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7 “No-Cry” Ways to Introduce Baby to Characters at Disney Parks

Having your baby meet Mickey for the first time is a magical moment on your Disney vacation. But it doesn’t often go as planned because some babies love the characters… and some don’t! These are my tested tips on encouraging fun character interactions at Disney. I’ll even share a trick to capturing a magical moment with a favorite character without baby even knowing!

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Disney parks offer various opportunities for families to meet their favorite characters. However characters can be larger than life (literally) and this might scare or even terrify your Baby. Even if she’s familiar with Mickey from television, it’s something entirely different to see the characters walking around in the parks. The no-pressure approach is key. Not every child will run into Pooh Bear’s arms for a hug… in fact, some may run in the opposite direction! No photo or autograph is worth frightening your baby or merits inducing a meltdown.

Read on for a few tips on introducing Baby to characters at Disney that will keep the joy in your vacation:

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    Before Your Trip

    Prepare Baby ahead of the vacation by showing her pictures or videos online of characters you may meet in the parks. Talk about each character with enthusiasm and hopefully your baby will pick up on the excitement.
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    The Wave from Afar

    Before you establish a personal meet n’ greet with Baby and Goofy, point out the character from a distance then watch your baby for a reaction. Is he excited? Scared? Uninterested? Move a little closer and try again. If your baby is frightened, move away and try again with another character later. If your baby is excited, encourage them to wave or blow a kiss. Depending upon Baby’s reaction, you can decide if you’d like to wait in line for a face to face meeting.
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    Up-Close & Personal

    Once its Baby’s turn to meet n’ greet, use your best judgment on how to approach the character. If your baby can walk, see if they come close to the character on their own. She may want you to hold her hand or even hold her in your arms. Characters meet with children all day long and respond to each child differently. Some characters will squat down low or bend down to the baby’s level. Other characters may play peek-a-boo or make a clicking sound. If Baby is very receptive, the character may lean in close to allow your baby to grab their nose or feel their fur. When my son was two he was absolutely smitten with Minnie Mouse. She was feeling the love too and literally swooped him off his feet in a big hug. Then she grasped his hand and they skipped around together. Minnie would not have been so hands-on if she’d sensed that my son was shy or nervous.
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    Capture the Moment

    Disney PhotoPass photographers are often at hand to take photos of these special meetings. This allows everyone in the group to get in the shot. You can even let them use your own camera or cell phone to take a picture.
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    While She Was Sleeping

    Baby’s napping? That might be the best time for a meet n’ greet. Let the character know that your baby is asleep and you’ll still be able to take a sweet photo. That’s one for the memory album!
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    A Meal with Character

    Is your baby totally at ease with the characters and you’re ready to take it to the next level? How about Character dining? You’ll be able to enjoy a great meal and Baby will receive private meetings with favorite characters right next to them in their high chair! Characters vary at different restaurants but here’s a tip: If the character’s name is in the title of the dining experience, you’ll be sure to meet that character (i.e.: Mickey greets guests at Surf’s Up! Breakfast with Mickey and Friends at Disney’s PCH Grill).
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    Character Cavalcade

    You won’t be able to make a formal introduction this way, but for skittish little ones watching a favorite character during a parade or show might be ideal. Encourage waving and blowing kisses and maybe on your next visit, Baby will run into Mickey’s arms just like you’ve envisioned!

Some of the information in this post may have changed after this writing. Please visit DisneylandWalt Disney World, or Disney Parks Moms Panel online to confirm current policies.

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