The last time we were in Walt Disney World I was very impressed with how the Face Character Cast Members presented themselves. For those that don’t know, there are two type of Disney dress up characters that walk around the parks or resorts. The first type is the most famous and they are the characters that wear a full head mask to portray their character. They're known as "Fur" Characters. The Fab 5 are perfect examples of this type of character. Mickey, Donald, Minnie, Goofy and Pluto. They have made some great progress in the last couple of years and now Mickey and a couple of select characters can actually talk. And by talk I mean that now their mask mouth, eyes, and other parts of their face move. It is very impressive to watch.
The other type of Disney Character, the one I am referring to here is the Face Character. So called because they wear no mask and present their own faces as that of he character they are playing. Some examples of this are Peter Pan and Alice and all of the princesses and their princes and so many others. These cast members that play the face roles are for the most part, established actors and actresses.
I’ve seen how these cast members interact with the kids and it’s always great, happy and true to the character. It’s not until you see these characters with an older child or an adult to see some real creativity. First off, it is my understanding that they go through a very thorough training course. After that they work on learning all about the character they are to play. They go through this for about 3-4 weeks and then must pass a test. We’ve been to many character meals and have full autograph books from various trips to the parks, but the character experience that prompted this post was meeting the girl pirate from the last Pirates movie. She was doing a meet and greet in Adventureland last year and Hope wanted and autograph. While waiting in line we got to watch the absolute grilling of this poor girl by the guy in front of us. He was asking about her family, about her and Jack and a lot of things that was probably not taught in the information classes I mentioned above. But to her credit, she answered every question he asked with what I thought were probably the right answers. It all made sense. And I actually learned something about her character.
With the addition of the informal meet and greet areas in the parks, it's even easier to see your favorites. In Epcot there is the Character Spot near the fountain. For DHS you have the Magic of Disney Animation building. In the Animal Kingdom it's Camp Minnie Mickey and in the Magic Kingdom there will be the New Princess area in the old Snow White attraction and Mickey and friends are at the Townsquare Theatre.
There is actually another type of Walt Disney World Character cast member and I call then the Atmosphere Characters. Examples of these really good actors and actresses street performers would be the World Showcase Performers at Epcot, the Streetmosphere people in DHS and Main Street characters such as the Mayor and Fire Chief.There are many, many, many videos on YouTube showing Disney Characters and they are fun to watch. Some of my favorites are the Evil step-sisters of Cinderella, their a hoot. Peter Pan is a really fun character to watch as well as his friend Tinker Bell. The Mad Hatter another character that I’ve seen a lot of. There are plenty out there. I’d be interested to hear what characters you look for at the Disney Parks.
Ask them any question you had about that character and you might get lucky. There are certain things to say to any of the characters to get a rise out of them:
- Ask a princess where her prince is
- Ask Eeyore if he still has a tail
- Ask Donald Duck if he has been controlling his temper
- Tell Donald that you are # 1
- Ask Cruella how the coat is coming
- Scratch behind Pluto's ear and see what happens
- Ask Dale what is the difference between a chipmunk and a squirrel
- Ask Chip or Dale how to tell the difference between the two chipmunks
- Ask Mary Poppins to say hello to Burt for you
- Ask Pooh if he's had too much honey
- Say Aloha to Lilo
- Tell the Mad-Hatter its your Un-Birthday