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  1. #61

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    Re: Character Meet & Greet Areas: Does This Destroy the Disney Magic?

    Well, today (January 5th) at opening, while passing through the main entrance, Alice, Mad Hatter, White Rabbit and the Red Queen were interacting with arriving guests. After we passed the tunnel, onto Main Street, Mickey, without a handler, came out from the gate near the Mad Hatter shop. Mickey held his arms wide open as a child shouted his name and ran about 30 feet to hug him. The magic still seemed alive or am I missing something?
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  2. #62

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    Re: Character Meet & Greet Areas: Does This Destroy the Disney Magic?

    Quote Originally Posted by DARTH MAUL View Post
    Ummm....no. First off, they've created a pretty good balance. Characters still wander around, there are just a few places that give you a guarantee. For people who don't go to the parks on a regular basis, who have small kids, this is quite considerate. It's hardly "spoonfeeding" or "pandering" from the machine. Like, really??! Kids bring their autograph books and it's nice to know they'll leave with at least a few additions. People are reading WAY too far into this. I mean, seriously...
    Good sir, I agree with you perfectly. they're not ALL in just M&G...you can still get a pic of Mickey who may wander around now and again besides from his house. does it seem more predictable? yes but they're not chained to just one spot at an exact time everyday. they created a decent balance.

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  3. #63

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    Re: Character Meet & Greet Areas: Does This Destroy the Disney Magic?

    ORDDU: Actually, DisneylandTraveler, Disney Management did have to 'put it to a vote' in order to make the decisions they've made about character meet and greets so the company could be more profitable. You know they had to discuss various ideas behind the scenes before coming up with the decisions on how to deal with characters. All I was saying was that if meeting characters at the Disney theme parks wasn't popular, Disney management wouldn't be putting them out there for that purpose.

  4. #64

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    Re: Character Meet & Greet Areas: Does This Destroy the Disney Magic?

    Quote Originally Posted by gatheringrosebuds View Post
    A consequence of staged areas is that families feel obligated to participate in these M&G's because it's a guarantee of seeing these characters, and if their child really wants to see a fairy or a princess, they can't pass up the opportunity for the fear of not having an adequate reason for disappointing their child.
    Couldn't they post schedules without setting up specific areas? If that would create too much of a traffic problem for other guests, due to the popularity of certain characters, then I guess that like the rest of the park, some of the characters are victims of their own success. This is the only real advantage I see to the M&G areas, aside from the money-grab aspect for Disney's pocket--all of the negatives I brought up earlier still apply.

    And as for guarantees, is that really true? Are all of the pixies and princesses always present? I don't do these M&Gs personally, so I wouldn't know firsthand, but I was under the impression that only a subset are present at any random moment in time. If that is the case, then somebody who really wants a photo with Belle specifically, for example, could still end up disappointed (unless they wait around for even longer).

    Quote Originally Posted by gatheringrosebuds View Post
    So they wait in an hour long line for a few fleeting moments of interaction that are often easily forgotten and they do so because they feel obligated to provide the opportunity for their child, turning Disneyland into a place that is not that so much enjoyed parents and children alike, but is tolerated by the parents because their kids like it and they want to see them happy.
    The effect is minor in the grand scheme of things, but when combined with many other changes that have been made and are upcoming, there is a strong cumulative negative impact on spontaneity, which is an essential aspect of having fun.

    Quote Originally Posted by Malina View Post
    Right now the park has a mix of both M&G styles, spontaneous and fixed, and that should please everyone.
    It depends on which characters one likes to see walking around.

    Quote Originally Posted by Malina View Post
    You know, that's a great point about the air conditioning, too. Those costumes are hot, and being in a climate controlled environment is probably a lot easier on the performers.
    The characters who are wearing the all-encompassing furry costumes are still outside in the heat, though.

    Quote Originally Posted by Timicus View Post
    Well, today (January 5th) at opening, while passing through the main entrance, Alice, Mad Hatter, White Rabbit and the Red Queen were interacting with arriving guests. After we passed the tunnel, onto Main Street, Mickey, without a handler, came out from the gate near the Mad Hatter shop. Mickey held his arms wide open as a child shouted his name and ran about 30 feet to hug him. The magic still seemed alive or am I missing something?
    It still has a pulse, but where are the princesses? At least they'll be near the castle in the near future, which makes sense, but it won't be the same as before.

    By the way, to be fair I have seen princesses walking around the castle on occasion--usually Snow White by her grotto. It's not like before the M&Gs dominated certain classes of character, but there does appear to be some acknowledgement that it's neat to have princess walkarounds and spontaneous encounters with them.

  5. #65

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    Re: Character Meet & Greet Areas: Does This Destroy the Disney Magic?

    Quote Originally Posted by Timicus View Post
    Well, today (January 5th) at opening, while passing through the main entrance, Alice, Mad Hatter, White Rabbit and the Red Queen were interacting with arriving guests. After we passed the tunnel, onto Main Street, Mickey, without a handler, came out from the gate near the Mad Hatter shop. Mickey held his arms wide open as a child shouted his name and ran about 30 feet to hug him. The magic still seemed alive or am I missing something?
    The fact that the characters were NOT in a staged area or "meet and greet" built specifically for the characters like the PFF will be? The fact that they were out in the open wandering around instead of you waiting in a hour line?
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  6. #66

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    Re: Character Meet & Greet Areas: Does This Destroy the Disney Magic?

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Cook View Post
    And as for guarantees, is that really true? Are all of the pixies and princesses always present? I don't do these M&Gs personally, so I wouldn't know firsthand, but I was under the impression that only a subset are present at any random moment in time. If that is the case, then somebody who really wants a photo with Belle specifically, for example, could still end up disappointed (unless they wait around for even longer).

    It still has a pulse, but where are the princesses? At least they'll be near the castle in the near future, which makes sense, but it won't be the same as before.

    By the way, to be fair I have seen princesses walking around the castle on occasion--usually Snow White by her grotto. It's not like before the M&Gs dominated certain classes of character, but there does appear to be some acknowledgement that it's neat to have princess walkarounds and spontaneous encounters with them.
    I have seen all the Princess from Snow White, Cinderella,Mulan,Jasmine,Princess Aurora,Belle,Ariel,Princess Tiana all out but not at the same time they do them in 3's. Usely the first group would be Snow White,Cinderella & Princess Aurora. Then the second group would be Belle,Tiana and Ariel. Some times Jasmine and Mulan will come in the group like the last time I was in line they had Aurora,Snow White and Mulan and other time it would be Jasmine,Tiana and Belle. But at Pixie Hollow they only do between 2 or 3 Fairies a day. Tink would always be there but say on a Monday you get only Tink,Vidia and Silvermist only then on Tuesday it would be Tink, Periwinkle and Iridessa and so on. As of the Princess walking around the park yes they do here is a photo of me with Princess Aurora on Dec. 30th by Main Street.



    In the day time when I got there they had Cinderella and Mulan out front as well.

    Here is another photo with Aurora on Main Street.



    So they do walk around.

  7. #67

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    Re: Character Meet & Greet Areas: Does This Destroy the Disney Magic?

    I'm fine with it. As others have said, there are still walk-around characters and spontaneity is not gone completely.

    I like the organization and predictability of lining up.

    If you're lucky, you can have the best of both worlds. One time I visited Pooh and friends at a deserted Animal Kingdom character greeting spot and they were a lot of fun, mugging for the camera, interacting etc, because no other guests were around.
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    Re: Character Meet & Greet Areas: Does This Destroy the Disney Magic?

    I miss the old days when you would be casually walking down Main Street, and see random characters interacting with not only the guests but also with eachother.

  9. #69

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    Re: Character Meet & Greet Areas: Does This Destroy the Disney Magic?

    I get it. I have great memories of character interactions when I was a child (most of them from the early morning character breakfast in tomorrowland) and a great one of my little sister (my parents used leashes on us, ones that go around our waist) and pluto, and he came up and took the leash out of my dads hand and walked my sister around tomorrowland... she was like 3, and I was 11, and it was hilarious.

    But those moments we didn't get swarmed. I have plenty of memories of meeting someone on main street and being run over by other children running to meet mickey or etc... or waiting in line and other people not paying attention to the self made line by the rest of the guests and just cutting in front of me for a picture and the poor characters having to try to make it all ok without being able to speak!

    The theory of free-roaming characters is great, and sometimes in practice it's awesome too.... but meet and greets where you can meet who you want and not get pushed and shoved out of the photo by other guests is very nice too. I think free-roaming should be only face characters, or fur with a face character or a character handler, for everyones safety. S

  10. #70

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    Re: Character Meet & Greet Areas: Does This Destroy the Disney Magic?

    "Destroy" is a strong word. I can see "diminish."

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    Re: Character Meet & Greet Areas: Does This Destroy the Disney Magic?

    Quote Originally Posted by ttintagel View Post
    "Destroy" is a strong word. I can see "diminish."
    This. I would go further and say one does not affect the other unless you allow it to. Disney is giving you your cake and letting you eat it as well. Just because others are eating theirs doesn't make your cake any less enjoyable.
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  12. #72

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    Re: Character Meet & Greet Areas: Does This Destroy the Disney Magic?

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Cook View Post
    Are all of the pixies and princesses always present? I don't do these M&Gs personally, so I wouldn't know firsthand, but I was under the impression that only a subset are present at any random moment in time. If that is the case, then somebody who really wants a photo with Belle specifically, for example, could still end up disappointed (unless they wait around for even longer).
    Generally speaking if you want to meet, say, Mickey, you know he's always going to be at his house. If you want to meet Merida, or the Pooh characters, they're always going to be at their M&G spots. If a specific character isn't out, you can sometimes clandestinely ask a handler what time they will be out, and they will give you a heads up. We did this at the Halloween party - we really wanted to meet Maleficent and we asked a handler when she'd be out. So yes, there is, overall, a guarantee of knowing where someone will be, and when.

    The effect is minor in the grand scheme of things, but when combined with many other changes that have been made and are upcoming, there is a strong cumulative negative impact on spontaneity, which is an essential aspect of having fun.
    Yes, but getting shoved, being mobbed and having to fight to see a character are NOT fun, and that was what was happening before the M&Gs. I too have memories of not even being able to get near the characters because the scene around them was too ugly. Having everyone in a line might not be as spontaneous but it's safer and guarantees everyone will get a little bit of time with the character - which IS fun.

    Another thing about the M&Gs is that they DO let you use your own cameras - and in fact, you can hand it to the Photopass people and they'll take the picture for you. There's no charge for that. Disney doesn't make a cent off it. If the M&Gs were totally about money for Disney, and not character safety and guest satisfaction, they would not allow personal cameras.

    The characters who are wearing the all-encompassing furry costumes are still outside in the heat, though.
    And they take frequent breaks - and sometimes they are nixed altogether if the weather is too extreme. I was at Disney on a very hot day and they actually didn't bring the characters out to Main Street because of the safety concerns there.

  13. #73

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    Re: Character Meet & Greet Areas: Does This Destroy the Disney Magic?

    Quote Originally Posted by Malina View Post
    And they take frequent breaks - and sometimes they are nixed altogether if the weather is too extreme. I was at Disney on a very hot day and they actually didn't bring the characters out to Main Street because of the safety concerns there.

    Right on that part. I remember one year when it was so hot that I was on DCA side and Sully just came out but he only stay for 5 mins and not his usely 30 to 45 mins time. So yeah when it's super hot the characters will not stay out that long not even Jasmine even thou she has the less of close on now send they don't have Ariel out anymore in her mermaid form.

  14. #74

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    Re: Character Meet & Greet Areas: Does This Destroy the Disney Magic?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pinrar View Post
    This. I would go further and say one does not affect the other unless you allow it to. Disney is giving you your cake and letting you eat it as well. Just because others are eating theirs doesn't make your cake any less enjoyable.
    Truth. If you don't like the M&Gs don't do them; it's that simple.

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    Re: Character Meet & Greet Areas: Does This Destroy the Disney Magic?

    Okay well to add my two cents having read the lengthy conversation

    I can definitely see the merits to both sides of the argument.

    I remember my trip to Disneyland as a kid fondly, one of my best memories was sneaking up behind Friar tuck and pulling on his robe, he then turned around and pretended to cry, which prompted me to cry and run back to my mommy before he came over and gave me a double high five.
    Same can be said for recent trips, my girlfriend and I went in both May and this past December and both times we caught a couple of characters wandering around, Pluto in toon town this christmas was awesome, only a few people lined up, in one of those pseudo meet and greets.
    Characters walking around do bring magic and they do "populate" the park with wonder and charm, nothing beats the Mad Hatter making fun of people on or near Alice in Wonderland.

    That being said, the parks today are simply WAY to overcrowded and guests WAY to inconsiderate to rely solely on character walk arounds. During our December trip we were hanging out in Big Thunder Ranch, where Mickey and Minnie were simply wandering around the area interacting and taking photos. I honestly felt terribly sorry for both characters, the second they appeared from backstage there was a mob of guests surrounding each of them. People weren't really waiting, they sort of shoved their kids ahead of others, after nearly 40 mins of this both the characters attempted to leave, it took them nearly 15 minutes to get from the central part of the area to the back stage gate, people were stepping right in front of them, or pushing their kids right in the character's path to get a picture.

    The character meet and greets do alleviate this sort of pressure. If someone's child wants to see Mickey you know that at some point during the vacation they can go to toon town or run into mickey on main street in a pseudo meet and greet and get a photo. I do know that some of the magic does go in a way, I will not debate that at all, but I think it really is minimal, as many characters do still wander around.

    Moreover, I think people who live close to the parks do get a little selfish in what their vision of Disney should be. If I could go a couple times a year then yeah I wouldn't mind seeing mickey only once. If I travel down to Disneyland for a once in a five year trip and my child desperately wants to see the "real" mickey I applaud the option to wait in line, yes it may be a little manufactured; but when we waited to see Minnie in toon town a little girl in front of us was so happy to see miss mouse she started crying for joy, and to me that is magic, "manufactured" or not.

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