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Disneyland Article
Hugs Are Back

Gitanjali Poonia
April 19, 2022
April 29, 2022
The pandemic turned the world upside down. Smiling faces were covered by masks, concerts and parks closed their doors and hugs and handshakes were replaced with social distancing.

The Disney parks, after 14 months of closure, came back to life, but things weren't the same — all the costumed characters greeted guests from a distance. Hugs and autographs were a no-go, and secret whispers were completely out of the question.

But on April 18, the parks announced that hugs are back.

“Recent trends and guidance have provided opportunities for us to bring back some of our most beloved magic, like character greetings and dining experiences,” Disney’s Shawn Slater said, per the LAist.

Interactions with Disney’s cartoon characters have been considered a rite of passage by many American families, according to The New York Times.

“It’s part of what makes Disney so special,” Bri Petrarca told The Times. She was at the park with her sons Grayson, 5, and Asher, 2, to meet characters on Monday.

Characters in full body suits don’t speak and only appear for 30 minutes at a time, while other characters, like princesses, don’t have masks and chat with guests, said Robyn Vossen, Disneyland’s general manager of entertainment operations, per The Times.

Social distancing has also been lifted from character meet-and-greets at Disney World and on the Disney Cruise Line.

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