|One of Three photos taken at this meet and greet. Without this pose, it would have been 2 photos.|
I wrote the post below on January 8, 2013. But as of August 2015, DCL will no longer be offering this service--click here to read the whole article. And, other than someone's time to add the signatures and deliver the items back to staterooms, I'm uncertain as to why.
My initial response to the announcement is that character meet and greet lines will now take longer as guests/families will want more than a photo, but will want autographs and sometimes more than one--two kids, two autographs. I can recall be chastised by a Cast Member for asking for an autograph during a meet and greet as it was going to slow down the line and being told to take my items to Guest Services. No more!
And, now that the lines will take longer, it means that fewer guests will get to greet the characters. Characters are available for only a certain amount of time and once that time is up, the characters leave.
I'm left wondering about the reason for this change. Were guests skipping the character meet and greets, which is an opportunity to take and eventually sell photos, thinking "oh, well, I'm getting character autographs at Guest Services anyway"? So, is this a way to potentially sell more photographs? I read a comment to the original article saying that this will give photographers a chance to capture more photos i.e. the signing of the autograph, but I've never seen a ship's photographer take that type of photo as you might find in the parks with Photopass. The ship's photographer wants to get one, maybe two, really good photos that guests will buy.
This also means guests will need to carry their "autograph stuff" with them wherever they go on the ship. Some comments indicated that only autograph books would be signed--nothing else (also an opportunity to sell--autograph books and pens). I could mention potential sanitary issues--lots of hands touching lots of pens/markers here, too--as we all know hand washing on the ship is a priority. Will there be wipes at the meet & greets? (I'm typing that with a humorous tone.)
The husband and I were talking about this over dinner and I said that meals will now be interrupted. Some character meet and greets overlap dinner by just a bit, either at the beginning or the ending. And, on occasion, the boy and or the husband have left early to snag a character, such as Captain Jack Sparrow. No more Mickey Mail will make this scenario happen more often.
On the plus side, giving characters something to "do" during the meet and greet can make the exchange more comfortable for guests and characters alike. Sometimes a guest may not know what to say or do when greeting a Disney character. That has never been our problem, but I can see where it might be difficult for some. When I see Belle, I ask her about books she has read. When I see Captain Hook, I tease him with a "tick, tock." Oh, and if we find Peter Pan, I ask him to tell Tink hello and teach us how to fly!
The husband has made noises about no longer getting character autographs and this announcement may seal the deal.
If you are a Disney fan then most likely finding and meeting Disney characters, posing for photos, and getting character autographs is all part of the fun on your Disney vacation. When sailing with Disney Cruise Line, know that you can take some of the “work” out of your vacation with “Mickey Mail.”
Mickey Mail is a service offered to cruise line guests wishing for character autographs. Each stateroom is allowed two items which can be dropped off at Guest Services with markers of course, and those autographed items will be returned to your stateroom during turn down service the last night of your cruise—hence the “mail” portion of Mickey Mail.
On our most recent cruise, I left a pillow case and picture frame matte at Guest Services along with a set of Sharpie markers for each item—just in case they got separated—on our first day on board the ship. Those same items were returned to me in a Disney Cruise Line sack on the last evening of the cruise. I then packed them away in a suitcase for safe keeping until we arrived home.
Mickey Mail worked like a charm for us, as we got autographs of characters that we didn’t meet during the cruise, such as Remy or Wendy. It was also great that we didn’t have to tote around autograph items on Castaway Cay, yet knew we were still getting autographs from those characters when they were relaxing back on the ship.
While we had a custom pillow case made prior to our trip—click here to read more—we have used plain pillow cases that can be purchased somewhat inexpensively at a local Wal-Mart (in a set of 2 which lasted a couple of trips). I also saw a pillow case being dropped off at Guest Services for Mickey Mail that had been embroidered to commemorate the occasion. Autograph books can also be given to Guest Services on the cruise ship.
It was interesting that another guest was at Guest Services at the same time I was doing the same thing I was. She was concerned as the internet and message boards have indicated that this service may not be available for guests. Guest Services was happy to take my items and the other guest’s items. And, we heard Cast Members referring guests to “Mickey Mail” when they were greeting characters with autograph books in hand, perhaps as a way to quicken character meet and greet sessions as autographs take extra time and this way more guests could meet characters in the same amount of time. So, rest assured, this service is available.
The pillow case went promptly into the wash with the rest of the laundry when we got home, but is now on the boy’s bed helping him have sweet Disney dreams each night.
The tough part is going to be choosing the 5 X 7 photo to go inside the 8 X 10 picture frame matte. When I asked the boy what photo he wanted, Stitch was his answer. Knowing that we met Stitch twice during our land/sea vacation, I asked which Stitch. Pirate Stitch was his final answer. Got it!