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Gaston meet & greet

Meeting characters in a Walt Disney World theme park may seem like an activity that is exclusive to children, but this is not the case. Walt Disney wanted to create theme parks so that both adults and children would be able to have fun. As such, there is no shame in visiting character meet and greets as an adult, and there are actually plenty of ways to make these experiences unforgettable.

Know the characters

Kylo Ren meet and greet

Image: Brittany DiCologero

Among the long list of reasons why adults (especially those without children) do not tend to prioritize meeting characters is quite simple: They do not actually know the characters. They probably know the characters who were popular when they were kids, but anyone from a movie in the past five years or so will likely be a mystery. If not a mystery, these characters may be familiar, but may not hold the same value as a character that was special during their childhoods.

Knowing Disney movies (and the characters) is an important part of any Disney trip, as there are so many details that will go unnoticed by guests if they do not already have a basic understanding of the story. Of course, some characters might be easier than others to enjoy meeting without fully remembering their films. If you’re looking for a photo with a princess, and you happen to meet Merida whose movie you may not have seen, you’ll be able to get the basic idea of what her story is all about. However meeting Chewbacca or Kylo Ren when you’ve never seen Star Wars will probably just leave you confused and regretful of the time you spent waiting to see characters you don’t really know.

Plan your time wisely

1900 Park Fare

Image: Nora Marimon

Speaking of time spent waiting, one way to get the most out of character meet and greets is to spend as little time as possible waiting in line for them. This point is actually one of the perks of being a “childless” adult. Where some guests spend most of their trips to the park in line for different characters that their children want to see, you as an adult have total control over how you spend your time.

This sense of control means that you can plan your day around whatever you want to do most in the parks, which may or may not include characters-- and if it does include meeting characters, you can choose the most efficient way of doing so. Character dining for instance may be more appealing to you if you don’t have another two or three family members to consider when planning your budget. If you happen to be in the parks late into the evening, when many families with children have already begun to leave, the lines at meet and greets like Princess Fairytale Hall will be shorter. Not having to go by the varying schedules that comes with visiting the parks with children means that you’ll have more flexibility in where and when you choose to meet characters.

Have a conversation

Smee meet and greet

Image: Brittany DiCologero

So many adults meet characters simply to get a picture as a souvenir before going off to enjoy the rest of their day. Especially if you’re meeting one of your favorite characters, just relax and have a conversation with them. Ask them about something you know they would love to discuss from seeing their film, or simply compliment them on their outfit and go from there. Though everyone knows that meeting characters can be an interactive experience for kids, adults can have the same outcome as well.

Another fun way to meet characters as an adult is to do so while you’re celebrating something. Have a birthday button? Just engaged? Disney characters would love to celebrate whatever event you may be having and wish you all the best. Visiting characters while celebrating something special can also make for even better photos, whether it be Mickey singing “Happy Birthday,” or a princess reacting to how many years your anniversary is celebrating, some of the best (candid) photos come out of these meet and greets.

Bring something interesting

Donald meet and greet

Image: Brittany DiCologero

Adults may not be running around the parks collecting autographs in a standard Disney autograph book, but they can be found pursuing autographs for other reasons. Some guests create DIY projects out of character autographs, including picture frames, backpacks, blank Vinylmation figures and more! If you really love certain characters you’re bound to get creative in how you can collect autographs. Whether you get Cinderella to sign a picture frame which will later house your photo with her, or get Rapunzel (and maybe Flynn!) to sign a frying pan to hang in your kitchen, there are plenty of opportunities to create fun souvenirs that you simply wouldn’t think of as a kid.

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