What do preschoolers think about characters


My son will turn 5 in Feb. shortly before this we are going on our first disney trip. He ask if they are real or just men in costumes all the time. I think he wants them to be real but knows they are not. I don’t want to spoil anything for him so, I try now to answer or just say let’s wait and see. Just curious about your experiences.


My daughter who is 3 has asked that several times, and I tell her that there is a person inside the costume. I think it actually helps them to know that. she also was a little unsure about robotic things/characters on rides, so I told her they are robots. It helps them if they are scared.


We answered all 5-year-old questions with the same answer: “It’s Mickey Magic!”

We used that for ALL questions, including how does tinkerbell fly?, is Space Mountain too scary?, where is the music coming from?

It worked for at least a year or two!


My son is 5 1/2 and informed me that there are people inside. I was heartbroken. I’m hoping at Disney he’ll let the magic take over and not think of the practical side, but we’ll see.

As far as being scared…mine never has been so the characters were always just like big teddy bears to him.


My kids know too . . . but they still hug them and talk to them like they are REAL! That’s what makes Disney so fun . . . where else can you take a picture with a human size Mouse — and actually ENJOY IT?? :wub:

My DD5 for a long time would only go near certain characters . . . then I got her an autograph book and she :heart: to collect the characters signatures. So she goes near EVERYONE now!


My son was soon to turn 4 when we took him a little over a year ago. I wasn’t sure how he would react to the characters. He usually like to stand at a distance with that kind of thing. Well lets just say, he was Awe Struck when he saw Buzz Light Year. He could not wait to get close to him and get his autograph, hugs and the whole thing. It was a real Disney moment for me and him!:wub: After that he was ready to see how many characters and autographs he could get.!
I’ll have to let you know how he will be this time. We just found out yesterday that we are going back to WDW in 7 wks!!!:laugh:


I’m a character performer here at WDW. As a performer we do our best to pull off the illusion that the characters are indeed real. Even children up to 10 years old have approached us with the mindset that the characters are real because they can’t figure out how in the world it can possibly be costumes. And with technology constantly getting better for us, especially with articulated characters at Dream Along With Mickey and Festival of the Lion King, the reality of our characters are even more clear. I was watching Dream Along one day next to a girl who was I guess about 5 or 6. As soon as the characters came out and started talking, she hit her mom and said, “you said the characters weren’t real!” The mom was actually dumbfounded. I just smiled and chuckled. Even the adults can’t figure us out.

Plus my attendants do a really great job answering questions about the characters that parents can not. So you can tell your kids whatever they want, but they’ll believe what they want to believe, and if they think we’re real, don’t ask us to say we’re not, because we’ll show you how you’re “greatly mistaken.” :biggrin:


Hey Rowdy what character are you? I have been reading you replies and post for so long. I would love to at least say Hi to you when I am there! :happy:


my DD is 5yo. she did not question anything about the characters until this year…she asked why they can’t / won’t talk, like the “face” characters do. she asked why they always put their hands up to the mouths like they are laughing or something like that.

i just said “huh, i had not noticed that!” lol

she knows some of the attractions are robots…like the bears at CBJ, and the people in Spaceship Earth. those are obvious!lol

kids are smart nowadays…don’t just flat out lie to them if they ask if people are inside the costumes…but try to let them figure it out on their own.

kinda like when they ask if Santa is for real…standard answer for generations in our family…“what do you think?” :o) (not in a sarcastic way…but in a sincere way…pose the question back to them.) then if they say they don’t think it’s real…explain to them why…for characters: it’s fun to pretend…and for Santa; tell them the story of St. Nicholas and why parents continue the tradition of Santa…all over the world.

ok…i am rambling…lol


I really think that every child is different. Both of my kids have been going to WDW since birth. My oldest Nathaniel has ALWAYS LOVED the characters! He’s now 7 and he still believes it’s “MAGIC!”. Whenever he asks how or why about something, I just say “IT’S MAGIC!” and he totally accepts that answer. That’s EXACTLY what I say about how Santa can deliver all of his gifts to every kid around the world in just one night. :happy:

Now my 3 1/2 year old DD…that’s a TOTALLY different story. She has HATED characters since she was old enough to let us know. I have pics of her first trip when she was almost 5 months old SCREAMING her head off because Mickey was next to her, talking to her, his nose in her face…SHE HATED HIM!!! To this day, she HATES any costumed character she comes in contact with. However, she LOVES the Disney Princesses and she LOVES Minnie for some reason! Those are the ONLY characters she will approach. :laugh:


Thanks for all of the replies. My son has seen a few good costumes and for a couple of years he says men and women inside. I know they don’t compare to the ones I’ve seen online at Disney. I’m sure it will take a while for him to approach the first few. I don’t want to lie to him but still want it to be magical. I will let him decide if he wants to believe!


I’ve helped over 24 characters since I’ve been here. Goofy is my favorite to “help.” Big Bad is my fave villain. Ever want to know where I am when you get here? Just message me right before you leave, I’ll tell you my schedule and then you can find me. That’s how ddoll found me 2 weeks ago :biggrin:


We took my then DD6 and thought she would know they weren’t real but then she asked since Cinderella lived in that castle did the other Princesses live with her or was there castle somewhere else. It is really precious to have them believe in the magic.


[QUOTE=MissDisney;926402]We answered all 5-year-old questions with the same answer: “It’s Mickey Magic!”

We used that for ALL questions, including how does tinkerbell fly?, is Space Mountain too scary?, where is the music coming from?

It worked for at least a year or two![/QUOTE]

that answer still works for me now and I am 32! :biggrin:


Trust me it is a great answer for everything.

Son: Dad why do cheseburgers taste better at Disney?
Me: Disney Magic

Son: Why is the sky blue?
Me: Disney Magic


Us too Rowdy…


Good call!