The new Mickey Mouse Meet and Greet at Town Square Theater, formally known as “Backstage Magic With Mickey Mouse,” is now on its fourth day of operation. For those that are still unfamiliar, Mickey Mouse has moved to a permanent meet and greet location at Town Square Theater on the right side of Main Street (as you enter). Previously, Mickey met with guests in Toontown and then in Tomorrowland and Frontierland while his new meet and greet area was re-themed. Three Disney Princesses join Mickey at the Town Square Theater until the first phase of the Fantasyland Expansion opens in Fall 2012. At that time, the Princesses will move into a newly re-themed area that is currently occupied by Snow White’s Scary Adventures. Currently, Princess Aurora, Belle, and Cinderella are available for meet and greets and each guest will have an opportunity to meet with all three of the Princesses individually. Once the Flower and Garden Festival at Epcot ends on May 15th, Tinker Bell and her Pixie friends should move to Adventureland Veranda. That is still officially a “rumor,” but it’s just about as confirmed as these sorts of things get.
Check out Inside the Magic for pictures and video of the opening here: http://www.insidethemagic.net/2011/03/preview-town-square-theater-disney-meet-and-greet-debuts-as-entertaining-and-lavish-new-magic-kingdom-home-for-mickey-mouse/
Here are the facts that we know about the Meet and Greet area so far.
- As the name implies, Mickey is dressed up as a magician, Mickey the Magnificent, and you are meeting him backstage.
- There are two separate lines – one line for Mickey Mouse and one line for the Princesses.
- Meet and greets start immediately at regular Park opening. Since Magic Kingdom is currently opening at 8am to all guests, Mickey Mouse and the Princesses begin meeting guests right at 8am. They are not available during morning Extra Magic Hour. When morning Extra Magic Hour is scheduled (usually 8am – 9am), meet and greets begin at regular Park opening (9am). The Meet and Greet areas have closed at 11pm.
- Minnie Mouse has been appearing with Mickey during most of the day, but you aren’t necessarily guaranteed to see her. Officially, she spends a lot of time baking and shopping.
- Both meet and greets offer individual FASTPASSes, meaning you’ll need a separate set for Mickey Mouse and another set specifically for the Princesses.
- There are two FASTPASS machines for the Princesses and two FASTPASS machines for Mickey Mouse that are located in a nook past Tony’s Town Square and before The Chapeau Hat Store. The FASTPASS machines are marked with a set of Mickey Mouse ears for Backstage Mickey (the two FASTPASS machines on the left) and a set of pink princess ears for the Princesses (the two FASTPASS machines on the right). The FASTPASS return time for each meet and greet is clearly listed above the respective FASTPASS machines.
- Everyone that is entering the FASTPASS line must have a FASTPASS, just like any other attraction. Some people were hoping that only the child meeting the characters would need a FASTPASS and the parents could enter the line to take photographs without FASTPASSes. This is not the case.
- Each FASTPASS has a one hour return window like any other FASTPASS. For example, a FASTPASS collected at 10:00am might have a return window of 1:15pm and 2:15pm. However, unlike other Magic Kingdom FASTPASSes, guests will be allowed to collect another FASTPASS no longer than one hour after collecting the meet and greet FASTPASS. For example, a guest that collected a FASTPASS in the previous example would be allowed to collect another FASTPASS at 11:00am, one hour after 10:00am. In most scenarios at other attractions, the guest would need to wait until 12:00pm to collect another FASTPASS. You may recall that usually guests must wait until the FASTPASS window opens for their current FASTPASS or wait two hours, whichever comes sooner.
- Multiple sources indicate that Disney will allow guests to use FASTPASSes after the return window has expired. Before the meet and greet opened, it was rumored that Disney would play tough when it came to people trying to use FASTPASSes after the window. For example, a FASTPASS with a return window of 11:45am and 12:45pm can be used at any time after 11:45am, including any time after 12:45pm. Note that Disney technically has the “right” to turn you away if you try to use a FASTPASS after the stated return time. If that does happen, you should be able to return later when a new cast member is working the attraction. I have not heard of anyone that has been denied using a FASTPASS after the stated return time so long as the FASTPASS is from the same day. I can’t imagine Disney telling a crying child that they can’t meet Mickey because their FASTPASS expired three minutes ago and it doesn’t look like that will be happening.
- Standby waits have been shorter than they were at Toontown. The wait time for the Princesses has been in the 20-40 minute range and the Mickey Mouse wait time has been in the 25-35 minute range in the afternoon. It was not uncommon to see 60+ minute waits for the Princesses at the Adventureland Veranda or Toontown and Mickey was commonly in the 40+ minute range. FASTPASS return times have been between 40 and 60 minutes in the future. For example, a FASTPASS collected at 10:00am would have a return time of somewhere between 10:40am – 11:40am and 11:00am – 12:00pm.
- Wait times are longest between 10am – 1pm as most guests are passing Town Square Theater as they enter Magic Kingdom. Wait times actually ease after 4pm as most guests are already in the Park or are on their way out. So far, very few exiting guests visit the meet and greet characters.
At this point, it doesn’t appear that the Mickey Mouse Meet and Greet needs to be visited first thing in the morning because we have not yet seen sizable peak waits. We’re still much better off going to Fantasyland or Space Mountain first thing in most situations because those wait times will be higher in the afternoon and you won’t be able to collect additional FASTPASSes for as long as two hours. I recommend collecting FASTPASSes for Mickey Mouse or the Princesses in the afternoon. You may want to send someone to Town Square Theater during or after lunch when return windows at the headliners are more than two hours in the future and you’re looking to take an afternoon break. For example, if it’s 1pm and the FASTPASS return time at Space Mountain is 5pm, you may want to collect FASTPASSes for Mickey Mouse or the Princesses. At 2pm, you can collect FASTPASSes for Space Mountain, visit Mickey Mouse with the FASTPASSes collected at lunch on your way out, take your afternoon break, and return in the evening to collect a set of FASTPASSes for the Princesses and use the Space Mountain FASTPASSes later in the evening. If your group consists of four or more people and only one child wants to meet Mickey and the Princesses, you may want to collect two FASTPASSes for Mickey Mouse and two FASTPASSes for the Princesses so that one adult and the child can enter the FASTPASS line for each set of characters one after the other.
I will make updates if conditions change. Town Square Theater has only been open for a few days and this is the first time Disney has offered FASTPASS at a meet and greet location, so changes are likely.