Normalcy - character meet and greets and meals

When do you think character meet and greets, parades and character meals will be back?

They already have character meals to a degree in Shanghai - you just sit at your table and the characters walk into the room, pose nearby, walk on, pose again, etc. then leave. No touching or photos with guests. So that is a possibility at WDW at some point, maybe soon.

Getting back to the old touching / hugging / photos / autographs I imagine will take another 12-18 months when a vaccine is widely available or herd immunity is reached.

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I think they might never look exactly the same.

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“Exactly” the same is probably right because now that we’re making changes, might as well improve things. But I do think Disney (and the rest of the world) is going to want to return most things to the way they were since this period will be quite traumatic and people will not want reminders that it happened, to the extent possible.

But there are probably some key ways life will change permanently, analogous to metal detectors at airports. For example, we may get used to seeing certain people wear masks when they’re sick like they do in Japan, though I doubt it will be required anywhere unless there is another pandemic.

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Nothing will be as we knew it - my opinion is we won’t see those at least until 2021, maybe long after.

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I think Disney will consider exposure to face characters in the future and will need to make permanent changes, just like metal detectors and changes at airports.

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Based on how I see things returning to normal in my neck of the woods, I see it happening depending on the financial aspect of it and whether or not companies continue to use COVID as an excuse to exclude certain services.

This is in Oklahoma where, for example, our apartment complex continues to keep our gym and our pool closed when there is no reason to do so other than it suits them financially. However, they give the usual spiel about “guidelines” and “health concerns.”

Where our Y offers EVERYTHING except open swim/family swim due to COVID (supposedly).

In Oklahoma…specifically Tulsa…our water park is open and so are other community pools. So when they keep talking about local guidelines, I laugh.

In Kansas where my sister lives, her community has used COVID as an excuse to keep their water park closed this summer but has had issues with making it financially stable since it opened even though they used community taxes to pay for it.

Some restaurants in our area continue to use COVID as an excuse to close bathrooms to public use (Del Taco and McDonald’s until the other day).

Having worked in fast food, drive thru is where most of the money is and saving a buck not taking care of lobbies/bathrooms seems to be what they are doing.

In my YMCA example above, they’ve had no problem bringing back their money makers: classes and camp.

So, I expect Disney bringing back their money makers first: Early Morning Magic Hours, for example.

And adjust from there.

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Universal was doing character encounters…not exactly meet and greets. But you could get close enough to have a photo op with them in the pictures while being socially distanced. So I could see Disney doing the same.

The big thing I have to wonder about, however, is if Disney will want the magic of the outside world (aka, masks) to interfere with face characters. Who is going to want to see and have photos with Cinderella wearing a face mask. It is not only jarring, but doesn’t make sense to the fantasy. It would be like if in the middle of the Cinderella movie, you suddenly see her pull out a cell phone to call someone. It is out of place for the “story” being told.

As such, I could see face characters being allowed to appear without masks FROM A DISTANCE. The sad part will be for the kids who truly believed at some level that this really was Cinderella (or whomever), but are no longer able to actually go up to them to chat.

I think Disney will find a balance. But face characters with masks? I think Disney would forego the characters entirely for a time rather than having them show up with masks on.

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What I believe will help WDW move toward more normal character interactions sooner than DLR is geography. The guidelines in FL are constantly increasing to allow for more things to be open.

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Well considering that I saw a report that they are expecting the CMs from other countries to return sometime between Jan-June of 2021, I would say sometime next year. There may be some changes, for the better. I don’t see the current situation to be long term. People are resilient and will return to human interaction they are used to after a period of time. There have been other pandemics in this country and it is obvious that people returned to close interactions with others.

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I wonder if they might modify character meet and greets by seating them with a table between them and the guests like when you get autographs at a convention. So you could have photo ops but get no closer than a handshake. With free sanitizer handy.

Obviously it would require some staging & clever theming, Alice could have a small table set up like a tea party for instance, Belle could have a tea trolley or stack of books, Cinderella could be in a (stationary) “carriage”, etc.

Just a thought.

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I would welcome creativity.

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C19 aside, how is this even legal? I would think regular health codes require the bathrooms to be open and functional if a dining room is open.

This is what I envision. easy enough to figure out sight lines. Have the characters behind a barrier and mark spots for people to stand for those pictures.

Disney is the king of visual magic. They trot out the forced perspective story all the time. They should be able to do this easily. Now how angry it makes certain guests is another story…

I was thinking about Garden Grill where most of the tables are half moons booths and impossible to get out of anyway. Mickey could just come by and say hi, and no one gets up!

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I see this too. However it might not be the company using as an excuse as much as the workers…I hear from plenty of business owners that right now getting their employees to come back to work is nearly impossible because they are comfortable at home receiving their unemployment. Sad.

I also know, here in Ohio, that pools specifically have such higher health mandates. For example something like the pool edges need to be surfaced cleaned every 2 hours??? Because of this some of the areas smaller community pools that don’t really have workers cannot manage to open whereas our YMCA which has many staff members can open because they have enough workers to do those jobs.

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This is my hope too! I’m going to try and still book it (if and when its available) and hope that a character might make an appearance or two just to wave at us. :wave:

Don’t they lose their unemployment if their company calls them back?

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Technically yes, that’s how it’s supposed to work. But now with these unprecedented times (I’ve heard this from two manager friends I know) that despite all the safety measures the employee is making claims that they do not feel safe at work. Therefore the company goes into a process where someone from the safety task force has to come inspect and it’s a whole mess and takes a while.

Again these are just claims I hear and just my humble guess at why some companies are opening while others aren’t.

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I’d hire someone else and let those people go. They are going to have to start showing that they are looking for work or working eventually. The extra $600 runs out on 7/31.

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I am not sure. We were able to go in and order food but not use bathrooms in any of the restaurants.

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