One of the most MAGICAL things in Disney World is finally BACK in the parks! Do you already know what it is?
Guests can officially hug Mickey Mouse again! Disney World is bringing back “normal” character meet-and-greets in a phased return, and we’re already seeing a few characters back to their traditional meet-and-greets in the parks! You can see a full list of the character meet and greets that have gone back to normal here. We know it’s been a while (about 2 years!) since guests have been able to hug their favorite characters, so we wanted to send out a quick reminder about some important RULES to follow now that these close-up interactions have returned!
It’s so much fun to hug characters and experience close-up interactions with them. We’ve missed it, and we know a lot of you have too! As you get ready to head back into the parks, here are 18 rules and recommendations to keep in mind in order to be respectful to the characters, their Cast Member friends, and other guests.
Have your camera and autograph book ready.
Traditional meet-and-greets can often involve some photos and autographs as well! A Disney PhotoPass photographer will usually be present at the meet-and-greet, but if you want some of your own pictures, be sure to have your phone or camera ready to go when it’s your turn.
If you’re hoping to grab an autograph as well, have your autograph book turned to the page you’d like the character to sign. If the book isn’t open to a certain page, the character will likely open the book and sign any page. That might be fine with you, but we know some kids might be particular about where the signatures go. To prevent any problems, it’s best to have your book open and ready!
Be conscious of other guests’ time.
We know the “normal” meet-and-greets are back “for the first time in forever,” and we know how excited you are to meet your favorite friends again! But keep in mind that there are a LOT of other guests that are just as excited to meet the characters. Of course you can take a few minutes to interact with the characters, but please be considerate of other guests’ time and don’t take too long with the meeting.
If you’re bringing kids to meet characters, be sure to prepare them ahead of time by telling them that it’s just a short meeting with their friends. This can help prevent any meltdowns when it’s time to leave Cinderella or Mickey behind and let the next guests take their turn.
Wait patiently for your turn.
We’ve done our waiting! 2 years of it! Without hugging Mickey! But everyone else has been waiting too, so we’re going to pack our patient pants and wait our turn patiently in line. Please do the same, and don’t try to cut in line or push your kids ahead of other guests.
Most guests probably think this is obvious (and it’s already a rule at other meet-and-greets, rides, and attractions), but sometimes excitement gets the best of people and they just don’t want to wait. You’ve successfully waited for this long — a little more time won’t hurt!
Be respectful of the characters.
Remember that characters are people, too! Yes, you can hug them, but please be respectful with your body language and comments.
Just like you would with any other person, keep your interaction appropriate and respectful.
Don’t ask characters to do TikTok dances (and other weird stuff).
Disney characters remain true to their universe at all times. And we’re pretty sure that TikTok doesn’t exist in Arendelle, Neverland, or the Hundred Acre Wood. As a result, the characters can’t do any of those trendy dances with you.
While we’re on this topic, it’s also good to remember that you shouldn’t ask a character about anything that doesn’t exist in their universe. The characters exist in their animated universes, so Snow White won’t be able to talk to you about the Once Upon a Time TV series, and Jasmine doesn’t know about Dalia — the handmaiden from the live-action Aladdin.
Don’t try to trick the characters.
Along with that last rule, please don’t try to trick the characters. The Cast Members are amazing at what they do, and they will remain in character. It’s not respectful to try to get them to trip up or break character.
Instead, ask the characters about things they would know about! Tiana loves answering questions about her restaurant, and Rapunzel always has an update for us on what Maximus is up to. It makes it a much more fun experience for everyone involved if you just embrace the magic.
Keep an eye on your kids throughout the interaction.
There’s nothing like seeing a little kid meet Mickey for the first time. We’re so glad these magical moments are back! If you’re a parent bringing little ones to meet the characters, please keep a close eye on your kids throughout the interaction. The characters and attendants are so happy to help your child have a magical experience, but they’re not babysitters.
Kids can accidentally do inappropriate things if they’re unsupervised (we’ve seen some little ones try to lift princesses’ skirts and things like that), so to prevent any awkward situations, just be sure you’re there helping them the whole time.
Don’t ask a character to autograph your face.
No, Mickey cannot autograph your forehead. Or your hand, or your foot, or even the shirt you’re wearing. In fact, they can’t autograph any skin or clothing that a guest is currently wearing. If you want a character to sign a shirt, bring it with you in your park bag and pull it out when you get to the meet-and-greet.
Knowing what the characters can and can’t autograph will help prevent any disappointment when you arrive at the experience!
Preserve the magic!
Even if you’re an adult, the characters are going to stay in character 100% of the time. Don’t ask about their wigs or makeup or how many other Mickeys are in the park at that time. Instead, be respectful of the magic and interact with them as the real Disney character!
This is especially important since other guests will be around, and many of them (especially the little ones) fully believe that they’re meeting a Disney princess or other favorite friend. Please don’t take away that magical moment for them.
Characters can’t hold your baby or toddler.
Please don’t ask a character to hold your baby or toddler. For everyone’s safety, they are not allowed to do this. Sometimes characters might be able to kneel on the ground and a kid can sit on their knee, but that’s not guaranteed by Disney.
The characters will, however, be happy to pose with you as you hold your little ones, or they’ll crouch down to be on the kids’ level for photos and interactions.
They also can’t hold your baby announcement.
Many people want to use character interactions as a way to make exciting announcements or even to propose! The characters will be happy to be a part of your special moment, and they’ll likely react with a lot of excitement as well. Feel free to do this during your interaction, but keep in mind that the characters cannot hold the baby announcement, engagement ring, or other important items during this experience.
However, you’re welcome to hold those items yourself to take photos with the characters! It would just look a little bit strange to have Goofy proposing to someone or a character holding a baby announcement.
Don’t bring alcohol with you to a meet-and-greet.
Alcohol, soda with labels, and other branded drinks are not allowed in photos at meet-and-greets. If you do have one of these drinks, you can just set it down during the interaction!
A Cast Member will likely remind you of this rule if you walk in with your drink, but it’s good to be aware of it ahead of time as well.
Bring a character-friendly pen.
This isn’t really a rule, but you can make a character’s life a LOT easier by bringing a character-friendly pen to your meet-and-greet. They’re often wearing big gloves or other costume parts that make it difficult to work smaller pens (and especially pens with caps that need to be removed).
In our experience, sharpies tend to be easy for characters since they write in a thicker font. And if you have a pen with a click button instead of a cap, that’ll be easier for them as well!
Ask a character attendant before offering a character any gifts.
Characters will be happy to accept special messages or even sweet little gifts at times, but they cannot accept any home-baked treats from you. Just like in school, any treats you bring for your friends need to be pre-packaged.
If you do bring a gift, check with the Cast Member attendant before offering it to the character.
Show your kids pictures of the characters in advance.
Like we mentioned before, it’s so cute to see little kids meeting Disney characters for the first time! But these interactions don’t always have a picture-perfect ending. Sometimes kids are a little intimidated or even flat-out scared of the characters. After all, if you’re used to seeing Woody on a TV screen and suddenly he’s standing 6 feet tall in front of you, we can see how that might be a little startling!
To help your kids prepare, show them some pictures of the characters before you head to a meet-and-greet. It’ll help them know what to expect during the experience, and they might not be quite as scared.
Take some time to interact with the characters.
We know that one of the rules on here is to not take up too much time during your meet-and-greet. But we also don’t want guests to feel like they have to rush in and rush out without interacting with their friends! The characters love to interact and talk with guests. Ask them questions about their story or universe, and they’ll be excited to answer!
You can also help kids engage with the characters if they’re a little too star-struck to do it on their own. Pointing out something they might want to say to or ask the character can help make it an exciting experience. So be respectful of time, but you can definitely take a few minutes to interact.
Embrace the magic and let everyone else do the same.
Here at DFB, we’re all adults, and we all LOVE to meet our Disney friends in the parks! If we’re in Magic Kingdom by ourselves, do we still go to see Mickey and the Disney princesses? You bet we do! During character meet-and-greets, make sure you’re allowing everyone to embrace the magic and be immersed in the story.
This is the time to let your inner child shine and get swept away in the fun of Disney magic. If you’re not into the meet-and-greet, please don’t ruin the experience for others (kids AND adults) with a negative attitude. It doesn’t matter how old you are — you can absolutely enjoy hugging Tigger and chatting with Gaston.
Don’t yell “Andy’s Coming!” Just Don’t.
We’ve all seen the viral video of someone yelling “Andy’s coming!” and all the Toy Story characters fall down and pretend to be toys again. Since that video came out, guests have been trying to repeat it by yelling that in Toy Story Land. We’ll save you the time and effort by telling you now that the toys will not fall down. More likely, a Cast Member will inform you that Andy is actually in college now!
Some of these are hard-and-fast rules with character meet-and-greets (like being respectful and knowing what the characters can or can’t do), while others are recommendations for making your experience the best possible (like embracing the magic and asking fun questions). Please be sure to keep these in mind so that you, the characters, and other guests all have a great time during your interaction!
Keep following DFB for more updates on the latest news in Disney World.
Which character are you MOST excited to meet in Disney World? Let us know in the comments.