You're either the type that like to meet characters or the type who don't, when holiday-ing at a Disney Park. I, am obviously the first. I think that the simple interaction between yourself and a character can completely make a holiday - no matter your age.
Therefore, I thought I'd share a few tips I've learnt and heard that may help to make your Meet and Greet a little extra special!
First and foremost... BE PREPARED!
I can't state this enough. You are standing a line for plenty of time so make sure that you have yourself completely ready for when it is your turn to save others waiting extra long.
Autograph books - If you are a signature collector, have your book ready on the page you want signed...the characters are not mind readers and will just sign wherever they can. It would be wise to be considerate to fur characters when choosing your pen too! Some may not be able to grip very well so the chunkier the better. A little hint to get personalized notes from the characters is to wear (or have your kids wear) a name tag! It isn't a rule and won't 100% work but it has been known for characters to of seen and then autograph 'To Danielle' etc. I also once had a character just over hear my name and write 'Love for Danielle' :)
Cameras - When I am nearing the front of the queue I get my camera sorted. Not everyone will need to faff around with settings etc, but this is when I do all that jazz with having a DSLR. If you are using a phone, have the camera ready on the screen. A point and shoot, turn it on and be ready. Or photo pass, have your magic band or pass to hand.
Seeing as there were two of us, I'd set my settings and snap the photos of my Mam first then trading the camera off to her for my turn with the character, I therefore did not use the neck strap as it can take up valuable time when trying to untangle it from hair or mouse ears!
Smile! - Please for love the of Disney do not take kids who are scared. They will scream, you will continually shove them to the character and it will be embarrassing for everyone to witness as well as yourself. As well as traumatic for the child too I'd guess! Ask the child first if they want to meet *insert character name here* and make it sound fun and exciting. If they don't want to then don't waste your time and others by taking a place in the line.
STAND OUT FROM THE CROWD
Dress Up - This doesn't necessarily mean full on cosplay, or even Disney bounding in fact. Something as simple as wearing a Donald t-shirt when meeting Donald or having on Piglet ears when meeting Piglet will make the character excited to see that you like them. I have heard this from ex-characters as well as witnessed it first hand a few times myself. I even remember Stitch going ape because someone had a pen with him on it. He knicked it and ran over to all of the characters showing them then gave the guy loads of kisses, so lovely to watch!
Say something interesting - Tell Mickey you love him or Pooh that he's your favorite and your bound to get plenty of attention and big hugs. However this point comes more into play with the 'face characters' (Princesses, Princes, Villains that show their real face) as they can banter with you.
Some characters are known for the fun they have with guests who ask and say interesting things or challenge them. Hello! Gaston anyone?
Dont be shy - As someone who constantly has issues in social situations and struggles to speak to normal people let alone strangers this point is something I constantly try to work on. No one at Disney will judge you. Be you. Be silly. Be fun. Just don't be shy. Want to run up to Tigger like a child for a huge hug - do it! You will not be the first nor the last adult to do so...
THINK ABOUT IT
Non-Signers - Due to
Breaks and Switch Offs - Inevitably characters will need breaks. It gets hot and uncomfortable for the majority of us so imagine how it must be when covered in make up or in full fur character get up. Not only that but drink and toilet breaks are needed too. During these breaks many characters may be switched out to someone else to prevent the queue from stopping dead for a while. When this is the case please do not moan or have a go at the attendants. Put yourself in their shoes! If you don't want to meet who has taken over then just leave the line politely, however I suggest sticking around, it's when some of the most unexpected nice meet and greets can happen.
Time it Right - When you have specific meets on your wishlist make sure to check the time in your programme and get there with time to spare. Getting near the front of the queue doesn't just mean a short wait time, but a completely fresh character who is yet to get tired.
Be polite!! For goodness sake, pleeeaasseee have manners! To the other guests, staff and especially the characters. Say 'please may I have a photo?' and 'thank you very much!' when parting ways. There is nothing nicer than someone appreciating you and being kind when you are at work and it is just the same for Disney cast members.
There we go, these are just a few tips that I find can help you make the most of your time with the gang at Disney Parks!
I'd love to know if you have any other tips, so let us all in on the goss in the comments yeah? ;) I'd also like to know about your favorite meet and greet experience. Who was it with and why was it so special?? OH and send me photos of it on Twitter!!! I'm at @UnderToWonder ;)