ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Mickey Mouse will soon be able to hug again.
For nearly two years, costumed characters in American Disney parks have kept their distance from visitors because of the pandemic. They couldn’t hug, sign autographs or interact closely with fans.
That’s set to change in a few weeks when the parks reintroduce traditional character greetings. Starting in mid-April, personal interaction between Guests and costumed characters will once again be allowed at Disneyland in California, Walt Disney World in Florida and on Disney cruises, the company announced last week in a blog post. .
The parks temporarily closed due to the coronavirus in the spring of 2020. After the parks reopened that summer, costumed figures could only be seen from afar in the parks or in parades. Last fall, the parks allowed costumed figures to return to locations around the parks for one-on-one encounters with visitors, but they were only allowed to greet visitors and have their photo taken from a distance.
“Very soon you’ll be able to hug Mickey Mouse again, get an autograph from Mulan and share a laugh with Goofy,” the post read. “We know many of you missed those special moments, and you missed your Disney character friends too!”
Not all traditional character greeting locations will be open right away, the company said. They will be reopened in phases.