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5 Things You Should NEVER Do When Meeting a Disney Character

3. Don’t ask a character to comment on movies, books, shows, and events that are outside Disney canon.

Captain America

Image: Disney

Just as you wouldn’t ask a Disney character to volunteer a political preference or comment on current events, try to refrain from asking them questions that veer too far outside the Disney canon. Most characters are happy to work in references to other Disney films, but asking them to offer opinions on non-Disney properties, fictional universes and storylines, and the Disney company itself will likely be met with a furrowed brow and a swift change of subject.

So, as tempting as it might be to ask Darth Vader what he thinks of Vulcans or enter into a rousing debate about whether Snow White would consider herself a Hufflepuff or a Slytherin, it’s (usually) preferable to keep conversations centered around Disney’s own fairy tales, superhero sagas, and swashbuckling stories. You’re always welcome to try your luck by explaining non-Disney media to a character, but it’s unlikely that they’ll progress the conversation much further than that if you cross any lines of character integrity (e.g. suggesting that Aurora is enrolled at Hogwarts, positing an alliance between Captain Kirk and Poe Dameron, etc.).

4. Don’t ask a character to remember really insignificant details about their own stories.

Peter Pan

Image: Adriel O. Socrates, Flickr (license)

Every face character is an established expert when it comes to their own stories. (They lived through them, after all.) They know every supporting character and talking animal by name, can retell or reenact important moments in their own stories, and will give opinions on everything from their favorite dessert to the recipe for finding your own happily ever after.

It’s precisely this level of attention to detail that can make meet-and-greets so engaging and immersive. Frozen fanatics can talk ice palace architecture with Elsa and chocolate concoctions with Anna, Star Wars aficionados might discuss TIE fighter specs with Darth Vader or compliment Chewbacca on his superb co-piloting skills.

While you’re welcome to get as detailed as you want when it comes to the particulars of a character’s backstory, don’t treat it like the final round of pub trivia. Just because characters know their stories backwards and forwards doesn’t mean they want to be quizzed on minute details—and it will likely steer an otherwise-pleasant interaction into awkward territory. Instead, save all that knowledge to impress your family and friends for your next round of Heads Up! or a Disney-themed game night.

5. Don’t ask a character to break character integrity.

Mike and Sulley meet-and-greet

Image: Loren Javier, Flickr (license)

When guests enter a Disney park, there are certain unwritten rules in place, the cardinal one of which is this: Keep the magic alive. That extends to Disney characters themselves, who are treated like the real-life embodiment of their on-screen counterparts—and make no mistake, the company doesn’t look fondly on those who seek to ruin the magic for other guests, especially when it comes to the children. (In other words, would you go up to a mall Santa and loudly proclaim that he’s a fake in front of a queue of starry-eyed, wish-filled kids? No? Don’t do it at Disney, either.)

Curious about whether or not you’ve stepped over the line with a character? Ask yourself these questions: Did I ask them to talk about their “costumes”? Did I make a comment about Disney’s hiring practices or wages? Did I reference something they might have experienced backstage? Did I try to get them to identify their “friend”?

If the answer to any of the above questions is ‘yes,’ then you might be setting the wrong tone for your meet-and-greets. Remember, even if there are no kids present, it’s not up to you to antagonize a character or jeopardize their ability to do a good job and facilitate a fun and entertaining moment.

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What tips have you found useful during your character interactions at the Disney parks?

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