Preparing Your Child for Disney Character Greetings

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Character Greeting Woody

We all have a favorite Disney Character and meeting these beloved characters is often the highlight of a trip, for adults and children alike!   But how do you prepare your toddler or young child for their first character greetings?   Often times we have an ideal picture of what these meet and greets should look like, but find ourselves as parents faced with a harsh reality when they occur.

When we took our two year old for his first visit it was my goal to make the character greetings process as enjoyable as possible for our whole family so we tried to prepare him ahead of time.  Here are five simple steps to help prevent the character greeting meltdown!

1.  Watch You Tube Videos of Kids Meeting Characters at Disney Parks: Most kids know their favorite Disney characters from movies and TV, however they look different at the parks then they do on the big and small screen.  Showing them videos of kids meeting the actual characters will set up realistic expectations for the child on what to expect at the character greetings.  It’s as simple as searching for “meeting Mickey at Disneyworld”!

2.  Book a character meal early in your trip: A character meal is a great way to meet characters without wasting time in line at the parks.  You can distract your child with the food while you wait and they will get lots of special attention when the character comes around.   In addition, if your child is freaked out by characters you can easily ask for them to bypass your table. Book this meal early in your trip so you can gauge your child’s response to the characters.  This way you’ll know whether you should focus on character greetings or avoid them during the rest of your trip!

More after the jump…

3.  Stick to familiar characters: If your little one hasn’t seen the movie or doesn’t know the character it might be intimidating for a young child.  For instance, if your toddler hasn’t seen “Wreck-It Ralph” you may want to bypass that character greeting location as Ralph is larger than life and may scare your little one.

4.  Gauge your child’s response from a distance: Not sure if your child is interested in meeting the character?  Find a place where the child can see the character greetings location from a distance and ask.  A young child will let you know straight away whether they’re keen to meet the character, unsure or totally against it!

5.  Join in the fun: Little princesses and pirates are often most comfortable with their mom and dad close by!  So step up and smile and let PhotoPass capture the joy of the first meeting.  Not only will you see your little one smile and squeal, but you’ll be right next to them enjoying it!

Character greetings are a fabulous part of the Disney parks experience!  They are even better when everyone is excited and happy to meet the characters.  What Disney character would you most like to meet?

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3 thoughts on “Preparing Your Child for Disney Character Greetings

  1. We had the opportunity 2 years ago to meet Pluto and Mickey as Chase Disney Rewards members and get a free framed photo of the event. My 4 year old son fell asleep on the Monorail and our 2 1/2 year daughter old did NOT like meeting any character whose human face she couldn’t see (such as the Princes/Princesses). Our photo experience had mommy holding the screaming toddler, me holding the sleeping prince, and an embarrassed Mickey and Pluto standing WAY behind us. Thankfully, the Disney photo crew offered us a different photo (one where everyone was happy) to frame as a souvenir! Last year, our little princess warmed up a bit more to her familiar characters, but still only stays calm if they have a “face” (Buzz Lightyear was no trouble; Chip & Dale, not so much). This year, we’re going to do more “prep” work, so we will hopefully obtain more photos of ALL of us with our favorite characters.

  2. Our first trip with our son just before his first birthday was the “world is ending” visit with Mickey & Minnie. Then we had been in line for an hour and he was hungry. But we overheard someone telling their little one “Mickey & Minnie are big like mommy & daddy.” So we used that and for our next several trips it was hard to do anything that did NOT involve meeting a character.

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