Mickey Mouse and his pals at Walt Disney World have been keeping a “social” distance from guests as a result of the pandemic, but now they’re throwing their arms wide, ready for hugs again.
According to Disney Parks Blog, as soon as April 18, 2022, guests can visit with the characters as normal, at Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, and Aulani Resort in Hawaii. The change will be implemented in phases.
In place of face-to-face meet and greets during the height of the pandemic, Disney implemented informal “Character Sightings” in Epcot, such as Winnie the Pooh frolicking on a grassy area and Mickey at the “Disney and Pixar Short Film Festival” in the Imagination pavilion.
Cavalcades, motorcades, and flotillas also gave guests a happy – if distanced – view of their favorite Disney friends, through the “Mickey and Friends Cavalcade” and “The Royal Princess Processional” at Magic Kingdom, the “Frozen Promenade” at Epcot, the “Pixar Pals Motorcade” at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, the “Discovery River Character Cruise” at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and more.
In time, guests could join a queue to have their photo taken with characters, including Anna and Elsa at the Norway pavilion in Epcot, though the characters were still socially distanced.
Daisy Duck pop-up locations made their debut at Epcot in February, 2022, still with six-feet distance separating her from her fans.
Guests traveling to a galaxy far, far away onboard Disney’s Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser have been able to stand next to and interact with the starship’s characters since its opening on March 1, 2022.
Disneyland Paris reinstated its person-to-character interactions in early March, 2022 when government guidance indicated it was safe to do so, and now Disney’s Orlando parks are doing the same thing, albeit in phases.
Character meals, such as Chef Mickey’s at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Tusker House at Disney’s Animal Kingdom park, and Garden Grill Restaurant at The Land pavilion in Epcot, will be phased in at a later date.