Character "Meet and Greets." What's the deal?

So, this question really is one of curiosity and attempt to understand.

There are lots of topics about meet and greets, and even making dining reservations for character greets despite the fact the food isn’t great, etc.

Thing is, I don’t get the fascination with character meet and greets. Like even the name, “Meet and greet”. The fact is, you aren’t meeting Mickey. You are meeting some actor portraying the likeness of Mickey. As such, it would make more sense to call it a “Character Photo Op”.

Admittedly, in our family, we don’t do the “pretend they are the real characters” thing at all. If they are meeting Belle, for example, they know they aren’t actually meeting Belle, but meeting someone pretending to be Belle and getting a picture taken.

So, if you are into collecting photos with characters, I get it. But never have any of our kids really cared about the characters. We made attempts to be a little more like other parents with our DS6, but it just didn’t end well. Our son still just saw the person in costume as a person in costume with whom he might interact in the same way he’d interact with a friend who has dressed up as Darth Vader or something.

Do your kids REALLY believe the characters are real? Does your child actually WANT to see the characters, or is it you as the parent wanting it FOR them? Just fun photo ops? Do YOU believe the characters are real? :wink:

Seriously wondering what the motivation is considering how much time it takes out of an otherwise jam-packed vacation at WDW anyhow!

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I hear you. Our family’s first trip to Disney is coming up and I booked some character breakfasts before park opening to avoid the Character Meet and Greets. Just doesn’t seem worth the time when touring the parks. Happy to hear contrary views though.

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I am SUPER into it :slight_smile: Very much part of the magic of Disney for me.
While ‘before’ I go, I know that they are people dressed up - it is the same with a movie or a play - I suspend my disbelief when I am there.
I guess I think of it as part of the ‘kid at heart’ kind of thing.
Don’t get me wrong a lot of people I know think I am crazy LOL - but it is all part of my Disney crazy


You are brilliant. You are probably going to be shot down in flames…so I am just getting this in first. :joy:


So, we all know that the characters are cast members playing the characters. What’s neat is that they interact as if they are the characters, and that’s just neat; especially if they are favorite characters. Our family love to go to cosplay events, too, and like to get pictures taken with really good cosplayers. DD16 loves to cosplay, and does it often. So, even though we know that the characters aren’t really the characters, we love it.

Our best interaction ever was when DH met Merida last year. She stayed in character so well. The photographer went crazy, too. Look at these and tell me that it wasn’t worth all the money for that trip…



Awesome pictures! My DD23 had a great interaction with Merida, too!


My Merida meet was great too! I have a picture of us ‘practicing’ archery together




Now that my kids are older and don’t believe they are the characters (since age 5 I would guess), it’s more of a checklist thing for us. Picture with Mickey-check, picture with my oldest and his favorite, Donald-check, never met Baymax before-check. We also enjoy the interaction with the face characters as you can talk to them and they are fully in character and it is like talking to the real deal. That being said, we hardly ever wait (sometimes but rarely) for a character in park and schedule a couple meals to meet some in a less time-consuming way and if they come to the table, then my teenagers get to (have to) see them.

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ROFL!!! Love it.

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Agree wholeheartedly with all the praise for Merida. She is consistently the best face character interaction I have.

I am a solo adult, but I still will make the time for M&Gs with my favorite characters. And yes, I non-ironically say characters. While I do know that they have human “friends” - I have zero issues suspending my disbelief. And honestly, I feel a little bit sorry for people who can’t - and their children who never had that chance to be wowed and amazed.

The world is harsh enough. Nothing wrong with being able to suspend disbelief and truly enter the world of magic that WDW is.


I’ve been to other parks that have had characters and never given them a second thought. But Disney it is the magic I’m 48 and my DD 17 thought I was crazy to want to get my picture taken with Mickey and Minnie.

But afterwards she was glad that she did and she had fun interacting with them. When we did H&V in HS she was the one who grabbed my phone to take pictures for me, she knew Goofy is my favorite and she took control with getting their autographs and setting up the pictures.

By the time we got to meet the Star Wars character’s she was more excited than me.

So I would have to say it’s part of the fun just like the rides and shows.


No, my kids know the characters aren’t real. It does not detract from them being excited to meet a “character” in real life.

My kids have wanted to meet the characters much, much more than their father and I wanted them to. They started making plans on who they would like to meet months in advance. I personally don’t need pictures with and autographs from each and every Disney Princess, but why would I stop my child from doing something they really wanted to do? It’s as much their vacation as mine.

No, but there was something absolutely wonderful about being hugged by Mickey Mouse.

Look, I get that some people don’t feel that strong of a desire to do meet and greets. Standing around in the boiling sun for what could potentially be hours all for a less than 5 minute interaction with an actor doesn’t sound like a lot of fun to most people.These are never forced on anyone; I let my kids do or not do whatever they like. I will say that our family has always worked these into our schedules and have never had to wait more than 10-15 minutes to meet whichever character was on that day’s agenda. In most cases, we didn’t have to wait more than 5 minutes. I come from a theatre background, so the willing suspension of disbelief is strong in our family. This is how we become completely immersed in books, movies, plays, etc so we can enjoy them to their fullest. It’s really just using one’s creative imagination in a different way. No one needs to do it, but if someone really wants to, why not?


LOL this is a funny thread. :slight_smile:

So…we do understand the characters are not real, we don’t need any anti-psychotic drugs yet, but we like to pretend they are. First time we went our son was 4 and he thought they were real. He was sometimes a bit afraid. Now he understands they are not real and it actually looks like he has more fun with most of them and I think he likes to pretend they are real too. He is not interested in the princesses anymore (unfortunately for me LOL). When he was 4 he liked all the princesses except he was really annoyed with Anna cause she was talking way too much and was way too loud hahaha.

So yeah, I get how it can make zero sense but there it is…


In February just as I was meeting Mickey Mouse. My face says it all - and I was beyond thrilled to see that the photo pass photographer captured that moment.


Putting my best Spock voice: “Fascinating”


And that’s how I heard it in my mind, too…

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Because it’s fun. When your kids are playing with cars or dolls, do they think those are real? Do your kids ever act pretend to be someone they’re not while playing with friends, like playing doctor, police officer, Indiana Jones, a famous athlete, or anything like that? Sometimes it’s fun to pretend, and even as adults, play has great benefits beyond just being amusing.


Pretending I get. Pretending my kids do a LOT of. I wouldn’t pay for my kid to go pretend, though. They can (and do!) do that anywhere!

I guess none of us are interested in pretending that the character standing over (points this way) there is REALLY Mickey when there are rides to be ridden over (points that way) there.

I find this interesting.


We’re not much into M&G’s either, though on the free dining plan I think we booked 3 character TS’s out of 7 (mostly because we can). That said, I totally get the idea of pretending and it’s pretty much what the whole resort is about. Do I think I’m actually hang gliding when I ride Soarin’? Do I think I’m actually on a limo to an Aerosmith concert? Do I think I’m actually on a runaway mine train in the old west? No. So why are these rides better than their (often more thrilling) counterparts in your local regional amusement park? Because the immersive environment allows you to pretend the experience is something more than it actually is.