Have you been that parent that plans and plans for your Disney World vacation thinking about character meet and greets and makes reservations for character dinning? Then, you get to your first character meal and are ready to take that perfect picture of your child with a character and it happens. Your child starts screaming in fear of the characters. This happens time and time again so the question is how do you help your child overcome this fear prior to or during the trip.
If you are worried about how your young or not so young child will react the first time meeting characters, prep them for the experience. Introduce your kids to the characters before they go. Show them Disney movies which have characters you intend for them to meet. Maybe a stuffed animal of the character will help your child or even pictures of you with characters from a Disney trip when you were younger. These methods will give your child a sense of familiarity and safety with the characters.
So what if you are already on your vacation and you have character meals planned or just want to have your child in a picture with Mickey Mouse. There is no instant remedy to make your child like the characters however there are things you can do to get those pictures with the characters and survive character meals. On our first trip with our oldest child, she was about a year old at the time and was petrified of the characters. We made the mistake of not introducing her to the characters slowly. We jumped full into a character meal at the Crystal Palace, it was almost a disaster. The characters were great and recognized the problem right away. My daughter liked them from afar but not close. To help keep the distance between her and the the characters for the rest of the trip she sat at the table in a position where the characters couldn’t just walk right up to her, the table worked as a great natural barrier. For character meet and greets my wife and I would always put ourselves between her and the characters when posing for a picture. When we held her during the picture we would hold her in one arm opposite side of the character. On subsequent trips she became less fearful where now she is the first to run right up to them. This also helps with our other kids. When they see their older sibling walk right up to the characters they find the courage to go up to the characters too.
What do you do to help your child with the characters? Please leave a comment on here, like us on Facebook at Disneyhelp or follow us on Twitter @Disneyhelp.