Disney World is going to look pretty different when it reopens on July 11th, and the guests aren’t the only ones who are going to see new health measures.
Our favorite Disney pals in the parks are going to have to make some changes, too! Disney has announced that character meet and greets and character dining (except for one modified version at Topolino’s Terrace in Disney’s Riviera Resort) won’t be a part of the reopened parks at first. Still, that doesn’t mean we won’t see those iconic friends during our Disney day. We’re diving into what character interaction might look like when the parks reopen!
You might meet your favorite characters from a distance.
First up, you might meet your favorite characters from farther away than usual. In Disneyland Shanghai, you can still see characters but you can’t get close to them. This is to keep up physical distancing requirements for both Cast Members and guests.
We’ve also seen this method used at the reopening of Universal Orlando theme parks. The characters are stationed on blocked off platforms and areas that make sure guests are more than six feet away. You can still wave and interact with them (and snap a selfie!), but no getting close and no hugs! It’s also important to note that a few of the face characters in Universal were wearing masks!
You may be eating without company from your Disney pals.
Character dining is typically a big piece of a Disney trip, but that won’t be true when we first return to a reopened Disney World. Disney has announced that character dining will be mostly suspended initially.
Notice we did say MOSTLY. There is one character dining experience that will be reopening. Topolino’s Terrace — Flavors of the Riviera at Riviera Resort will be offering their Breakfast à la Art with Mickey & Friends but it will be a modified experience. Disney has yet to share details on what exactly these modifications will be but this is good to note.
There might be new ways that characters make their appearance.
On the other hand, we’re not just LOSING character meet and greets altogether. Disney may release some NEW ways to interact with characters that are super cool. Like we’ll see in Disney World, Shanghai Disneyland reopened without parades or meet and greets — but they’ve got a pretty neat replacement.
Multiple times throughout the day, a Character Procession drives through the streets of Shanghai Disneyland. This is essentially like a mini-parade that allows guests to see and interact with iconic characters without gathering in large groups or getting too close to the characters.
You can also spot groups of characters greeting guests at the entrance to each land in Shanghai Disneyland. We actually think it would be super cool to see groups of characters all together so this would be a fun option to see in Disney World.
Maybe they’ll bring back the Epcot double decker buses for characters!
You might have to forego some favorite souvenirs.
Keep in mind, you may have to miss out on some typical souvenirs. A big part of meeting characters are the souvenirs that you can get from doing so. Some favorites include pictures of you or your kids with a classic Disney character or a signature for your autograph book.
You can still photograph these characters, but it will be at a distance. So that photo of your little one posing with Mickey might not be as easy as we’d want it to be. Plus, Disney hasn’t said how autograph books will work! There might be a system where characters can give their autograph, but it’s also possible that we won’t be able to collect those signatures for a while.
Keep in mind that Cast Members WON’T be able to help snap those family photos for you once the parks reopen, so you’ll need to come up with your own way of capturing those memories with everyone in the photo!
Whatever the case, character interactions are sure to feel a little weird when we get back to Disney World. Perhaps we’ll be hugging Mickey again sometime in the future, but for now, we’ll stay back and pal around with the Mouse from afar.
How do you feel about the changes to character interactions? Tell us in the comments!