One of the girls’ Christmas Surprises were tickets to see Mary Poppins at the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center. They loved the musical and couldn’t wait to wear their Jolly Holiday Mary and Bert costumes to Disneyland. Some people have asked me if we have an “in” with the characters or how we experience “magical moments”. I don’t know any of the characters personally so I was going into the day with the hope of just catching Bert and Mary Poppins wandering around Fantasyland. On this particular day, we were blessed with good timing and amazing character interactions.
When we first got to Disneyland, I looked on the app and noticed that the Pearly Band was going to be performing at the Castle in a few minutes. In the past, I’ve seen Mary and Bert do a castle show but I wasn’t sure of the times. I found a Cast Member who confirmed that they were going to be coming out soon and showed us the best place to stand.
Though it’s not published on any schedule, Mary and Bert typically do their Castle Show with the Pearly Band around 1:15 every day. It is always best to confirm with a Cast Member as schedules regularly change. The Pearly Band played songs from Mary Poppins while Bert and Mary danced along. Later in the show, they invite the children to join them to learn how to “step in time”–the girls were eager to dance along!
After the show, the character host asked the girls if they would like to walk with Mary and Bert. For those not familiar to Disneyland Lingo, character hosts are the cast members who assist the characters. In Fantasyland, they wear a beige shirt with a red Mickey print and have a button with a Mickey hand that says “ask me about the characters”. These are the people who you want to talk to. They know when the characters come out and if they’re doing anything special that day. Walking with characters is the girls’ favorite thing to do and we’re so lucky that we’ve gotten to experience this privilege. This usually happens when characters need to get from one location to another and sometimes they’ll pick a guest to accompany them to hold their hand. During their special walk, Bert showed the girls how to jump into pictures and it made my Disney Mom heart melt as they hopped over every line.
After the girls said their goodbyes to Mary and Bert, the character host (see how valuable their information is!) let us know that Pip the Penguin was going to be coming out soon. Pip is a pretty rare character and he comes out every so often. It was pure luck that he was out when we were visiting. The penguins are the girls’ favorite part of Mary Poppins so they were beyond excited to meet him! He taught them how to dance like a Penguin and played with them as long as they wanted.
I’ve seen Mary and Bert ride the carousel with the Pearly Band before, but we’ve never had the chance to experience it. I asked the character host if they would be riding the carousel and she wasn’t 100% sure. Since they have to coordinate times with the band, it usually isn’t an every day occurrence, but she did recommend that we hang out around the carousel a few hours later.
While we were loitering around the carousel, the cast members recommended that we try to find Jingles, Mary’s horse. Jingles is the horse with the jingle bells located right behind the bench. All of a sudden, we heard the Pearly Band march through Fantasyland with Mary and Bert in tow! My heart exploded into a million pieces as Mary and Bert took their hands and led them to their favorite horses. Mary chose Jingles (naturally) and helped LittleGray on the horse next to her while Bert and LittleSage sat directly behind.
The girls had an amazing time and felt so special! The moral of the story is: if you’d like to meet or spend time with a certain character, all you have to do is ask! The cast members are a wealth of knowledge and they are more than happy to help. I am so grateful that the character host was so helpful and that Mary and Bert went out of their way to visit with the girls. I posted a video of our magical day over on our YouTube channel. Be sure to check it out!