Meeting Mickey, Rapunzel, Cinderella, and their friends feels like a V.I.P. experience for children and adults alike at Walt Disney World.
Characters have been returning across the Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom, with new cavalcades, shows, and special “sightings” around the theme parks.
We were all missing those magical meet and greets during the pandemic, and as the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida continues to celebrate its 50th anniversary and reopen experiences after the pandemic, Disney Guests have been able to get those coveted selfies once again.
And one little boy’s character experience was definitely a “core memory” because of some very special Cast Member magic.
Back at the end of 2021, both Princess Fairytale Hall and Town Square Theater reopened at Magic Kingdom as Disney Princesses and Mickey Mouse returned for meet and greets, albeit modified with social distancing in place.
These new meet and greets are now called “sightings”, and from January 26, became part of Disney’s paid-for Lightning Lane service.
Though some Disney Guests are divided over whether the magic still lives at Walt Disney World, a new video shows a heartwarming moment between a young boy and Joy from Inside Out (2015), Pixar’s highly successful movie directed by Pete Docter.
The thought-provoking movie stars the voices of Amy Poehler, Phyllis Smith, Bill Hader, Lewis Black, Mindy Kaling, and Diane Lane and follows five personified emotions: Joy, Sadness, Fear, Anger, and Disgust. The five emotions lead a young girl named Riley through life as she and her parents adjust to their new surroundings after moving from Minnesota to San Francisco.
TikTok user @reesenmike03 shared the intimate moment between the young Disney Guest and Joy, in which Joy begins to use sign language to communicate with the boy:
We hope you had tissues ready! These kinds of videos truly showcase the magic that Disney is famous for – creating lifelong memories for Guests based on something so personal and understanding.
The young boy is deaf and has down syndrome, and reacts with so much “joy” at the Disney character being able to use ASL to communicate with him. The parent filming the interaction can also be heard sounding so emotional at the little boy signing with Joy.
For those not familiar with American Sign Language, Joy says “My name is Joy”, “You are a smart boy!”, and “You are happy, I am happy too!”. During the character meet and greet, the boy also goes in for a hug, which is a tear-jerking moment to see.
We wish that Disney could provide a guide to where characters will be each day who can sign for Guests!
We can’t wait for traditional meet and greets to return to Walt Disney World, along with signature books and proper Mickey Mouse hugs. Right now, Disney Guests can meet their favorite characters at Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom but in modified ways due to the pandemic.
More on Inside Out
Disney’s official description of the Pixar animated movie reads:
Growing up can be a bumpy road, and it’s no exception for Riley, who is uprooted from her Midwest life when her father starts a new job in San Francisco. Like all of us, Riley is guided by her emotions – Joy (Amy Poehler), Fear (Bill Hader), Anger (Lewis Black), Disgust (Mindy Kaling) and Sadness (Phyllis Smith).
The emotions live in Headquarters, the control center inside Riley’s mind, where they help advise her through everyday life. As Riley and her emotions struggle to adjust to a new life in San Francisco, turmoil ensues in Headquarters. Although Joy, Riley’s main and most important emotion, tries to keep things positive, the emotions conflict on how best to navigate a new city, house and school.