Anyone who has gone to Disney World more than once knows that character interaction is a huge deal around the parks. From Frozen to Cinderella and Magic Kingdom to Animal Kingdom, at sit-down restaurants or just hanging out around the place, Disney does a fantastic job at making sure your little one has enough options to choose from on a daily basis.
But here is a question:
“Aren’t characters just for kids? I mean we all know, Mickey Mouse is just someone dressed in a silly costume.”
Yes, this was actually a question someone asked me. And perhaps I could see where they are coming from. We all know what is inside the characters. I will even admit I am not one for standing in line to meet the characters themselves, nor is my son for that matter, at least not at this point. But this all being said, I will say this; my opinion changed during my latest whirlwind of a trip with my husband.
It was on the last evening we were there. Our dining reservations that evening was at Garden Grill, a family-style sit down restaurant located in the Land Pavilion of EPCOT. Where diners can enjoy a freshly made meal while the restaurant slowly spins, taking them through different locations from a farmhouse to the prairie. It is worth noting on this night however the restaurant was not rotating. As dinner comes out, Mickey and his friends Chip, Dale and Pluto make their round from table to table. For many this restaurant is overlooked, but it has turned into one of our family’s favorite places to eat on property.
This time however, without our five-year-old son, we weren’t exactly sure what the characters where going to do. See us, yes. Stop by and say “hi,” probably. But beyond that, we didn’t think there would be all that much interaction. After all there were so many other families that had kids.
How quickly we learned we were wrong.
It was nearing the end of our meal, our main course taken up and dessert was just being served. The only character we had yet to see was Dale, a fact that had the kid at the table beside us was sad about. But no worries, in true Disney fashion, we found Chip and Dale coming around the corner. Chip making his 2nd round of hellos at the tables, while he did so Dale had to hang out. And we all know how Dale is. The mischievous chipmunk that he is he grabbed the menus and flipped through them seemingly bored until Chip was out of sight. As Dale came up, he looked taken aback, and immediately started “flirting” with me. Yes, I never thought I would say this, but a chipmunk flirted with me. He of course ignored my husband and was trying to convince me to run away with him and as he did so, flung his open arms on to the table. Sending our water glasses flying all over the place. I have to say, there was no breaking character but rather it was as if you could see him grow three shades of red as he tried to clumsily clean up the mess, our waiter playing along and sending him into the corner ashamed. By this point we were rolling laughing…but did that end there? No. The moment he was cleared to return, he did so, pushing Anderson out of the way once more. I got to hand it to him the chipmunk is quite persistent. The whole thing took probably three minutes, but the attention and all, made it seem as though we were the only ones in the restaurant not only that but those three minutes where the highlight of the vacation! Both my husband and I got a kick out of the entire scene.
Was it silly? Yes. Did I know that Dale wasn’t actually a chipmunk? Absolutely. Do I realize at the moment I probably looked crazy and insane? Yes. But I also realized at the moment, that none of those things mattered.
So my answer to the question: No, I do not think characters are just for the kids, but rather for the kid inside all of us.