The delight of the unexpected moment when your child comes upon a character at a Disney park

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What are “TeaBagger Patriots” doing at Disney?

One thing every parent knows is the delight of “the unexpected moment” when your child comes upon a character at a Disney park without warning.

No. Not really.

Aw, Tom Sawyer’s Island is going away? I have good memories of that place. It was a helluva lotta fun back in the 70s. I wonder if I have some pictures I can dig up and share…


I think it is just being scaled back, along with an adjustment to the river to make room for expansion. Unfortunately, Disneyland doesn’t have a lot of wiggle room for new stuff.


Seconded. I am a parent, and my child has lived an almost Mickey-free life so far.

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Good luck. They have a life time ahead of them of patiently explaining to people that the Little Mermaid is supposed to die in the end.


Meh. My daughter went through her phase of fascination with Disney Princesses. She is also surrounded by very strong women and has learned to analyze what is being presented to her by, well, everything in life.

She can still stay grounded in reality and enjoy the occasional escapism Disney provides (I realize not everyone enjoys this kind of escapism). I believe it is possible to parent a child successfully, even when bombarded by opposing messages in the media.


You have to at least admit it’s better than the converse, when a character at a Disney park comes upon your child without warning. (runs and hides)


Simba (aka Hamlet), too.

Agreed. There’s few things more amazing to a kid than actually encountering a character they’ve loved in movies for years, and Disney is getting better and better at creating those moments.

The last time I went to Disneyland, I was resting in California Adventure when I heard “honk honk Hey, it’s me, Lightning McQueen!” and rolling down the street was the actual full-size Lightning McQueen, with animated eyes and mouth, talking to kids as he drove. Now, I don’t even like Cars that much, but my nephew is infatuated with that world, and he and other kids (and parents) were absolutely amazed at what they were seeing. It was magical.

The new MagicBands have the potential to give kids even more cool moments, since they have built-in GPS. Imagine plugging in your kids’ birthday and the name of their favorite character into the Disney website, and later that day, Donald comes around the corner and says “Hi David! I hear it’s your birthday!”. That’d make a kid’s whole vacation.


I think God Almighty in Heaven that my daughter at age 9 had zero interested in Princess breakfasts or meet and greets with Mickey. Instead we had a delightful time eating wonderful food at Epcot, exploring the animals at the other place, watching all the really excellent productions the lady who set up our food program clued us in on, and doing the Soarin’ thing over and over and over again. Hallelujah!


If I had a daughter, I would be terrified that she’d go down the “I am actually a Disney Princess” route. I can’t tell you how many little girls I see in the parks with the full princess outfit on, and you just know their parents are going to spend the entire trip going from one princess meet-and-greet to the next. I don’t know if the line to meet Anna and Elsa is still three hours long, but it was last trip. Guh.

Having said what I did above, I had zero interest in meeting Disney characters when I was a kid, and neither did my little sister, thankfully. I’ll happily stand in a (short) line to meet Scrooge McDuck, however, because he’s awesome.

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Just last month, December 22nd to be exact, I took my kids (19, 14, and 11) to Disneyland for the first time ever (as part of our Boston-based family’s winter vacation in Southern California).

I’m going to be blunt and say right now that I’ve always hated everything there is to hate about Disney, and their all-consuming world-conquering corporate strategy, but this experience nailed it for me.

It cost us nearly $400 to get four people into the park for ONE day. We were at the park for nearly seven hours. In that time, we were able to get onto TWO RIDES TOTAL - the Haunted Mansion (which was all crapped-up with “Nightmare Before Christmas” themed additions, to the point you couldn’t even see the classic ride underneath all of the Tim Burton whore makeup that’d been applied) and Pirates of the Caribbean, which should now more appropriately be called “A Musical Boat Ride with Johnny Depp”. We couldn’t get on a single other ride in the entire time we were there, because the lines were all two hours plus per ride.

Back to the point in question of this article, “The delight of the unexpected moment when your child comes upon a character…”, the entire time we were there (and we were looking CAREFULLY for this, because our oldest said she wanted to get a picture with one) we did not see a single, solitary costumed character. NOT A SINGLE ONE.

We saw two Stormtroopers, but not a single Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Snow White, Cinderella, or even damned Chip and Dale, all day.

Fuck you, Walt.

in some places it’s actually against the law to give your child a mickey!

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That sounds like the most unlikely, atypical, unusual trip to any Disney park I’ve ever heard of. However, you did visit during the single busiest time of the year, which is unfortunate.

For the record, I’ve never waited more than a half-hour for any Disney ride (the FastPasses let you skip lines – even during the busiest times it’s a cinch to ride tons of them) and it’s usually hard not to see Disney characters on every corner.

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The FastPass is 100% free. It doesn’t cost a cent extra. You put your ticket in the little machine, it tells you when you come back to ride. I’m not sure why you think it’s an extra charge.

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Sorry, you are right of course, they don’t charge for it. That was me letting my (admittedly pissed-off) emotions get away from me.

One of my kids has special needs, so to a certain extent I admit our experience may be different than others. For people in that situation you can indeed get a “Fastpass” to any ride in the park, but you can only get ONE at a time, you can’t sign-up for additional rides until you’ve taken the one you have signed up for, and you have to wait just as long for each ride. So we had to wait two hours, get on a single ride, then travel to the next ride, wait two hours, etc…

However, considering “regular” Fastpass is only available on seven rides in the entire park, I honestly don’t see how that rectifies the situation:

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
Indiana Jones Adventure
Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin
Space Mountain
Splash Mountain
Star Tours

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Do you want activists? Because this is how you get activists!

Disneyland and Disney World are a bit different on their Fastness systems. For Disneyland it’s the original system where you secure passes early and often and have more leeway.

For WDW they use Fastpass+ now, so you basically need to mark your calendar for when your window opens to book fast passes and grab them online long before you’re at the park. For dining reservations at WDW you’re best off calling the day your window opens too, since there are a ton of well informed organized obsessives who will be hopping on the phone to book things the instant they can.

Hopefully Fastpass+ never infects Disneyland.
edit: Wait, it sounds like it might have. Well crap.