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Adults at Character Meet and Greets

Walt Disney World: Just a recounting of a character meet and greet where an adult without kids monopolized Goofy's time and my three year old didn't get to meet her hero, Goofy.

From Scott B
Posted September 13, 2010 at 7:57 AM
Less of a discussion point and more of a venting session. I just got back from a nice trip down to Florida: Disney parks plus one day at Islands of Adventure (minus the little ones on that day, they stayed behind with their grandparents).

Anyway....back to my point. So our first park of the trip was Animal Kingdom, as always, a delightful park. Especially with a 3 year old and 9 month old in tow. Outside of the Dinoland midway area was a character meet and greet with Goofy and Pluto. Now, my daughter is a HUGE Goofy fan (thanks to Mickey Mouse Clubhouse). Just seeing him in front of her is like what would happen to me if I saw a member of the Flaming Lips. She was awestruck! So we got in line. And waited....and waited... Keep in mind, it is 95 degrees. So it wasn't the most comfortable experience. But my daughter was going to meet Goofy, so we didn't care how hot it was (my wife strolled my 9 month old daughter off into the shade with our squirtbottle fan).

Waiting in front of us was this lady, in her 40's, standing alone with an autograph book and wearing just shy of 100 Disney pins and large mickey ears. Finally it was her turn to meet Goofy and she talked, and talked, and talked. Talked about how much she loved Goofy and explained her favorite Goofy short cartoons, etc. Talking to Goofy, who as we all know is a guy in a really hot costume. She had Goofy sign her autograph book (really?) and posed for countless pictures that someone was taking. Keep in mind this was just for her, she had no kids in sight. And then....that was it, Goofy and Pluto had to leave. Given the heat, I knew it would happen sooner rather than later.

Naturally, my daughter's heart was broken. It is hard to reason with a little girl who just turned 3 and wanted to meet Goofy more than anything. She was sad that Goofy didn't like her and she started to cry (which as a father is pretty heartbreaking). So we quickly took her over to TriceraTop Spin to make her feel better (she told me, "Daddy, its like Dumbo....but with dinos!", which to me is the best ever description)

Now look, I understand Disney fandom. I get it. I mean, I don't understand pin trading and adults getting autographs, but I know that people out there are passionate about it. But to me there is a breaking point, and monopolizing Goofy's time in that heat ahead of a line of children just seems rude to me. If the line was empty, then great, get in line and get your pictures. Have some fun! But if the line is filled with kids, I would think an adult would step aside and say, "Your little girl should go ahead."


Comments in chronological order. Most recent at the bottom. Scroll down to respond.

From Anthony Murphy
Posted September 13, 2010 at 7:59 AM
Usually Goofy comes right back so you might have wanted to wait (I know, its hot). Did she not see Goofy anywhere else while you were there?

Anyhow, I know exactly the kind of person you are talking about!

From Ryan B
Posted September 13, 2010 at 9:26 AM
Well, in all fairness, that Goofy character is probably that lady's only friend. If it's any consolation, your daughter will have real friends when she's her age.

Pretty rude and pathetic, though. Does any one person need more than about twenty seconds with a character?

From Scott B
Posted September 13, 2010 at 10:07 AM
Anthony, we waited for Goofy to come back but it was taking too long. It was starting to get late and we had to head back for some naps, for both my daughters and myself.

As luck would have it, Goofy was at Hollywood Studios a couple of days later where my daughter promptly forgave him and gave him a big hug. So all turned out okay.

Ryan, I think 20 seconds is more than enough, LOL. This lady was monopolizing Goofy forever. The guy running the meet and greet was awesome and was trying his best to politely move her along the best he could, but she was oblivious.

From Carrie Hood
Posted September 13, 2010 at 6:43 PM
It does suck but if she waited in line like everyone else she has fair right also. I've gotten my picture with characters an as adult without children and I've been in the other side of this situation, where you can't part a small child from a character thus making not only myself but other kids miss the time. Now before anyone gets mad, yes it's a child. I understand that this can be hard as I've taken my goddaughter to Disney. (It was.. interesting in that "birth control" type way!)

Now what hit's me as odd is normally cast members will cut off the line at a set point so that everyone will get a chance who's already there. Which makes me wonder why this didn't happen in your situation, even if a person took some extra time if the line was done properly then you should have gotten a turn anyway.

Either way, I'm glad she got to meet Goofy :)

From Joe Brown
Posted September 13, 2010 at 8:29 PM
My wife thinks I spend way too much time with Jasmine at Dinsey and Elena at Universal. Not sure why though.

From Scott B
Posted September 14, 2010 at 4:34 AM
Carrie, I think it was a combination of the really long line and the fact that it was an especially hot day. It kind of happened out of the blue when the dude said, "Sorry guys, Goofy has to leave, etc." I am guessing that Goofy signaled for a bathroom break or perhaps a moment away from the heat. But there were quite a few people left in line.

I don't want anyone to get me wrong here. I don't begrudge any adult that is in line and wants a photo opp with Goofy. I mean, it is fun and you are on vacation, so of course you should have a fun time. I was just suprised as to how oblivious this person was that they were monopolizing so much time. Who knows, it is Animal Kingdom, maybe she had a few Safari Ambers before wandering over to Goofy.

From Becky Conat
Posted September 14, 2010 at 8:37 AM
I got my picture taken with Mickey (Just me, I have no kids) 2 years back at DL. I got one when I was little and I wanted another one now that I was older. I think it's fun!

BUT!! I didn't stand there a talk to some hot stranger dressed in a costume about how he is my favorite character. Because honestly, I felt kinda bad being an adult without a kid taking my picture with Mickey when they are a ton of kids behind me so excited to meet him.

I just bolted up there, smiled at Mickey, looked at my husband and smiled for the camera, thanked Mickey and bolted away. I don't think you have to bolt, but I think the polite thing for an adult to do is get the picture/autograph and then get out of the way so others can enjoy.

Maybe I am just too nice and considerate, but if someone had told me Goofy was only meeting with one more person before a break then I would have allowed the kid behind me to go.

I am glad you did find Goofy later on because I remember how special it was meeting my favorite characters. You sound like a great father too. :-)

From Scott B
Posted September 14, 2010 at 11:13 AM
Believe me Becky, I totally understand. You better believe that before my kids came along there are pictures of my wife and I posing with Mickey. Like I said, you are still at the park to have fun and also maybe act like a kid yourself (I mean its DISNEY for crying out loud!). The difference being is that we understood it was just for a fun photo and we also understood that the picture was being taken with a person in a costume and not the actual walking embodiment of a cartoon. Had this been an actual cartoon in front of us, we would have had a 1000 questions for them. Mostly, "How is this possible?!"

And thank you, I always hope that I am a good dad. :)

From Derek Potter
Posted September 14, 2010 at 2:14 PM
While a grown person with Disney "flair" waiting in line to talk to Goofy borders on the disturbing, it is a free country.

On the other hand, there's such a thing as common courtesy and regard for others. Monopolizing Goofy's time at the expense of 5 year old children just isn't right. She either didn't care, or there was a complete lack of self-awareness. Either way, there's no excuse. Probably a good thing I wasn't right behind her in line...although you wonder why Disney personnel didn't shoo her away to keep the line moving.

From Scott Seal
Posted September 14, 2010 at 3:04 PM
Alright, look: I'm 27, my wife is 26. We've been to Disney World together twice, Disneyland together twice. We have a daughter now, but didn't then, and have never gone with children. I understand adults loving Disney and being into it and all that. But...

You are a grown up human being. You aren't meeting Goofy at Disney World any more than you've ever met Santa Claus at the shopping mall, or Count Dracula on Halloween night. There comes a time when you need to let go...and that time is around 13 years old.

Whenever I've gone, if I have gotten a picture, it's been a quick one and I'm out, and if there're kids behind me in line, I'll let them get in front. As a grown up (and I hate to judge) but meeting some kid in a costume shouldn't mean that much to you. You should be aware as an adult that little kids dream of this stuff, can't tell the difference between Mickey on TV and "Mickey" in real-life, and will probably take it harder than you would if they missed their opportunity.

The kid is meeting a celebrity. You're meeting an imaginary friend.

I saw people doing similar things at Disney, and I thought it was ridiculous. Glad to see I'm not the only one.

From Beth Olliges
Posted September 14, 2010 at 9:05 PM
I agree with Scott B. and Becky (and sorry, Scott S., but I disagree with you). My late husband and I took our honeymoon at WDW, and my current boyfriend and I have taken several trips to WDW, DLR, Universal, and other parks. To me, part of the fun is getting photos with the costumed characters. Of course I realize it's someone (probably a college kid) wearing a costume, but aren't suspension of disbelief, entering into the fantasy world, and acting like a kid again all part of the reason to even go to a place like WDW?

Yes, I've let kids go ahead of me before, but there have also been times when I've held my spot in line. (If I let every kid go in front of me, I'd be there all day! Besides, kids need to learn to wait their turn, right?) I definitely agree that the woman in Scott B.'s story went much too far, but I've been in a reversed sort of situation, when I've waited patiently, and then some kid ran up and cut in front of me and the parents did nothing. It really just comes down to common courtesy from both sides, adults without children and parents with their kids. If people would treat each other with respect, it would be a happier place for everyone!

From Rob P
Posted September 15, 2010 at 12:25 AM
Beth's right.
Surely the whole thing about Disney is that age becomes immaterial as soon as you go through those gates. It doesn't much matter whether you're nine or ninety. I don't have a problem with guests of any age getting their photos taken with a character or collecting autographs, If that's their thing then what harm is there ? I don't think it's weird at all and I'm sure that most of us have posed for photos. It's what it's all about.
But Scott B has a point about how much time one person , adult or child , takes at one of the "meet and greets". Time limits should be displayed and adhered to. I've also seen pushy parents letting their kids monopolizing an event like this.
It's not fair that anyone, particularly a small child, should be left disappointed because of the selfishness of others. The CM really needed to be more forceful and , politely, moved the lady along.

From sarah g
Posted September 15, 2010 at 8:25 AM
this is a very interesting discussion!!!

first of all, when the greeting time is about to end the character attendant is to close the line and not allow any more guests in. All the previously waiting guests are still allowed to spend time with a character. Sounds like your case was a rare one, where the character had to signal to the attendant that they needed offstage, pronto. If you were here over the summer, it was probably heat!!! It was truly unfortunate for you and your child to be in that unfortunate, rare situation.

But as for the "adult taking too long"? I think we're being a little quick to judge here. Aren't we all children at Disney? Why should a character encounter be any different for an adult than a child?? And yes, I know, as adults, we may know the "truth" behind Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy and Mickey Mouse, but isn't that the magic of Disney that when you are with that character, you suspend all disbelief for that 30 seconds? I'm good friends with many "fur" characters, and it doesn't matter- when I'm getting my picture taken and interacting with Stitch- I'm with Stitch. And those become VERY fond memories- as a 28 year old woman. Mickey ears come in all sizes :)

So maybe you think this woman was being a little selfish... have you ever stood behind a child who hugs Pooh for 5 minutes and doesn't let go??? Should we expect that attendant to go break up the moment because there are others waiting??

On your next visit, you may have better luck if you book a character dining experience- where your time with a character is guranteed- regardless of your age.

From Scott B
Posted September 15, 2010 at 8:12 AM
Sarah, As I said, the temp this day was 95 degrees in the shade and the line was neverending. So I have to figure the heat was getting intense for Goofy. The attendant said Goofy would be right back (as I also said it was taking a long time so we ultimately left).

This happened right after the woman finally left. When the woman was with Goofy, the attendant tried to politely shoo her away, she just didn't get the hint. Short of him going over and carrying her away, I don't know what more he could have done. Had this been at Six Flags, that might have actually happened. We did a few character meet and greets there that went flawlessly. So I totally know this was the exception and not the rule.

But I think there is a line between having fun and being delusional. As I said, this person was discussing their favorite Goofy cartoons with "Goofy" ad nauseam. It wasn't a case of lingering for additional photos or saying, "Goofy...I love you!" She was literally talking to him forever about obscure Goofy Disney shorts and getting autographs for her book as well as showing him her favorite Goofy pins (of which she had just short of a million). Had it been a simple case of "taking too long", I wouldn't have minded as much, because I am not a grump and I know when people are having fun. Taking too long is pretty normal. But this? This was a case of pure oddity.

As for kids who linger, I think in both cases, there is ultimately an adult responsible. When my daughter finally did meet Goofy, I was there to watch her and to make sure she didn't go overboard (which at 3 years old she is sure to do). So if and when a kid is holding up a line, there is a parent on the sidelines who should know better.

I understand it is fun to exercise some suspension of disbelief when you are at the parks, believe me. Which is why I gave Wolverine a big high five at Islands of Adventure. I don't normally give strangers high fives. But dude, it was Wolverine! What I didn't do however is start bombarding him with obscure questions regarding his fellow X-Men.

As I said Sarah, I don't begrudge any adult who is in line for a character meet and greet. I mean, Disney should be first and foremost about having fun. So posing for pictures, giving the characters a hug, etc. That is fine and furthermore it is part of the whole experience. I met Stitch too and we had our picture taken together and it made me happy. But there is a point I think where you can go too far.

From Scott Seal
Posted September 15, 2010 at 6:23 PM
"I understand it is fun to exercise some suspension of disbelief when you are at the parks, believe me. Which is why I gave Wolverine a big high five at Islands of Adventure. I don't normally give strangers high fives. But dude, it was Wolverine! What I didn't do however is start bombarding him with obscure questions regarding his fellow X-Men."

Agreed.

I mean, I know we're trying to suspend disbelief but, to me, not at the expense of some kid's memories.

I personally love Disney World for several reasons, one of them being that it is a place where (through a lot of hard work) the way you thought the world was when you were a kid seems to be true. But, at the same time, Santa Claus and Mickey Mouse are for children, and while I might get my picture taken with Santa, I'm not sticking around for 20 minutes gabbing about the North Pole while some three year old develops a complex.

I have, on the other hand, seen the kid who runs up and cuts the line, ruining things for me and the people behind me. In that case, I actually blame Disney. All kinds of things go on at Disney as far as people pushing each other over, cutting in lines, shoving around old people in wheelchairs, etc. You may say that Disney is trying not to interfere with people's fun or whatever, but what they're actually doing is making rule following people with manners and sense suffer at the hands of people who couldn't care less. That's sort of a side rant, but it is what it is...

From Rob P
Posted September 16, 2010 at 1:48 AM
We're all agreed then ; It's ok for adults and children alike to pose for photos with their favourite characters and to collect autographs too if they so wish.

The core issue here is that this particular person overstepped the mark by some distance , hogged the character's time and so prevented other people from enjoying the meet and greet. The lady wasn't quite on the same playing field as everyone else was she ?. I mean: it's not normal behaviour to discuss, at great length, the minutiae of Goofy's cartoon shorts etc , with someone just because they're dressed as that character.
So if anyone happens to find a couple of missing screws..........

From Scott B
Posted September 16, 2010 at 6:07 AM
I'm telling you, I think it was more one Safari Amber too many than anything else with this lady. Ha ha.

From sarah g
Posted September 16, 2010 at 8:43 PM
i don't think it's out of the realm of possibility that perhaps this guest was a "special needs" guest. for instance, have you ever gone to the barney show at usf? there is a grown man who is at EVERY "performance" i've been at, he sits up front, sings at the top of his lungs, knows every word, and goes to the photo opportunity afterwards. maybe this is similar???

From Colin Creevey
Posted September 17, 2010 at 12:47 AM
Maybe she was a special needs guest, then you could forgive her.
Otherwise I think adults queuing for long periods of time in the sweltering heat to get a characters autgoraph are nuts. I've gotten into pictures with my kids but would never wait in line to get a photo on my own. Very strange behaviour for a 40 yr old I think.

From Rob P
Posted September 17, 2010 at 1:53 AM
I'm sorry but I have to disagree with Colin. I don't care what age a guest is at Disney. They aren't "nuts" just because they've got into the mood and waited in line to have a photo opportunity. It's all about having a bit of fun without feeling silly or stupid. I say "Lighten up".
This is all about someone overstepping the mark ( for whatever reason) and not about making people feel embarrassed for letting themselves go a little.
Most of us have serious lives with heaps of responsibilities. Once you get into Disney you can put all that on hold and make believe again.
Try to remember that Disney is for everyone and not just for kids.

From Tiffany J. L. Alfonso
Posted September 17, 2010 at 11:03 AM
I don't talk much to Disney Characters when it comes to meet and greets - just a quick hello and "You're one of my favorite Disney Characters" suffice enough for me. I have him/her sign my autograph book, snap a photo, thank him/her, and say goodbye. I'm in my 20's, but it's part of the WDW experience! I bet that lady is just as autistic as I am - she seems to perseverate her conversation with Goofy (although I don't, not even with other characters) to the point that you daughter didn't get a chance to see him.

Again, meeting Disney Characters is for everyone. For me, meeting Goofy, Mickey, or any Disney childhood hero as an adult is like revisiting that memory of seeing them in media and in past vacations. As for you, Rob P., I agree with you - doing Disney isn't just kiddie stuff at all.

From Dave Hart
Posted September 21, 2010 at 7:01 AM
Having stood in lines with my grandchildren I can understand the frustration. I suppose everything does depend on your perspective. I would suggest that an adult that would do that is in fact "goofy". And I have friends who think that my wife and I visiting WDW at least once a year makes me a candidate to be called "goofy".

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