Travel tips: How to meet and greet a theme park character
For many parents, the highlight of their theme park visit is to snap a picture of their children with Mickey Mouse, Spider-Man or some other theme park character.
As soon as a character emerges from behind backstage wall at any theme park, a crowd inevitably will materialize, as parents gather to queue for their chance to get that keepsake photo.
But character meet and greets can turn ugly when certain parents and children fail to show the proper manners. I've spoken with several "good friends" of Mickey Mouse, Goofy and other theme park characters, and am happy to share their advice on how to meet and greet their "friends."
- Wait your turn.
- Don't be mad if a character is leaving. Generally that character will be back in five minutes.
- Have cameras, autograph books and pens ready. Not just because it moves the line but it gives your family more quality time with your favorite character.
- Stay in the character's field of vision (never approach from side or behind - if the character is on the street ahead of you, go around to approach it from front. You can try calling their name to get their attention, but still will have to go around if he doesn't stop and turn around.)
- Follow the character's cues. Watch for it to motion where to stand, etc. The characters know what it takes to get a good photo. Follow their lead.
- Talk politely to the character, and politely direct your child if he or she seems intimidated or confused.
- Don't touch the character. If you want to shake hands or hive five, put out your hand and let character touch it.
- Say thank you when done.
Where are some of your favorite places to meet characters in the parks? Tell us in the comments.
One of my most favorite perks with the Disney Visa is the private audience that you get with Mickey and the Gang at Innoventsions at EPCOT. Depending on the line outside, you can get a "photo shoot" that will include a Disney photographer and your camera for between 3 to 10 minutes. Thats right! You get a bit of private time with Mickey, Minnie, Pluto, Goofy, and Donald! AND YOU GET A FREE PICTURE OUT OF IT!!!
You might notice that the photo above was taken next to the American pavilion at Epcot. That park is gold for character meet and greets. Look in the pathways leading away from the main drag around World Showcase, next to each country, and you'll often find characters.
We always go to the character lunches or dinners and it's guaranteed that you will get a good amount of time with the characters. It's pricey but well worth it. I'd rather be able to eat lunch and meet a character (which is worth so much more when little kids need entertaining while waiting to be served), than wait to meet a character when I could be watching a show or getting ride time.
That is very true!
EPCOT providing the best character meet & greets makes sense when you think about it.
I agree with Rob and Anthony, there is definitely a different atmosphere at Epcot with Character meet and greets. When we had our boys there we would just stumble upon characters in World Showcase with only one or two people waiting to meet them. We even ran into Naveen and Tiana standing close to the back entrance of World Showcase.
"Wait your turn?" The fact that someone actually felt there was a need to say that doesn't reflect well on our society.
Perhaps I should restate "wait your turn" as "look for the line." Too often, I see families barge up to a character, thinking that there's no wait because the area immediately around the character is empty. But they don't look 10 feet over to see the long queue of others waiting to approach.
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