Do you consider yourself to be a Disney expert? Do you think you’ve noticed all the unusual and strange details throughout the parks? Well, today we present a CHALLENGE to you in the form of character meet-and-greet secrets!
If you’ve met Mickey and Minnie, Merida, and Peter Pan, you may think that you know all the ins and outs of character meet-and-greets, but there’s SO much more to know. From secret hand signals to characters being “stuck” in their films, today we’re breaking down the 7 character meet-and-greet secrets and strange facts you may have never heard before!
1 — There Are SECRET Spots
You probably know about the standard meet-and-greet spots marked on the various Disney World park maps, but did you know there are some SECRET character meet-and-greet spots?
The first thing you’ll want to do to find some of these more hidden character spots is check the My Disney Experience app. One day we spotted a Goofy meet-and-greet listed in there for Storybook Circus and there he was, tucked away in a little corner! If you don’t check your My Disney Experience app during your trip, you might miss some meet-and-greets that pop up.
While that Goofy meet-and-greet was listed in the app (but just a bit more tucked away in the park), there are some meet-and-greets that you won’t find in an app at all! Over near The American Adventure (to the left, near the large gate outside the pavilion) in EPCOT, and near World Showplace in EPCOT (between Canada and the United Kingdom) you may see a few characters pop up from time to time. Sometimes you might even spot a rare character or two! These pop up meet and greets are never guaranteed but you should always keep your eyes out when you’re in the area!
You may also find some special character meet-and-greet spots that are only available for a limited group of individuals. These aren’t always offered, so just keep that in mind. But, when available, Disney Visa Credit Card members may be able to find a special photo op or character experience near the Imagination pavilion in EPCOT or at Star Wars: Launch Bay in Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
Oftentimes, these special experiences give Visa cardmembers the ability to meet characters (like Mickey, Minnie, or even Kylo Ren) with a very short wait.
Again, the COVID-19 pandemic has altered the availability of some of these offerings, but be sure to check and see what’s available during your next trip!
2 — Character Group Photos Are a No-No
Ever walk through Princess Fairytale Hall and just wish that you could take a photo with ALL of the Princesses there in one group shot? Well, don’t count on it happening anytime soon!
In meet-and-greet spots where there are multiple characters meeting in a space near one another, people may be tempted to ask for a group shot with all the characters in it, but most of the time the characters will not be able to fulfill that request.
Why not? Well, if one group photo like that gets taken, you can only imagine how many other guests would want a similar photo for their kiddos and family. While these group photos would surely be EPIC, they simply can’t happen or they’d slow down the line significantly, create some complicated situations where some might get group shots while others don’t, etc.
And while you’re there, take note of just how special it is to meet more than 1 character at the same time!
3 — Characters Can’t Always Do What You Want
This next one might be obvious to you, but it’s still a rule worth pointing out. If you’re bringing your baby on their first trip to Disney World, you might really want Mickey to hold them and take a super adorable photo. Well, we regret to inform you that your dream photo simply can’t happen.
Generally, characters cannot hold babies and aren’t even supposed to be super involved in big moments like proposals, gender reveals, baby announcements, etc. So while you can say “hi” to Mickey and then use the moment to propose to your partner, don’t expect to hand the ring to Mickey and have him be really involved in the scene.
Instead, you may notice that the characters will step away and give you a bit of space when a big moment like that takes place. That’s part of what they’re trained and expected to do, so don’t let it catch you by surprise.
Also, Mickey can’t usually autograph your forehead, your hand, or even the shirt you’ve got on your back. Generally, characters aren’t allowed to autograph the skin of a guest or any piece of clothing they’re actively wearing.
So if you’re hoping to get a shirt signed by all the princesses, don’t wear it. Instead, pack it in your park bag and pull it out during the meet-and-greet experiences. And make sure you come prepared with a marker or pen that’ll work well on whatever you want to be signed.
4 — Stormtrooper Secrets
Ever look at the stormtroopers in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and wonder just how they communicate with guests? Well, get ready because we’re about to spill some serious secrets!
The stormtroopers in Galaxy’s Edge actually have automated sayings that they’re picking from as they make their rounds and investigate the people of Batuu. But the sayings don’t just play at random. Instead, the Cast Members who are “friends” with the stormtroopers select the automated sayings that play at any given point by utilizing special movements of their arms and hands.
By making a particular movement, the Cast Member can trigger a specific automated saying that is more negative or positive, depending on the response they’re going for. And now you know! Be sure to look very carefully at just what kind of movements the Stormtroopers make during your next visit to Batuu.
5 — Count Those Fingers!
You may expect that all of the Disney characters have 5 fingers, but you’d be very, VERY wrong! If you look closely, in the animated shorts and movies Mickey Mouse only has 4 fingers, and his character in the parks matches this unique detail.
WHY does Mickey have 4 fingers? Well the AV Club notes that there are various reasons why many animated characters (not just Mickey) have 4 fingers. Part of it could do with making things easier to draw. Having one less finger to draw means just a little bit less work which means things can go faster and potentially cost less money.
But there’s more to it than just that. Reportedly, Walt Disney once said, “Using five fingers would have made Mickey’s hands look like a bunch of bananas.” So it seems there were some aesthetic concerns as well given how rounded fingers looked on a rounded palm.
But (as we noted above) Mickey isn’t alone. If you look carefully, Olaf…
…and many other characters have 4 fingers! The next time you’re in the parks, see just how many characters you spot with 4 fingers.
6 — Characters Can’t “Escape” Their Movies
Ever wish you could talk about the latest TikTok trend with Ariel? Or get Rapunzel’s advice on your Instagram caption? Maybe you’re looking for some Twitter inspiration from Tiana? Well…you might be out of luck!
Generally speaking, Disney characters are “stuck” in their movies, meaning they don’t really know about the latest technology, bands, and movies, since those don’t exist in their “world.” So don’t ask Gaston to sing along to your favorite Harry Styles song.
But it goes even further than that! The characters are typically “stuck” within the film/point in time from which they’ve been plucked. So, for example, you won’t want to ask Cinderella about what goes on in Cinderella II or Cinderella III. And don’t expect Mulan to comment on the princesses she protects in Mulan II.
But note that things can be a bit different for some characters, like Elsa and Anna, who got updated looks and thus (presumably) updated time periods to be “stuck” in while in the parks.
The characters you’re meeting are typically from their original films, so they don’t necessarily know what has happened in the sequels yet. No spoilers!
7 — Character Friends Might Have a Preference For One Hand or the Other
Do you write with your left hand or your right hand (or maybe you’re ambidextrous!)? Well, the next time you’re in the parks, see if you can spot any of the preferences your character friends might have for one hand over the other.
Reportedly, friends of Mickey Mouse are trained to sign with their right hand. In fact, even those who are left-handed are reportedly trained to use their right hand when acting as a friend of Mickey.
It might not always be something that is fully enforced or fully in use, but it’s still something to look out for!
And that’s our list of the strange rules and secrets regarding Disney’s character meet-and-greets! How many of these things did you already know? Which ones surprised you the most? Tell us in the comments below.
Want to know more secrets about Disney World? Click here to learn about 50 of the BIGGEST Disney World ride secrets, or click here to hear all about EPCOT secrets Disney won’t tell you!
And there’s more where that came from! You can click here to check out the hidden attraction detail even the BIGGEST Disney World experts have totally MISSED, or click here to see the one way to spot a very specific Disney World hidden detail.
We’re on the hunt for more Disney World secrets and we’ll be sure to share those with you. Check back with us for all the latest Disney news!
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What character meet-and-greet secret surprised you the most? Tell us in the comments!
The post 7 Strange Facts About Disney World Meet-and-Greets first appeared on the disney food blog.