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As long as there have been Disney characters, children (and adults!) have collected autographs.
With long lines to meet each of the characters, you only have a limited amount of time to interact with the character once your turn finally arrives. Although most people spend that time obtaining their autograph and then standing for a formal, posed picture, there are other alternatives.
Next time you meet one of those famed Disney characters, you might want to consider investing your time differently. When you are the next family in line, let the cast member running things know what your plan is. You can also let the staff photographer know that you would like some candid or action shots. They are typically happy to capture whatever then can for you. Some fun ideas you could try:
Dance – Ask a character if he/she would dance with you. Most are happy to oblige, and have a few fancy moves to show off. On one vacation, my daughter decided to ask every character she met to dance with her. The video and photos we got to take home from those experiences are precious, and her memories of dancing with her favorite characters will stay with her long after her autograph books are lost or dusty!
Questions – Ask a question or two about the character. Most will tell amazing stories and perhaps even a few jokes. Tell Alice it is your unbirthday and ask when her next birthday is. Ask Mary Poppins why your room refuses to clean itself. Offer to trade shoes with Cinderella. Ask Jasmine if she will take you for a ride on the flying carpet. You will be fascinated by their responses.
Act – Ask the character to act out a favorite scene or part of a movie for you, with you in the action. Bounce with Tigger, fly on the magic carpet with Aladdin, help Tinkerbell look for Peter Pan, ask Mulan to teach you some fighting moves. Have a suggestion in mind before it is your turn, and ask the characters if they would mind playing along. The worst thing they could say is no, but I have never seen any of them turn down the opportunity to play.
Pose – Ask the character to pose in a fun or different way. This makes for much more interesting pictures than the typical everybody-smile-and-look-at-the-camera shots!
Props – Take a favorite toy or prop with you. On one vacation my daughter brought a stuffed Simba. Several characters, from Rafiki to Pooh to Mickey Mouse, held it up in the air in the pose of Rafiki at the beginning of the Lion King movie. Mickey is always happy to see Duffy. You could take a dinglehopper to Ariel or bring a crocodile toy (or ticking clock) to meet Captain Hook.
Costumes – Although adults are not permitted to wear costumes at Walt Disney World, children are invited to do so. You can get some great shots wearing matching costumes or costumes of other characters from the same movie.
Sing – Ask the character to sing a song from his/her movie with you. The wicked stepsisters put on quite a memorable performance, but many other characters would be fun to sing along with too!
There are tons of other fun ways to interact with the characters. Get creative! Show off your muscles to Gaston, march with the green army man, ask Mary Poppins to sing you a song. These are your magical Disney memories – get creative and make the most of your time with the characters.
Have you had a fun interaction with one of the Disney characters? Share with us in the comments!