It appears that the days of socially-distanced character meet ‘n greets will be coming to an end to the Walt Disney World Resort and the Disneyland Resort.
The news was shared by Disney’s CFO Christine McCarthy during the Morgan Stanley Tech, Media, and Telecom Conference on Monday, March 7, 2022, and then relayed across social media by reporters like Scott Gustin (whose Tweet you can read below).
Disney CFO Christine McCarthy says character meet and greets should be returning to domestic theme parks "soon."
— Scott Gustin (@ScottGustin) March 7, 2022
Normal character meet ‘n greets have been missing from Disney Parks since they closed in reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic. When the Parks reopened, Disney took measures to include their characters at a distance. Thus the “Character Sightings” were born.
While creative, these interactions kept Guests–especially kids–distanced from their favorite characters, and the days of character hugs and autographs remain a distant memory. These restrictions have stayed in place despite Disneyland Park, Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Disney California Adventure, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom transitioning back to normal in other ways like increasing capacity and dropping mask mandates. And many Guests have been questioning when meet ‘n greets will return.
We at Disney Fanatic covered one instance where a Disneyland Cast Member–and the overall no-hugging situation–received major backlash after going full body-guard mode on a little girl who rushed up to give Winnie the Pooh a hug. Click the link below to read our full coverage of that story:
But recently, Guest got a glimmer of hope when Disneyland Paris reintroduced character meet ‘n greets on the eve of its 30th Anniversary Celebration.
The one difference, though, is that Disneyland Paris is requiring Guests to show their Vaccine Pass or Health Pass in order to enter its Theme Parks Parc Disneyland and Walt Disney Studios Park. Back stateside, neither Disney World nor Disneyland has enforced vaccination status checkpoints. So one has to wonder if vaccination status will be a caveat when the character meet ‘n greets finally return.
Either way, there is still no telling when exactly Disney expects to let Guests embrace and stand next to their favorite characters again. We at Disney Fanatic will continue to keep our eyes on this story and will update our readers as more information comes to light.