Home » 4 Secrets to Great Character Meet and Greets at Disney

    4 Secrets to Great Character Meet and Greets at Disney

    Autographed shirt

    Many guests queue up in long lines for character meet and greets only to find that they don’t really know what to do once they’re there. You only have a few minutes to grab an autograph, exchange a few words, and snap your picture, so it’s important to make the most of it.

    Take Something Besides an Autograph Book

    Autographed shirt

    Grab your autographs on a shirt instead of in a book
    Image: Ethan Ableman, Flickr (license)

    You don’t always have to turn to the traditional autograph book to get characters’ signatures. They’ll sign just about anything provided that it’s big enough. Think about what you want to do with your autographs once you return from you vacation. An autograph book isn’t really the best way to display them if you’d like something you can use or show off as part of your home decor. Consider trying some of these creative alternatives instead:

    • Printed photos of each character that they can sign, celebrity-style
    • Matted photo frame that you can later add a picture to
    • Postcards or greeting cards for friends and family at home
    • Birthday or wedding cards if you have someone with a special event coming up
    • Tee-shirts
    • Story books featuring the character in question
    • Fabric swatches for use in a quilt or other item later
    • Wooden wall décor, such as a castle silhouette
    • A pillowcase
    • An ear hat, using a silver sharpie for dark colored hats
    • A plate or serving platter
    • A baseball cap
    • A large blank Vinylmation
    • A scrapbook or scrapbook-size pages
    • Plain white mugs
    • Clean white canvas shoes
    • A tote bag
    • Throw pillow cases

    Think outside the box with your items and make sure you’re getting an autograph on something that you’ll really treasure.

    Try Creative Poses

    Strike a pose with Merida

    Draw your arrow with Merida
    Image: Jennie Park, Flickr (license)

    Are you tired of pictures where you put your arm around the character and smile? Make sure you’re snapping really creative shots that you’ll want to share, print, and display. It helps to think ahead a bit so you have something in mind by the time you make it to the front of the line. There’s not a lot of time for improvisation or discussion once you’re with the character.

    One easy option is to mimic the character’s signature pose. If you’re not sure what that is, a quick Google search will give you some good ideas. In many character lines, you’ll also have a chance to watch those before you for an idea of how that character poses. Most have a few classic moves. For example, Peter Pan crosses his arms over his chest, Sully might hold up his paws in a scare pose, and green Army men often salute. If you adopt a particular pose, the characters will be quick to follow along.

    If you’re a man, you can show off your muscles for the princesses. Women can woo over Gaston. If you’re in a photo with other members of your party, brainstorm together so you can coordinate your pose. You may have one sister with an arm around Aladdin while the other crosses her arms angrily. Have fun with your poses to get shots that you’re truly treasure.

    Bring Along a Prop

    Give Snow an apple

    An apple is ripe for Snow White
    Image: Kim Slever, Flickr (license)

    Props offer a playful way to take your themed photos to a new level. While you don’t want to cart a giant bag of extras with you around the park, you can easily stick a few small items in your bag to add more charm to a photo with your favorite princess or other character. Consider these ideas.

    • Take a dinglehopper to Ariel
    • Bring your favorite book to Belle
    • Offer an apple to Snow White
    • Grab a toy archery set to meet with Merida
    • Take a lasso to Jesse
    • Wrap up in a scarf to pose with Elsa
    • Pull out a play teacup with Alice

    Converse in Character

    Have chat with Ariel

    Have a chat with Ariel
    Image: John Veldboom, Flickr (license)

    If you’re meeting with a face character, you have the chance to have a brief conversation during your meet and greet. Think about what you want to say ahead of time so you can prompt a witty and memorable chat. Stay within that character’s fictional world and think of topics that will lead to whimsical banter. Try these tricks.

    • Ask a princess how she feels about her prince, or ask Belle her opinion of Gaston
    • Ask Ariel if she misses her other form (human or mermaid, depending on how you meet her)
    • Ask about a character’s companion, such as Pasqual for Rapunzel, Meeko for Pocahontas, Mushu for Mulan, or Rajah for Jasmine
    • Bring up a key theme from the character’s storyline. Talk to Rapunzel about frying pans, or speak with Belle about books. Ask Alice how many impossible things she has done in the day, or quiz Aladdin on his favorite part of the Cave of Wonders.
    • Spark a debate. Some characters are just itching for a little argument. If you meet both of Cinderella’s step-sisters, you can ask which is the prettier one or who’s a better singer.
    • Poke a little fun at the character. Call Buzz Mrs. Nesbitt or point out that he’s a T. O. Y. Taunt Captain Hook with a “tick tock, tick tock,” or show off your muscles for Gaston.

    Boogie Down at a Dance Party

    Disney dance party

    Get your groove on at a dance party
    Image: Loren Javier, Flickr (license)

    Not all character meet and greets involve the traditional line up and smile ordeal. You can also have a fun time with popular characters at dance parties. This gives you the unique opportunity to relax and play around for an extended period of time. While these dance parties are usually poorly lit and not ideal for photos, they’re great when you just want to have a little fun.

    If you’re looking to add character magic to your stay, make a list of your must-see individuals so you can plan accordingly to include them in your day. Come prepared with your props, autograph items, and ideas for photos and conversation. You’ll find yourself enjoying an interaction that’s better than ever.