Hugs are back at Disneyland

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The pandemic has turned the world upside down. Smiling faces have been covered in masks, concerts and parks have closed, and hugs and handshakes have been replaced by social distancing.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 visitors from a distance. Hugs and autographs were forbidden, and secret whispers were completely out of the question.

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

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

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

“That’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 bodysuits 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, general manager. of Disneyland’s entertainment operations, according to The Times. .

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

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