Obviously, you don’t need a “How To” to meet characters… I mean, you just stand in line, walk up and pose for your pic, right?
Well, yeah, but no. There are things to keep in mind.
- They will stay in character. I am NOT a proponent of trying to trip them up or ask Belle about her favorite Magic Kingdom ride… enjoy it, live in the magic for a minute. Have a book that you are reading out when you meet Belle, or simply ask her about her favorite book. I took little golden books for two very special young princesses back home and got their favorite Disney Princess to sign the book for them. Ask Snow White how Dopey is doing. Hand Aurora a rose. If you want to be funny, ask Snow White if she wants an apple… Ask Jasmine how the genie is, or what it is like to fly on a magic carpet. I promise, this will make the experience a million times more memorable than simply walking up, posing for a pic and leaving. I would say, especially for kids… but, well… who am I kidding? It’s for me! HA!
- Know who you are in line to see. I know, this seems obvious, but I’ve been in line with people who are in line to see Aurora and were asking, “Now, who is she? What movie is she in?” Yes, you can still get a pic, or autograph with them if you have no idea who they are… but remember, you can make it magical if you know a little bit… ask someone if you don’t know. There are CM’s everywhere who will help, or, usually, disnerds like us who will give you far more information than you ever wanted about Briar Rose. (Aurora. Sleeping Beauty)
- Appreciate the autograph. I’m not gonna go with the standard, have your autograph book open and pen ready line… the CM will tell you that. But take a moment and appreciate that every character has to learn to sign their character’s name exactly right, exactly the same. It is a continuation of magic thing. You can’t meet Snow White at CRP and get a different autograph when you meet her in Germany in Epcot. So, appreciate the autograph, see the magic, these CM’s work really hard!
- Get fun autographs… again, I’m not talking about the “have your book open and pen ready” I mean, get autographs on a shirt, or a pillow case, or quilt squares… the book is fun, but… what do you do with it? How do you show it off? Why not do something that you can frame, or display, or wear?
- Pose for great pictures! This means not just the stand beside and smile thing. I posted a pic last month of my daughters talking to Belle. It wasn’t necessarily frame worthy… but I love the interaction that they had. I have pictures of me reading a book with Tink & Periwinkle. I have a pic of Periwinkle and I standing back to back. I have a pic of the whole group of us, and Katie’s Big J was dressed as Captain Hook and she was NOT pleased… Have fun! Pose, be creative. Twirl with Princesses, be feisty with Tink, show Belle a picture on your phone of your hometown and tell her it’s your magic mirror, cower in front of Kylo Ren, or don’t, bring an army man for Woody, flirt with Captain Jack Sparrow, ask him for Rum, whatever wonderful thing you can think of!
- Remember that face characters can talk, but masked characters cannot. So, don’t TRY to get them to talk, they love their job, let them keep it! Don’t ask them anything more than maybe a yes or no question… they can nod their head, but CANNOT SPEAK! Keep the magic alive for the kids in line… don’t be that guy!
- Don’t be afraid to fangirl (or fanguy) out… It’s ok! Gush, squeal, go crazy! Chances are good it will just fuel the interaction! Tell your favorite princess that she is your favorite. Tell Gaston that you like his muscles! Ask him to flex! Lose your mind when you get the rare glimpse of Maleficent in the parks! (Katie, I’m looking at you).
- Ok, now that I’ve said all these things… have fun, do your thing, but remember that there are other kids (or disnerd adults) in line to see the character too… Don’t monopolize their time, which basically goes to read the hints that they give you. Sometimes, they will voluntarily spend extra time with someone, like the time that Snow White spent (what felt like) 10 minutes sitting at her well talking to little K because she was sad that she was too short to ride any rides. I treasure those pictures, my little K, knees pulled up, showing Snow White her pin collection, and just getting to be the most important person in the world for those few minutes… But, if you’ve been dismissed… learn from Elsa and “Let it go, let it go…” let someone else get their time with the character. But know that the more interesting you make your interaction, the longer it will be before you are dismissed.
What are your favorite character meets? What tips do you have? What is the most interesting conversation you’ve had with a character? Or funniest?