Disney Tip #2: Meeting the Characters
"Oh! My! God!" I said, like I was spotting Brad Pitt instead of someone in a giant cat suit. "It is Marie from The Aristocats!!"
Would I get excited about Marie from The Aristocats in a non-crepe-eating, non-Disney-World situation? No. No I would not. Has anyone been excited about The Aristocats since 1970? Not really. It's that old Disney cartoon about singing cats ... who are rich ... or something.
But we rushed WCK over to meet Marie, and WCK got to hug her and get her autograph in her special Disney character autograph book. We were feeling pretty triumphant until we got over to the United Kingdom and realized that since we'd spent all of that time meeting Marie, they had closed down the line for Mary Poppins. MARY POPPINS, GOD DAMN IT!
That's the thing about these "roaming" characters. Once too many people get into the line, a Disney employee comes by and "closes" the line. When you try to get in the line, they tell you in a very nice, Disney-like way to get out. This spares Buzz Lightyear or Daisy Duck from having to get nasty with you themselves. Daisy can sort of wave helplessly, like, "Oh, I'd love to meet you, but the mean Disney employee is closing the line!" You know she's going off to some air-conditioned room to take her giant head off and have a beer.
WCK was amazingly easygoing about these line-closing situations. She'd sort of shrug her shoulders and move on. I was the one near tears over the Mary Poppins Incident. Fortunately, we lucked out the next day at the Magic Kingdom and finally got to meet her. I was super nervous, because I really wanted Mary Poppins to like me.
But if you don't want to stand out in the sun waiting for fuzzy-suited people who may or may not walk away at any second, you have other options. There are several locations where you can stand in line in air-conditioned comfort, and you're guaranteed to meet Mickey, the princesses, or Tinkerbell, although if you get there at the wrong time of day you could be standing there for a really long time. I suggest the EPCOT Character Spot, where you can meet Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, and Pluto in the same place. You can also arrange to have a meal with the characters at certain restaurants. We reserved a princess meal at Cinderella's Royal Table, a restaurant inside the big castle at the entrance to the Magic Kingdom.
First you get to meet Cinderella in the downstairs lobby area. Wait, do castles even have lobbies? What's a better word? Front throne-room-type area? I don't know.
Then you go up to the dining area where you have lunch while Belle, Sleeping Beauty, Ariel, and Snow White flit from table to table visiting with the kids. The Disney People have it perfectly timed so the princesses arrive at your table just as you're finishing up your enormous dessert.
WCK loved meeting all of the princesses, although she did wonder why the Snow White at Cinderella's Royal Table looked slightly different from the Snow White she'd met at EPCOT a few days before. Then she decided they must be sisters. "Yes," I said. "It's Snow White's sister. Flo White."
Then she asked me, "Why does Aurora look wild?"
Then Jay chimed in that Aurora looked like The Joker from Batman. WCK did a hilarious impression of Aurora's facial expression. Oh, come on! This is supposed to be a lovely event for our sweet little girl! We are not going to mock the poor princesses and say they look like The Joker!
Except she kinda did:
I explained that she'd been asleep for 100 years, so she probably had a lot of energy. And caffeine. Then I snapped this photo of Belle, looking like the pressure was finally getting to her.
When the princesses start to look like this, it's time to go home.