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One of our favorite things to do at Disney World is meeting the characters. We usually meet at least a dozen characters on each trip. While meeting the characters can be a lot of fun, it can eat up a good deal of your park time. So, today I want to give you some tips for meeting characters. Some of these tips will save you some time while others are meant to improve your character meet and greets.
Time Saving Tips
Get There Early
By getting in line for meet and greets early, you can minimize the amount of time you have to wait in order the meet the characters. The times for most of the regular meet and greets will be listed in the Times Guide. Try getting there a few minutes before the character’s set starts to get a jump on other people. This will allow you to meet the characters and get on to other activities without spending too much time in line.
Have Your Stuff Ready
While waiting in line to meet a character, get all of your stuff out so you will be ready when it’s your turn. Turn your camera on. Have your autograph book out and open to the correct page. Have your pen ready to go. While these things don’t take a lot of time to do, they can save you some precious moments by doing them while waiting instead of when it is time for your meet. This is crucial when you are trying to fit everything in during limited time in the parks.
Try Character Meals
If you or your children want to meet the princesses or other popular characters, try scheduling a character meal during your trip. This effectively allows you to meet characters while eating at the same time. Character meals are a great way to see the more popular characters while avoiding the long lines. You can find most of the princesses at character meals. There are also character meals with Pooh and friends, Mickey and pals, and the Disney Junior characters. You can find a few other characters at meals too.
Late Night Lines
Another tip to minimize the time you spend waiting to meet characters is to try and meet them late at night. Now, this won’t work for most characters because they quit meeting guests earlier in the day. However, there are a few characters who will be out until park closing or close to it. For these characters, wait until almost the end of the night to meet them. Usually, this means you will have shorter lines and get more time with the character. In November 2015, we wanted to meet Santa Goofy, but his line was always way too long. One night, we walked past his meeting area a few minutes before Hollywood Studios closed and saw that there were only a few families in line. So, we jumped in his line 5 minutes before the park closed. We only waited a few minutes and had a great time with him.
Tips for Better Meet and Greets
Don’t Force Your Kids
Kids can sometimes be unpredictable. They may be super excited about meeting their favorite characters before your trip, but when it comes time for that big meet, they may get scared. Kids usually don’t expect the characters to be as big as they are. This can be scary for some kids. If your kids get scared, please don’t force them to meet the characters. This will just make it worse for you and your kids.
If you don’t want to miss the opportunity to see the character, try meeting the character yourself while your kids sit it out. If your children are good with the character from afar but not up close, try putting yourself between the child and the character for the pictures. Another solution is to take the picture with your child facing away from the camera. This will make for a funny memory later in life.
Seek Out Favorites
If you or your children have a favorite character, make a point to seek them out during your trip. To find them, look in the Times Guide or ask a cast member where you can find them. While there are a ton of characters that meet guests, please remember that there are some characters that do not come out at all. Others are only out during special events. I would recommend finding your children’s favorite characters early in your trip so you won’t miss them. These are the only characters that you may want to wait to meet regardless of how long it takes.
Capture the Interactions
When it comes your time to meet a character, start taking pictures as soon as you and your family walk up to the character. Don’t wait until it is time for posed pictures to take them. Snap away the entire time. Sometimes, the best pictures from a character meet and greet are of the interactions between your children and the character. Some of my favorite pictures of Boston at Disney World are of the characters embracing him in a huge bear hug. Also, take advantage of the Photopass photographers at character meet and greets. They are great at capturing the interactions between the characters and your family.
Find Your Inner Child
It can be kinda weird as an adult to interact with an animated character, especially one that doesn’t talk. This can cause your pictures to look more awkward than fun. To overcome this feeling, find your inner child and let them come out to play. Have fun with the experience! The more you let loose and go with it, the more comfortable you will be and the more fun the meeting will be for everyone. And remember: you are at a place built to get you in touch with your inner child. So go for it!
Try Fun Poses
Another way to improve your meet and greets with the characters is to try some fun poses. Think about the characters and their movies. Try to come up with some ways to pose that will fit in with the character’s personality. The character will willingly join you in your pose. When Boston and I met Tarzan on our last trip, Tarzan actually suggested our pose. It was fun and made for a more interesting picture.
One of the unique things about visiting a theme park such as Disney World is the ability to meet your favorite characters from animated movies. We love meeting the characters. It is one of our favorite things to do at Disney World. Above are some of my tips to save you time meeting characters while also improving the meets you have. I hope you take some time on your next trip to use these tips for meeting characters at Disney World. Happy travels and have a magical day!