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Wednesday
Mar102010

Disney Characters...Maybe We Should Rethink a Few Things

Characters characters and more characters.
By Lilly.


Youʼre ready for a Day at Walt Disney World with your two little girls and youʼve got every minute planned out with reservations and everything. You canʼt wait for the rides, but youʼre most excited to see your most beloved characters.

You start right before the park even opens with breakfast at Cinderellaʼs Royal Table in Cinderella's Castle at the Magic Kingdom, where your two little girls meet all the princesses including their favorite, Belle.  Because Belle is their favorite, you rush over to catch the first Storytime with Belle show right outside the castle, with the same Belle you saw at breakfast? Nope.

Your two little girls havenʼt had their fill of princesses just yet, so you pop over to Mickeyʼs Toon Town Fair and meet Belle again–yes a different Belle from both the Belles youʼve already seen. Then you camp out to get a good spot for Magic Kingdom's mid day parade “Celebrate a Dream Come True” where your daughters wave to yet a different Belle.

Now itʼs time to take the monorail over to EPCOT where you have dinner reservations for the Princess Storybook Dinner at Norway's Akershus Royal Banquet Hall. But youʼre a little early, so you mosey around France and meet....Belle. And who do you meet at dinner? You guessed it, Belle again.

How is it possible that you can come home with pictures of six different Belles in one day? It comes from the same silly mentality that flows throughout all the parks. More is better. I would like to propose the concept that more is not better. Walt Disney proved it time and time again. Quality is more important than quantity especially when it comes to Disney Characters.

Evidence of this is very clear when you observe the performance of these characters. Clearly auditions have not been selective enough nor has training been very specific. I have seen more hyper Plutos and snippy Snow Whites than I ever thought possible. Have these characters ever seen their original animation? More importantly, have the casting directors, trainers, and managers seen them? Clearly real talent isnʼt drawn to the job because it doesnʼt pay well enough.

My suggestion: less characters with higher pay.

 

Reader Comments (35)

Funny, But my cousin actually played Belle on stage at DisneyWorld. I've seen recordings of her and she was pretty darn awesome.

But aside from that, I get what you are saying.

March 11, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterdisney obsessor

I *COMPLETELY* agree that Disney needs to start producing quality over quantity. This can be seen from their attractions (Tower of Terror's story at DCA is far less immersive than WDW's to achieve higher ride capacity) to their stores (the same Disney stuff is sold in almost every park at every store). I'm tired of Disney building and thinking "on the cheap".

That said, I have to say this article is biased. As far as the quality, training, and auditions, I can't argue with that. But, You specifically went out to seek every Belle across WDW. What else did you expect? Of course the Belles have to be different. It's quite possible for you to come home with pictures of 6 different Belles when you seek Belles out. :)

Now, you could just be unclear were just seeking out princesses and hoping to see other princesses. But you start out saying that you're looking for Belle.

March 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSubsonic

I think the point Lilly is trying to make is that the mentality of “more is more” is not a good one. She never says that only one person needs to play Belle or that she’s surprised to see multiple Belles in one day.

I think Disney so very often takes a good thing (like princesses) and overdoes it in the name of “giving the public what they want. I call it “selling out”.

For example: I like pirates. I loved them as a kid. But I only want to see them where they belong: In and near the Pirates of the Caribbean rides. I don’t think they should be accessible around every corner just because pirates are what the public wants. Princesses from different time periods and parts of the world should not unite for breakfast in a pavilion celebrating the country of Norway.

As for characters in general I’m of the school of thought that says don’t put them anywhere and everywhere but only where they belong. The character performers should act according to their respective personalities and abilities as subscribed in the movie in which they star (excluding their crappy sequels). For me the most important rule should be: No character cross-overs. The Mad Hatter should not be dancing with Rafiki in some fruity parade or anywhere else. For crying out loud, keep them separate.

Great post, Lilly.

March 11, 2010 | Registered CommenterMitch

disney obsessor: I agree. There are talented people at Disney who provide quality entertainment. I have found that, sadly, a lot of the talented ones leave to pursue other more professional things after dealing with sub-par standards for too long. Not all, but some.

March 11, 2010 | Registered CommenterMitch

Disney Obsessor: I realize I did not make that distinction. Both the Belles that perform on stages (The Beauty and the Beast show and Storytime with Belle) are equity performers and do get paid more and therefore attract better talent. I am also not saying that there aren't many wonderful character performers out there, I just feel there are too many that are not and the good ones should get paid more.

Subsonic: I only made the point with Belle because she is the most popular face character and therefore is sought out the most. I think it is embarrassing that you could come home with pictures of two different Belles, let alone six, even if you are seeking her out. Not that there can't be more than one Belle, I just don't think there should more than one in the same park on the same day. There's only one Belle. That's the illusion. But I could make the same argument for any of the characters and not even limit it to face characters. There are too many Tiggers, too many Mickeys, too many Stitches. If you can walk out of a restaurant having just visited with Pooh (Crystal Palace) and then see him again just walking down the street and through the castle with a line already formed (Pooh's Playful Spot), that's too many. Pooh didn't run out of the restaurant and run down the street so he could meet you again. They insult the intelligence of children too often. Pooh can't run that fast. It ruins the illusion that you are really meeting Pooh. Disney has commercialized even the character experience to the point that guests expect to see characters instead of feeling lucky that they happened upon one. It should be a more special experience than that.

March 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLilly

Mitch: I totally agree. That wasn't my point. In fact, I think it's totally ridiculous that Disney converts parts of World Showcase into Princess meet and greets. I HATE it. Disney really does sell out now. They aren't proactive, they are reactive.

Lilly: I live near Disneyland. I'm not as familiar with all the names. When reading, it sounded like you were going from some hotel, to MK, to Epcot. I would assume to see the same character at these different parks/hotels. But within the same park? I'm in full agreement with you. I shouldn't see the same Character all over the place. In fact. I remember a day, when I used to work there as a Ride Operator I overheard the CM say to Mickey, "Okay Mickey, it's time to go get ready for the parade." and then they went backstage before the parade. That's showmanship and theme. Sigh. Where's that Disney Theme and consistency I fell in love with? Humbug to cartoons in Tomorrowland

March 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSubsonic

Subsonic: Ah, thanks for the feedback. I have edited the article to make it a little more clear.

March 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLilly

When I was a kid (even though I went for the attractions) I never even considered standing in a line to meet a character, let alone a very slow moving long line. There was something much better: Occasionally a character would show up out of nowhere and it was fun. No lines or autograph books. Just a great little moment seeing a character and the anticipation of seeing another one at some unexpected moment.... meanwhile we focussed on RIDES. And food. And maybe the Main Street Electrical Parade or fireworks.

March 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Absolutely agreed. It is so Disney selling out, trying to make more money for their stockholder's benefits. "By Any Means Possible" could be an upcoming annual park slogan. I'm also a huge believer in paying more for better quality cast members. There are always going to be some who shine, standing out amongst those who are just in it for a paycheck. That's not how it started, and those workers should be moved to an area that does not deal with "making dreams come true".

Subsonic and Anonymous(above me) hit the nail right on the head. I also remember 35 years ago seeing characters pop up randomly around the park, happy to spend a few moments with guests. They were a lot more various, very pleasurable, and lines weren't necessary in any form to corral over-eager people. Everyone waited their turn and moved aside after a few seconds with a character, allowing the next family to enjoy a meet & greet. Those were the days.

March 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBrett

I vote more variety of characters. With the number of times I see Belle, Aladdin, and the Mad Hatter, you'd never know Disney has decades of beloved Disney characters at their disposal

September 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterThe Ninja Pirate

Great post. I have to agree to the fact that having more than 6 of the same character is ridiculous and is DEFINITELY insulting the child's intelligence as well as breaking the illusion that the park (or at least, Walt back in the day) works so hard to create. What's the point?

The rare encounter should be the reward itself. Rewarding the returning visitors so it gives them the incentive to go: 'This time for SURE I'll find Pocahontas (Preferably not hanging around in Tomorrow Land) and talk to her'

Mitch: While I understand the need for keeping the 'purity' and abstaining from cross-overs, I also must respectfully disagree. I think that would be a great potential wasted. Of course I believe there should be boundaries like mentioned above such as Pocahontas not being in Tomorrow Land (hopefully). It would be ridiculous for her to be talking with Buzz Lightyear, but picture this:

What about Pirates of the Caribbean (Well, unless Disneyland brings back Jack Sparrow), Peter Pan and the Little Mermaid. Those all share some common themes like the sea. So Jack Sparrow (assuming that he was there) would be wise cracking against Captain Hook, while maybe Flounder or Sebastian is caught inside a giant fish tank as a trophy that both wants. Ariel in the back would be screaming 'Let go of my friends!'

Same could be said for Beauty & The Beast, Hunchback of Notre dame where although in different timeline, both are set in France.. I could see a lot of creative cross-overs being successful and actually (mostly) making sense.

I look at the videos and find that it's tricky... Especially villains since they need to be 'villainy' and yet somehow semi-approachable.. Well at least none of them will be trying to kill anyone, while in the film they would do it without hesitation.

And yeah, I actually don't mind seeing Snow White, Cinderella and Aurora together. It's great for the kids to ask Cinderella, 'What do you think of Snow White?'

Although it was a bit of a bummer to see in one of the videos where Belle was mentioning Dash from the Incredibles and asking the children if they could be as fast as him. A bit of leeway is allowed I suppose.

I love Disneyland mostly because of the theme rather than the rides. Don't get me wrong... The rides are AMAZING and it wouldn't be no Disneyland without it... But it's the characters that I adore Disney and its theme in the first place, and I would be heart broken to see if they were having 6 of the same characters!

That would be like you had this amazing chat with Snow White, and you say good bye and later down the road, you meet her again... You excitingly wave at her going:

'Your highness! Remember me?!!'

And she'd be all like: 'Oh dear I'm afraid I don't'

I could take the disappointment... But the kids.... SOMEONE MUST THINK OF THE KIDS!!! :(

December 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMac

I'll be honest though, as soon as my Kids saw that Tigger and Pooh were Giants, I think the illusion of meeting the real deal disappeared completely. hahahah i could see the thought process on my two year old's face, "This is Winnie the Pooh? He's supposed to be smaller than Christopher Robin, but this guy is bigger than my Dad. Screw that, it's not the real Winnie the Pooh."

Actually, when I think about it, on our last trip, we had the exact opposite experience of what you describe. We didn't see any Princesses at all while we were at Disneyland. We Saw Alice and the Mad Hatter walking away over by the Teacups ride, Saw Tigger and Pooh by the Pooh ride, Mickey and Donald walking away on Main Street and that was it.

but I don't doubt that it can be over done sometimes. Maybe it just depends on the days that you go and being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

January 16, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterdisney_obssesor

This is really a stupid post...Kids dont get that Belle is in one land and not the next after they see them hrs later. kids now Magic and I guess you dont

February 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterD

Hold on there, "D".

We can't use "magic" as an excuse every time something is out of order. Even if you aren't a purist, one would have to agree that the Disney parks are not some thoughtless kiddie parks where anything goes.

This post nails it on the head. Don't give the world parks with high standards only to lower those standards because it's easier.

February 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I'm not sure if I necessarily agree with post. I think that Disney performers are highly talented and do get plenty of training. Maybe there shouldn't be so many of each character, but I think that Disney trains every single one of their Character castmembers very well. I read James B. Stewart's Disney War and at the beginning of the book, Stewart opens the book telling his experience as Goofy. He says that he had to go through hours of training, just learning how to walk like Goofy, act like Goofy, and make little kids happy in a way that Goofy would. Also, since Michael Eisner's reign as CEO, Disney has started thinking "cheap, cheap, and more cheap." Eisner made successful live-action movies at both Paramount and Disney by thinking, "cheap, cheap, cheap." Eisner would cut costs on sets and hire C or B-List actors to save money. Although this worked with movies, it should not be brought into the Parks and Bob Iger, the current CEO, should DEFINITELY lose this mentality.

May 4, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMaggie

As a current CM, let me just vent for a moment:

The characters at Disney World (yes, ALL the parks and even at the hotels) and Disneyland DO still walk around and do sets. This is how it goes: Mickey (or whoever) enters Main Street. Mickey is quickly mobbed by guests, surrounded and even though he walks as briskly as he is able, while still waving "Hi" to everyone, he is being hit and literally grabbed because people want him to stop and take a photo. Stop for one picture or autograph and that's the end of your walk. He'll be surrounded by a crowd and you could walk by 15 feet from him and not even know he is there!

Replace Mickey with ANY character, even obscure ones. This is just how it is now. It is not Disney's fault that this happens. The characters, managers, and guests would all LOVE if the characters could walk around freely and create magic moments - however, most guests don't want to see them or have a quick moment, they want a picture. And an autograph. And maybe a few more pictures...

When the characters do these atmosphere sets, the only people who end up getting pictures are the ones who grab Mickey and physically stop him, then *snap* the photo, or the pushy kids/parents who move all the sweet patient guests out of the way. It is sad and disgusting.

When the characters are in locations, beautiful moments are made. No other children/adults can ruin their special time with their character. This way, there aren't hundreds of parents at City Hall at night saying "we followed Belle for 25 minutes but didn't get a photo!" etc.

To your original post about the "six different Belles", having just one Belle, for example, in each park would be almost rude to the guest. If you have Belle seeing guests only at a (very expensive) restaurant, then she couldn't be elsewhere? Guests who want to see Belle would be forced to pay if they want to see her. That is unfair. Also, people complain it is unfair to have to wait in line to simply "see" a character, which is why some tell stories and are in parades.

Disney really does try to please you. Next time you're in a park, anyone, ask a Character Host/Attendant where you can see characters simply walking around and they will name off half a dozen places (or more) where you can catch so-and-so strolling around between these certain hours. (Those handy Entertainment Guides? They carry information for about one quarter of our characters. The rest ARE walking around - you just don't look for them/see them. Because I promise you, they are there. Every single day.)

Moral of the story: They are everywhere because you've asked for it - and they still walk around EVERY day and you just don't notice them. Probably because they are surrounded. The end.

July 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAllie

As a current CM, let me just vent for a moment:

The characters at Disney World (yes, ALL the parks and even at the hotels) and Disneyland DO still walk around and do sets. This is how it goes: Mickey (or whoever) enters Main Street. Mickey is quickly mobbed by guests, surrounded and even though he walks as briskly as he is able, while still waving "Hi" to everyone, he is being hit and literally grabbed because people want him to stop and take a photo. Stop for one picture or autograph and that's the end of your walk. He'll be surrounded by a crowd and you could walk by 15 feet from him and not even know he is there!

Replace Mickey with ANY character, even obscure ones. This is just how it is now. It is not Disney's fault that this happens. The characters, managers, and guests would all LOVE if the characters could walk around freely and create magic moments - however, most guests don't want to see them or have a quick moment, they want a picture. And an autograph. And maybe a few more pictures...

When the characters do these atmosphere sets, the only people who end up getting pictures are the ones who grab Mickey and physically stop him, then *snap* the photo, or the pushy kids/parents who move all the sweet patient guests out of the way. It is sad and disgusting.

When the characters are in locations, beautiful moments are made. No other children/adults can ruin their special time with their character. This way, there aren't hundreds of parents at City Hall at night saying "we followed Belle for 25 minutes but didn't get a photo!" etc.

To your original post about the "six different Belles", having just one Belle, for example, in each park would be almost rude to the guest. If you have Belle seeing guests only at a (very expensive) restaurant, then she couldn't be elsewhere? Guests who want to see Belle would be forced to pay if they want to see her. That is unfair. Also, people complain it is unfair to have to wait in line to simply "see" a character, which is why some tell stories and are in parades.

Disney really does try to please you. Next time you're in a park, anyone, ask a Character Host/Attendant where you can see characters simply walking around and they will name off half a dozen places (or more) where you can catch so-and-so strolling around between these certain hours. (Those handy Entertainment Guides? They carry information for about one quarter of our characters. The rest ARE walking around - you just don't look for them/see them. Because I promise you, they are there. Every single day.)

Moral of the story: They are everywhere because you've asked for it - and they still walk around EVERY day and you just don't notice them. Probably because they are surrounded. The end.

July 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAllie

Thank you Allie! I COMPLETELY agree with you! Disney tries so hard to please their guests and then people just bash them!

August 4, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMaggie

I really agree about the casting process. They should spend more time with it! Being a huge Peter Pan fan ever since I was little, I've met many different Peter's. They're all fine. They're all nice, and look the part well enough, but one flies above the others. Going to Disneyland last year i went to the character breakfast and met a Peter who has become known online as Spieling Peter, look him up! He IS Peter! Although I never got a chance to talk to him behind the scenes, I'm sure his dedication is from his own study, not his training. Sadly I believe he just left the part to continue with more schooling, but we need more like him!

December 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDavid

Hold on, Allie:

It's true that many guests have become aggressive when it comes to meeting the characters. A lot of reasons could be cited for this. I think it's because Disney has altered the guests' mindset about the characters. It's gotten to the point that meeting the characters has become an attraction in of itself whilst thirty years ago, it was just one of those rare, experience-enhancing occurrences. Disney themselves are the most responsible for the impatience of guests because of their overabundance of characters as well as their inaccurate portrayal of a fulfilling vacation which is, unfortunately, to do, see and buy as much as possible within eight hours. You see their overemphasis on meeting characters in their advertisements, merchandising and pretty much every medium relating to the parks. Disney has spoiled their guests to the point that most of them expect to see all the characters and, worse, have the right to do so as part of their visit. Too keep up with these ridiculous expectations that they themselves set forth, an overabundance of characters is the result, and its effects are starting to be noticed by the guests.
You can see these same things happening with the actual attractions. The "do, see and buy as much as possible within eight hours" attitude has resulted in guests wanting to ride very single attraction during their visit and, if they are unable to, then their visit was unfulfilling and they must have been cheated out of their money's worth. I can't tell you the number of times I have overheard angry guests demanding full refunds for their park tickets at City Hall because "It's a Small World" was undergoing refurbishment during their visit. The park attractions are competing with each other for the attention of the guests rather than working together to deliver a pleasurable experience. The attractions are made to be bluntly obvious and, as a result, guests feel the need to ride absolutely every attraction in the park whereas, thirty years ago, it was a treat to find a gem-of-an-attraction that would likely be passed by less-observant guests. Now, every square inch of an attraction is covered with flashing lights and tacky fiberglass decorations so that everyone can know that there's something "fun" inside there.
Mickey Mouse strolling out onto Main Street would certainly be chaotic with today's mindset. After all, he's one of the fab five, although it is still unfortunate and shouldn't be a problem. But it's a sad, sad day in the parks when Little John or Br'er Rabbit can't walk onstage without being pummeled to the ground by a mob of screaming children and pushy parents. At the very least, lesser-known characters should be free to wander and if that causes a problem, then Disney really needs to rethink their portrayal and emphasis on character meet-and-greets altogether. No more autograph books, no more photos, guests should be content with an unexpected, few-second encounter with a random character while just walking through, as it was for years. Characters should be there to enhance the experience, not to be the experience. Guests have ADD and Disney has nobody to blame but themselves for their years of trying to meet their over-the-top revenue goals. Bottom line, quality over quantity.

To Maggie:

If Disney is trying to please their guests, then they are doing a few things wrong. However, if they are trying to please their stockholders, then they're doing great and should have nothing to worry about until a few years when their guests' constant demanding gets to the point where Disney cannot meet the expectations they set forth. Disney fans are not at fault for criticizing Disney's practices, Disney is at fault for giving them something to criticize.

December 30, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterwedway

My first visit to WDW was 1984. My husband had been several times including opening year. As to characters, in 1984, our daughter was playing around some small scale sets or something like oversized dollhouses. A bunch of characters wandered along from Robin Hood and Winnie the Pooh. Despite the fact that she had no idea who some were, she was thrilled to simply see them. We didn't feel compelled to run up and push or grab the character. We waved & smiled. Winnie walked over and hugged our four year old. We didn't think to get a photo but despite that, it's a lovely Disney memory. I think bad behavior stemming from parents forgetting how to teach & train kids has led to the character lines & dinners. I don't mind character dinners but don't love the extra cost of the dinner just to have a character come by the table while I'm eating. Crystal Palace might be a far better more enjoyable meal withOUT the characters. But I wouldn't know. That option doesn't exist. I love the character tents idea or whatever. Works for those willing or wanting to see specific characters but easily skipped if not interested. I do miss the impromptu characters walking around with no or much less security. Takes away from the magic to see Cinderella surrounded by what appears to be policemen. But alas, you can blame terrible parenting for this. If it weren't for the poor behavior of kids AND their parents, there might be more magical character moments. Also, LEAVE OUT THE AUTOGRAPH BOOK! Painful waste of time!

May 22, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterL montin

I totally agree with most of you guys!
This is an excellent thread post, you can't find such posts anywhere else. That's why i love this website so much! :-)

So, i would like to share My opinion also.

I am a Disneyland maniac and a big fan of Disney empire generally. As a graphic designer that i am, i Like so much the excellency of Disney art.
I love the whole thing and concept. From designing Disneyland "landscapes" and attractions, to Disney characters "Mascot Costumes".

BUT,!
i like to tell my opinion straightforward.

I really hate it when i see "Face Characters" NOT wearing "Mascot Masks" at DISNEYLAND parks, globally.

If I was in charge of this, i would never allow any "naked-face"character to appear publicly at the Parks. I would demand from every Disney character to wear a mask.

And there is a simple reason for that. It's because every time i see photos from several Disneyland parks, i see a different face for Snow white, peter pan, Belle, Aurora etc. As you have already mentioned and explained this above. Then for me, the magic of Disney characters turns off, at that certain moment.
This is a very uncool thing. Not only for me but for all the visitors i guess.

For example, I would like to see the Ariel's real-movie-face as a "mask" and not as a different woman every time, dressed up like Ariel.

Visitors are going to Disneyland to visit their favorite "Cartoon" Characters and NOT other people's faces pretending to be the Disney
characters.

The Magic of Characters is in their big EYES and cartoon faces.
No human have those big beautiful cartoonish eyes!

I would allow to them not to wear masks, and have their faces shown, ONLY when they are acting on a show or a role play, on a theater's stage. Only there.

I don't know if you agree with this guys.
Disney directors must really reconsider these things about characters.

November 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDisneyeuros

You all have a point. Having been around the world to all Disney parks and cruise ships. I find Tokyo Disney Resort is the best, the characters are the same person all day everywhere. Face characters are played by the same performer all day at that park. Whether at a meet and greet, in a stage show, or in a parade. And it makes it very special. you will have multiple non-face characters, but never in veiw of each other, all characters go in hiding during parades and stage shows, just in case.

August 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterEric

I have to say that more is not necessarily better...BUT, in this case, it is a necessity. Imagine, going to the park, with one or two character locations... When every park has 10's of thousands of guests daily, how do you handle volume? In a perfect world, and back in the 70 and 80s, there may have been only 1 character anywhere at a time (speculating). That would definitely hold the integrity of the fantasy alive. But how can you divide Belle among thousands of little kids? She needs a lunch break too. I'm just being silly, but in all honesty, characters make guests happy. The more characters, and the shorter the wait, the better.

September 2, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMJ

Disney is simply doing their job, providing their guests with more than one opportunity to meet their favorite character at a location and time that's convenient to their unique planned out day. Chances are the children don't realize the differences in performers, but rather enjoy getting to see their favorite again. If you go seeking all of the holes in the character timing and meeting areas you destroy the magic and ruin your own trip. The only thing that matters is if your girls enjoyed their time with belle, not how many faces belle had.

September 2, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBeggars can't be choosers

They are valid point, all. But a few thoughts: There are so many of each character because that is what the guests have asked for. Most guests meet the character once and then just wave from the parade or watch from the audience of a show. The illusion for the child is solid. And, as a parent, if we are bringing our child to multiple greetings it is OUR responsibility to help keep the magic going... say to the character "Hi, Belle, I know we just had breakfast with you in Norway and we saw you in the parade but we wanted to come by again to give you another hug! No, we don't need another autograph but we wanted to ask you...." This kind of info gives the character something to work with to help keep the magic alive!

As for "Storytime with Belle" that was a truly magically show! Where else could you sit with your child in your lap and feel like you were one of Belle's good friends, sharing something lovely together? Now they trashed it out and put in the number-crunching 'Belle's House' show, with the really cool mirror effect but boring show. The entrance cast member was much better/more entertaining than Belle and not everyone got to meet her at the end... Not a fan. I hope for Christmas they bring the old show back for the parties. So sweet!

Anyway, to the point, people have demanded more characters and Disney World has filled in. You are right, there are too many so Disney can't be too picky and they are WAY under paid so they don't draw top talent. But, there are some that are amazing and worth finding. However, Disney World is so full of such masses of people that if you have the money and the ability and really want to see quality characters go to Disneyland. The characters have more time to play and Disney has top LA talent to chose from so they can be much much pickier. Check out some of the YouTube stuff, it's really good!

But, give the ones at Disney World a little help with some extra info and I bet they will rise to the occasion. I often see them treated like numbers so they act like numbers. Talk with them, ask them a question you and your child have come up with, give them a pic that your child colored and I think you'll see them bloom!

And, if Disney slipped them an extra 10$ an hour that would not hurt, either!

September 2, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterD Gal

Subsonic, there is NOTHING wrong the animated characters being in Tomorrowland!

September 2, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Why are people magically posting in this thread again?
I beg to differ, Anonymous. I think there are a great deal of problems with having animated characters in Tomorrowland.

September 2, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterwedway

I don't see it so much as a "more is more" mind set on Disney's part but as a "supply and demand" situation with some of the more popular characters. They want to make guests happy and that means the more popular the character, the more people want to see them. The more people want to see them, the more avalible they need to be to cut down on waiting times.

Your case of seeing Belle mutilple times over different parks in a day is one side of the story. The other side is families that only do one park a day or don't get around as much that could go an entire trip and only cross paths with Belle one time.

To make guests happy, they need to make the more popular characters avalible for as many people to see them as possible. If Belle was only avalible to meet and greet in one location in ALL of the Disney World, do you realize how many little kids would be let down? The wait times would be outragious, parents would either not wait and upset the child or wait and complain about how long they had to wait.

So while I DO agree 100% on a more selective process and better training, I don't agree on less characters. Less characters will mean longer waits for the character you want to see and aggrivated people. They already get frustrated enough as is with a 15 minute wait for a character. Do you really want to see them with a 100 minute wait? I have seen it and it is NOT pretty.

September 2, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLaine

Its a simple matter of supply and demand. The real truth is the demand is actually larger than the supply. The child doesn't really seem to notice the subtle differences from performer to performer - they are wrapped up in the fact that their favorite character is standing in front of them- singing, dancing, storytelling, talking directly to them, posing for a photo, and signing autographs. Its the adults that have trouble suspending reality. But it's also the adults that insist on taking the preschoolers to not one, BUT TWO princess character dining experiences. Why not switch it up with the Pooh characters at Crystal palace, or Mickey and Friends at Chef Mickeys, or Lilo and Stitch at Ohana, or Mary Poppins, Alice, Peter Pan and Wendy at Grand Floridian. Disney provides a variety of characters, but if all you are looking for is Belle.... that's exactly what you'll find, because Disney is keeping up with YOUR demand.

September 2, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPixie

I completely agree with your concern. Ever since Walt passed, I believe quantity became more important than quality. They do not pay their characters enough for all of the magic that they bring to all of the adults and children around the world. The Disney corporation would receive much more efficiency from their characters if they felt more appreciated and got paid more. The characters bring the animations To life! Without them, the park would be like any other theme park. Quality is more important. They should re-considered their entertainment plan for sure. Higher pay, fewer "belles".

September 2, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCindy

In my opinion, I believe that (when it comes to the Disney Princesses) that those characters should be in a specific location. For example: The movie Beauty and the Beast takes place in France right? So, Belle should only be in that area of Epcot and/or the meet & greet area in innovations. Not in any other location in Epcot. In the Magic Kingdom, Belle should only be in her castle area and/or (if there is any) a certain spot where all the Disney Princesses meet in the Magic Kingdom and no where else in the Magic Kingdom. I also think that sometimes you might bump into a Disney Princess that's just having a bad day. That doesn't mean that they are talentless. But, I do tend to agree that it seems (just a bit though) that Disney isn't always looking for quality people as much as they used to. Even the food (in some instances) is becoming lack luster. My parents and I used to love the all you can eat buffet at the Germany Pavilion at Epcot. Now, we don't go there anymore since the food isn't as good. If Disney doesn't start going for quality stuff, the company is going to lose a lot of loyal customers/guests.

September 2, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAdriana

Wow. Crazy post.I was a character at WDW 30 yrs ago and all those magical memories are clouded!

First off, we were highly trained and they still are. There were multiple face characters back then just like today. Shifts can only be so long and people want those princesses and others day and night.

Those magical appearances were rough on characters back then. We were beat, pulled, abused and more. People were just as tough on us then as they are now. There were many lawsuits over character treatment by guests.

It had to change. Period. Guests continually complained about not seeing the beloved characters and they had to do something about. It.

Lets talk about change. Back then Disney was in very bad financial trouble dears. Tough times for Disney 30 years ago.many cuts had to be made and changes made. Like it or not, Eisner made the company whole again.

I don't accept for a minute about kids figuring out that those Belles are differents girls . Sorry. With all the magic they get to see , I just don't buy it.

Stop whining and let the magic that Disney produces do it's thing.

September 2, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGoof

Wow, where did the Disney sympathizers brigade come from all of a sudden and why are they commenting on a post from three years ago?

September 2, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterwedway

Because you wanted us to reply so you'd have something to argue about.

September 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRelax

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