Duck, Mickey Mouse, Goofy, Daisy Duck and Minnie Mouse (subject to change)

Character Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Animal Kingdom Attractions Starring Disney Characters

Hoping for even more character-filled fun? You’re in luck! When you aren’t hobnobbing with Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse or making a splash with Finding Nemo The Musical, you can also enjoy two different attractions inspired by Disney’s lovable, animated creations.

Inside a bug theater

It’s Tough to Be a Bug!

Put on your 3D “bug eye” glasses and hold on tight for this immersive 4D show at the base of the Tree of Life. Themed after Pixar’s A Bug’s Life, It’s Tough to Be a Bug! gives guests a glimpse into the insect world, stingers and all. Hosted by Flik the ant, this entertaining show is fun for guests of all ages. However, a surprise appearance by Hopper the grasshopper and a number of creepy-crawly jump scares can make the show a bit frightening at times for young children.

The Animation Experience at Conservation Station

Learn how to draw one of your favorite Disney characters during The Animation Experience at Conservation Station. Led by a Disney animator, this 25-minute class is great for artists of all ages and skill levels. By the end of the step-by-step instruction, you’ll leave with a sketch of one of Disney’s animated characters from the animal world. Be aware that you will need to take the Wildlife Express Train from Africa to reach Rafiki’s Planet Watch. So, be sure to plan accordingly.

Expedition Everest in Asia at Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park

Well, that concludes our guide to seeing Animal Kingdom characters. What are your favorite characters to meet at Animal Kingdom? Let us know in the comments! Then, learn how to stretch your travel budget with our Disney World discount tickets.