Many parents are very apprehensive about bringing their toddler or preschooler to Walt Disney World due to hearing reports from friends and family that small children are afraid of costumed characters at Walt Disney World. While it is true that your child may be afraid of a character, there are some steps and tips that you can take to help ease your child into this, in hopes of receiving some amazing pictures.
The first step that every parent should take when planning a trip to Walt Disney World, is to start prepping your child at home. Start reading books that include a Disney Character that you may see, watch Disney movies with the character in it, get your child familiar with the different characters that you might meet.
Once your child seems familiar with the different Walt Disney World characters, move on to watching videos of character meet and greets at Walt Disney World, with children their same age meeting characters. It is one thing to see Disney Character’s in the movies as cartoons and a completely other thing to see a life-size costumed character. Many children are completely taken back that the small character in their favorite Disney movie is now the same size as Mom and Dad. The weeks before a trip to Walt Disney World, YouTube should be your favorite new tool in getting your young child ready for the trip in hopes of them not being afraid.
At Walt Disney world there are many places for you to meet the different Disney Characters and each different place will have different pros and cons for each individual child. That being said, the best place for introducing your child to a Walt Disney World character would probably be at a Meet & Greet where they are able to see the character and children meeting them while standing in line. While waiting in line talk to your child about what is going on, and be positive and don’t point out the negatives of a child that does go up and is afraid. If the character tickles the child, laugh and say to your child “oh look, Mickey is tickling that little girl” and then tickle your child. If a child is seen giving a costumed character a high five then say to your child “oh look, that little girl is giving Donald Duck a high five, you love high fives!” Really, just try to make the characters look as cool as possible on your child’s level. This will hopefully ease the fearsof your child to some degree and provide some great photo opportunities for you.
If your toddler or child is still feeling afraid of the costumed Disney Characters, try to make a game out of the Character meet and greet. Make a game of getting your child to gently press the characters nose and make a silly beep noise, pat the character like you would pet your animals at home, dance with the characters and be silly. Toddlers and children respond in such a positive way when a game is added to something they are apprehensive about that this could do the trick.
Another great idea for parents who are worried that their toddler or child will be afraid of the different Walt Disney Characters is to book advanced dining reservation at a character breakfast or other meal. Your child will be able to stay where they are seated the entire time and have the characters come over to them to meet and sign any autographs. This is a great way for your toddler and child to not feel afraid of the characters. While your child might have a rocky start with the first one or two characters that come to visit your table, there are typically four or more characters at each meal, so by the end of the meal, your child should be a pro.
Last of all, when in doubt, take your child by the hand, or carry them over to the character and let them know that you are there with them. More than likely your toddler or child will ease into meeting the different characters, maybe not on the first day of the trip, but throughout the vacation. There is really no reason that a parent should feel afraid of bringing a toddler or young child to Walt Disney World, as the whole idea is really centered around them.
If you are looking at planning a vacation to Walt Disney World, visit Magical Dream Tours or call 888-415-2937 for a free no-obligation quote.
Click here for more Walt Disney World information and tips by Amanda M. Rose