Anyone who goes to Disney knows a few things for certain: you have to eat a Mickey pretzel or churro, there’s going to be a lot of people, and you can meet characters.
However, the way you can meet the characters in certain areas of the Parks can be different, and many Guests aren’t aware of it.
Yesterday, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge debuted their newest character to roam the streets of Batuu, the Mandalorian himself and Grogu. A fan-favorite character since the first season, Guests have been asking for a Mando meet and greet for years, only to be disappointed with the news that while he could be found at Disneyland, his appearance at Walt Disney World was not going to happen due to timeline confusion between Batuu and the Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser.
Disney surprised Guests yesterday when it was announced that the Mandalorian could be found throughout the area, in conjunction with the release of The Mandalorian Season 3 on Disney+. Guests quickly swarmed the character, blocking pathways and creating large crowds. This reaction has drawn criticism from people online, with TikTok creator, @thekatecupcakes, explaining the “type” of character interactions the characters in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge have versus other characters throughout the Parks.
#stitch with @pure.pixiedust please be kind to cast members – including performers, attendants, and operations. Also, to get a photo? Stand up ahead, not in the performer’s path, and start snapping as they walk by. They won’t stop but youll get the picture! #distok #disney #disneytok #disneytiktok #disneycastmember #mandalorian #themandalorian #grogu #babyyoda #starwars #disneyparks #bekindtocastmembers
Walt Disney World has a much larger Guest count on any given day compared to Disneyland. Between the multiple Parks and the popularity for tourists, it’s hard to navigate crowds of that size. To help combat this, and ensure Guests are guaranteed to meet certain characters like Mickey or the princesses, most of the characters in Magic Kingdom and Epcot are considered “meet and greet” characters. They have one set spot where Guests can meet them, get pictures with them, get an autograph, and have a short interaction with them. Their location and meeting times are usually posted in the Disney app, but these interactions come with wait times that can be up to an hour or more.
“Roaming” characters are typically found in Disneyland but can occasionally be seen at Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios. These characters “roam” the areas, waking around and adding a sense of ambiance. They’re meant to seem like they belong to the area and that they exist with the other characters. However, because of the nature of their characters, Guests aren’t guaranteed an interaction, photo, or autograph from them and there’s no set time or specific area to find them.
Guests at Walt Disney World aren’t quite used to this type of character and don’t understand that the characters in Galaxy’s Edge are exactly that: roaming characters. They’re there to add to the feeling of physically being on the planet of Batuu, with characters doing things like hiding around corners from the First Order.
Several people in the comments expressed annoyance with the Guests, with @ojrdan_marie15 saying,
I firmly believe this will last a week before he’s a wave and play. wdw guests can not behave well enough for this. I’m sorry.
Others mentioned the Disneyland characters, saying that if Disney World implemented more of them the way Disneyland does, it wouldn’t have been so chaotic. As @iwannasmoothie says,
That’s why WDW doesn’t have a lot of roaming characters sadly…it’s definitely the distinction between annual passholders vs tourists
Without the distinction of whether a character is “meet and greet” or “roaming” it can be difficult for Guests to understand how to interact with certain characters. While it seems like Walt Disney World will maintain a static meet and greet for most of its characters, hopefully Guests will learn from the interactions in Galaxy’s Edge that not every character has to meet with every person.