For many families, getting to see Disney characters in person is a high point of a trip to Disney World. After all, for little ones, Disney characters might as well be rock stars: we watch them on TV, admire their work, and wonder what it would be like to have their life – or at least meet them for a few minutes.
Well, you can meet them for a few minutes, and you will want to make the most of that time.
Here are five tips for making the most of your Disney character meet and greets.
1 – Prepare Your Kids
Many kids love seeing characters in person, but for the smallest ones, the experience can be confounding at best and terrifying at worst. After all, when you are just three feet tall, meeting a six foot tall mouse, monster, or Muppet can be jarring. Before leaving home, observe which characters your kids like. And talk to your kids before you get in line, explaining what will happen. If they start to tense up or melt down, don’t panic – just calmly move on knowing that tomorrow is a new day.
It might seem like you will need to wait for an eternity in line as folks in front of you have heir moment with the character. You don’t want to waste your precious few minutes fumbling with your camera – perhaps discovering that your batteries are dead, your memory card is full, or you have to figure out how to change the shooting mode. Before you leave for the park each morning verify that all the technology needed to take pictures is working. Then, as you are waiting in that line, get everything ready so that you will be able to smoothly take all the pictures you want.
3 – Make A Posing Plan
It’s surprising how many heated discussion take place in front of Mickey Mouse on who is going to stand where, and how many different poses we need with little Johnny only, with Johnny and mom, with Johnny and dad, with Johnny and mom and dad… You get the picture (pun intended). Be sure to discuss, at least generally, what will happen when you approach the character. Perhaps the first order of business is that Johnny will ask politely for a signature, then you take a photo with the whole family together – girls on the left and boys on the right. You don’t have to choreograph every detail, but have some idea on what you plan to do.
4 – Do Unto Others
I actually know a character actress who plays Mickey Mouse at Disney World (don’t tell the kids, but it is normally a shorter thin lady standing in Mickey’s shoes). She said that the biggest problem she experiences during character meet and greets is not with the kids but with the parents. If her assistant tells the kids that Mickey has to go to the bathroom, they understand. But parents get upset! And sometimes families want to monopolize far too much time. Keep in mind that the Cast Members are doing their best, and that other guests are waiting. Be considerate.
5 – Have Fun
Finally, remember that you are there to have fun. It might be hot, you might have to wait in line, and your little Princess may freak out when she finally gets her two minutes with Minnie Mouse. These are the things of life. Enjoy the good parts and move on from the bad ones.