Unless you’ve recently spent time as a block of ice like Princess Anna, you know “Frozen” is the Oscar®- and Golden Globe®-winning animated Disney film that follows the fairytale exploits of Anna and her princess sister, Elsa.
In the movie, the two coming-of-age siblings discover the meaning of love, redemption and living on your own terms. In real life, they’ve become a phenomenon almost unrivaled in Disney annals. If you intend to take your children to see Elsa and Anna “in person” at the Magic Kingdom® in Orlando, make sure to preschedule your visit using FastPass+®. Otherwise, you’ll discover another connotation of “frozen”—trapped in a glacially moving, three-hour line.
The Elsa-Anna craze within the target demographic (i.e., your tween daughter) caught even the most optimistic Disney executives off guard. Think Bieber-meets-Jonas Brothers-meets, oh, John, Paul, George and Ringo. Early meet-and-greets outgrew the venue initially set aside for them within the Norway pavilion at Epcot®. Now fans may visit the princesses at Princess Fairy Tale Hall in the Magic Kingdom, behind the main castle. The site opened in 2013 as the designated spot for mingling with Cinderella and Rapunzel, joined in respective separate chambers by daily bonus princesses. Now Cinderella and Rapunzel squeeze into one side while the princesses of Arendelle, plus a guest princess, occupy the other.
Here are some suggestions as you plan your “Frozen” Princesses Meet and Greet
Understand your vacation dates, understand how FastPass+ works and DON’T PROCRASTINATE in making your reservation. Even though Disney now makes the princesses available until 30 minutes before the park closes (it used to be 5 p.m.), FastPass+ times still fill quickly. If you aren’t a registered Disney resort guest, your opportunity to reserve a time begins at midnight, Eastern Time, 30 days from the date of your park pass. Don’t fool around. If meeting Elsa and Anna is a priority, be ready to make a reservation when the clock strikes 12. (Sign up for FastPass+ in advance online at disneyworld.com or after downloading the mobile app My Disney Experience. You can then make your reservation on either platform). Don’t lose out just because someone else may be more willing than you to sacrifice a couple hours of sleep.
Don’t get greedy. Some users report greater success at snagging a time when reserving for smaller groups. It stands to reason that your odds are better for obtaining two reservations than four.
Don’t give up. People often change their plans, so time can open up unexpectedly. Keep trying until the morning of your visit.
Once you’re confirmed, take a screen shot of your electronic confirmation receipt. FastPass+ is a reliable system, but it never hurts to prepare for the unexpected. In the event of any sort of mix-up, you’ll be able to present proof of your confirmation to a FastPass+ agent at the park.
Try an alternate strategy. Make an Advanced Dining Reservation for breakfast at the Magic Kingdom. The early morning meal will end in time for you to beat most of the incoming crowd to the front of the line at 9 a.m. ADRs can be made further out in advance on FastPass+ than meet-and-greet times for Elsa and Anna and other attractions, too. Two notes here: Make sure you understand the price of your breakfast. Also, avoid making an ADR the day of a scheduled Extra Magic Hour, or you’ll negate the advantage you’ve created. Extra Magic Hours provide Disney resort guests access to park attractions before the park opens, so even if you’re there early for breakfast, you’ll still encounter a line after racing to Princess Fairytale Hall.
If all else fails … Get to the park early. Be parked an in front of the gate an hour before the Magic Kingdom opens. And make sure you and your children are wearing shoes comfortable for (at the very least) walking quickly. Things always change at Disney, especially when The Next Big Thing comes along, but as of this writing (July 2014), the crowds get longer at Princess Fairy Tale Hall as the day goes on.
And, there’s always the parade. Find out if your tween would be just as happy to see Elsa and Anna up close as to visit with them. If so, stake out a front-row spot on the route for Walt Disney World’s Festival of Fantasy Parade. The princesses appear in the daily parade through the Magic Kingdom, which begins at 3 p.m.