Although Hong Kong Disneyland isn’t the biggest Disney Park, it’s a park with many strengths (in my opinion). One of those is just how many characters you can meet throughout the park. You could honestly spend a whole day meeting Mickey and his many friends that occupy the happiest place in Hong Kong.
There are many permanent ‘meet and greet’ locations throughout the park. All of them are good, but some offer that extra special magic. So today I’m going to rank my top 5, and cover some temporary ‘meet and greet’ locations in my honorable mentions, too.
Temporary meet and greet 1: Halloween friends at Fantasy Gardens
If this was all year round, it would certainly be higher. But, sadly like the Holiday itself, Fantasy Gardens getting a spooky overlay is just a temporary thing. Though it doesn’t make it any less cool.
During Halloween the fantasy gardens receives a makeover with ‘trick or treat’ stations, candy bag making and several podiums where you can meet various characters. What I really like about this location is who you can meet varies due to the time in the day. During the day, guests of all ages can meet Pooh and chums in adorable ‘trick or treat’ outfits.
However, when the sun goes down, Pooh goes away and out comes a plethora of your favorite Disney Villains including the Evil Queen, Maleficent, The Queen of Hearts, Oogie Boogie and Hades (my personal favorite) who was new for last year’s event.
The range of characters is impressive, especially considering that there is no extra ticket needed to experience HKDL’s Halloween celebrations.
Temporary meet and greet 2: Superheroes throughout the park
Last year, HKDL debuted the Carnival of Stars. This is where many of HKDL’s top characters would make an appearance throughout the spring and the summer.
As part of this event, HKDL received an influx of superheroes ‘meet and greet’ locations.
These locations were only at the park for a couple of months, meaning they don’t find a permanent home on this list, but they were still pretty cool
The best of these were The Black Panther ‘meet and greet’ in Adventureland and the Groot ‘meet and greet’ in Tomorrowland. Not only was this the first time that these characters had appeared in the park, but the ‘greets’ themselves were pretty cool.
Both characters had their own areas built and would make a grand entrance to a substantial amount of fanfare. Black Panther was pretty cool, but nothing compared to Groot, who was really impressive to see.
5. Various friends at the Annex.
OK, first item on the list and I might already be cheating. The ‘meet and ‘greet’ location itself is permanent, but the characters that occupy it is seasonal. Many characters have graced The Annex over the years, from Ralph and Venelope to Baymax, to Captain America himself, The Annex is a multipurpose space at the front of the park that is able to change with the seasons, events and new releases that come out.
My favorite experiences at The Annex are the two that appear annually. That is Jack and Sally during Halloween and Santa Goofy at Christmas. Meeting Goofy is always a cool time, but meeting Santa Goofy is extra special as he is filled with even more magic. I literally got goose bumps the last time I met him.
4. Mickey and friends in Main Street U.S.A
Again, maybe a little bit of cheating, but it’s my list so I’m counting this as one giant ‘meet and greet’ location. When you enter the park and go through the tunnels leading to Main Street USA, you will encounter Mickey and friends at various points throughout Main Street.
Currently, Mickey and Minnie sit in their own gazebo in the middle of town square, Chip and Dale are next to the Emporium and Donald and Daisy meet guests near the Art of Animation building, with Goofy and Pluto at the other end of Main Street.
Nothing says Disney like Mickey so I think it’s a fantastic touch to have the clubhouse characters meeting guests as soon as they arrive. The only reason this isn’t higher in the list is that it can get a little crowded (especially to meet Mickey) so odds are you will be there for a while.
3. Moana in Adventureland
Moana is one of my favorite recent Disney movies. From the score to the story, I think it’s an excellent movie and one that I will cherish for years to come. Over the last couple of years, more and more little guests have come to the park dressed as Moana.
To compliment this, HKDL opened Moana: A Homecoming stage show in 2018. Along with this, they also opened a Moana ‘meet and greet’ Opposite the show is an area to represent Motu Nui. Throughout the day, Moana appears to meet her doting fans.
What sets this greet apart is how good Moana is. Every time I have seen her, she is friendly, bubbly and comforting to all the guests she meets. Really making the ‘meet and greet’ pretty special.
2. Various friends at the Karabuni Marketplace
The Karabuni Marketplace is another recent addition to HKDL. It is an area that is primarily designated to carnival style games where participants can win Disney themed merchandise. However, that’s not all Karabuni Marketplace has to offer.
Tucked behind the games, is a ‘meet and greet’ area where such characters like Carl, Russell, Timon, Rafiki, Jasmine, Genie, Stitch, Lilo, Flik and Atta appear. AT the start of the day, a poster is put up to tell guests who will be making an appearance throughout the day.
Not only are the experiences great, but because it is a little out of the way, the queues aren’t as big as they are at other locations in the park.
1. The Princesses at Royal Princess Garden
Now, is this ‘meet and greet’ location the one I frequent most? No. But, even though I act like it sometimes HKDL isn’t just for me. Additionally, what is Disney without princesses?
It’s very little and that is evident due to the huge queues that the Royal Princess Garden gets. Here guests queue up to meet various princesses. This sits opposite a Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, so not only can your princess get a photo with other Princesses, she can dress like one too.
Seeing how happy the guests get when meeting their favorite Princess is something special and quintessentially Disney. Plus, the location is enclosed, meaning that guests don’t have to fight the Hong Kong weather.
There are my top 5 ‘meet and greet’ locations in HKDL. What are yours? Who is your favorite character to meet? Let’s continue the chat over on the WDW Radio Box People Facebook group.
(All photos are from the personal collection of Daniel Morris)