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Character Meet and Greets at Universal Orlando – complete guide

One of the most popular questions about Universal Orlando is: Are there characters at the parks? The answer is a resounding YES! This page will take a look at who you can see on your next visit to Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure.

Characters at Universal Orlando – General information

The characters at Universal Orlando can be separated into two groups: Those characters that make individually scheduled appearances, and those characters that show up periodically throughout the day.

Guests meet The Simpsons at Universal Orlando
Guests meet The Simpsons at Universal Orlando.

The first group, those with a schedule, make appearances at set times and locations throughout the two theme parks. These characters are (usually) as follows:

UNIVERSAL STUDIOS FLORIDA

  • Barney & Friends
  • Shrek, Fiona & Donkey
  • SpongeBob SquarePants
  • Hello Kitty

ISLANDS OF ADVENTURE

  • Spider-Man, Captain America, Wolverine, Storm, Green Goblin, Dr. Doom.
  • Dr. Seuss Characters including Thing 1 & Thing 2, Cat in the Hat, the Grinch, the Lorax, and more.
  • Live Velociraptor
A young Spider-Man meets Captain America
A young Spider-Man meets Captain America.

How do I know when and where these characters will be available?

Universal Orlando makes this very convenient for guests by printing times and locations directly in the park map. Here is a sample of the information from over the summer (please be aware that these schedules change throughout the year):

Character sample schedule at Universal’s Islands of Adventure
Character sample schedule at Universal’s Islands of Adventure
Character sample schedule at Universal Studios Florida
Character sample schedule at Universal Studios Florida.

As we mentioned above, there are two groups of characters at Universal Orlando — those with schedules and those without. Here are some of the characters from the second group, who may periodically make appearances during the day but aren’t listed individually on the park map:

UNIVERSAL STUDIOS FLORIDA

  • Curious George and the Man in the Yellow Hat
  • Doc Brown from Back to the Future (+ Marty McFly on very busy days)
  • Despicable Me – minions, Gru & family
  • Dora & Diego
  • Krusty The Clown & Sideshow Bob
  • Lucy Ball & Marilyn Monroe
  • MEN IN BLACK
  • Optimus Prime, Bumblebee & Megatron
  • Shaggy & Scooby (+ more on special occasions)
  • The Simpsons

ISLANDS OF ADVENTURE

  • Woody Woodpecker
  • Popeye & Olive

These characters usually make their appearances in the Character Zones. USF’s Character Zone is right in the front of the park near the turnstiles; IOA’s Character Zone is in Toon Lagoon. However, these characters have also been known to roam the parks.

A minion from Despicable Me greets a guest
A minion from Despicable Me greets a guest.

NEW: Jurassic Park Raptor Encounter

Beginning May 22, 2015, guests can meet a Velociraptor within Islands of Adventure’s Jurassic Park.

How long are the wait times for characters?

In general the wait times for the characters are not too long — ten minutes tops. During very busy days, you may have to wait fifteen minutes, but you will rarely ever wait longer. In fact, many times there are no lines at all! This makes the character meet-and-greet experience quite comfortable, and it also means you do not have to plan significant portions of your days around waiting in lines for autographs.

If you are wondering about Express Pass access for meeting the characters, none is offered at any of the locations.

Does Universal have character dining?

They most certainly do. The most convenient option for most guests is Universal Superstar Breakfast hosted most mornings at Universal Studios Florida. During the holidays, Universal also hosts a Grinch & Friends character breakfast at Islands of Adventure.

Another option is the character breakfast held at Royal Pacific Resort on Sundays. This is a seasonal offering, so double-check that it is offered on the date you’re interested in. To learn more, click here.

Finally, characters also make appearances on select evenings at Universal’s preferred and premier on-site hotels. They appear during the dinner hours at Islands Dining Room (Royal Pacific Resort), The Kitchen (Hard Rock Hotel), and Trattoria del Porto (Portofino Bay Hotel). Because the schedules change quite frequently, we recommend that you contact the hotels directly for more specific details. If you are interested, you can get contact information for each hotel in our section covering Universal’s on-site hotels.

Optimus Prime & Bumblebee – HD video

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Marvel Super Heroes arriving in style – HD video

Click the play button to start the video. Note: Our videos do not stream in HD by default to ensure quick streaming. If you would like to view the video in HD, start the clip and then adjust the bitstream using the gear button.

Marvel Super Heroes arriving in style – photo gallery

Do you have a question about the information on this page, would like to provide feedback, or did you spot an inaccuracy? Please let us know by posting in our Universal Community Facebook group.