Tips & Tricks: Disney Characters

Hiya Pals!
There's nothing more magical than getting to meet your favorite Disney pals! 

Memorable & Magical Moments
Some of the most magical moments we've had with Ben at Disneyland? Character meet and greets! Ever since his first visit, we always try to meet at least one character during our visits. These interactions have made for priceless memories and have been a great way to see just how much our little guy has grown over the past 20 months.

The Great Character Hunt
So how do you go about making sure you have the most magical encounter with your favorite Mouse or Princess? Make sure you have the Disneyland Resort official app downloaded onto your phone and use it to check for which characters are out for the day, where they are located on the virtual Disneyland map and what times they'll be around.
The Disneyland App showing which characters will be out. When you click on the character it'll show you the exact  times they should be out and about.
The app makes it a breeze to find those specific characters that you might be itching to meet, especially if you're little one (or yourself) have a specific outfit to meet them in. There's nothing sweeter than having your little mouse meet the big Mouse!
If there's a specific character you'd like to meet, my best tip? Check in on the Disneyland app a few days beforehand, to get a feel for where the certain character will be and what times they'll be out and about. Some characters tend to only come out at certain points during the day, while others can be readily found all throughout the day. For instance, we wanted to make sure we met Sadness while Ben bounded as her, so this mama regularly checked in on the app to see when where/what time she'd be around and made it so easy to time where to be for the perfect shot!
You can also ask a Cast Member who is stationed with the characters for more information about specific characters or meeting spots. They can look up the other times a character might be out if you just missed them or even help you locate any other pals you might be wanting to meet.

Lights, Camera, Video, Action!
Once you're ready to meet your character, be sure to get to the area right when the scheduled time says they'll be around. We've had a few instances were we'd try to catch a character midway though their meeting time and the line was already closed for new guests.

When it's finally time to "shine" and meet your Disney pal, I like to make sure to capture the moments leading up to the photo snaps. Some of the best moments we've captured have been in the moments leading up to Ben meeting Mickey or his pals. Get those candid shots, videos, and all those action shots. These could end up being even more precious than the staged photo itself! There's nothing more adorable than seeing how your child reacts to meeting a character, whether its the first time or their 200th, it's always a little different in the most magical of ways, each time.
Photo wise, if your little one is anything like Ben, they might look every which way but the camera. We try to clap, make crazy sounds and wave a favorite toy behind the camera to get him o look up. We did get a great tip from a photographer after she saw us working hard to get Ben to look at the camera. She mentioned to get a squeaky toy and squeak right before a shot. The noise will more than likely get them to look up or towards the camera, just enough time to snap that perfect shot!

Have fun with your meet and greet time! Whether its by bringing something fun for the characters to sign, wearing a matching outfit or just being silly, make it memorable!

On the subject on autographs, we're waiting for ben to be older to start asking for autographs, but definitely taking note of the creative ways to do so. We've seen some unique alternatives to a standard book. One family was caring a Disney storybook and had the characters sign different pages (genius!), we've seen f frames/prints to be signed, Ive even seen ears or plush that have asked to be signed as well. Totally cute for a little Disney magic and keepsake.

The Happy/Sad gamble
Another tip for a successful meet and greet? Take it in stride. Ben's had every reaction possible when we meet characters. We've had him fall asleep right before meeting Mickey, be afraid of an intimidating Darth Vader, or be unsure of a new face like Ariel. You really won't know how your little one might react to these characters. They may love Mickey and Minnie on the screen or in toy form, but a giant life sized version? It definitely might not be as magical. No matter how the meet and greet may go, just know that it'll be memorable no matter what!
Thankfully, Ben has always been pretty good with characters. In the past, he'd let us walk him over and he'd manage to stand still long enough for a photo.He's only been wary of face characters, the ones who aren't in giant character costumes and the more intimidating ones like Darth Vader. Since he's older, we didn't know how he'd react to characters with his newfound awareness. We actually ran into a situation the week before our most recent Disneyland trip where Ben completely LOST IT with a costumed Spider Man. It was my nephew's first birthday and "Spider Man" came to visit the party. Maybe it was the outfit, or the unfamiliarity, but Ben was NOT having it and basically screamed bloody murder to the point where we had to leave the party early. Total wide eyes, blood curdling screams, tears... the whole shabang of "GET ME OUT OF Here!"
Naturally, we were worried that he'd have the same reaction upon seeing Mickey and his pals at Disneyland. It had been a little while since our last trip and we didn't know how he'd react after the Spider Man fiasco....

Thankfully, these worries melted away the second we step foot into the park on our last visit. Ee noticed Donald Duck had just come out and made a beeline for him. Anxious while waiting in line, those fears disappeared once he caught sight of Donald, Ben's face immediately lit up like he was shining "hey, I know him!" and the result? A priceless interactions!

It'll Only Get More Magical 
While waiting to meet Mickey, we chatted with a sweet couple in front of us. They noticed Ben and mentioned how their youngest was now in his 30's but they'd bring their kids to the parks a lot when they were younger. They said that these meet and greets are the best because no interaction is ever the same. They loved watching their boys go through the different stages of meeting Mickey, from getting to walk up on their own, then when they start to talk and interact, and beyond. They said it only gets more magical and we can't agree more! Watching Ben meet the characters and how each interaction has evolved a little bit each time has been beyond wonderful. It definitely sounds like the best is yet to come with meet and greets and we can't wait for everything the future holds. 💜


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