Category Archives: Characters

More About Character Pictures at the Mouse-In-Law

Character pictures are awesome. I have long loved them. They can be tough to get at times, like this time at Disneyland, but the characters are so great. And right off the bat, one big difference we noticed between Disneyland and the Mouse-In-Law is that at WDW, the characters are everywhere and are always out. At Disneyland, probably because it’s smaller, the characters generally appear and disappear on a schedule I am too lazy to figure out. At the Mouse-In-Law, you can’t swing a cat without hitting a character. Which was pretty cool.

Not that you should be swinging at cat at any theme park. Disney does have a kennel for that.

One thing I particularly love about the Disney characters is how good they are with scared children. I mean, I kinda get where the kids are coming from, meeting a mute giant anthropomorphic animal-type thing with an oversized head in an exaggerated expression of joy. When you’re like 2 feet tall, I get it. And there certainly are kids who burst out in tears at the approach of a character, which can be almost as frustrating as getting that ever-elusive Santa picture.

But the characters are great at approaching in a non-threatening way. I’ve got some wonderful pictures of Theo’s first meeting with Mickey last year along those lines. If the kids don’t want a hug or to get close, the character will offer a high-five, or sometimes just hold out their hand for the kid to touch or look at or sniff if the kid happens to be a dog. We had a fantastic experience with Donald Duck along those lines that I will show you in just a second.

First I want to say that pictures at Epcot were perfect because Mickey and friends were in a single room and there was an inside line with tv’s showing cartoons. Awesome. This was where we took our character pictures.

So for Donald, we sent Theo on his own and he was kind of freaked out. Upon approaching Donald, Theo decided that clearly the next logical move would be to give Donald a huggive Donald a high five, get near Donald in any way,   sit down on the ground somewhat near Donald. Rather than going over to Theo and looming over him like some kind of freakishly large oddly-attired duck, Donald simply sat down on the ground too.

Have a seat on the ground? Don't mind if I do!

Theo was a fan, and thus willing to entertain the idea of the giant-thing-on-tv-that-just-came-to-life-OMG-is-it-a-zombie? sitting near him.

The ground's pretty comfortable, isn't it?

And then we got a simply darling picture.

Donald is my friend! And he likes to sit on the ground just like me!

We then coaxed Theo into actually making contact with Donald and giving him a high-five. Actually, Theo learned from his swimming teacher that a “high-five” is a two-step procedure with an open-handed slap following by a fist bump accompanied by a “BOOYAH!” He is now very confused when he gives someone a high-five and then sticks out his fist and they don’t pound it. He’s not quite sure why most people aren’t familiar with proper high-five technique.

Theo is trying to give Donald a fist bump. Donald continues with the "slap me five" completely unawares

Following the positive Donald experience, Theo was ready for the Ultimate Cute with Minnie.

MINNIEEEEEEEE!!!!!

Prior to both Minnie and Donald, we attempted to take the family picture thing. The lighting was a little odd with Pluto here.

It's technicolor Pluto

And there’s also the unfortunate timing shots. Despite what it looks like, I can assure you that Kevin is not stoned in this picture.

Say Nope to Dope and Ugh to Drugs!

Once again, we didn’t have an autograph book, so I’ll have to do that here at home.

Character Meal at the Mouse-in-Law

Hey, how about the new look? Swanky, hunh? I love it! Thanks Steve!

So character dining has always kind of fascinated me. We never did it as a kid. The closest we came to character dining that I remember was we had breakfast with Santa this one time. I don’t know if it was near Christmas or in the off-season or what, but I do remember eating breakfast and Santa walking around taking pictures. Or something.

Character dining options in Disneyland are a bit limited. You can do the dining inside Disneyland with “Minnie and Friends” (sans Mickey? I don’t know), in  California Adventure with the princesses, or outside of the park at breakfast with Mickey and Friends at the Paradise Pier hotel (the sort of bastard stepchild of the Disneyland resort), Storytellers Breakfast at the Grand Californian, or Goofy’s kitchen at the Disneyland Hotel with…well, whatever characters happen to stop by.

I will admit that the only character meals I knew of before writing this post were the princess one in CA Adventure and Goofy’s Kitchen, but I digress.

At any rate, my BFF came down from northern California with her kindergarten-aged daughter and we went to Goofy’s Kitchen. It was actually quite fun with good food, and we saw Goofy, Pluto, Chip and Dale, and so on. We saw the “minor” princess–Mulan, and an Aladdin strangely missing Jasmine. Because they want you to spend the big bucks to go into CA Adventure and meet the heavy-hitter princesses.

ANYway, so in my Mouse-in-Law planning, I asked around for a character meal, and several people recommended the Crystal Palace in the Magic Kingdom, which starred the Winnie the Pooh characters. Theo sleeps with a Winnie the Pooh and likes those characters, so I signed us up.

Theo loved it. Many of the meals at the Mouse-in-Law are buffets, so Theo got to enjoy a wide variety of food. That was a plus.

Incidentally, the following pictures were taken with my point and shoot. We also have other pictures with the DSLR and a video of meeting Piglet, but these will have to do for now.

We met Pooh first, and Theo leaned in for the hug:

Yes, I will give you a hug now

He was a big fan of drinking out of a cup with a straw, which he really doesn’t get to do at home. He does love his food and was having trouble being patient.

Gimme some more food, lady!

The other characters met us while we were eating. Theo kept trying to give Eeyore and Tigger his food (usually his roll). Both Eeyore and Tigger made exaggerated tummy-rubbing, hand to mouth motions that were clearly supposed to convey that they had already eaten, but they were going to pass on Theo’s roll. Theo would not be deterred. Offering food is his ultimate expression of love, and he loves the Pooh characters.

Take my roll, Eeyore. No, seriously, TAKE THE ROLL!

And then after supper was ended (so they say), Pooh came back around to our table. We expected Theo to be a little more welcoming, but he seemed put out that both Eeyore and Tigger turned down his food generosity, so he was a bit less inclined to be all lovey with Pooh again. That said, Pooh and the other characters had clearly been coached on taking pictures. Here’s Pooh all ready to go. Wish Theo was looking in the right direction and maybe even smiling too.

You can pose for the camera, but I won't

Oh well, what can you do with a two-year-old. Theo sure loves the characters though.

Character Pictures

Character pictures can be tough. I am sure there is some kind of schedule involved in character appearances, but I have never really cared enough to figure it out and as such, I tend to just take a picture when the opportunity presents itself. I don’t know that I would recommend that for the time-pressed tourist.

But I’m not a time-pressed tourist, as we have well established.

Town Square is a great place to get pictures with the Mickey crowd. They also show up in Toon Town but again, I don’t know what the schedule is. This time I was in Town Square and thought I’d grab some pictures with Goofy, Pluto, and either Chip or Dale (whichever one has the black nose–I don’t know why they travel separately). I thought about Mickey, but the line was too long.

This isn't even the whole line to see Mickey

I hate waiting.

However, I did realize that while you usually see the characters on the right-hand side of Town Square (on the right if you’re looking up Main Street) by Mr. Lincoln, they also cross the square sometimes and do some more photo shoots on the other side by Town Hall. Interesting.

Right on the benches below the train station, there was no line for Chip (I checked, it’s Chip and not Dale). Well, there was one person, but that’s not a line. For the first time Theo actually went up to a character on his own for a picture. Big step there, buddy! It also enabled me to get a better picture on my own. That said, you might want to review my post on taking family pictures at Disneyland.

Chip tickled Theo on his tummy. Theo loved it.

This is a picture of Theo loving being tickled by Chip

We then headed over (and by “headed over” I mean took about 5 steps) to Pluto for our shot with him. He was a little more wary of Pluto.

You say he's a doggie but he doesn't look like our doggie at home

At this point Theo had been pretty much done for the day and we were on our way out anyway, but hey! Characters! Let’s take a picture! Sometimes this backfires. We did have to wait a few people to get to Goofy. I’d already nixed the Mickey shot because the line was too long but Goofy only had like 4 people in it. Unfortunately each person had like 36 cameras and wanted a dozen permutations of Goofy and the kids, Goofy and the one kid, Goofy and the other kid, Goofy and the kids and mom and dad, Goofy and the kids and mom, Goofy and the kids and dad, Goofy and just mom and dad, and so on and so forth.

It got old very quickly.

And while we were waiting, someone had parked their stroller right there. They had a sticker on its backing on the seat–one of the stickers they give out if you fill out their survey or listen to their Disney Vacation Club spiel. I turned away for a few seconds and when I looked back, Theo had taken the sticker from the stroller, peeled it off the paper, and stuck it to his tummy. He was extremely proud of himself. Heh. I had to admire his chutzpah, but did remove the sticker (now with t-shirt fuzz!) and attempt to put it back on the paper, which yeah, right. So, I did my best, and when the stroller’s owner came over I put on my “Sticker? What sticker?” face.

Anyway, so by the time we got to Goofy, Theo was done. He was totally being all Clingy McClingster and even though he’s seen Goofy before (and taken a picture with him) he wasn’t a fan this time around. But, I was there and I had waited, so I was determined to get my flippin’ picture. I handed the camera over to the cast member handler and she did her best, but we ended up with 4 or 5 of these:

I will look at you, but I don't trust you

I reject you, Goofy! Begone!

Oh well, better luck next time.

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