My daughter’s first trip to Disney was in October of 2015, she was 8 months old, and it was everything I had hoped. She loved the rides, she slept well, she played in the pool, she ate great, she SMILED at the characters when we had meals or meet and greets planned. And then we went in May 2016, when she was 15 months and we did NOT have the same experience. SHE HATED THE CHARACTERS! How could this happen?! How could our Disney Baby HATE meeting hers and our favorite Disney characters? We discovered the pure hatred during a meet and greet with Minnie Mouse. We got to the park for rope drop, watched the opening show and hopped into line with Minnie Mouse immediately upon our entrance to the Magic Kingdom where my child proceeded to scream, nonstop the entire time we posed with Minnie. This continued on with every other character. Suddenly we realized half of our fast passes and meals were about to be wasted because she was TERRIFIED. We ended up changing one reservation for a character meal, and Disney was VERY understanding that it was not worth it for us to sit at a table with our screaming toddler, however, we had a few other meals planned that we REALLY wanted to go to and that other family members would be attending with us.
- Do it anyway. Yup, I was that Mom, I got in line and forced her to pose with the characters. I remember saying to the photopass photographer during our picture with Olaf, “keep snapping, these are our memories” and he laughed at me and said “you’re right”. I’m hoping in 10 year we are looking back at those photos laughing!
- Wave to the characters from a distance and say something along the lines of “don’t worry baby, Mickey is just saying hi” or “Hi Lilo, maybe you could just stand behind (insert child’s name) so we could take a picture”. The characters are GREAT about realizing when kids are just not having it and they will play peek a boo or wave from a distance and continue on their way.
- Stand as a barrier between your child and the character. My daughter was ok as long as she was not the one directly next to the character. I would stand next to the character and hold her on my opposite side.
- During character meals, especially with large groups my daughter would stay in her highchair, all of the nieces and nephews would get around her and the character would stand behind all of them or behind the high chair.
- Try a face character. We did a LOT of Princess meet and greets and Princess meals, because she wasn’t afraid of them.
She didn’t run up to them for hugs and kisses but she did recognize them and didn’t cry or scream. She did stare in awe of Aurora and it was adorable. Face characters are GREAT for little ones that are afraid of the masked characters.
Do not let any of their fears deter you from going to Disney or evening booking events where you could meet or see characters. Like I said, Disney characters are GREAT at realizing when they are not like or wanted and will avoid your child and read their ques! You never know if or when your toddler will love or hate the characters. Wishes Diva also has some tips for a toddler’s first trip here. Good luck and remember, TAKE PICTURES, THESE ARE YOUR MEMORIES OF YOUR DISNEY VACATION!
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