Mom And Daughter Resort Room
  • On Jun 25, 2012
    Jeff from NY Asked

    My child is afraid of characters. Any advice on how to overcome this while at WDW?

    Hi Jeff,

    Many elements of a new environment can be challenging to children. It's not uncommon for small kids to have some initial trepidation around large characters.

    The first thing you should know is that characters are generally found standing in a specific place. They're not wandering around, so your chance of a surprise encounter is small. This should reduce some of your child's tension.

    Also, there are two types of characters. "Fur" characters are those like Mickey with large "animated" heads. These do not speak. There are also "face" characters who take human form. These are the "people" like Alice in Wonderland, Mary Poppins, Aladdin, Peter Pan, and all the princesses. These characters do speak, like humans, and are often very gentle and understanding. The "face" characters are often a good place to start with skittish children. You are welcome to approach the character or nearby character handler to explain the situation. This will alert the character to move with extra caution around your child. You can also hold your child during any character interaction.

    If you'd like to start desensitizing your child at home, you can start by showing him videos of the characters having positive interactions with children. When you get to the parks, you might start by standing several yards away from a character and just waving. Perhaps getting progressively closer each day of your vacation. We did this with my oldest daughter during our first Disney trip. She started out wary of characters, but by the end of the visit she was jumping out of my arms to go hug Dopey.

    Even if your child remains wary of characters, there's no need to worry. There is LOTS to do in the parks that is not character-intensive. There are even many fun and uniquely themed non-character restaurants.

    Please let us know if you'd like specific suggestions on where to eat or which attractions your child might enjoy.
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Meet the Panelist: Erin, New York

I have three teenage daughters. We're DVC members obsessed with Disney travel. We've been to Walt Disney World countless times and have visited Disneyland & Disneyland Paris. We've taken several Adventures by Disney and Disney Cruise trips. Learn More About Erin

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