When I first visited Disney World with my extended family in 2014 I only did a few character meets. As my in-laws lined up to meet character after character sans-kids I looked on in bewilderment. Why would a grown adult spend that much time waiting to take a photo with a person dressed up in a costume? I didn’t get it. The awkwardness I felt when posing for photos with them further cemented me in the don’t-wait-for-meets camp.
But then I somehow stumbled down the rabbit hole of the Disney community. I heard people talk about how fun character interactions could be…even for grown-ups. So, when we took our first trip to WDW with kids in February I decided to give it another try. And everything changed.
The biggest tip that impacted my experience was simply “you get what you give.” Instead of walking up with a simple awkward hello and getting into a photo pose, I tried greeting them with a smile and asking them about something in their story. Once someone gave this advice, it made so much sense! I don’t walk up to a friend and just pose. I ask how they’ve been and talk about their lives. When you do this with characters it gives them something to work with. But what I didn’t expect was how much it drew ME into the magic! Talking with them about their story changed my perspective from interacting with someone in a costume to being *part of the story*.
If you’re worried you don’t know enough about their story, don’t be! This brings me to my next tip: simply be open and friendly and welcoming of conversation. Even when you don’t know what to say, being open lets the character know you *want* to interact and they are GREAT about responding with fun interactions. Even characters that don’t speak will gesture their way through a conversation about anything from your outfit to your hairstyle.
We’ve had great character experiences with our kids, but also ton of fun ones without them. My third tip is to be a bit assertive if you’re an adult and want to interact with the characters. So many people expect only kids to care about character meets. This means other guests may cut in front of you and you may get less attention at character meals. Don’t take it personally, but do make sure they know you’re excited about the meet, too! Move right in toward the character when it’s your turn with a big smile and confidence…and then enjoy the fun that ensues!
So, what about you? Do you enjoy meets or think they’re overrated…or just for kids? I encourage you to give these tips a try on your next visit and let me know if they’re helpful!