Top 8 Tips for Amazing Character Meet and Greets
If characters are on the top of your must do list, you need to read our Top 8 Tips for Amazing Character Meet and Greets.
Top 8 Tips for Amazing Character Meet and Greets
Character interactions can be some of the best memory making moments at Walt Disney World. However, most people simply stand in line, give the character a hug, have them sign an autograph book and move along. But character meet and greets can be so much more than that. Say goodbye to boring character interactions and HELLO to fun and interactive meet and greet with our Top 8 Tips for Amazing Character Meet and Greets.
1) Have a Plan
Yes, I know, here we go with the planning talk again. But seriously, having a plan is part of the fun. Meeting characters is no different than riding popular rides and attractions. If you know you want to meet a certain characters, have a plan so you know when and where to find those characters. Plan meet and greets by looking at the My Disney Experience app before you leave home. Some characters even have Fastpass options, so let your travel planner know if you want to book one of those as one of your selections ASAP. Pick at least one character to meet for each child and talk about fun things to say or do when you meet them. It may not go as planned, but it sure is fun to think about funny or sweet things to say. Sometimes you even come away with an unforgettable experience. For funny things to say and do with characters, check out our friend Kenny the Pirate HERE. He gives some of the best advice on ways to interact with every character.
2) Be Prepared
Children are often startled when they meet characters. My family likes to meet the face characters first (like Peter Pan, the princesses, etc) to warm our children up to the idea of meeting characters. We do this mainly because the interaction is best with face characters since they do talk. Fur characters, on the other hand, can seem a bit scary to some children. Remember that most children don’t expect Mickey, Pluto, Goofy, etc to be quite so big. Some characters are also a bit scary by nature. Kylo Ren is intimidating even for some adults.
To better prepare your children for their size, look up videos and pictures of friends who may have gone and show those to your children before you leave to go on vacation. This can help them be better prepared for the size of some of these characters. Children might also expect all characters you meet to talk, but “fur” characters do not. The only exception to this rule is Mickey Mouse in Town Square Theater. You can find out more about him HERE. We tell our children that a lot of the characters like to save their voices for t.v. appearances, parades, etc.
Finally, buy an autograph book first thing when you arrive at the parks and bring along one of the big, click type sharpies. These larger pens are easier for characters to grasp and the autographs come out looking so much better. Don’t forget that autograph books make great souvenirs for your children. We love the books that have a spot where you can add a picture. We have also seen a ton of cute alternatives to autograph books in the parks, so don’t feel like you are limited to a book.
3) Brush Up On Your Disney Characters and Movies
Speaking of preparation, you should also prepare to meet the characters by brushing up on your Disney history. Watch movies, read the Disney versions of the fairy tales, talk about the things you know the character likes and make guesses about what some of their favorite things might be. While waiting in line to meet many of my favorite characters, I have noticed that a lot of children and even adults are not familiar with the characters. Spending time before your vacation watching the animated films and watching Disney cartoons can really make your character experiences so much better, plus it’s a fun way to get everyone excited for your vacation!
4) Make introductions when you meet characters
This can ease a child’s fears and help them warm up to the characters. If your child still seems shy, continue to chat with the character and try to involve the child by talking about mutual interests between the child and the character. For example, if you are meeting Peter Pan talk to Peter about how much you always wanted to be able to fly. Ask him if Tink keeps pixie dust with her and if she could help you fly. Children will often take your lead and warm up eventually. If a chid is visibly upset or scared, you have two choices: hold your child or position him/her on the opposite side of you from the character and grab a quick picture or try back at a different time later in the trip.
5) Talk about proper character interaction
Once your children warm up to characters, the interactions get better and better. However, there are a few things to remind children about as they start interacting more. Hugs are good, but try to stay in front of the character. Wait until they are facing you to walk towards them and interact. If you run up behind them, they may not see you. Talk loud and clear so they can hear you. Finally, please remind your children that hitting, running, or roughhousing around a character is never okay. It can even be dangerous, because characters could accidentally step on a child or fall over.
6) Say Cheese
Have your camera, or phone at the ready before it’s your turn. I love to video some of the interactions so we can watch them back later. At most meet and greets, a Photopass Photographer will on hand to take pictures but you can also ask them to take pictures on your smart phone or camera. They are always happy to do so at no extra charge.
7) Consider adding Memory Maker To Your Package
Memory Maker is a great add on to any package, especially if you are staying at least 3 days. Every picture that is taken at the parks by a Photopass Photographer will show up within a few hours in your My Disney Experience account. If you pre-purchase Memory Maker, you can even download them to your device and share them as soon as they show up in the app. Plus, you get to be in ALL of the pictures instead of being behind the lens all the time.
Here’s a little bonus tip from Cheap Girl herself: if you have more than one family vacationing together, you can maximize the value by sharing Memory Maker with your travel party and splitting the cost. Simply add your travel party as friends and family on My Disney Experience and ask the Photopass Photographer to scan your band when you meet a character. If you want to learn more about Memory Maker, check out our Disney 101: Photopass and Memory Maker blog HERE.
8) Get In On The Fun
You may not feel camera ready, but you won’t regret hopping in to those pictures when you look back on this vacation years later. These moments and pictures will be cherished for a long time. So go ahead and hand that camera or phone over to the Photopass photographer and get in those pictures.
Do you love meeting characters at Disney parks? What are your best tips for great interactions? Share your tips with us and discuss this and anything and everything Disney in the Disney Express Lane Facebook Group.
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