Toddlers First Disney Character Greeting

Disney Tips Toddler First Character Greeting
The month my son turned one, we took a family trip to Disney World.  The first time you get to take your child to Disney is special for many reasons.  Meeting so many beloved Disney characters for the first time is, of course, a highlight!

If your child is young, or timid, here’s a few tips you can follow to help make it a carefree and happy experience for them.

Disney Waiting for Mickeys Autograph

Waiting in his 1st Character Greeting Line. Is that guy famous, or something?

Toddlers First Disney Character Greeting Tips

Even at a young age, toddlers often recognize the live Disney characters found in the parks, just from the shows they have watched.  So be sure to watch some of your Disney movie favorites before your trip!  It will keep the characters fresh in their mind, and hopefully help them warm up more readily when they spot them in the Parks.

I had my son in Disney Jr Mickey Mouse Clubhouse boot camp for a few weeks prior to our trip.  I think it paid off nicely.

When the big moment arrives – ease in slowly, and don’t pressure them to be held or get close to the character once it’s their turn.  Although it can be frustrating, after waiting in a long line … you don’t want to rush them and perhaps make it a negative experience for them.

Those candid moment shots are often the best!

Disney Baby Meets Donald Character Greeting

Our son was only frightened once by a character encounter on our trip.  It was during a Character Dining experience at Crystal Palace, where they feature Winnie the Pooh and his friends.   Don’t get me wrong, I actually think these meals are a great idea for young kids, offering multiple character encounters without the lines.

On this occasion it was actually the Cast Member handler, with his boisterous, jovial laugh, who unnerved my baby somewhat.  Thus paving a rocky arrival for Tigger,  during his table swing by.   My toddler honestly wasn’t scared of Tigger.  But as you know, the handler sticks to the character’s side like glue.

This fostered one of those awkward, semi-funny moments.  The poor Cast Member didn’t realize HE was the scary one, and kept returning to our table to try and comfort our crying baby.   Which made it worse.   Us, smiling and not wanting to hurt his feelings (but really wishing he’d move along already).  Him, feeling personally accountable for our son not having a bonding moment with Tigger.

The lesson here?  Well, I’m not exactly sure.   It was reassuring to see the outcome, at least.  My son had a few tears over Tigger’s swing by.  But it was ok.

Cause he totally rallied by the time Pooh got there.

Disney Baby Loves Pooh Character Greeting

Happy baby. Pooh makes everything better in life!

5 Best Tips from Disney Babies Blog

I asked my friend from Disney Babies Blog for some additional input and ideas on this topic, since she is an expert at Disney Trips with babies and toddlers.  Here’s what she came up with:

1. Show them from far away first – some will be scared even from a distance.

2. Don’t push if they are afraid – try again later.

3. Try a character meal – they’ll be able to see them, but won’t have to interact if they choose not to.

4. Don’t be afraid to offend the characters – they’ve had many children not want to get too close!

5.  If you’re doing character meals, you can tell your server or any cast member to have the characters skip your table, or just give the handler a nod, they’ll understand!

Thanks so much, Jenn – great ideas.  If you are making your first visit to Disney World with a baby or toddler, I would definitely check out the helpful content she has on her Disney Babies Blog, “Moms, Babies, and a love of all things Disney”.

Character Meet and Greet for the Timid

Another Disney blogging friend, Capturing Magical Memories, has a post featuring some awesome pictures, depicting how the characters do a great job interacting with small timid ones.  Very cute and reassuring … check out her post if this is your potential situation.

It’s Up To Your Child – Maybe a Future Visit?

Baby Kissing Mickey Mouse At Disney World

They may feel so comfortable, they go in for the Open Mouthed Baby Kiss…

It went great with my young son, and we have some really neat pictures and fun memories from the experience.

But honestly, had we taken my daughter to Disney World that young … I think with her more timid personality, it may have been a different story.  She was 4 on her first trip, and that seemed like a great age for her – no qualms meeting those Disney princesses, that’s for sure!

You know your child best.  If the character greetings prove to be something they enjoy, get out the camera and have fun marking this moment in time!  I know some parents with a series of pictures of their child taken at varying ages, with the same character.  Such a cool idea.

But if your baby or toddler isn’t quite ready to get hugged by a massive, costumed character just yet… there’s always your next trip to Disney, right?  And there’s also an upside:   you can take solace in getting to bypass those long character greeting lines, for now!  😉

*o*     *o*     *o*

How did your child’s first character greeting go?  Any advice to share?



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About COMtnMom

Hi, I'm Tami! Writer, Influencer, and mom of two who loves travel, the outdoors, staying active, photography, reading books, and eating desserts. We are pretty much always planning our next trip to Disney World.


  1. Great tips! We have found with out three little ones that we never know! Joey was never afraid of the characters his first two trips, then on his third trip he was! But the cast members and characters are so great about handling the kids who are afraid. We start every vacation off with a character breakfast to get a feel for which of the kids will be afraid and which will not. I am excited to report last trip, for the first time, all three kids were NOT afraid of the characters. It was so great!

    • I love that idea! That should definitely go on the Tip List: Character meal early in the trip. 🙂

      Thanks so much for swinging by, Beth!

      • I figure if we start with a character breakfast, I already know whether or not to wait in line to see the characters in the parks! Plus, I love characters breakfasts – it’s a win win all around! 🙂

  2. My kids never really had any problems with the characters, unless they were dressed differently. Santa Goofy really threw my youngest for a loop the first time she saw him, but later that same day she was happy to hang out with the normal Goofy at his house in Toontown. I think your tips are great though, and I’m sure it’s advice that would have made things a lot easier for many people. Plus the pictures are just so darn cute!

    • Aww, thanks. I think the pix are cute too, but I’m a lot more biased than you.

      That’s interesting that the different costumes threw your little ones off. When I see the cool costumes the characters wear on the cruises … like the tropical outfits, or native Alaskan parkas and such – it is a big reason why I can’t wait to Disney Cruise someday!

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