Real Celebrities

Our first morning in our first park we got to meet the number one celebrity.

In my last post I casually mentioned some Disney Cast Members as they walked around the park and interacted with visitors. For anyone who has not been inside a Disney park and isn’t exactly sure what I mean, I thought a good early post would be to explain what it’s like to have random famous Disney celebrities magically show up and delight people. They might be modeled after characters in movies that have no basis in reality, but these are real and true celebrities. To prove it, just watch them at Disney.

I am going to show you all the Disney celebrities I came across in our only four days in the two adjacent parks. Disney calls them cast members, but it calls all its employees “cast members” no matter what role they fill, if it is checking your ticket at the gate, selling you an ice cream, being a conductor on the train, or dressing up as a character and playing the part. I am only including the ones that walked among the people and interacted. There are life-sized, animated, excellent representations of celebrities that are fixed in place and have pre-recorded scripts, like the awesome C3PO who chats at you while you wait in line for Space Mountain, but I’m not including those today.

Think of every Disney movie back to the beginning (like Snow White and even Oswald, the precursor to Mickey!), and the Disney owned franchises, like Guardians of the Galaxy and Star Wars and Pixar, and think of every main character in every movie, and you can guess that there is a potential for many, many characters to show up. I’ve been to Disneyland and Disney California Adventure three times now, and I see new characters every time.

Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse never fail to please the visitors.
Chip, Dale, and Pluto head for the greeting area at the train station.

When we first arrived, the thing we most wanted to do was ride the train around the outside of the park, just to see everything and remind ourselves of where we were and where we wanted to go. The train was delayed about an hour though, because of some snafu. Instead of an 8am start, it had a 9am start. We spent the time hanging out in front of the main train station and discovered that there is a series of Disney celebs who climb the stairs and wave to everyone to get their morning started off with a thrill.

Either Chip or Dale. Is it animal racism to say all chipmunks look the same to me? ha ha
Two goofy characters. Hyuk.
These two appeared out of nowhere and I managed to capture the FRONT of a Disney character for a change. (Usually I don’t notice them and get my camera up until they have passed, and I get a photo of their backside.)
I just love this accidental capture of Minnie Mouse and a fan.
Mickey, Goofy, and Minnie wave at the people.

Characters with a large, masked head, like the three in the photo above, do not speak. They have a permanent happy smile on their faces and they will only wave or gesture. Some characters have human faces, and they will interact with their fans. Often they do a great job of a theatrical demonstration. I got a great photo of Cruella de Vil (below), and as I walked on, I heard a great shrieking commotion and ran back to see. While riding in the truck, Ms. de Vil had spotted a large white poodle that a Disney guest had brought into the park. “It’s mine!” She shrieked at the woman. “Bring it to me! Stop the car!” she hollered at her driver as she hung halfway out the back of the truck, reaching for the dog. “Bring me that dog!” But the driver ignored her and continued driving, and the woman and her dog were allowed to move on. It was a delightful 3-minute drama for everyone who knows why Cruella de Vil is so infamous.

Cruella de Vil was in an unpleasant mood.

It reminded me of a visit years ago when my kid had an autograph book and went running to every celebrity to beg for a signature. We were thrilled to come face to face with the Wicked Queen from Snow White. Kellen handed over their book and a Mickey Mouse shaped pen, which ran out of ink right away. The Queen sneered that it’s what happens when you rely on a mouse. She swept her cloak about her over to a woman standing nearby with a pen who was faced away and focused on something else, snatched the pen right out of her hand saying, “I’ll be taking this,” and went back to signing autographs for young fans. Everyone loved it.

Miguel from Coco is one of the characters who does not talk.
Donald Duck from the side
And Donald blowing me a kiss a few minutes later. Awww.
This is as close as I could get with Bert and Mary Poppins.
That’s her alright. They marched over to the carousel and rode around a few times – of course they did.
Pining after Mary Poppins, I was quickly distracted when Gepetto came along, going the other direction. Have you heard about the new Pinocchio movie that was just released? I have not seen it yet.
Here’s Gaston, from Beauty and the Beast, looking away. We were sitting at one of these tables and he burst through a doorway right next to us, struck an arrogant pose and waited for applause or a gasp or something. I was too astonished to move. He quickly left in search of better fans while I scrambled for my camera.

As you expect, Disney is crowded. You’ll see in my photos in future blog posts that there are times when folks clear out and I can get a decent shot (usually still with people in them, there’s really nothing you can do about it). I recently re-read my Vatican City post and realized it was way more crowded there than at Disneyland. So, keep things in perspective, it’s not just a theme park problem. But yeah, there were moments when the massive crowds were worst case scenario. As long as you’re expecting it in advance, it’s not so bad.

This scene was so funny, I laughed out loud, stopped and took a photo. But no, most of the time it was not like this, or I would not have had a good time at Disneyland.
Far away and hard to pick out, Kellen spotted Jack Sparrow and Redd, two Pirates of the Caribbean.
I was lucky to see Tiana from the Princess and the Frog, up close.
She never turned around, but we had no doubt as to who this is.

Over in Disney California Adventures we saw more celebrities and not as many of the old, traditional Disney characters. Though some still showed up…

Mickey Mouse in a different outfit.
Star-Lord, from Guardians of the Galazy, brought out his boom box and tried to get Gamora to dance, but she was not in the mood.
A very poor view of Lightning McQueen, the racecar from the movie Cars.
Dr. Strange is condescending to Thor, who soon leaves the scene. Both are characters from Marvel comics. Dr. Strange was performing a skit of some kind, but it was behind a hedge and we couldn’t see very well and there were too many people to get closer.
When it was over, Dr. Strange disappeared into a portal.
The Genie, from Aladdin
Merida (from Brave) and Moana (from, well, Moana) are apparently friends and hang out together while signing autographs for kids.
Kylo Ren and a couple of Storm Troopers from Star Wars give me a withering stare.

In the evening, I had another close call with Kylo Ren. In fact you guys, it’s a wonder I made it out of there alive.

We also spotted Spider-Man practicing his leaping and web-slinging skills. Since it seems like canned audio, I’m not sure I can include it in this category, but I did anyway, because it’s a real character doing real stuff and not pinned to one spot.

I hope you had a little fun joining me in my fandom. It is fun for me to let go of my social restraints and just let myself get giddy over Donald Duck blowing me a kiss, feel awe when Mary Poppins walks not ten feet from me, or feel dread when Kylo Ren spots me undefended on a street. I promise I will never grow up.

6 thoughts on “Real Celebrities

  1. I typically like to avoid crowds, but this looks like SO much fun. I might have to go again soon. I have a DIL that has “never grown up” either, haha! I’m sure she’d go with me. Disney does do a fantastic job at whatever they do. Thanks for sharing your photos!

    1. If you do go, I think you’ll have fun. There are ways to avoid the people – especially if you are there first thing in the morning and then any time after 6pm, when most of the little kids leave. I heard that if you go on the same day as the Super Bowl, the place is empty. Ha!!

  2. First, glad you included the Goof. Second, in the last two nights, Peggy and I watched both Guardians of the Galaxy and Pirates of the Caribbean! We were right there with you. 🙂

  3. I love the old favorites. I haven’t been to Disneyland for years. Maybe 16 years? My niece and nephew were young and we had a ball. I haven’t been on a plane since before Covid so I’m living vicariously through you. So, thank you!

    1. Bonnie, I’m happy to fly all around the place and tell you my stories while you stay safely home. I have been on SO many flights this Fall, it’s simply nuts. To NC, to Disney, to MD, and RI, and next week to Boise. All of this since September. And then finally, I can stay home for a while and remind my babies that I really am their cat- and chicken-momma. I think Disneyland will be unrecognizable to you after 16 years.

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