Before I left for the Annual Traveling Mom Retreat, a friend of mine asked me what characters I thought I would see while visiting Disney Parks Animal Kingdom in Orlando and I couldn’t think of any besides the obvious Mickey and Minnie. There are, of course, your standard character meet and greets with the various characters, but when I really started to think about it, I realized that the people who worked at the park were all playing a character of some sort.

'character encounter in Africa at Disney Parks Animal Kingdom'

Photo Credit: Shari Von Holten for Traveling Mom

And so my research began.

Exactly what characters would I see when I went to Animal Kingdom? Curiosity piqued, I set out on a one-woman adventure to hunt down all of the characters at every location within Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park is divided into 6 sections based on continent or feature. Complete with animal encounters, thrill rides, safaris & shows, each of these areas has its own unique flavor and feel but, compliments of that disney pixie dust, one area seamlessly flows into the other. No matter which section you decide to visit first last, or in between, you will find a lively cast of characters, whether dressed in a Disney character costume or simply a Disney castmember dancing with a group of visitors, all along your route.

Tip: In the hustle and bustle that goes along with each Disney park, don’t forget to really mosey around Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The attention to detail is so picturesque and the photo opps are plentiful. Three words: Tree of Life.

Here’s a list of all of the popular characters in Disney’s Animal Kingdom:

The Troopleader

Based on the movie UP, guests can become a Wilderness Explorer, complete challenges, and earn adventure badges in the park. The Troopleaders talk to kids and “kids at heart” about different methods of conservation while also having a wild adventure when visiting Animal Kingdom. There are dozens of self-guided activities with missions ranging from animal observation to learning important nature skills. All in all, there are 30 badges to be earned. including:

'Troopleader in Disney Parks Animal Kingdom'

Photo Credit: Shari Von Holten for Traveling Mo:

  • Veterinary Badge – Help diagnose a sea turtle’s health issue.
  • Dinosaur Badge – Join in the exploration for dinosaur fossils.
  • Animal Find Badge – Check off each of the animals you see.
  • Music Badge – Learn how to play an African drum pattern.
  • Yeti Badge – Find Yeti artifacts and hear about the folklore.

Not only will kids have a blast collecting all 30, but you can tell their teachers that they learned a ton about animal conservation while on vacation. Score.


Character Meet and Greets.

Below you will find ALL of the locations for the meet and greets in Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Don’t forget to pack your camera and autograph book!


Location: Tusker House Restaurant: Donald’s Safari Breakfast and Lunch
Characters: Donald Duck, Daisy Duck, Mickey Mouse, Goofy

Discovery Island

Location: Adventurers Outpost
Characters: Mickey and Minnie

Location: Upcountry Landing on walkway between Asia and Africa
Characters: Baloo and Louie

Location: Discovery Island Character Landing
Characters: Daisy Duck

Location: Near ‘Tough to be a Bug’ entrance
Characters: Russell and Dug from UP

Location: Discovery Island Trails
Characters: Pocahontas

Rafiki’s Planet Watch

Location: Inside Rafiki’s Planet Watch
Characters: Rafiki

Location: Outside Rafiki’s Planet Watch
Characters: Chip and Dale

Dinoland, USA

Location: Chester and Hester’s Dinorama
Characters: Goofy and Pluto

Location: Cretaceous Trail
Characters: Donald Duck