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floundr
04-05-2008, 06:16 PM
I wanted to know if anyone else had this issue. I took my mother to DL for the first time this week. She had a blast and loved the park. The one bad thing that happened involved us waiting in line for over 20 minutes to get a picture of her with Minnie Mouse. There was a family in front of us that got autographs on 3 or 4 hats, took 7-9 pictures and took way too much time. When they were finally done and we stepped forward to get a picture with Minnie, she promptly walked away and would not pose for any other pictures. I understand that she can't be out there all day, but Disney needs to do a better job of monitoring how long people get to spend with her and let people know that they can potentially wait in line for 20 minutes and the character may just walk away. It was not fair that the inconsiderate family in front of us too so long and we were rudely denied our meeting. Disney should be ashamed and should do a better job of managing these character meetings.

adriennek
04-05-2008, 07:07 PM
I'm going to only partially agree with you.

I don't think that they need to kick people out of meeting the characters. I think that families should not feel rushed.

But. I do think that the handlers need to do a better job of monitoring the lines. Did anyone come talk to you while you were in line? Sometimes there's a handler that comes down the line to give people a heads up that Minnie will be going back in a few minutes and you may not get to see her before she does.

From what I've read on these boards, they seem to do a better job of this at WDW than they do at DLR. At WDW, as I understand it, they give the last person in line a balloon which means "This is the last person who will see the character, don't bother getting in line behind the balloon."

I would love to see this at DLR. I would not want a family rushed through a meet with a character. Anyone. Any age.

Adrienne

bradk
04-05-2008, 07:41 PM
i've never seen that balloon thing happen at WDW. but at WDW, pretty much every character has their own attendant and they usually do quite a good job at maintaining order with the line and alerting guests when the character has about 5 minutes to go and/or closing the line when the character won't be returning in a few minutes.

my experience at DLR has been quite the opposite. it may have changed by now but the entertainment hosts/attendants have been much more limited in my experience at DLR. characters are oft left to fend for themselves and with no clear lines, it can be very frustrating to get your time in when you have multiple families all waiting to thrust their kids into the foreground.

i know they've since moved to the fantasy faire, but the princess lines when they were around the castle were the only ones i can even remember having attendants (and probably mostly because cindy's line would have to close literally 2 minutes after it opened). also at the animation building i think.

they don't really limit time at WDW and I don't think they should limit time per se (although they do when it's a special meet & greet and time is of the essence - I've seen them deny autographs and limit to 1 photo in those cases), but sometimes feeling guilty of taking too much time myself sometimes, I have to sometimes step back and realize I waited for my time just like everyone else did so it's unfortunate if the family behind me doesn't get the time they earned too, but everyone had the same opportunity to show up whenever they did and it's only because I got there earlier that I got my time and the people behind me didn't.

that said, it would make life much easier at DLR if attendants were in abundance. unions play a huge role in some cases here and when a character wants to go, they'll go. i've seen them be much more stringent with this at DLR than WDW.

greenwa
04-06-2008, 03:12 PM
I truly *hate* *hate* *hate* the way the princesses are all part of the fair and no longer "generally" available around the castle etc... [Phew... got that out of my system.]

Back in the days before the Fantasy Faire, we had several expreiences where costumed characters were accompanied by "handlers" her were very good about letting us know when the line was closed. We passed a few and came back another time. One of our best experiences with this setup was with our then 3.5 yo dd. There was a line for Snow White which was closed (she had to get ready for a parade), we explained this to our dd who proceeded to melt. She didn't throuh a tantrum, she just sobbed and sobbed. The handler relented and allowed dd to meet SW and walk her to the cast member gate. She didn't have time to sign the book in public but took it with her and someone brought it out to us. I was floored by the extra attention and care she received though I did feel a bit guilty. Its the extra mile that DL cast members consistently make that really makes DL stand out.

That was our experience... and somehow... I don't think we've ever gotten into a line w/o a handler where we didn't get our turn.... granted two parties did almost come to blows over one guest perceiving that another guest was "hogging" the characters, but there again... the cast members handled the issue with grace & tact, as Mary Poppins and Bert playful took the waiting guests skipping to an adjacent area to separate the two parties.

Malcon10t
04-06-2008, 06:10 PM
From our trips, Mickey, Minnie, Pluto, and Goofy generally have handlers with them. We have always been told when we may not get to see a character, and yes we have been next when a character had to leave. We've even had very positive experiences, where Santa had to go on break, and we were next. The handlers had us stay put and told us they would be right back with someone special. About a minute later, out comes Pluto. We did feel bad because he spent time with us exclusively, and when someone tried to push their kid in, they were politely told Pluto and his cousin were visiting and he would see them later. Disney took a ton of pics for us.

partyoffive
04-06-2008, 07:03 PM
I have OFTEN been on the "The line for XXXX is closed" end of the situation - I can honestly say I have never stood in line and had a character leave with me still standing there, unless there was no line and it was just a "gathering" situation. I have been in line a few times when the line would be closing VERY soon and the handlers have done a pretty efficient job of clearing the line that was in place so everyone got a chance -

I do have to say, that I feel the handlers have got the have THE HARDEST job! We were in line a few weeks ago to see Mickey in DCA outside animations - we were the last family they let in line, and LOTS of people came to get in line behind us and the handler VERY POLITELY told them that our family was the last family for this time and told them the next time Mickey would be out - I was HORRIFIED by how rude people were to her! They complained and said not nice things to her - one family PURPOSELY made their child cry to try to make her feel bad for them, then when they had him hysterically crying, they told him to go talk to the CM cause it was her fault he couldn't see MIckey. I felt bad for her and I told her so!

I think that as long as they are clear about how long the line can be, and cut it off in time to get everyone in, then patrons need to be more understanding that the characters can possibly stand on the street for every single person all day long!

I also feel bad for the Original Poster- I don't think they should ever send a character away if they didn't shut the line down in time and they should let people in line see them -

CookieBandit
04-07-2008, 09:44 AM
I'm not sure how DLR or DCA would be able to restrict the number of photos or autographs a family could get. Could you imagine a CM saying "okay, you've got your fill, move aside"?

That said, I wish people like the family you described would be more considerate. I think it should just be part of our social etiquette - not even specifically a DL rule or anything.

I usually see handlers accompanying the characters, although on our last trip to DL, we were in Toon Town and Minnie's handler walked away from her. I wish the handler had stayed there (she just walked away - not controlling crowds or anything) - my sis took a picture of me and Minnie, but my eyes were closed (and my sis didn't check the picture before I thanked Minnie and walked away). So I wanted to get another picture but Minnie started to walk away as there was no one else waiting for her. I tapped her on the arm in hopes that she would stop but I didn't want to be too forceful so I don't think she even realized I was trying to get her attention.

At least if the handler was there, I could ask to get another picture (and if the answer was "sorry, Minnie has to go" - that would have been fine, but at least I could have asked).

(Now I tell my sis to take 2 shots, just in case my eyes are closed or whatever - but it's just 2 quick shots, same pose).

At DCA, Minnie and Mickey were meeting/greeting people in Sunshine Plaza and I did hear a handler tell the people in Minnie's line that she had to leave in 5 minutes. No guarantees that you would be able to meet w/ Minnie even if you are in line now, because Minnie has to leave at 11:27. (Or something to that effect).

I guess Mickey just started his shift because I saw a line of people standing behind a CM, and then Mickey showed up. A teen(?) girl was walking with him so she got the first picture with Mickey (is that really fair to the people waiting?).

Donald Duck Fan68
04-07-2008, 12:37 PM
I've always had great experiences with character meet and greets. Usually there is a handler right there helping some families find the line or letting others know that the character has been there a while and is in need of a break. If I'm meeting a character in Toontown at one of their houses, then a handler will typically close the line and not let others in. When it's out in the park somewhere, the handler will usually stand at the end or let people know that the character is about to go on break. There have been times when I've come across characters who are just about to go on break and the handler let us know before we tried to get in line. I'll admit they have a tough job, especially when people have to make rude comments or use their children to play guilt trips.

In the OP, it sounds like Minnie's handler may have disappeared (for whatever reason) and there wasn't a way to inform the line of when a break would occur. I will agree that Disney needs to take every measure to inform those in line on their chances of getting time with the character, but I wouldn't want it to be at the sake of families feeling rushed once they get their turn. There's a reasonable amount of time alloted, e.g., enough to get the autographs and pics for those who want them and brief interaction, and most reasonable folks will not take forever.

I was in Mickey's house with a group of about 20 one time. We took a lot of pictures, there were a lot of autograph books to sign, and some interaction, but the handle did a great job of keeping things moving along without us feeling rushed. (We waited for about 30 - 40 minutes, I think.)

Arclvscats
04-07-2008, 02:52 PM
I have only had GREAT character meetings. I have been in lines MANY times & the character has to leave before we get to see them. It is always hard on my DD. However, we always make sure to ask when the next time they will be out is & be there if we can. We also ask sometimes before waiting in lines, especially if they are long. The characters are for sure my DD favorite & we have really worked at learning how to catch them so my DD can see them! We are taking her for the first time to DL in May & I am hoping to get lots of tips on finding the characters. This will be our first trip there!

ChipmunkStar
04-07-2008, 08:14 PM
Is it not possible Minnie's HOST (not handler) had other characters to keep an eye out on? There have been times where there will be one HOST that is helping several characters out at the same time. Just throwing that idea out there for everyone to chomp on.

ssturgeo
04-08-2008, 06:19 AM
Ahhh...for the good old days when characters just strolled around all day, no meet and greet locations, very casual, no problems that I ever encountered!

That said, I do LIKE knowing where children can see/meet their favorite character, especially Mickey and Minnie. I do not think anyone should be limited to the amount of time or pictures...it may be their once in a lifetime trip!!

And...a LOTS of Kudos to the handlers/hosts!!! AND to the characters. What a job that must be, everyone wants a picture, everyone wants an autograph, and everyone wants it NOW! I cannot imagine trying to control the guests, ensure the well being of the character, and keeping that Disney smile!! Everyone I have encountered has done an excellent job of making it know when the character would be leaving...and usually in a fun way..."Pluto needs a bone", etc. If any of you are on the boards...a BIG thank you for all the magic you help bring to all the guests...young and old alike!!

CookieBandit
04-08-2008, 10:14 AM
I too think the handlers do a good job of letting everyone know that the character will have to leave at a certain time (so if you do decide to stand in line, you know there's no guarantee). But a thought just occurred to me - if a family or two is as inconsiderate as the OP mentioned (I consider it inconsiderate - others disagree), how is the handler supposed to determine where the line should end?

In other words, if there are only 2 families ahead of you and you are the third person/family in line, the handler says "5 more minutes", you might think that you have a shot. But if the first family takes up all 5 minutes... well, then you are out of luck.

That's why I think it is inconsiderate of families or individuals to take up more than what I would think is a reasonable amount of time with a character... of course, who's to determine what is a reasonable amount of time? Two pictures? One picture and an autograph? One picture per child or adult in the group? It's too difficult to determine.

I usually don't even bother when there is more than 4 people in line, unless I see the character just arrive (so you know they will be there for at least 5 minutes). I've only waited for a character meet 4 times - twice with Pluto (both times, just one person getting their picture taken, no line), once w/ Minnie (as I described in my prev post) and once w/ Sorcerer Mickey. I consider the one w/ Sorcerer Mickey the best experience. I was at DCA and they have the Drawn to the Magic stage in the Hollywood Backlot area. We were walking and I saw Cinderella with a line of people, then we saw Woody and then Mickey. I figured out that the 3 characters are part of the show. Either I could stand in line with maybe 8 people in front of me, or just wait until the next show. I chose the latter and went to use the restroom while my sis stayed in the DTTM area. When I got back, the characters (and lines) were gone - I asked my sis if everyone in line got to meet Sorcerer Mickey and she said no.

I sat in the seats on the right because I knew that Mickey would be on the right - so as soon as the show was done, and the handler mentioned something about meeting with the characters, I hopped into line and was the 4th person.

Katlovett
04-08-2008, 11:35 AM
<respectfully snipped>
From what I've read on these boards, they seem to do a better job of this at WDW than they do at DLR. At WDW, as I understand it, they give the last person in line a balloon which means "This is the last person who will see the character, don't bother getting in line behind the balloon."
This strategy isn't limited to WDW. They did the same thing with balloons the last time I went to a big sale at Frye's Electronics, for cashiers whose registers were going to close. The manager at Frye's must have seen it done at WDW, LOL! Also, at Costco, they have a little sign they hang on the last shopping cart in line when the register for that line will be closing.

I don't see why this can't be done at Disneyland too.

Katprint

bradk
04-09-2008, 04:35 AM
except that it doesn't happen at WDW. it might have happened a relative few times but I've never seen it and it's far from the norm. and i've been late or closed lines many times. not to mention balloons aren't even allowed in DAK.

what's more likely to have happened was the last family in line at the time just had a balloon and the attendant used that to define them.

when a line closes at WDW, the attendant simply stands at the end of the line to prevent more people from joining. which is the same thing i've seen done at DLR when I have seen it done.

a balloon itself wouldn't mean anything anyway. aside from the threat that the family could just opt to walk away with it, someone would have to be at the end of the line to tell every other guest what the balloon means.

Katlovett
04-11-2008, 03:01 PM
<snip>a balloon itself wouldn't mean anything anyway. aside from the threat that the family could just opt to walk away with it, someone would have to be at the end of the line to tell every other guest what the balloon means.
How hard would it be for Disneyland to order some big mylar balloons that say "We're Sorry, This Line Is Closed" or something like that? A single balloon sign could be given to the last in line. When the last in line gets to the character, the character's handler takes the balloon and then after that final visit is concluded, both the character and their handler depart carrying the balloon.

Seems like a pretty cheap, easy way to avoid disappointing a lot of little kids.

Katprint

CookieBandit
04-11-2008, 10:29 PM
But if people are taking a long time with the character, it wouldn't matter that a person is holding the "last in line" balloon. When the character has to leave, s/he has to leave. Just that no one else would try to get in line.

Could you imagine holding on to that balloon, thinking you'll get to meet with the character and not? :rolleyes:

LdyApxr
04-12-2008, 09:39 PM
A few years ago when we went with our teenage son, our teenage niece(15 and 14) and our 6yr old son we waited in lines one morning and hit just about every character in the main area because the 4 of us got in line and then just hustled Riley in between us when one of us got to the front. LOL Poor Riley ran his little legs off(this was in the roundabout area right under the trellis) but he was thrilled that he got everyone to sign his book and a picture EVEN Daisy Duck who I rarely ever see!

This year(last month lol) we did not hunt for characters as we usually did but Riley was picked as a Paduan Jedi(MADE HIS MILLENIUM! lol) and we did the character breakfast at GCH with Chip and Dale. Although as we were leaving the park on Monday afternoon we came out of the corner store and Pluto was signing for a line a little ways a way and made a BEELINE to Riley and took his hand and walked with him down the promenade and I have never seen a bigger smile on that kid(ok, except when he defeated Darth Maul lol) and when Pluto finally returned him to us he gave Riley a huge hug and a noogie on his head. That was priceless. I love all the characters but especially when something unusual happens like that. One other time(many years ago before children) my cousin and I(we were just turning 18) went by ourselves and when we met with the Seven Dwarves Sneezy "sneezed" into my sailor hat. LMAO! Loved it

dsny1mom
04-13-2008, 03:52 PM
Ahhh...for the good old days when characters just strolled around all day, no meet and greet locations, very casual, no problems that I ever encountered!

That said, I do LIKE knowing where children can see/meet their favorite character, especially Mickey and Minnie. I do not think anyone should be limited to the amount of time or pictures...it may be their once in a lifetime trip!!

And...a LOTS of Kudos to the handlers/hosts!!! AND to the characters. What a job that must be, everyone wants a picture, everyone wants an autograph, and everyone wants it NOW! I cannot imagine trying to control the guests, ensure the well being of the character, and keeping that Disney smile!! Everyone I have encountered has done an excellent job of making it know when the character would be leaving...and usually in a fun way..."Pluto needs a bone", etc. If any of you are on the boards...a BIG thank you for all the magic you help bring to all the guests...young and old alike!!


I too enjoyed the good ole days, like you. I'm just thankfull that my children had all their growing up years spent at DL before they turned chartacter interactions into a line with a photo/autograph session at the end. Sadly my future grandchildren will never have the experinces that their parents had.

It wasn't difficult to find when and where characters would be before the meet and greets. We'd ask at City Hall upon entering and they'd usually be able to tell us times and places for any character that the children wanted to see.

While I'm not sure of the reason Disney eventually went to meet and greets and did away with interactions, I can say that the only problem we ever saw with character interactions were with adults and parents with their own kids that didn't think they had to wait their turn or those that seemed to think they knew best as to how much time another child or family should spend with a character.

I just got back from WDW and if it wasn't for the meet and greets you'd never know MM or any of the others had much to do with the Disney Parks. We didn't spend anytime in TT, but besides the show in front of the castle and the parade the MK is pretty much a character free zone, unless you count the meet and greets. LOL. :)

dsny1mom.

Donald Duck Fan68
04-13-2008, 04:36 PM
A family can still get some character interaction in at one of the character breakfasts - it's not the spontaneous kind in the park, but it's better than just waiting in a line, getting an autograph and a pic. I've also had great character interactions from Goofy at the DL Hotel lobby and a surprise visit from Mickey in Tomorrowland when he came right up to where we were sitting and started interacting with us.

I suspect that when collecting character autographs became popular, Disney migrated the characters to meet and greets and away from the interactions in various parts of the parks. Even when you run into a character in someplace other than expected, and the character is just being themselves and having fun with guests, most of the kids have their autograph books in hand and that's what they seem to be most interested in getting.

VickiC
04-13-2008, 08:22 PM
I definitley think line/autograph/photo/next guest please was fored on Disney by the guests. When the characters try to break out of that it's chaos with 50 kids thrusting autograph books into the characters hands at once.

amarvel
04-13-2008, 09:32 PM
see i like the line and order. I hated it before because people were sooo rude and would push their kids in front of us and the characters had a harder time keeping order. I think its better when they have a cast member with them who keeps things going. So i like when a character has a line, but i think the problem is disney has gone to too much scheduled characters and not enough characters roaming out at unknown times and they need more characters, not the same 10 ones day after day. Even 15 years ago you could find a bunch of different ones roaming main street at any given time.

I do like the balloon idea as long as everyone up to the balloon gets to see the character. I did see a CM stop the line quite a few times last week which i like to see. I dont like to get in the line with no hope to see the character.

yohomama212
04-13-2008, 10:53 PM
We had a great character interaction on Friday morning! We rolled over to Toontown, as Mom had never been there with the kidlets yet. We parked the stroller outside Minnie's house and as we were getting lanyards on and babies out and finding books and pens, Minnie came on-stage! I was the only one facing her and she put her finger up to her lips to keep me quiet. Well, I was so excited, I squealed and DD#1 turned around to see what got me so excited. Minnie came down to her and she just gave Minnie the biggest hug (http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2013/2412095959_d9dd43c720_b.jpg). Minnie signed the books, took the pictures, then took DD#1 by the hand (http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2394/2412923120_a8c29f2c94_b.jpg)and walked us to the front of the line to see Mickey (http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3126/2412925412_d5c2ba60dd_b.jpg)! I knew there were going to be plenty of people not so happy about that so we moved as quickly as possible but still got our time in. I was so touched that Minnie did that for us, I was crying!

Later in the day we were rushed through meet and greets with Pooh, Tigger, and Eeyore because they needed to go on break. I would have much rather waited five minutes and been able to actually see them then be pushed through with Photopass photographers yelling at me.

Overall though, I think the Hosts who are present are great and have been more help than hurt!

Elizabeth

wenderella
04-14-2008, 03:27 PM
Okay...I must tell you about one experience with Minnie that we had in front of "50 Magical Years". This was during the 50th Anniversary, even though it was a few short years ago, it seems as if things have improved. At the time, Minnie just "appeared", as characters do sometimes. My daughter would have been about 6 or 7. There was not much of a line, and no handler to speak of. At least not one who was identifying a "line" or "area" to wait to see Minnie in. Anyway, my daugher and I patiently waited our turn (I am not one to butt in front of anyone, yet if you've waited, you should get a turn). All the sudden, a mother with two young girls approached Minnie and literally "shoved" her small girls right to Minnie Mouse. Now...this put me aback. Minnie Mouse firmly put up her hand to this mother, obviously knowing that we had been patiently waiting, and waved my daugher to her rightful turn. As a mom...this was great! Minnie was SO SWEET, and took her time allowing us a photo and autograph. It just goes to show that the characters are not stupid. They are paying attention to what goes on around them, and they do care. I hope this mother learned her less (probably not). But I hope her girls saw a little lesson in Minnie Mouse. It was great! Love Her!

aznewsboy
04-14-2008, 03:56 PM
I agree the characters must see the rude & selfish behavior on the part of some parents or other adults. They are not blind to it.

Last trip we had a couple adult women cut off my daughter (with an obvious line behind us) waiting for Cinderella after the Drawn to Magic show. Cinderella saw it all & was SO very apologetic to us.

We had one bad experience with a family tying up a lot of Jack Sparrows time & it was very annoying. We had just missed him so we asked when he'd be out again. 20 minutes-so we waited where the CM told us the line would be. We were first & maybe 8 more families came in behind us by the time he came out again. He came out & a little girl caught him before he got to his spot near the treasure. She talked to him for about 8-9 minutes-no pictures or autographs. Meanwhile there was A Lot of grumbling going on behind me. I am not one to take advantage of a characters limited amount of time so I thought it quite rude.

Sorry, but I think 8 minutes is far too long considering how many families want to meet the character & the little time they have.

adriennek
04-14-2008, 08:09 PM
I agree the characters must see the rude & selfish behavior on the part of some parents or other adults. They are not blind to it.

A couple of years ago we had a HORRIBLE experience with Alice.

A number of people had formed a line to see Alice. From the side, a family came up and pushed their little girl in front of the line. We in line said (without snottiness in our voices, by the way,) "The line's over here". Alice looked at them and said "I didn't make the line!" And stopped to play with that little girl.

Alice could have said "I'll see you in just a minute, Princess!" and it would've been fine. But she didn't. I actually wrote about it in the scrapbooks I made of that day, too. It was really rather annoying. I think it was moreso because we hadn't been rude about it.

Adrienne