Merida meet-and-greet debuts at Magic Kingdom with animated “Brave” bear cubs, archery lesson at Walt Disney World

in Disney, Entertainment, Featured, Magic Kingdom, Movies, Theme Parks, Walt Disney World

All the way from Scotland, Disney’s newest princess Merida began meeting and greeting with guests at the Magic Kingdom alongside three mischievous bear cub buddies, all from the upcoming Pixar film “Brave.”

Though not officially open until next week, the new Walt Disney World play-and-greet experience is located just to the right of Cinderella Castle inside Fairytale Garden, not only featuring a photo opportunity with Merida and the baby bears but also a chance to learn a few archery skills and color.

Video: First Look: Merida “Brave” meet-and-greet at the Magic Kingdom

With bagpipe music playing, guests enter Fairytale Garden on the border between Fantasyland and Tomorrowland and make a choice between two lines, one wrapping around to meet Merida and the three bears and the other passing around a large table for coloring, followed by a quick archery lesson taught by kilt-wearing Walt Disney World cast members.

The meet-and-greet side takes guests past artwork, tapestries, and artifacts reminiscent of the movie “Brave,” featuring characters that fans will soon meet on the big screen.

With a not-so-thick Scottish accent, vibrant curly red hair, and a flowing green dress, Merida greets each guest with a smile, though her bow is never far away.

Behind her, animated bear cubs try their best to become the center of attention, smiling for photos, turning their heads, blinking, and audibly laughing. Though Merida is always quick to pose for a photo, the cubs are indeed mischievous and occasionally look away or close their eyes instead of smiling big for the camera.

Before and/or after the meet-and-greet, guests can use crayons to color a picture of Merida riding her horse.

Afterward, an archery lesson gives guests of all ages a chance to learn Merida’s best skill, shooting a soft, padded arrow at a large bullseye target a few feet away, with guidance from a cast member.

The cast member asks which hand is the guest’s “coloring hand” and then instructs on how to properly hold the bow. It’s rare Disney theme park guests are encouraged to shoot a projectile within the parks, but this experience is perfectly safe, with young kids becoming quite proficient at shooting arrows after just a short lesson.

Naturally, outside Fairytale Garden, a merchandise cart has been set up selling plenty of items from “Brave,” including plush characters and, yes, bow-and-arrow sets.

The new Merida meet-and-greet officially opens on Friday, May 18, 2012, at the Magic Kingdom, though unscheduled soft openings are set to continue between now and then. Disney/Pixar’s “Brave” hits U.S. theaters June 22, 2012.

More photos from the “Brave” Merida meet-and-greet at the Magic Kingdom:


  1. Great insight Ricky. How did the flow work relative to what we saw before with Rapunzel and Flynn? Having to tell guests to expect 60+ minute wait (unless they were in the first greet of the day) always took folks by surprise. I’m hoping that the new setup with activities and character separated may help reduce the waits.

    1. Ricky Brigante

      It was very casual today and may not be indicative of how the crowd flow will be handled in the future. But if it is, it works very well. You can choose to meet Merida, then do coloring/archery, or vice-versa. I felt a bit rushed in both situations, only getting a minute or two for each. But it’s fun to watch others while waiting and doesn’t feel as much like a “line.”

  2. Jenny

    She is so cute! Great accent! And I love the bears. Great footage!

  3. Jeff Lynch

    There’s a big plot spoiler in having the triplet bears be so prominently featured. They sure bear an uncanny resemblance to another set of triplets, ones with red hair like Merida. Suprised Mumbear with her tiara was not in the meet and greet too.

  4. Andre

    We were there this past weekend and saw the location and the cart with the new merchandise but the meet and greet was never open when we came by. Really looking forward to the new Pixar film as it really looks good and I love the Scottish theme. Also I am very pleased to see that the cast member is wearing a Utilikilt as I am also a proud Utilikilt wearer. I’ll have to be sure to wear mine on our next visit to MK.

  5. CHRIS

    Will the meet and greet be open everyday? I saw the post above by Andre and I am really hoping that it will be open when we are there Memorial Day weekend. My daughter is really looking forward to this and we plan on getting to the park before opening so that we can head right over to the meet and greet area.

    1. Ricky Brigante

      Starting this Friday, May 18, it will be open every day. Until then, it will only be open periodically as it is technically in a “soft opening” phase.

  6. MArlin

    So, will Rapunzel still be out and about? We took our daughter in 2011, and the Rapunzel and Flynn meet and greet was her favorite part of the whole trip!

  7. Megan

    Is this still going to be open in Dec and I notice this is where Rapunzel was so now where can we find her?

  8. amoora

    What’s Her Name This Beautiful Actress?

  9. Dorice

    I think the archery aspect could be improved and is poorly arranged to handle a large number of guests of varying ages and skill levels. Archery was a predominant part of the movie and as such it would have been far more interesting to have set aside an area which could have allowed guests to participate in the sport in a more realistic fashion. This effort is fine for small children but why not either incorporate the electronic range version for those beyond pre-school or even better an actual range with lessons and perhaps a 3-D course? Archery when properly implemented and supervised is one of the safest sports in the world. After seeing this exhibit on video I wonder if it is really worthwhile to see in person. Seems little more than an attempt to sell the spin off products of the movie rather than an authentic attempt to re-create a cultural adventure. Obviously the goal is to make money but it could be so much more interesting especially for repeat visiting.

  10. Dorice

    And if you are going to show someone how to shoot a recurve why not teach them proper form? It would even be really neat to incorporate some U.S. Archery/JOAD people with this.


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