What do young kids think is happening at WDW?


Oh. Okay. That makes sense!


Great topic.

We went last week and this topic never even crossed my mind - I don’t even know how I’d approach the topic with my DS6. He KNOWS Star Wars and Marvel are just movies, but he looked at the characters like he thought they were real. He stared at Kylo Ren and the Stormtroopers like they were truly enemies. When Spider-man came to our table and when we “met” Jack Skellington/Sally, his eyes lit up. If I had to guess, I think he knows deep down they aren’t real, but he certainly didn’t act that way.

I do think he thought Santa was real though.


We don’t do Santa at our house, either, but that didn’t stop my middle child from believing in him, & even despite her older brother’s Scrooge-y behavior in telling her he wasn’t real.

In our town a local guy dresses his helicopter up in lights as Santa’s sleigh & reindeer and flies around on Christmas Eve. He flew over us when we were out driving, and my daughter nearly came out of her carseat, yelling at her brother, “I told you it was real! I told you he was true!” (She was so excited, she mixed up her adjectives). Her brother sat there in shocked silence all the way to church.

So, (like adults, haha) I think they see things as real if they really want it to be real.

At Disney, they tended to believe that objects, props, special effects etc. were real, not so much the people (partly because our whole family has some degree of Asperger’s and so relate to objects directly and people somewhat abstractly) because they really wanted it to be real.

I don’t think they’ve thought about it much since it happened, but I’d bet anything that they still think (or want to think) they steered and docked the Liberty Belle, and they are now in their 20’s. :wink: When we go back this summer, I’m going to keep them away from the Captain this time!


This is me, but I can also suspend disbelief for some of the face characters. When we met Peter Pan a few years ago-it really was Peter, I’m sure of it. :wink: also, the real Santa comes to my Starbucks, in case you were wondering.
My daughter is skeptical of the fuzzy characters, but at least at 4, I think she believed in the face characters. For the upcoming trip, she’s not that into the idea of meeting any non-face ones. I think she knows things aren’t real, but like her mom, enjoys pretending they’re real.


DL 2017: By the look on my face, this seemed pretty real to me!


Our daughter (4) knows the fur characters aren’t real (and has done for a long time) but still believes the princesses are. She does think Cinderella lives in the castle, and that the 7DMT ride is built around Snow White’s actual house. Santa is absolutely real (and I sooo want her to keep believing that for as long as possible). :slight_smile:

Funnily enough, a few trips ago we did the Chewbacca meet ‘n’ greet for the first time. DH (who has been a huge Star Wars fan since childhood) said afterwards that he actually felt quite emotional - although he obviously knew Chewie wasn’t real it still really affected him. I thought that was so sweet! :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:


I have never done a character meet & greet in my life, since the kids never cared. But I personally plan to meet Kylo Ren. Although, I dress up at Rey every Halloween, now.:wink: (I used to be Cruella, her personality suits e better). Maybe I should quit being so gendered and just suit up as Kylo.


I support this course of action.


He is oddly terrifying in person.


Yes very intimidating!


I just took my kids to see santa in our town. The usual Santa and Mrs. Claus had been canceled due to rain (I live in a very small town and the one time they are available to be seen it was raining and the event is outside). So we were in a neighboring town doing some other christmas-y things and saw Santa there. Both of my kids said that they would go see this (imposter) Santa, but that he wasn’t the “real” santa. The “real” Santa was the one that had been canceled. “Plenty of people dress up like Santa, mom.”

They are both six. We are taking them to WDW in January and I wonder what it’s going to be like this time. We took them when they were four, and there was no distinction between the “real” characters or not “real” characters. Now, they are asking questions like “does mickey really live there?” “Does Cinderella really live in that castle?”

I don’t want the magic to die yet, so I’m gently pushing them in the direction of using their imaginations, but it is obvious that they believe some people just “dress up” as characters/santa. I will report back after we return from our trip.


Agree completely! My 7 yr old is the same as yours (live in his imagination) and when it’s real to him, it is 100% REAL and when they’re characters, then “it’s just a movie.” When I mentioned eating at Cinderella’s Royal Table, he said “I would be WAY too nervous!! We would MEET CINDERELLA!?” I Booked Cinderellas Table immediately.


That is really interesting! I mean, we know he’s not really Kylo, but still… Now I really want to do it.


I am not a child, but a forty-three-year-old woman. About 5 years ago, one of the local Star Wars Garrisons had some of the characters out at a toy store for a promotion. We saw a couple Storm Troopers out front, but the store was pretty empty. I used to have chronic nightmares about Darth Vader when I was younger and I was wandering through the store with no one near me when all of a sudden he rounded the corner, electronic breathing and all. My heart rate quickened and I jumped about 10 feet in the air. Real or not, all those years fearing him onscreen had conditioned me and my response in that moment was absolutely real, even if he wasn’t. Or was he?


I find kids have an AMAZING and enviable ability to both know the truth and jump in the deep end of the fun of imagining. For example, we do Santa but have never lied to our kids about it. Every time they have asked if Santa is real since they were very young, our answer has always been “no but it is fun to pretend he is” and they just dove right back in to the fun of imagining. The truth never held them back from enjoying it and you would have never known by how they spoke about him, anticipated him, etc. that they knew he wasn’t real. I love it!


Wait. What? If she doesn’t live there, then where does she live, huh? Answer me that one!

magic, of course

p.s. - clearly I am an embarrassment to my kids (22, 19 & especially the 14 yr old one)


I thought it was because she was RICH!


So far as I can tell, the earliest version of the Cinderella story is set in Italy. So presumably Cindarella’s castle is there. And the one in Orlando must therefore be a copy. Or a holiday home.


Um. Italy IS in Orlando. You seem to have forgotten:



As is the United Kingdom.

This was the view from my house one afternoon last week. If the UK is in Orlando presumably that’s the Magic Kingdom I can see in the sky?