8. Choose Characters You Know
The best part about meeting characters in Walt Disney World is the buildup of excitement you have, and the fact that you’re getting to meet one of your favorites. If you get in line to meet a character you know nothing about however, you’re probably not going to get anything out of the interaction. If you’ve never seen their movie, or if you don’t know their story, the meet and greet is going to be boring for you and potentially awkward. Prioritize the characters you know you want to meet, and save the others that you’re not too familiar with to meet only if other members of your party really want to meet them as well.
7. Plan Your Time Wisely
If you’ve already met Stitch twice, and you only have one day left of your vacation does it really make sense to meet Stitch again? It might if you happen to be a huge fan of Stitch, but otherwise you might be better off not having repeat meetings, that way you can meet more of your favorite characters in one trip.
6. Consider Character Dining
Character dining is great because it allows you to meet characters, and enjoy an excellent meal, which frees up some of your time in the parks, especially if you would have otherwise waited in line to meet those same characters. While character meals are typically held at all you care to enjoy buffets, meeting four or five characters in an hour can definitely free up some of the time you’d spend looking for those characters in the parks.
5. Bring/Wear Something to Show Your Favorite Characters
Characters really get a kick out of seeing guests who dress like them, or bring something interesting for them to sign. Just remember, that while children can freely dress like Disney characters, wearing a full costume is only allowed for adults during special nights when Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party is held. In the meantime, you can dress like your favorite characters by Disneybounding, or fashioning your ordinary clothes to mimic a favorite character.
4. Have Autograph Books and Pens Ready
If every guest who wants an autograph has their books and pens ready, the line will move much faster, and everyone will not have to wait as long to meet the character. In addition to being ready, I’d recommend using thicker based pens, like the ones that Disney sells to go with the autograph books, as they’re much easier for some of our furry friends to hold while signing the book for you.
3. Have Questions Ready
Characters love talking to their adoring fans, and they’re “all ears” when it comes to guests asking questions. Think of some fun questions related to your favorite characters or their movies, and you’re bound to have some great conversations with your old friends. If I can’t think of anything specific to ask from their movies, I usually ask how some of their friends are doing, (Like to Rapunzel: How’s Maximus? Is he still eating all those apples?) or sometimes asking for advice can be fun too. I’ve asked Rapunzel about the best way to braid my hair, and I’ve asked Merida about the best way to tame my super curly hair. (In case you’re wondering, Merida’s response was that it doesn’t need taming, I should just let it flow in the wind and not worry about it getting messed up.)
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2. Be Respectful of Other Guests
If you have ten people in your party, decide ahead of time how the pictures are going to be taken, and please remember to be respectful of other guests in line. If everyone wants an individual picture, that’s totally fine, but it gets a little ridiculous when you have the mom and dad photo, the kids only photo, the individual kid photos, just the baby, mom and the baby, just dad, etc… Just take a couple of photos and be respectful of the guests in line behind you, and of the characters who have so many other friends they need to meet that same day.
1. Respect Character Integrity
Character integrity is extremely important to the Walt Disney Company, and (especially as a former cast member) I can’t stand when guests disrespect it. Character integrity, for those who don’t know, means upholding the belief that all of the characters are indeed real, and that there is only one of each character. Standing in line and saying aloud something like “If this line is so long, why don’t they just put another character over there?” isn’t okay. People go to Walt Disney World to escape the real world, and comments like this are extremely rude and off-putting. Another way that character integrity is typically disregarded is when people specify certain characters they’ve met by saying things like “I saw a different Peter Pan yesterday.” That’s not even possible—there is only one Peter Pan, so you couldn’t have possibly seen a different one yesterday. If you really must have this kind of conversation, the correct thing would be to say, “Yesterday, I saw someone else who is also friends with Peter Pan.” See what I did there?