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  • On Feb 9, 2008
    Seanaci from CO Asked

    We are taking our son to WDW in December (he will be 15 months old by then). How do we get him used to the characters before the trip?

    Good question! I've seen many toddlers overwhelmed in the parks by those big fuzzy guys that everyone else is hugging. So it's a super idea to get your child used to the characters before your trip. The step first is helping your son know who the characters are. Buy (or check out of the library) some classic Disney movies like Peter Pan, Cinderella, Lion King, etc. Your son is probably too small to sit  through them all, but that's OK, he just needs to get familiar with what's going on. You could also accomplish much of this on the Internet by going on YouTube and searching on Disney. If you have a Disney Store nearby, I would take him there and let him check out the giant plush toys. The idea is just to make sure that he knows who the characters are so they're not completely foreign to him when you get to WDW.

    Part two is getting him used to the interacting with giant moving creatures. Many towns have a kid-friendly restaurant such as a Chuck E. Cheese (or something similar) with a character mascot. Or some children have birthday parties with characters. It doesn't matter whether it is a Disney character, you just need to show him other children interacting with a big fuzzy guy in a positive way. Then, only if he seems to want to, have him approach and touch the character. This may take several tries. If you can't find characters at home to practice on, don't worry, just take it slowly when you get to the parks. We were into about day four of our first Disney vacation with our oldest before she would approach a character. The first few days, we just stood back and watched other kids interact with them. On that first trip, our daughter was about two. She was standing next to me, when all of a sudden she saw Dopey before I did. She sprinted away from us and into his arms. That was her first character hug. Obviously you should keep a better hold on your child than I did, but the point is that she really WANTED to hug Dopey. The magic won't work if you force it.

    Hope this helps.
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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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