Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Dose of Disney: Meet & Greet Tips at Aulani

In my opinion, one of the best parts about Aulani is meeting some of your favorite characters in adorable Hawaiian themed looks! Aulani's character meet and greets are super fun, but I for sure have some tips and tricks to help optimize your day when it comes to hunting down characters. 

First things first, how do you know where to find the characters? Well, there is a phone number you can call on your in room phone to get a list of the characters that will be out that day. There is no pamphlet that is available to see which characters are available. You have to call the number each morning before you leave your room! I always wrote down the characters, times, and locations for the day on a piece of paper that I through in my beach bag. This was a major help because I could kind of plan out my day around which characters were a must-see for me. 

Once you have a plan of which characters you want to see you're going to want to make sure you have your room key or a pool wristband to show to the character handlers. Character meet and greets are ONLY for hotel guests. They don't always check for your hotel credentials, but they did a few times. The main reason for this is because as a paying guest at the hotel you get the perks of meeting the characters. If you are not staying at Aulani but want to visit characters you have to book a reservation at the character breakfast. There you can meet Mickey, Goofy, and Minnie. The nice thing about the breakfast is a. you get food and b. you don't have to stay at the hotel to eat there and meet the characters! You may get lucky and not have someone check for your credentials if you see a character, but you have to decide if you want to risk it! 

My biggest tip is to arrive early to the meet and greet spot. I am a person that believes if you are not early you are late. So, I always went over to the photo location 5-10 minutes prior to the scheduled time. Also, during our first few days at the resort I had no idea where anything was! So it took a little bit to find each location because they can sometimes be confusing. By arriving 5-10 min early you can either start creating the line or get behind people who are already there. This way you guarantee you get to meet the character. Sometimes if there were too many people in line they'd have to cut it short for them to go in for a break. But, this isn't like the parks where a new Mickey will come out in 3 minutes. These characters take much longer breaks. 

Now that you are at your character meet and greet how do I get the photos? Well, this part is a little tricky. Some characters had Photopass photographers taking photos for you that you could then purchase (same thing as at the parks). But, others just had their handler and no photographers. I suggest at least bringing your phone with you to meet the characters so you have a backup if the photographers aren't there. You may not be interested in buying the Photopass so you may need to just take your own photos! We ended up buying all of our photos as a package because we took family pictures on the beach, character photos, etc. When in doubt bring your own phone or camera for photos just to be safe! Usually the handlers are really great at taking photos (exhibit a below!). But, the handler who took my cellphone pictures with Duffy (the character I REALLY wanted to meet) were so awful. If possible try and bring a friend or family member to meet and greets for photos. I went to meet too many characters that my family eventually became annoyed so I went by myself (#noregrets). 

If characters are a major thing for you at Aulani I will say most characters were out on Fridays and Saturdays. During the week randomly they'd have characters throughout the day. But, if you are trying to get the most bang for your buck character wise being at the resort during the weekend is key. Sunday is a slower day, but Friday all day and Saturday were busy character days. Also, while we were there Duffy only came out ONCE! If you are set on meeting Duffy and Shelly Mae you may not want to get your hopes up. Shelly Mae wasn't out once during our entire 10 day trip to Aulani. She was "on vacation", which who knows what that means. I was really upset I couldn't meet Shelly Mae and that my picture with Duffy wasn't the greatest because it had rained and they changed the location. 

Some specific tips on meeting Duffy would be to show up legit 20 minutes before the time. You think I am joking, but I assure you I am not. When I met Duffy the line was at least 40+ people and I was one of the first few there. By the time I took my picture the line was wrapped about 3 times. It was nuts!!! This was also at night and the meet and greet was re-scheduled due to the rain. So, I'm not sure if it was for that reason or not. But, you don't want to spend 40+ minutes waiting for Duffy while you are at a gorgeous resort! So, just get there as early as you can and feel out the crowd levels. 

I mentioned rain above so I wanted to touch on that a little bit. So, if it is raining at the resort and the characters were scheduled for an outside meet and greet they are subject to cancellation or re-location. If it is raining and you had a character you wanted to meet try and find one of the entertainment staff members and they can give you further details on what the status of the character is. It only rained one day while we were there, so it only effected really my Duffy meet and greet. But, so you are aware it does happen! 

Those are all of my tips and tricks to meet and greets at Aulani! If you have ever been on a Disney cruise I'd say it's a similar system to that. Hopefully you found this helpful if you are planning an upcoming trip to Aulani! I am planning a lot of Aulani content so stay tuned for that. 

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