M-I-C, see you real soon, K-E-Y, why? because we like you, M-O-U-S-E
Let’s be honest, what is the first thing you want to do when you get to Disney? See the big cheese! I don’t care how old you are, when you hug that giant mouse you will feel like you are 5 years old again. If seeing characters is a priority for your trip, then some advanced planning is in order.
With children, get a gauge of their character behavior before you get in line. If you know your child will tackle Pluto at the knees in his excitement, then make sure you are there to cut him off at the pass. If your child is scared of the furry characters, then try the face characters like Mary Poppins. It can be good starting point for them. Or you can stand and look at the characters from a distance and see how they feel about getting closer. I would not recommend forcing your little ones on the characters. You will just make the fear worse, no one is happy and your pictures make you out to look like the wicked stepmother!
Character meals are a great way to see characters and get a little more interaction than you would standing in line in the park. Yes, your meal is interrupted multiple times to get those adorable pictures but you are eating and seated in air conditioning, so you can’t complain too much. I have written on character meals in a past post.
Autographs are a very popular way to interact with the characters. Almost every character will sign an autographs, the ones that don’t have costuming issues that prevent it. You can purchase a book at the parks, online or make your own. They will not sign clothing that is on bodies, but I have seen them sign hats & shirts that a person was not wearing. I recommend a really fat Sharpie (bigger than the normal one) for the characters because it fits into Mickey’s gloved hand better. You have the book open and ready for your character when it is your turn. My kids love the autographs and will go back through the books year after year.
If a certain character is important to you, then plan waiting for that character in your plans for the day. For example, my daughters were dying to see Rapunzel on the last 2 trips. In June, the lines for Rapunzel were up to 3 hours long…CRAZY! There was no way we were going to wait that long. In December, we decided to wait for Rapunzel at 8:15 on an EMH morning and we were about 20th in line. Yes, we waited an hour but we were in and out of there by 9:30 in the coolest part of the day. I rode a few rides with the kids and got us all breakfast for the wait while my husband sat and played on his phone. A great website for character planning is Kenny the Pirate, this site gives the times and locations of all the characters in the park along with tips for the best times.
Remember to have fun with the characters! You do not have to be a small child to see the characters! No one will look down on you for getting in line to see Tigger as an adult. Characters will play peek a boo or high-five a child who is afraid to hug. You can ask them questions or tell them something about yourself or your child. Adele told Captain Hook that he was on the naughty list last Christmas. Prompt characters to remember your child from a previous trip, “You remember Anna, we had lunch with you last June!” If you are utilizing Photopass and there is a photographer, then don’t worry about taking your own pictures…just enjoy the moment!