Apr 09

Preparing Your Children to Meet Disney Characters at the Parks

Disney charactersYou’ve finally saved up and prepared for your family’s trip to the Disney parks. And you can’t wait to get pictures taken with your kids and the Disney characters. But there’s something many parents don’t take into consideration when planning for these magical photo opportunities…….your kids might actually be scared to death to meet the characters in person. Meeting Characters can be a huge memory for kids and adults alike, but for some children if they aren’t prepared, it can end up being a scary and unpleasant experience.

Every child is different……some children love characters, some children are ok with the characters, and some children just do not like them at all. The important thing to remember is to go at a child’s pace when meeting characters, especially if your child shows any signs of being nervous about approaching a character. Here are some easy tips for helping your child overcome the fear of meeting a character to insure a magical character interaction for everyone involved:  SingAlongSongs

1. Prepare your child before your vacation starts– As simple as this sounds, most people don’t think twice about preparing their children for character interactions ahead of time. By simply watching YouTube videos of other children meeting actual characters in the parks, you can set up realistic expectations for your child on what to expect at the character greetings. There are also some excellent Disney Sing-Along-Song DVD’s that allow your child to get a more realistic idea of what the characters will look like in person, compared to their animated look in cartoons and film.


2. Gauge your child’s response to characters from a distance – Before rushing up to the first Disney character meet and greet you find, try gauging your child’s response to characters from a distance. You can do this by watching other children interact with characters at a meet and greet, or by getting a front row seat to one of the many live shows or parades.


This gives children the opportunity to view characters up close without actually meeting the characters in a one-on-one setting. By watching how a child responds to the characters passing by in a parade, you can determine your child’s level of anxiety or anticipation pertaining to character interactions.


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3. Plan a character meal early in your trip – A character meal is a great way to introduce your child to characters in a more relaxed, family style setting. Your child will likely be distracted by the food while you wait for characters to come around. And once the characters make their way to your table, your children can see you interacting with them to help put them at ease.

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4. Stick to favorite familiar characters – You know your child better than anyone and which characters they like best. So be sure to stick to some of your child’s favorite characters that they’re most familiar with from Disney television and films. And avoid those characters from films that your child’s never seen, especially those that might seem intimidating, like Wreck-It Ralph or the Beast from Beauty and the Beast.


5. Stick to ‘face’ characters – If the appearance of a giant furry character has your child clinging to you in fear, try sticking to ‘face’ characters. What is a face character? Just that, a character which has a human face. This includes the Disney Prince and Princesses, as well as other popular characters like Aladdin or Peter Pan and Wendy. Many children find it easier to meet these type of characters because they can actually relate to them and have a conversation with these characters.



6. Stay by their side and join in the fun – The littlest prince and princesses are often most comfortable in new situations with mom and dad or even an older sibling at their side. So of course this would hold true when it comes to meeting characters. It might also help if your child has a particular object of comfort like a favorite stuffed animal or blanket. The characters are great at interacting with a child’s stuffed animal, which can help to ease a child’s anxiety. So step up, smile, and let a Photopass photographer capture the magic of you and your little one meeting some of your favorite Disney characters!



7. Don’t force your child to meet the characters – This is the most important tip! If the sight of an oversized Mickey Mouse or Pluto triggers your child’s anxiety level to the brink of a character greeting meltdown, then trust me it’s just not worth it. If you force the issue, most likely your child will never overcome their fear of the characters and you’ll never get those magical photos you’ve been longing for.

Character greetings are a memorable part of the Disney parks experience! They’re even better when everyone is excited to meet the characters, so be sure to talk about what to expect weeks or even months leading up to your vacation and most likely your child will be so excited that they’ll never think twice about being scared!


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