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Scared Of Mickey? Ways To Help Familiarize Young Children With The Characters

Scared Of Mickey? Ways To Help Familiarize Young Children With The Characters Beauty_and_the_Beast_Stage_Show_06

Is your child scared of Mickey Mouse? Or Cinderella? Too many times I’ve seen parents shove their crying child up to characters they were terrified to meet. Instead of forcing them to meet characters before they are ready here are just some suggestions that might help acclimate them to meeting the characters without leaving them in tears. These small suggestions could be the difference between your child running away or running right up to their favorite characters.

Scared Of Mickey? Ways To Help Familiarize Young Children With The Characters Beauty_and_the_Beast_Stage_Show_06 Beauty_and_the_Beast_Stage_Show_06

Watching Shows And Parades

If you are insistent that your child will eventually come around, I suggest dipping their toe in the water before throwing them into the deep end. Try bringing young children to a show where characters are present before you introduce them to face-to-face. Or introduce them from afar at the parades. Sometimes it could be that they aren’t scared of their favorite character, but just need to create a familiarity before they know how to react when they are face-to-face with them.

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(Above: No longer afraid! Here I am pictured in the Magic Kingdom with Donald Duck in the early 1990’s)

Siblings Help

For me, my older siblings helped me overcome many of my Disney fears. Not only with meeting characters, but also attractions that I was scared to step foot on. Older siblings are great to show that there is nothing to be afraid of. Watching my older brothers enjoy getting autographs from Mickey and Minnie is what allowed me to realize I had nothing to be scared of.

Re-watching The Films

Re-watching the films could be the best possible refresher for a child. Seeing their heroes in action could be exactly what a child needs to remind them that there is nothing to be afraid of. While you and your child watch the films try pointing out what characters they might meet on their next Disney vacation!

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Ride The Characters Corresponding Ride First

Before meeting Ariel at her grotto I suggest first try riding Under the Sea – Journey of The Little Mermaid with your youngster. This same process can be done with meeting a large portion of the characters. By immediately jumping off the ride and into the line to meet the character it will be fresh in the minds of the child that there is nothing to be terrified of.

Finally Acceptance

Some children are just not going to be ready to meet even their favorite characters. Allow your child to enjoy their vacation without fear that you are going to force them to do something they feel uncomfortable doing. Creating a crying child isn’t fun for anyone. If none of my suggestions, or suggestions that people have in the comments may have, I suggest you hold off on the meet and greet opportunities.

This doesn’t mean your child is going to dislike Disney or the Disney Parks. I am living proof to every Disney parent out there that just because your child is scared now doesn’t mean they won’t end up an enthusiastic Disney fanatic like you. My first trip was largely spent hiding behind the legs of my mom. In fact one of my first memories is hiding under a table for a character breakfast. But, looking back I am so thankful that my parents never pushed me into meeting characters that I was too frightened to meet because those memories could have damaged my passion in Disney.

Being a 23-year-old recent college graduate I may be completely out of line by telling parents they shouldn’t force their child to meet the characters, but instinctually it just seems wrong to me.

I’d love to hear what parents think, and how they introduced their children to the characters!

Stephen "Steve" Porter started going to the parks with his family in 1996. Since then he hasn't looked back! Steve was a cast member participating in the Disney College Program in 2013. Most recently he graduated from Penn State University!


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