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Character Meet-and-Greets Returning To U.S. Disney Parks

LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL - MAY 02: In this handout photo provided by Disney, Disney characters (L-R) Doc, Happy Dwarf and Sleepy Dwarf take the stage to help dedicate the park's newest attraction, the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train in the Magic Kingdom park May 2, 2014 at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. The attraction, which will open to guests May 28, is a family-style coaster that immerses guests in playful and musical scenes inspired by the Disney animated classic film, "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs." The attraction completes New Fantasyland, the largest expansion in the history of the Magic Kingdom. (Photo by Ryan Wendler/Disney Parks via Getty Images)

This is not a drill!

This week, the Walt Disney Company confirmed that it would be dropping distancing requirements across all parks in the United States.

As of April 18th, fans will once again have the chance to not only see their favorite Disney characters up close, but they’ll get to embrace them too!

“Very soon, you will once again be able to hug Mickey Mouse, get an autograph from Mulan, and share a laugh with Goofy,” Senior Communications Manager Shawn Slater shared in an official Disney blog post. “We know many of you have missed these special moments, and your Disney character friends have missed you, too!

The seemingly normal tradition had to be paused approximately two years ago thanks to the rising COVID rates across the country and the need for social distancing. Despite still being in a pandemic, the combination of rising vaccination rates, lower infection rates, all the other rollbacks taking place across the country, as well as the upcoming Summer season make it a perfect time to bring it back.

In the same post, Slater explains that the decision was still made with the healthy and safety of both the visitors and cast members in mind.

“Recent trends and guidance have provided opportunities for us to bring back some of our most beloved magic, like character greetings and dining experiences,” he said.

It’s important to note that not all parks and locations within the parks will see the return of meet-and-greets immediately. The reopening and reintroduction of this feature will occur in phases beginning this month and over the course of the next few months.

SOURCE: Walt Disney Company