Character meet-and-greets are classic and iconic parts of any Disneyland trip, but do you know all the ins and outs and etiquette for these experiences? Some are obvious, some you only learn after a number of trips and some you need a little bit of inside information to know. Here are the basics so you can make the most of your meet-and-greets the next time you see your favourite characters.
- Think of your questions ahead of time - Don't waste time when you finally get to the character trying to come up with a question. Think of one or two while you're in line so it's ready when it's your turn. Keep in mind that masked characters can only speak in mime so keep your questions simple.
- Have your autograph book ready! - Again, don't waste fumbling around in your bag to find your autograph book when you get to the character. You have plenty of time in line to get things ready. I would also include cameras/phones in this preparation time.
- Come up with unique poses ahead of time - If you want a cute pose with a character, think of one before you get there. If it's not entirely appropriate they will let you know and suggest another one, but don't rely on the characters themselves to think of a bunch of unique poses. They'll have a couple in mind, but don't pressure them for new ones.
- Characters should only sign Disney items - Characters in the parks are supposed to only sign Disney items so don't put them in an awkward situation and ask them to sign something else. If you don't have an autograph book or blank piece of paper, use your park map.
- Don't reference other "Cinderellas" - There is only one Cinderella, there is only one Mickey - don't say things like "This other Mickey I met..." or "You're better than Walt Disney World's Cinderella..." because, in this world, they don't exist. I've said things like "Oh, you already signed this in Florida," and they just said "I'm sorry! I sign so many things that I forget sometimes so thank you for reminding me." Not awkward, not rude and the magic isn't broken.
- Listen to the Character Attendants - Every character has one or more attendants with them to help with pictures and crowd control. Character Attendants are there to keep guests and performers safe and happy so if they ask you to do something (or to stop something) please listen! At the same time, all Character Attendants are happy to answer any questions you have, especially about the characters. :)
- Characters have a schedule - All characters have a schedule, but characters you meet outside have a much shorter schedule than indoors ones. If there's a line but the Character Attendants are saying that you can't join the line it just means that they're running short on time and have to get them backstage soon. You can always ask them when the character will return and they will do their best to help you.
- Show courtesy to the characters - A character's job is to make all guests' experiences as magical as possible, but if you show kindness and courtesy to them then you may find it comes back to you twofold in an unforgettable encounter!
These are some things to get you started with meet-and-greets, but let us know what characters you sometimes have a hard time finding. We want to help you locate them in the future so give us your ideas and they'll show up in later posts!