OK so if any of you have been noticing a theme in my posts we are traveling in January with dds 8&4, and ds1 and we have more CMs planned than most of you would be comfortable with for your family in three trips combined (8 total for a week stay). But our plan is to not wait in line to meet characters and just meet them while we are eating. With that said, our dd4 has some special needs and although I know she will love meeting the "real" characters (I.e., princesses) I do not know how she will take to the 'big head' characters. We have exposed her to them many other places and so far she hates them. BUT we have been prepping her for Disney and we are hopeful. If we get there and it's a no go with the big headed characters what are the best ways at a CM to signal stay away or keep a good distance while still allowing some interaction for her (waving) in case she warms up and allow our other kids to interact??
When you check in, I would tell the host/hostess your concerns. Then, I would also let your server know right away. They should be able to let the CMs who are with the characters know your concerns.
You could also maybe manage things by how everyone sits at the table. Let her sit on the inside of the table, so that you and the other kids would be a kind of buffer between her and the characters. Also, there are sometimes character handlers out and about with the characters, so you could tell those handlers about any special needs. I think the characters are generally pretty good about giving kids some space. My nephew was not at all interested in the characters, and they stayed back from him and waved at him until he warmed up some.
My daughter has always been weary of the "big head" characters too! (But she loves the princesses!) We have done a few character meals and she likes seeing them from a distance but would start to freak out the closer they got. The characters have always been good about recognizing her fear. My husband or I would just hold her so that she could hide her face in our shoulders - and the characters just seemed to know to keep their distance.
You could always give the hostess a heads up too.
My DD has this problem with big head characters everywhere EXCEPT Disney. For some reason, it seems ok to her that the big head characters are there and she will greet, hug and high five them. She might surprise you!! Even after her trip to Disney, she doesn't like big head characters elsewhere..... I can't explain it! I hope you have the same experience!
My granddaughter is on the spectrum. My DD and SIL took her to Disney when she was 3 1/2. She started out wary of the characters, but they let the CM handlers know ahead of time. In three days time, she went from signaling "No" to running up to the character to get hugs. She came home a completely changed child. She runs up to Nana and Papaw for hugs and kisses, can articulate her needs and desires well, and her meltdowns are less than half in number and duration. A year after her first trip, we were also at WDW when my daughter's family was there, and we were able to witness some of the Disney Magic™ first hand.
what an amazing story!
OMG, I love this! Thank you for sharing it, @LissaKay. Excuse me now while I go get a Kleenex.
Oh I know. Her daddy was posting pictures to Facebook during their visit, and I was sitting here at work crying my eyes out. Seeing her smile, and engage with the character ... she danced with Anna and sang with Elsa, hugged Mickey, Minnie, Woody and Jessie, and ALL the princesses. She was having so much fun! Her little face just lit up!
To this day, you wouldn't hardly be able to tell she has any issues with autism. At all.