Any children not afraid of characters second time around??

CatOne

Mouseketeer
Joined
Feb 5, 2001
The last time we took our dd in May she was about 2.9 months and afraid of the characters. Not screaming crying afraid but not picture happy and would hide behind her dad when they came within five feet of her. I was just wondering if anyone had any progress with this as their children got older, and how much older? Our dd will be 4 when we go back this Sept. and I am even wondering if I should try to schedule character meals for us if she won't be comfortable. Now I must admit, the characters were great and once they realized she was afraid they didn't come near her, but I still don't want to upset her. Her dad is all for them, but he is always trying to "toughen her up". I don't agree with him in this area. What do you think? Thanks for the help!!

CatOne
 
My kids have always been afraid of any characters....Disney, those at other theme parks, Chuck E. Cheese, miscellaneous people dressed-up at stores, etc. We were at Disney in June though with an 8 yo ds, 4 yo dd, and 21 month old ds. The 8 yo has finally gotten over his fear (mostly....at least he tries to act cool), and he actually seemed to be getting pretty motivated to get autographs under the pretense of helping his 4 yo sister out. The 4 yo (who we had to take outside because she got so hysterical at a Pooh character breakfast when she was 3-1/2) was much, much better and willing to go get a character's autograph as long as someone would go with her. What she absolutely loved though was Cinderella's Royal Table.....none of the 'characters' there have masks.....it includes some of the Princesses, and sometimes Peter Pan, a Fairy Godmother, etc. Seems that since they have 'human faces' they aren't perceived as scary at all. Net, I'd highly recommend the Princess route....it turned out to be the highlight of our trip for our just turned 4 yo!
 
The first time we took our then 2 yr old dd to WDW the only character she saw was Pochahantas and of course, she wasn't at all intimidating because she was just a pretty woman. I didn't bother with any other characters because i thought she'd be afraid of them (because she was afraid of some she's seen at kid's birthday parties prior to that visit).

Before our next visit I got 2 videos, Mickey's Beach Party at WDW and Wilderness Party. They feature the characters and lots of singing and dancing with kids, she loves these videos. So, they introduced her to the characters. If you can't visit WDW as often as we do this is a good alternative to help her feel more comfortable with the characters since they dance and sing with children.

The next time we went in June she was just about to turn 3. We went to Garden Grille (in EPCOT) for lunch which has Chip, Dale, Pluto & Farmer Mickey. She was a bit apprehensive at first but not too afraid. The first round they made they signed her autograph book and gave her a "high 5" (she likes that). When they came around again, she let everyone but Pluto sit with her (but not get "too" close). It was a quick weekend so when we came home I had video she watched over and over.

By our next visit in September (3 mths later), she visited Minnie Mouse at her house and Mickey & Minnie in AK. She didn't like Baloo or King Louie though. And, on our last visit in December she saw enough characters to almost fill up her autograph book, loved posing for pictures with them and LOVES watching the video of them. Her favorites are Minnie, Mickey and Chip and Dale & Cinderella. So, it is possible your dd may outgrow that character shyness. She can see many of these characters at Toontown at MK, not just at the character meals.
 
Oh yeah - we took our DD (21 months) for her first visit and she was very apprehensive. She would give them high-fives and let them sign her book and blow them kisses, but didn't want them too close. Then we took her again at 2 yrs 2 mos and she was ALL OVER THEM. She would run up and kiss and hug them and talk to them....... What a blast. Taking her next week, she is 3-1/2. Wonder how she will be this time - it has been awhile.
 


Both of mine shy away from characters wearing masks. They both loved Cinderella's Royal Table Character Breakfast. When younger, my daughter could be coaxed into getting along with the characters...usually took a late seating at a character breakfast in the off-season. Practically had the characters to ourselves and the characters are really good at working with an apprehensive child. Tried it with DS as an infant. he was so upset just at the sight of a character in the distance, he shook. We couldn't even eat breakfast. the last trip? DD would not go to the characters. DS was still apprehensive but got his picture taken with Pluto and MM! My children are now 4.5 and 2.5. I should mention when they watch the videos at home, they get very excited when they see the characters running about with kids and giving autographs!!!

I don't know why WDW doesn't have a few more character breakfasts where the characters are not masked. Children being afraid of the masked characters is a common thing. I feel for you regarding being concerned about your hubby's "get tough" outlook. The way we look at it, our children's instinct is telling them something is not right. And they are absolutely correct! What is natural about a person in a costume???;) We don't want to teach them to go against their instinct. We'll work with them and try to show them there's nothing to fear, but in the end, it's their choice.

Hope this has helped!

Sharon
 
DD was afraid of the masked/non-speaking characters on her first trip at 3. Would only interact with the "real life" characters.

At 5 she enjoyed both masked and "real life" characters with the exception of the villians. Would walk around the other side of the park if she was them. Was positively fearful (she's usually not afraid of too much now). Everyone else though was showered with hugs and kisses galore.

Later in the year, then almost 6, we went back and did lots of character meets. Again, lots and lots of kisses and hugs, worshiping glances. She was still, however, extremely fearful of the villian. Cruella d'Ville actually tapped her on the shoulder from behind and I thought she was going to have a heart attack...she ran so fast I almost lost her in the crowd.
 
I am hoping we have better luck this time around. I would love some pictures with the characters. I am going to TRY for Cinderella's breakfast and hopefully she will at least like the princesses if nothing else.

Sharon...that is an excellent way to go about explaining this to her dad! thank you for pointing it out the way you did. I never thought about it exacatly like that and he will definitely back off if I say that it is good to have that instinct about someone dressed in a big mask etc. He is all for being able to determine a dangerous situations and avoiding them! I am sure many little ones se it just like that and it does make sense!

aprincessmom....not sure how I would have felt if Cruella did that to my dd, she would probably have caused a lot of trouble and the possibility of having to actually leave the park! I know they are loved by many but they scare the pants off my dd. They still had the villain dinner at 1900 Park Fair when we were there in May and we passed Cruella in the hall, dd was terrified to say the least!


Thanks to everyone and we will keep working on it. She has the videos and watched them like crazy before we went but I think it was just their size that blew her away. She was just sitting in her chair one day long after we left WDW and she said out the blue, "mommy, are you scared of goofy, he's big". So, I am hoping she will be prepared this time and enjoy at least some of them. Maybe we can try to take her to Chuck E. Cheese's a few extra times to see Chuckie before we go...might help:-)


CatOne
 



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