On previous trips our 21 mo son loved to meet the characters. This trip he was a bit more timid but yet he still wanted to do it. This is where Disney shines through as they know how to handle just about any situation.
The first thing the character does is to make themselves non-threatening. We saw this first hand when we met the Winnie the Pooh characters at Animal Kingdom. They get down low and then wave to the child to see if that changes things.
This worked for Winnie the Pooh but Eeyore never won him over. My husband had to hold him the entire time which was fine. The characters have no problems adjusting to the situation.
We also got to see how they treated a ‘Make a Wish’ child. It is amazing how tender, polite, and caring these non speaking characters can be. They really do make each child feel special.
Our second encounter was with the Cars characters over at the Hollywood Studios. These are not your normal characters but full size vehicles. Our son loves that movie and actually drug us over to see them, but when he got up there the car noises were a bit too much. The Cast Members were great and tried to distract him but I would definitely think twice about taking young kids to meet them because of the noise.
By the time we met Buzz and Woody he was getting the hang of it. He would slowly walk up to the characters on his own but was still tentative. Woody still lowered himself to our son’s level and that made all the difference in the world.
After that the kid was a character maniac. He was giddy to meet Piglet and as you can see he had no problems at all. In fact we had to tear him away. For parents of kids that aren’t quite ready for characters – give it a shot. Hold them in the safety of your arms and let them be introduced from a distance. Soon they will be off and running.