When Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort opened up after being forced to close because of the pandemic, there were many new policies that were unfamiliar to Guests. In addition to theme park tickets, Guests also had to make Park reservations. Guests were required to wear masks, and capacity limits were small and strict. However, with the decline in the number of COVID cases, Disney has been easing up on a lot of its health and safety procedures.
Masks are no longer required for fully vaccinated Guests and the crowds are near pre-pandemic levels. Most restaurants are open and buffets have started to make a comeback. With all of that, there is still one thing missing that Guests have been longing for — full character interactions.
Yes, character meet and greets are at the theme parks, but when it comes to interactions with Guests, those have been done at a socially safe distance. For a long time, theme park Guests were required to wear masks while visiting the characters — even though they remained at least six feet away. Even though the mask mandates are no longer in place, Guests are still unable to give their favorite characters a big hug.
But all of that is soon going to change! Disney took to social media to tease that pre-pandemic character interactions are set to return. The video shows the head mouse himself — Mickey — standing behind a rope. The rope is taken down and Mickey beckons the camera to him. He then gestures in a big hug. According to the post, the character hugs will be returning to Disneyland Resort, Walt Disney World, Aulani – A Disney Resort and Spa, and Disney Cruise Line.
You can watch the original video below.
At this time, Disney said more information will be coming via Disney Parks Blog. On March 7, Disney CFO Christine McCarthy was asked about when character interactions would return, and all she would say was “soon”. Full interactions have already returned to Disneyland Paris, and Guests have been waiting on pins and needles for them to return to US Parks.
The return of face-to-face Disney character meet and greets could also signal another big return — interactive character dining. While some character dining can be found at both Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World, they have been modified experiences. Characters will walk through the restaurants, but at this time, are not stopping at individual tables. However, if Disney finds that character hugs are safe enough for the Parks, they may bring them back to the restaurants as well.
Disney Dining will keep readers updated when Disney releases an official date for the interaction returns.