How would you answer this question from your child?

Discussion in 'Disney for Families' started by kniquy, Jan 10, 2018.

  1. kniquy

    kniquy DIS Veteran

    Dec 15, 2014
    we are just over 3 months from my 4DD first trip. We talk about the trip all the time- what we are gonna ride, what we are gonna eat, which characters and princesses she wants to meet. So tonight at dinner she states- “I know it is just humans in those costumes”. We were kind of horrified and didn’t know quite how to respond. We did try to have her tell us why she thought that and she noted they are too big to be the characters on the TV. We didn’t deny or confirm her suspicions. I guess I never expected her to question it. I feel like this is a tougher one to answer than the dreaded Santa question.

    Have your children question this? How did you respond?

    I hate to lose that part of the magic and excitement of her meeting Minnie and Mickey for the first time, but we are not going to push her if she wants nothing to do with the “humans in costumes”.
  2. BriLovesDisney

    BriLovesDisney DIS Veteran

    Oct 9, 2017
    I don't have children yet, but as someone whose parents would tell them it was the real Mickey and Minnie I would say be honest about it. I appreciate honesty over fantasy. Tell her it's a story, because it is. Doesn't mean it can't still be fun though. Just my two cents :)
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  4. DisneyWishes14

    DisneyWishes14 DIS Veteran

    Nov 21, 2011
    My DS10 said the same thing to me about 3 years ago. It was kind of funny when he said it because it was as if he was telling ME the big secret, LOL! Honestly, for him, none of the magic was lost. He still enjoys meeting his favorite characters. We just had some fantastic meet and greets with Star Lord, Groot, Kylo and Chewy in December. It's sort of a little suspension of disbelief just for that moment of fun. The funnier thing is . . . he still believes in Santa!!! Go figure!
  5. GADisneyDad14

    GADisneyDad14 TPAS Moderator Moderator

    Jul 3, 2014
    My DS has known they were “humans in costumes” since we first took him at 3 - he’s a very “literal” kid and wants to know how things work...there’s no fooling him.

    That being said, he has always had plenty of magic and excitement with characters, despite knowing the reality of the situation. He’s 7 now and still enjoys them more than ever.
  6. MischaOz

    MischaOz DIS Veteran

    May 25, 2015
    This is a very personal decision. I, personally, do not lie to my daughter. She believed in the characters from ages 2-3, but by 4 she had figured it out. WDW is a magical place, and you will have a fantastic time regardless!
  7. pooh2001

    pooh2001 been there, done that, TRYING to go back

    Feb 16, 2000
    It's OK
    Your DD will be less frightened of characters without human faces
    Besides all the Princesses have no masks and answer questions as if they are the real Princess :)
  8. Tattylou

    Tattylou DIS Veteran

    Oct 18, 2014
    My kids are 7 and 9. They were 6 and 8 on the last WDW trip. My then 8 year old had been skeptical for a few years, but never directly asked. My then 6 year old whole heartedly believed and he looooves meeting characters. He said a few weeks ago that kids in school told him Mickey is a person in a costume. He sounded really distressed by that possibility. He didn't actually ask me a question though so I just listened. We are going in April so I will see where he is at then. He really loves Mickey. I think even if he had a doubt that he is the kind of boy who wants to believe so much that he would just rather not ask, lol.

    It sounds like your daughter already made a statement of what she thinks rather than asked you a question....maybe just let it be for now and see if she even brings it up again. Sometimes with that age it's better to let them lead - I would talk about it in that way if she brings it up again or if she needs or wants to talk about it, ask questions, etc rather than you just bringing it up again unprompted. It may not even be a big deal to her, just her observation.
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2018
    kboo and LovesTimone like this.
  9. AngiTN

    AngiTN DIS Veteran

    Mar 7, 2011
    I tell them there is no other Mickey, Minnie, Donald, etc, anywhere else. These are the real thing.
    And that's 100% true
    Micca, Tattylou and Mom2Stitch like this.
  10. anomamatt

    anomamatt DIS Veteran

    Sep 28, 2016
    My kids (5 and 3) will say "there is a person in there, right?" and I say "Yep."

    If they ask whether someone is real (e.g., "Is Tiana real?"), I reply with "What do you think?"

    I love the idea that they would still have the magic in their hearts, but I don't personally mislead (e.g., fib or lie) to my kids. If they are old enough to ask the question and my misdirection ("what do you think?"), doesn't work, I truthfully answer their question.

    The hardest thing for me to answer is why talking Mickey so often "loses his voice"... And then he got it back for the castle stage show! My 5 year old was not pleased that Mickey didn't talk to us and was "saving" his voice for the show. Haha.
    MamaBelle4, kboo, tcufrog and 3 others like this.
  11. bushdianee

    bushdianee <font color=green>I had a water fun day planned<br

    Jun 24, 2004
    I have 2 nieces that i have gone to WDW with. the 12 year old has gone at ages 2.5, 4,6,7,and 9. Her mom told her before the trip at age 4 that there were people inside costumes. She could have cared less and loved them anyway. The other niece has been once at age 3. She has always been terrified of any costumed character, mascot etc. The only characters she was comfortable with were the princesses mostly because they were, well princesses but also because she could see their faces. We've since told her the others are just people in costume and have had her watch a couple get into the costumes and let her get into one of the inflatable costumes. She still doesn't like them at age 7 but doesn't run and hide anymore.
  12. Elizabeth Smith

    Elizabeth Smith DIS Veteran

    May 7, 2017
    I would let your kid decide for themselves and tell them that it doesn't matter to you because you'll have fun meeting them either way!
    tcufrog likes this.
  13. hereforthechurros

    hereforthechurros DIS Veteran

    Dec 26, 2017
    My four year old son said the same thing but is still excited for the characters. It actually made him less afraid of them. As long as she's still excited even knowing the truth that's all that matters!
  14. Shanti

    Shanti Momketeer

    Nov 29, 2015
    My son is 13 & knows they're people in costumes, & still enjoys them. I'm 43 & still enjoy them.
  15. ADS2508

    ADS2508 Mouseketeer

    May 10, 2011
    When she asked I told my 4 year old that Disney World is a magic place that we can use our imagination as much as we want and the characters are as real or pretend as she wants them to be. That works for her as she loves using her imagination and is constantly creating her own pretend worlds at home. I never know what character I am when I walk into a room. For her, having someone who is dedicated to playing a role and play pretend with her (all while wearing beautiful costumes) is magic enough. She knows they are actors, but she doesn’t care. Sometimes I think her imagination is so into it she forgets they aren’t real for a minute. It’s fun to watch.
  16. LSUmiss

    LSUmiss DIS Veteran

    Sep 8, 2014
    I’d be happy she’s using her critical thinking skills. :) My nephew was like this at 4.
    JeanfromBNA, kniquy, tcufrog and 4 others like this.
  17. Donalyn

    Donalyn DIS Veteran

    Jun 2, 2008
    My oldest DD and I were looking at the photo album of her second trip a few weeks after we got back. She was 5. She saw a picture of her and Mulan and Mushu. She turned to me and asked, "That's just a person in a Mushu costume, isn't it?" I hesitated, heartbroken, but decided to be honest with her, saying, "Yes." Then she said, "But that's the real Mulan." To which I said, "Yes, it is." That was what she could handle at 5.

    Flash forward to her birthday trip, when she turned 8 at WDW. (Younger DD also turned 5 this trip.) Anyway, we were at CP and she got up and came and whispered in my ear, "This was more fun before I knew that they were just people in costumes." This really broke my heart. I said, "Yes, it was for me too. But it is still really cool." She agreed and we didn't speak of it again.

    They are now 14 and 11 and we are planning to see Mickey and Donald (my fav) this trip and any other characters who we haven't met before (like Joy and Anger, Anna and Elsa, etc.) We love the characters!!!
    kboo likes this.
  18. YawningDodo

    YawningDodo DIS Veteran

    Sep 16, 2014
    This question has come up on the board before...and like before I'll preface this with the caveat that I don't have kids and don't plan to, and can't pretend to know what's best as a parent. I just know that from my own experiences as a kid and the way I remember coming to understand the world around me that when a kid asks you a question like that, they've already figured out the answer. Heck, your daughter didn't even ask; she just stated what she knew. There's really no question of whether she's ready; she's already hit the milestone on her own.

    Rather than ignoring it or hoping it goes away, I'd suggest talking to her about things like storytelling and playing games together -- because when you're old enough to understand that the characters are people in costumes, you're old enough to understand that you can still play along even if you don't really believe something's real. And maybe she won't be as excited about it as she would if she thought they were real, but maybe she still will. Plenty of full grown adults suspend their disbelief when they go to Disney World because that's what makes it fun for them. You can talk to her about how we all keep the magic alive for the kids who are too young to know yet by playing along instead of telling them it's fake, too, and then she'll really be able to feel like she's on the grown-up side of things.
    kniquy likes this.
  19. CrazyHare

    CrazyHare Waiting for our next trip...

    May 14, 2017
    My 5 year old sort of knows the characters are people in costumes, but she still thinks it’s magical. But she is in that weird place where she still thinks the face characters are the real character. And although she knows the fur characters are people in costumes, she asks multiple times if they are real. And we have the talk about what does she think, “they are fake”, and not to tell others because they may not know.
    I never make a big deal about it. Whatever she thinks, we go with.
  20. Thing 1

    Thing 1 DIS Veteran

    Feb 4, 2015
    Every child and every family processes things differently. My boys NEVER thought the characters were real, even on early trips. it just really never occurred to me that children older than maybe toddlers really believed Mickey was a real mouse That being said,at 11 and 25, they are huge Disney fans! We have done just about every character meal and loved them all.we all just pretend we believe they are real and it works fine. Neither ever believed in the tooth fairy or the Easter Bunny either but both came every year. Neither believed in Santa past about 4 or 5. The youngest asked about that age if he had to believe in Santa if he didn’t want to. Christmas is still fun and so much easier pretending with out pressure.
    tcufrog and bumbershoot like this.
  21. Mom2Stitch

    Mom2Stitch DIS Veteran

    Mar 1, 2012
    When my DS questioned it I want to say he was 7 or 8 and he told me that the kids in his class told him the characters weren't real and just people in costumes and wanted to know if that was true. Using the "what do you think?" strategy he answered, "when we are at Disney they are real in my heart," Funny, he's now 23 and that is still his answer :lovestruc

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