Many years ago, I was reading an interview with someone who worked with the characters at Disneyland. They recommended against a static pose, and instead that you stand behind the characters and try to capture that expression when your child meets these creatures for the very first time. This advice led me to capturing my favourite photo from our trip to Disneyland Paris, when Hayden met Chip.
We had two character dinners during our holiday. The first was a buffet at Inventions, where we met Mickey, Eeyore, Smee, Pinocchio’s father Mister Geppetto, Chip, Dale, and Pluto. We arrived as soon as it opened, and we had lots of time with all the characters. However, Hayden sat with his back to the door, and sometimes he was a bit startled when these giant characters snuck up behind him. However he was very comfortable with Eeyore, Chip, and Mickey, giving them hugs and bopping them on their noses. I ate lots of fresh seafood, Adrian had a decent vegetarian spread, and Hayden ate nothing but plain crepes. Hayden sat on my lap as we watched Disney Dreams through the window, and he told me that Mickey Mouse makes fire with his hands.
The second dinner was at Cafe Mickey. The children’s meal included quail eggs – very French. My favourite character here was Goofy, who sat down with Hayden and helped him put together his mini-figures from the Lego store next door. We also had a long mime-conversation with Mickey. Adrian asked if he was a prisoner, because he had seen him chained to the parade float. Mickey signed that no, it was just so he didn’t fall off. I asked Mickey if he had cooked the food, but he shook his head and brushed his jacket in such a way to indicate he was the manager, not the chef.
On the last day, Adrian took Hayden to meet Spiderman while I was on the Rock & Roller Coaster. They tried to make Spiderman hand gestures together, but Hayden was a bit confused. Adrian told Hayden to say “Hello Peter”, and Spiderman said that only his friends were allowed to call him Peter, but Hayden could be his friend.