Character Meet and Greet changes from then and now
Walt Disney World Resort has changed a lot since the first time I went back in 1997.
I don’t remember a ton of the mini details from that trip. But, I do remember enough of it (and it helps that my mom made an awesome scrapbook that we saved from our house fire).
One of the details I remember was the first time seeing the castle, which was dressed as a cake to commemorate the 25th anniversary. I remember it had probably one of the best parades Disney has ever done, the “Remember the Magic” parade. I remember meeting TONS of Disney characters.
Come to think of it, the characters are really what I think of. And one thing many people who have been to Disney before and come back ask me is, “Why are there no characters walking around?”
Yes, characters used to roam freely around the park. I remember just running into some from time to time. I remember seeing many “random” characters around Main Street like Cruella De Vil or Pinocchio The commercials Disney shows for their parks show characters meeting kids everywhere and anywhere. So why is it different now?
Well, the only time I was at Disneyland, they still roam freely around. I ran into Mickey and Minnie right on Main Street when I was there and was able to grab a quick photo with the couple. But why not at Disney World?
It’s simple: too many people were mobbing them. Walt Disney World is the number one vacation destination in the WORLD. That’s right, the entire world. WDW is fortunate to have people from everywhere save money to come there for their vacation. And for many of these families, it may be the one and only time they will ever come. And they get a little excited when they see their friends on the street.
I witnessed a mob first-hand working one of the Halloween parties. The parties have significantly less people than a normal day at the Magic Kingdom. I was with Lady Tremaine and the Step-sisters and we had a huge group get extremely excited when they saw them and just rush over to them. We had to get the characters out of the way and escort those people to the back of the line that already formed.
Equate it to seeing, for example, your favorite boy band. Take One Direction, who is extremely popular right now. They get mobbed by many teenage girls who absolutely love them. It’s like this with the characters. Disney could only do so much so now, the character meet and greets are far more controlled.
It’s not all too bad. If you know what time is best to go see them, you can still have a wonderful time meeting the characters. And even though I reminisce about what it used to be like, Disney has heard our cries and granting us “Limited Time Magic.” This week featured “Long-Lost Friends,” a huge hit. I got to meet characters I haven’t seen in years or ever! And it was on Main Street, still one of my favorite meet and greet locations. More will be coming soon enough and I cannot wait to see what other special entertainment gatherings will happen.
But, I still miss the good ol’ days of meeting characters and not having to wait in a 30 minute line. Guess I’m going to have to go back to Disneyland in a few months…