Disney Characters at Disney Parks - Do Adults and Character Meet and Greets Mix?
Disney characters are common sights throughout all the Disney Parks in the world. Step inside any of them and you'll routinely see children hugging their childhood heroes (or princesses) of the magical lands. Where's the joy in a boy's face when he high-fives the honey bear Pooh? What little girl doesn't love posing with Princess Jasmine from Aladdin?
But there are adults who pose with either human or other-animal pals of the thrill kingdoms as well. Wedding couples pose with lavishly-dressed Mickey and Minnie Mouse, macho guys hang around with Pooh, and women with attitude pose with the Disney Fairies. But some adults think that adults doing photo ops with their lovable characters are just plain absurd. That brings up a question to any Disney Parks visitor: are adults and character meet and greets inappropriate or just part of the Disney experience.
The Types of Disney Characters
Disney characters come in various forms and appearances. Besides their various origins, like cartoon shorts and theatrical features, they come in two distinct types:
- Fur Characters: For me, adults generally can handle fur characters better than children because they intimidate most of the latter group. They are clothed from head to toe, with their human heads concealed by masks and helmets that look like the characters they portray in the parks.
But they are not limited to the non-human mammals whose outerwear are named after (such as Eeyore, Pooh, Rabbit, or Tigger). Human characters in animated series retain their cartoonish features by portraying themselves as fur characters, with Woody, the Queen of Hearts, and Buzz Lightyear as examples.
- Face Characters: Unlike their fur-coated counterparts, face characters fuss with their makeup more than them to appear human and realistic. They wear slightly lighter clothing and show their made-up human faces to the Guests. Examples include all the Disney Princesses, the Mad Hatter (who was once a fur character until about the 80's), the Green Army Men, and Captain Jack Sparrow.
Thoughts of Those who Think Meet and Greets are for Everyone
Most people who have been to any Disney Park at least once have seen that it's perfectly fine to meet a Disney Character. They know that it's not just a kiddie park because they know that there are thrill rides with height restrictions and distinct thrill levels. (Just think of the rush you'll get when riding Rock 'n' Roller Coaster at Disney's Hollywood Studios at the Walt Disney World Resort, for instance!)
Also, many couples get married there and spend their honeymoons together, thus giving them the opportunity to meet their favorite characters. Even adults without their under-18's in tow act like they are in childhood and meet Mickey and the gang like they did in their first park visits. Some of them even collect autographs to keep track of who they met as well. Generally, they think that there's no age limit to meeting favorite characters at any park under Disney's ownership.
Thoughts of Those who Think Meet and Greets are Just for Kids
Some adults only think of adults and character meet and greets as bad chemistry, and there are a lot of reasons why. The main reason is because they simply view all the Disney Parks as places "just for kids," not counting the young at heart. They think of some pair of huge, middle-aged men posing with Pooh as a juvenile and immature act.
Adults who use the "Disney is only for kids" mentality would rather ride "it's a small world" several times than to pose with someone like Chip or Dale. Just like the parks, meeting the residents of them is just too childish for people who think so.
Thoughts of Those who Think Meet and Greets are A Waste of Time
According to The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World, the problems with character greets are time-wasting and elopement. The latter of the two problems bothers parents who especially have children with autism. (As long as parents stay with younger ones all the time, this shouldn't be a problem.)
Other problems include disruption of touring plans. Especially if they are somewhat rare (Brer Rabbit of the controversial film Song of the South is a great example of a rare character.) characters entice children to have photo ops with them. Adults who think that meeting Mickey and his friends are making them waste their times are usually those with touring plans.
Should adults meet Disney Characters as much as children? The answer is an absolute yes - the late, great Walt Disney once said, "You're dead if you aim only for kids. Adults are only kids grown up, anyway." But even as adults, there are rules to follow when meeting your Disney friends:
- Never Overlook the Times Guide and the Guidemap: The Times Guide is a useful tool for finding out when and where the characters meet, as well as the Guidemap. Look for the Mickey glove icon in the latter.
- Have Your Cameras Ready, Pens Uncapped, and Autograph Books Open: Make sure you take off the camera lens cap and power on your digital cameras. Oh, and test your pens, preferably before the outing.
- Courtesy, Please: Be nice to the characters - don't grab their tails, ears, or whatever they have on them.
- Reserve a Character Meal, if Possible: If you especially have a touring plan, a character meal won't make it askew. Breakfasts are the best meals to do so.
By using common sense around the characters, both adults and children can find pleasure in meeting them. You really don't have to meet one if you travel without kids if you don't want to or if it's too juvenile. After all, Disney is not Disney without them!
(Note: adults are defined as those 18 or older. This Hub not only applies to Americans who visit the Disney Parks on their soil: the original Disneyland and Disney's California Adventure at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California; and the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney's Hollywood Studios, and Disney's Animal Kingdom at the Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. I'm applying this to those who visit Disneyland Paris, Walt Disney Studios Paris, Tokyo Disneyland, Tokyo DisneySea, and Hong Kong Disneyland as well.)
Here's A Question for You:
Can Adults Meet Disney Characters in the Disney Parks?
Other Links on Meeting Disney Characters
- Adults at Character Meet and Greets
This post on Theme Park Insider inspired me to write this Hub. The tale of one woman talking to Goofy for a lengthy amount of time much to the dismay of the thread starter's daughter gave me the subject of adults meeting Disney characters.
- Meeting Disney Characters on Your Walt Disney World Vacation
This is for families and other groups (as well as singles) who go to Walt Disney World and want to know how to approach the characters. Trust me - it's useful!
Other Useful WDW Hubs
- The Pros and Cons of Staying Inside the Walt Disney World Resort: The Pros
What does it really take to book a room at a Disney-owned piece of lodging?
- Happy Walt Disney World Resort Holidays - Christmas Happenings in 4 Parks
Walt Disney World and Christmas go together perfectly - and there are great events and specials happening in the four parks!
- Autistic Children and Family Vacations at the Walt Disney World Resort Can Coexist!
With careful planning, family vacations at the Walt Disney World Resort with autistic children can be possible!
- Walt Disney World: What Annoys You?
From screaming children to chanting South Americans, some things at the Walt Disney World Resort make most Guests hit the ceiling even on places with the sky above them.
- The Many Months of Walt Disney World Crowds
Know the Whens of going to Walt Disney World from the Whiz Kid Forte Herself!