Character meet and greets has been a Disney speacilty since Disneyland was invented. There truly is no other theme park which offers the same quality and magic when you get to meet your childhood hero(s).
But they can be awkward. Sometimes the character isn't having a good day, or the character attendant isn't being helpful, or you could just be tired, hungry and looking forward to saying hi and moving on.
So let's break down how you can have the best time meeting your favourite characters.
Whenever we get nervous, as humans we tend to go one of two ways: talk too much, or not at all. Sometimes you might not even know the movie the character is in, like when Asha from the new Disney film 'Wish' started meeting before the movie was in theatres.
Just have a basic conversation with the character. They'll most likely find something about you to talk about first, whether it's your Disney-themed shirt, new Figment popcorn bucket or just how your day is going. They know what they're doing. So just follow along and keep it simple.
You can also lead the interaction by asking the characters questions. When meeting a face character, it's easier to have a two-way conversation, so ask them about the movie they're in. Ask them about other characters either in their movie or within reason, about other movies.
It does get a bit tricky when you meet a furry character. They can't talk back to you, so being able to utilize yes and no questions, talking about your outfit (or theirs) and just having general questions will help with these interactions.
Character attendants should also be able to help if the interaction is a bit weird. Attendants are there to keep you and the character safe, to help flow the meet and greet and to answer any questions you have. Use them! They're just as part of the interaction as the character.
It should be obvious, but the characters are also human. Yes, it's fun to be snarky to Maleficent, or sassy to Cruela Devil, however they are here to bring the Disney movies to life.
There's a video going viral on social media of a child running up to a Stormtrooper in Star Wars Galaxy's Edge and attempting to grab the weapon on the side of the charatcers leg. The child then proceeds to push the Stormtrooper before being grabbed by an adult.
Do not be this type of guest. Do not allow your child to be this way. Free-roaming characters are some of the best interactions you'll have. But Disney has every right to protect the characters and can easily limit how long we see them, if at all.
This also means listening to the character attendants. Most characters can't see small children around them, so if your attendant provides you and your family instructions before you meet the character, follow those rules. It's for the safety of you and them.
At the end of the day, you need to have fun with your character meet and greet. Whether you're meeting Mickey Mouse for the first time or 10th time, make sure you embrace the moments. The best interactions are the ones that don't go according to plan. Allow yourself to be present, mindful and feel like a kid again.