by Disney Bride Diva
Picture this…you are waiting in line at a Disney Park with your three little munchkins to meet their favourite character. You look around and see many other parents with their children holding autograph books at the ready. As your eyes wander up and down the line you see her, that elusive site, an adult maybe in her 40’s or 50’s standing in line. She appears to be by herself, without any children – gasp! You can’t believe your eyes…you’ve finally seen that mysterious adult-only autograph seeker!!
This might be a bit of an exaggeration, but believe me, adult autograph seekers are not as rare as you might think! I have come across many adult guests without children in character lines or dining at character meals. There is no “too old” when it comes to character autograph seekers.
Lately I’ve been reading quite a few on-line posts from adults asking if it’s weird or odd for them to stand in line and ask for a character autograph when they don’t have any children with them. They feel as though perhaps they are taking time away from others who could be meeting this character, or that people waiting in line will judge them somehow for wanting an autograph.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Walt Disney created his Parks to be enjoyed by everyone: young and old. Why would it make a difference if you don’t have a child with you? Should I miss out on meeting the characters because my husband and I don’t have any children? Character interactions are a blast as an adult!
Years ago, I was guilty of meeting a character and just saying a quick “hello” and then posing for a photo. I never really took the time to interact with them. This was a HUGE mistake. As an adult, there are some great conversations to be had with the face characters and some fun antics with the fur characters. Ask them questions about their story lines or about other characters from their movie. I even asked Princess Rapunzel if she and Flynn enjoyed Elsa’s coronation – wink! wink! At Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party I begged the Evil Queen to spare my life, (FYI – she did not LOL!).
One of the best interactions I had this past year was with Princess Elena of Avalor. I am usually up to date on all my Disney characters, however, I only knew that she was part of a television series and the first Latina princess. When I asked for her autograph, I admitted that I didn’t know much about her and she fabulously told me her whole life story and didn’t blame me for not recognizing her seeing as she’d been trapped in an amulet and all! Another great character interaction is with Gaston. If you feed his ego, he is a blast to interact with! If you don’t have much experience interacting with characters, perhaps don’t start with Gaston. He draws quite a crowd of onlookers and can be quite loud and boisterous. So if you are on the shy side, you may want to skip this one and just observe from the sidelines!
Here are a few tips for adult autograph seekers:
Decide what your end goal is for the autographs. This makes for a great conversation starter with the characters. I decided I wanted to make a quilt out of all the autographs. I presented each character with a square of white fabric stretched across an embroidery hoop to sign and told them what I was making. I had never made a quilt in my life and was self-taught thanks to the internet! Character Diva made an awesome autograph quilt here. Many characters were very interested in this and some of them shared what crafts they enjoyed, (i.e Princess Rapunzel likes to paint, and I was surprised to learn that Princess Anna did most of the needlepoint stitching that you see throughout the Royal Sommerhus).
Like the children; have your autograph materials out and ready. One sure fire way to have everyone stare at you is if you are wasting everyone’s time digging through your backpack to find the pen. Make sure at least one of your pens / markers is a larger fat one. Characters with large gloves on their hands will have an easier time signing.
If you feel awkward or shy around the characters then I suggest to think up some conversation starters before you leave home, (or at least before you get in line). This way, you can feel confident about starting the conversation and usually the characters will take it from there. I didn’t even have an opportunity to start the conversation with Aladdin. I was on an ECV at the time and when I got up to him he walked around me checking out the scooter and wondered where he could get such a nifty magic carpet!
Eat at character meals. My husband and I love these meals. Many adults and solo travellers worry about feeling out of place during these meals. This is not the case at all. The characters come around to all the tables and interact. There have been a couple of times where a character came by the table and turned to leave before I could snag an autograph. Just get their attention, (or the attention of their handler) and they are pleased to stick around longer. In fact, at The Garden Grill, we could’t get Chip & Dale to leave our table! I think many adults tend to have short interactions at the meals so characters don’t always linger as long as they would with children. Don’t be afraid to speak up and have your fair share of character time.
Use the FastPass+ system as well as early morning rope drop and evenings to meet the characters. One of the best times to meet characters without too long a line is at rope drop. Many guests are busy running to the popular rides in each park. Evenings are another great time when the lines will be shorter. Many of the families with children are heading back to their resorts for the night. Make sure to keep an eye on the times guide as not all characters are out until dark. When I was trying to obtain at least 32 autographs for my quilt, I used some of my FastPass+ allotment on characters. Most notably Princess Fairytale Hall in the Magic Kingdom and Anna & Elsa meet and greet at the Royal Sommerhus in Epcot.
Hunting down rare character autographs is always fun. My personal favourite is Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. I’m a fan of many of the Disney villains and the party is a great opportunity to meet them. Keep an eye out for special meet and greets during parties and special events throughout the year. There is always something special about turning a corner on any given day and seeing a rare character out who was not listed in the times guide.
You are never too old for Disney character autographs! Have fun with it! Ask them questions and be creative with projects you can design with the autographs. I absolutely LOVE my quilt! When I look down at it and see each autograph, I have fond memories of the character interaction that went along with it!
In closing, I’d like to take this opportunity to publicly apologize to Gaston. When he signed my fabric square he made me promise that his square would be stitched right next to Belle’s. I forgot…for this I apologize.