Oh Boy am I excited for this one!
This is something I’ve been wanting to write up for a while as it’s a topic that’s pretty close to my heart, for me the Disney experience is unique and separated from the experience I could get at any other theme park by its characters, be that in shows, parades or meets. For me the interaction I get during a trip can really make or break the day, so I’ve tried to compile some of my top tips to make the most of character interaction, I really hope this helps you guys get the most out of future meets! =)
Face it, first of all it’s a standard Disney park purchase, from the moment you walk through those magic turnstiles every other person you pass will likely be wearing a pair of Mickey ears, and why not, they are super cute after all! But why blend in and settle for a standard pair of Disney parks ears when you can use this as a way to show off your unique style and pay homage to the characters you love best?
Right now the market for custom Mickey ears couldn’t be more diverse and this means there truly are options for everyone on pretty much every budget, currently I own 5 (I think) sets of custom Mickey ears and I love the reaction from not just Characters but also CMs when they spot them! I’ve featured two of my favourite pairs below, I would highly recommend picking up some custom ears to get extra interaction they also make for great character photos and a brilliant starting place to put together your Disney bounds!
Like Mickey ears, characters love anything with them on, or some of their other friends, over the last year or two I have built up a huge collection of Disney clothing and accessories and this has allowed me to match outfits to characters I’m hoping to meet that day. Especially with face characters, who can be intimidating to talk to to begin with, this is a great conversation starter, as well as being happy to talk to you if you’re wearing something with them on, they’ll happily talk about other Disney characters too. Not only this but during parades, shows and non-scheduled meets it can really help you get noticed and be able to get that extra interaction you wouldn’t have otherwise had.
A few of my favourite examples of this include this great princess top which was a Christmas gift from a friend, I wore it to lunch with the princesses at Auberge de Cendrillon and it was a big hit! The princesses really enjoyed finding themselves and seeing which silly faces they were pulling, and it was a great conversation starter, in particular Ariel and Eric really loved it.
Another way of adding to your Disney wardrobe is Disney Bounding, this is where you wear normal everyday items but match colours and styles together to create an outfit which is inspired by a specific character, and this is a great way for everyone to get in on the fun. I personally haven’t done what I would consider to be a “full” or “proper” Disney Bound, but the nice thing about them is there are no real rules, and you’re able to do as much or as little as you feel comfortable with. It’s a great chance to show off your creativity and show your Disney side. Below is a picture from my recent meet with Jessie which is probably the only real bound I have done, the interaction from this was incredible and really made it one of the best meets of the trip.
For me, half the fun of meeting a character, other than to get a big squishy cuddle, is to get their autograph, since starting this blog I’ve managed to collect around 70 autographs from various characters and these are great memories to look back on. Please bear in mind not all characters are able to sign autographs, and some times at character meals it isn’t always possible to get an autograph due to time restraints, but it’s always worth asking!
These are my autograph books, I tend to buy the official ones from Disneyland Paris as it’s most convenient for me, and I know exactly what I’m getting in terms of size and quality, however there is a growing market online for custom autograph books, especially in places like eBay and etsy.
Of course it’s not just autograph books you can get signed, these prints from Lizi on Etsy have been a great way of sparking conversation and getting some unusual keepsakes, unfortunately Lizi is closing her store to explore new opportunities but there are plenty of other things you can get signed, cardboard photo frames seem to be a popular idea, and also t-shirts and bags! Be creative, the more unusual or tailored to each character the better!
Finally on the subject of autographs, people often ask how my collection is always so colour coordinated, the truth is simply sharpies, I swear by them for character autographs and carry a set of about 8 or 9 with me in my park bag at all times. Not only are they a good size for all the characters to hold and write with, but it’s another way to add something extra, characters love to have a pen that matches their outfit or even better to pick their own, and it makes the autographs look great!
My favourite fluffy travel companion, how could I possibly write any of this without him? For those of you who don’t know, Duffy is Mickey’s bear made for him by Minnie to take travelling, joined later by Shellie May, Gelatoni and Stella Lou, they can be purchased in the various Disney parks and honestly, owning Duffy bear has changed my trips so much!
The thing about Duffy is, not only is he probably the softest most adorable teddy I’ve owned, being a Disney bear, he’s recognised by the vast majority of Characters and CMs and this is what enables him to provide such good interaction. Along with your Duffy bear, or whichever of his friends you pick, you can pick up a whole range of adorable little outfits to dress them as your favourite characters. If you cant find the character you’re looking for the even better news is the clothes from Build a Bear workshop fit Duffy and Shellie almost perfectly which gives you so much more to pick from.
I have been stopped so many times to talk about what Duffy and Shellie are wearing and I’ve been able to get some of the most incredible photos with some of the characters thanks to these little guys, they make it so much easier to break the ice and always provide something to talk about.
Unfortunately only Duffy and Shellie May are able to be purchased in DLP, but I’m desperate to add Gelatoni and Stella Lou to our family soon! I couldn’t imagine a trip without them!
Embrace the magic
Finally, the last point is probably the most simple of them all. Disney parks are no doubt some of the happiest most magical places on the planet, embrace it, it’s a safe space where you’re totally free to be yourself and enjoy every moment of magic.
Every single character you meet is there to give you the best experience possible, if I’ve spent my time queuing to meet them you can be sure I’m going to make the most of every second I get to share with them, hug them, laugh with them, dance and play along. The more you put into a meet the more you’ll get out of it 100%.
So that pretty much rounds up my top tips, hopefully if you weren’t feeling too confident about meeting characters I’ve been able to give you some ideas that might make it easier! What about you guys, if you have any top tips please share them in the comments!