*Photo Credit: @butpeterhowdowegettoneverland on Tumblr
Character Meet and Greets. Most people will try to avoid them, but in all honesty, it’s an experience that you might not want to pass up. You don’t have to meet characters on every trip, but if it’s your first trip, you definitely should try to go meet one or two. You’re probably wondering, “But, why? I don’t want to wait that long just to take a photo with a character”. However, meeting characters is so much more than just snapping a photo with them, even for adults. That’s right, characters are not exclusively for children, there is no cut-off age for meeting a character. Before I give you the basic do’s and don’ts, I’d like to reiterate the fact that taking photos with the characters and getting their autographs are all free activities. Disney photographers will take professional photos that you can purchase later, however, they have no problem with guests taking their own photos on their phones or on their own cameras.
Do: Say “hi” to the characters. As I mentioned before, characters are not just for taking photos with, they all will be happy to see you. So, say hi or even just wave.
Do: Have a conversation with the characters. Have some questions ready for the characters like, “How is (character’s significant other/sidekick)?”, or “How are things now in (Kingdom movie is set in)?”. Or, you could even just tell them, “I like your dress”. If you talk to the characters, they will continue to talk to you, no matter what age you are. These conversations are usually very funny and can sometimes lead to extra time with the characters. That being said, try not to prolong the experience too much, there are plenty of other guests waiting behind you for a chance to meet the character.
Do: Wear Something that has the character on it. If you happened to wear a shirt with a character on it, or the younger one in your party is wearing the costume of a character, definitely go see them. The characters love it when you’re wearing something that has to do with them.
Do: Do a fun pose with the character. If you would like to just stand next to the character, that’s fine too. However, it creates some really memorable photos if you match the character’s pose or just ask to do a fun pose.
Do: Bring an Autograph Book. Disney sells autograph books in all gift shops and outside most character interactions. If you present the character with an autograph book, they will always be happy to sign their name. These autographs create memorable keepsakes, plus, most books have a place to put the pictures next to the autographs, should you print them out. If you would not like to purchase an autograph book, the characters will sign anything that you bring them, whether it’s a poster, a notebook, a backpack, you name it.
Please keep in mind that none of these actions are obligatory, and that they are merely tips and suggestions. However, the following rules are kind of important and will be enforced by the Cast Members.
Don’t: Ask characters who they really are. This is a common mistake with character meet and greets, you’ll have tons of people going up to the characters and trying to get them to say their real names. Nothing will happen to you (unless you start pushing, then your time will be cut short), however the characters will not acknowledge your question and change the subject.
Don’t: Refer to their adventures as “movies”. The Characters are not always self-aware. To most of the characters, their adventures were real, not movies. So, in other words, they won’t acknowledge that fact. Like the previous don’t, bringing it up will in most cases cause them to change the subject.
Don’t: Force your child to meet a character. This is a very common occurrence. Some children will be afraid to meet the characters, especially Fur Characters. Many of the characters are often much bigger than they appear in the movies, so it can be intimidating. Ask your child if they would like to meet a character first, perhaps show them a picture of what the character will look like, and ask them if they’d like to meet them.
Don’t: Ask a character for requests that are no longer allowed. For an example, unfortunately the characters are not allowed to hold children, no matter how cute the picture might come out. Another example might be the viral “Andy’s Coming!” trick. This used to be a photo op with the Toy Story gang (Woody, Jessie, and Buzz) where if you told them “Andy’s Coming!” (In reference to the movie) They would respond by all falling on the floor. This is no longer allowed due to the massive number of people making the request.
Don’t: Express your frustrations with the wait time. A lot of people will complain to the character directly about how long they had to wait to get to them. The main reason why I am suggesting that you refrain from doing this, is because it wastes precious time with the character. You could be spending that time having a conversation with them as suggested earlier.