note: this is one segment in a multi-part series on how to plan a trip from Naperville to Disney World.
Walt Disney World is more than rides. It’s also more than dining in fantastic restaurants.
Meeting Mickey Mouse or any of the characters can be an exciting experience…and it can be a traumatic one as well. Without having any idea how your child will react to a giant Mickey Mouse or a beautiful princess they’ve only seen in movies, it can be challenging to know how to approach character meet ups in Walt Disney World.
So, I’d like to give you some helpful tips for enhancing your character connections.
Go with who you know
For a first interaction, choose a character your child knows. If your child has never seen Peter Pan, waiting in line to meet Captain Hook might not be the best idea.
If your child has seen Beauty and the Beast every day for the last six months, then meeting Belle will definitely be on your list and probably somewhere near the top!
Face characters might be less intimidating
My girls have seen Mulan so they were quite happy to meet her in EPCOT.
Find something in common
This one sounds odd, but let me explain.
For little ones, seeing characters looming above you might be scary. Goofy is over 6 feet tall. If your child loves Goofy, he/she still might be put off by seeing a giant. Lift your child up into your arms so he/she is at Goofy’s level.
I learned this lesson at a character breakfast. Only when my child was as tall as Goofy did she want ANYTHING to do with him.
Have your child wear a T-shirt with characters on it. When we met Belle once, my daughter was wearing a Belle shirt and they talked about that shirt for a few minutes.
Plan what you’re going to say
When you meet a face character, they can and will talk to you. While we wait for our turn, we practice what we want to say to that character.
- Rapunzel: “How long is your hair?”
- Ariel: “How do you like using legs?”
- Aladdin: “What was it like in the Cave of Wonders?”
I know; you might be wondering about the characters that are in full costume and cannot talk? There are great ways to interact with them such as by asking yes/no questions where they can nod their head or point to another character:
- Woody: “Is Andy’s name on the bottom of your boot?”
- Mickey Mouse: “Do you like cheesecake?”
- Chip and Dale: “Who is the better dancer?”
Secure in your meeting but don’t want to wait in long lines?
There are about 20 character meals throughout the resort. You can have visits from princesses, Hundred-Acre-Wood friends and Disney Junior stars. These are great ways to have quality interaction without waiting in long lines.
While you dine, the characters come to you!
See them from afar
If all else fails, skip the lines, skip the dining, and check out characters during a parade!
The Magic Kingdom offers two parades most days. Characters will be on floats and walking along the parade route. I often recommend viewing a parade on a family’s first day to help expose children to characters. Sometimes seeing them from the safety of their stroller or Dad’s shoulders will encourage them for a future interaction.
It can also be a conversation starter! “Remember when we saw Mickey during his parade? Now he can say hello to you!”
For boys and girls of all ages
Yes, this is me meeting Mickey from my last trip. In Walt Disney World, it isn’t at all odd to have one grown adult woman in line to meet Mickey. He was so sweet – we had our own “conversation” before this pose!
These tips are provided by Your Naperville community member Jenn Hart, of Guru Travel. As a Disney Authorized Travel Agent, she can work with you to make your Disney dream vacation a reality. Services to Guru Travel clients are complimentary and designed to make your trip truly magical. Contact Jenn or find her on Facebook as Dis Savvy.
If you have something you’d like to contribute to our site that benefits Naperville residents, let us know.