Report: Disney Enforces Measures to Prohibit Adult to Character Physical Contact, “No More Hugs”

in Disney Parks, Walt Disney World

A joyful woman hugs mickey mouse in front of a theater with posters reading "backstage theater magic of mickey!" their expressions are cheerful.

Credit: Disney

The question of whether or not adults are allowed to hug certain characters at Walt Disney World has come up, after one guest was rejected from embracing one of Disney’s original princesses, seemingly due to the fact that he was an adult.

A family enjoying a meal in a retro-styled diner while capturing a memory with a character performer as Tiana.
Credit: Disney

One of the best things about going to Walt Disney World Resort or any of the Disney parks around the world is being able to meet the characters. Whether you wanted a selfie with Mickey Mouse, or you wanted to show Cinderella your perfect princess twirl, Disney brings our favorite characters to life in a fantasy realm where they can all exist together at the same time.

For little kids, the magic of these characters is enough to put a smile on any spectator’s face, to them, these are the real character that they watched before their vacation on Disney+. As we grow up, while we may know that Ariel did not hop out of the animated version of The Little Mermaid to pose for a photo in her grotto, we do still recognize the magic that seeing Ariel brings to us, unlocking a nostalgia that brings us back to our childhood and for many, evokes happy memories.

Mickey Mouse and the gang at Disneyland
Credit: Disney

This is the point of the theme parks overall.

Before you enter Disneyland or Magic Kingdom, you will read a quote from Walt that says, “Here You Leave Today And Enter The World Of Yesterday, Tomorrow And Fantasy”. Walt always intended for his theme parks to be a place where you could revert to your inner child to enjoy the magic — especially for adults.

With that in mind, should there be a rule for adults in terms of how they approach and are allowed to contact the characters in the parks?

One guest shared their recent experience online asking if there was a rule restricting adults from hugging certain characters, specifically the princesses.

“Some of my friends just went to WDW and they waited in line to meet Aladdin and Jasmine (this is a group of four 17-18 year old girls for reference). They told me a story about how while they were in line, an adult man (40+) tried to hug Jasmine, but Aladdin got between them and scolded the guy for “moving in on his girl”, ended calmly but guy didn’t get his hug from Jasmine. This made me wonder if it’s discouraged for adults to hug face characters? Specifically older men? I guess I can see how an older dude trying to hug a princess, especially Jasmine who shows a little more skin, can be seen as creepy, but is this WDW etiquette? I also don’t see how this would work if a princess isn’t with her prince, pretty sure they can’t straight up turn down a hug.”

In the past, we have reported many instances in which the princesses were asked inappropriate questions while being filmed, likely for clicks and views. When this happens, not only do the characters need to think quickly on their feet to shift the conversation, but they must answer appropriately without breaking character or else, they may lose their job.

We have seen character attendants take a stronger stance against disruptive guests like this, but typically, if a guest is behaving regularly, anyone of any age is allowed to give a character a hug. 

Princess Jasmine in EPCOT
Credit: Disney Dining

In this case, we do not have the specific details on what happened during this interaction, but it seems that Aladdin came up with a creative line to ensure that Jasmine did not have to hug this particular guest as she wouldn’t have been able to reject him herself, and there was likely a reason for that.

The comment section of the post reiterates that guests of all ages can ask for a hug, but as you get older, it is proper etiquette to ask, “I went to an after-hours event on a solo work trip once (39M at the time) and went to see princesses to send short videos to my kids. I think adults in this situation have to do two things simultaneously: 1) directly address the character as a character in a way that makes it clear you’re cheerful and nice (and if you have kids at home, they’ll be great about sending a short video) and 2) also keep in mind that they’re young women in their early 20s and that you should be brief, respectful and appropriate with contact.

I think if you do those things, it’s not a problem. Asking if a hug is okay is probably a good rule of thumb for all men who are approaching a woman who isn’t a close friend, whether or not she is dressed as Belle.”

aladdin (left) and jasmine (right) with kids at disney world
Credit: Disney

The post also got a lot of comments from ex-cast members who confirmed the rules: “Former cast member! Adults are welcome to hug characters. There is no rule against it! Characters love all their friends regardless of age, and some of the best interactions *I’ve had were with adult guests who embraced the moment. Once I had an adult man crying while hanging out with Eeyore and the Disney hug rule was followed.

The only ones I can think actively don’t hug people are Star Wars villains and the walk-around characters.

However, I can say that there are certain regular guests we know will cause problems. The character attendants and cast learn them and will try to head off a problem before it starts.”

Another cast member who works in entertainment chimed in, stating that they do take into account the “vibes” of the guest, and if their intent is to have a magical interaction or “harass” you.

Overall, it is important to be respectful to the characters you meet at the Disney parks; however, it is certainly untrue that growing up means you are not allowed to give a character a hug. The only time hugs were “banned” was during the pandemic, when there were social distancing measures in place.

Have you ever noticed an issue when it came to hugging characters in the theme parks?

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