Disney Character Meet-and-greets Are Returning to U.S. Parks, Cruises This Month

Get your autograph books ready.

Disney is bringing back character meet-and-greets this month for the first time since pausing the beloved activity more than two years ago.

As early as April 18, fans will be able to hug Mickey Mouse and all his friends, get autographs, and hang out with their favorite characters. The traditional character meet-and-greets will be available in both Disney parks in the United States as well as aboard Disney Cruise Line ships.

"During the past two years, we've taken a very gradual, intentional approach to health and safety protocols," Shawn Slater, the senior communications manager for Disney Live Entertainment, said in a statement. "Recent trends and guidance have provided opportunities for us to bring back some of our most beloved magic, like character greetings and dining experiences. While not all locations will be available immediately, we anticipate reopening in phases throughout the spring and early summer."

The meet-and-greets were one of many interactions that were paused due to the coronavirus pandemic as the parks closed in March 2020. On July 11, 2020, Disney World reopened in Orlando, but with mandatory face coverings and physical distancing measures in place with characters visible through events like parades. Similarly, Disneyland reopened to California residents on April 30, 2021, and out-of-state visitors that June, also with pandemic-era safety measures in place.

But Disney has been slowly bringing back different experiences like character dining, which returned to Disneyland in July 2021, and nightly fireworks, which also returned to both the California and Florida parks in July 2021.

The parks have also dropped many pandemic-era protocols that were implemented, including making masks optional indoors for vaccinated visitors in both Disney World and Disneyland.

While Disney Cruise Line (voted the No. 1 mega-ship ocean cruise line in 2021 by Travel Leisure readers) has dropped some COVID-19-related measures, the company still requires all guests 5 and older to be fully vaccinated to board.

Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she's not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.

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