No one greets guests like Gaston! And sometimes those are pretty awkward character meet and greets. We run down why you should want to meet Gaston on your next Walt Disney World trip.
Best (and Most Awkward) Character Meet and Greets With Gaston
Originally written June 6, 2014
There’s this insanity going on over at the Magic Kingdom. I still can’t wrap my head around it even though I experienced it myself.
People race down Main Street with their eye on a single prize. And no, this is not one of the runDisney races, though the joke circulating Facebook for a while called it the Frozen 5K.
What’s THE E-Ticket in the Magic Kingdom?
Why the Anna and Elsa character meet and greet.
Yes, that’s right. A character meet and greet.
Elsa and Anna Meet and Greet
Can I say something crazy?
They are way over-rated.
I’m not hating- they were ok.
But they were not my favorite character experience and not worth waiting in a super long line. Even my daughter said so.
Officially and formally, I take back all my cursing of the Fast Pass+.
I love characters, but I love my time on the rides even more. That’s what makes my theme park experience magical. So a 300-minute wait for a 90-second chat with anybody??
Not gonna happen.
Wait. If the original Han Solo ever starts doing meet and greets at Hollywood Studios I will change my mind.
And probably try to sit on his lap.
Best Character Meet and Greets With Gaston
Until that happens, my longest wait for a character remains the 20 minute waits spent between the Belle and Gaston lines during the 2013 Princess Half Marathon.
When we stop for a character line mid-race the general rule of thumb is 10 people or less is “worth the wait.”
Anything more than that could crush your time or put you at risk of sweeping if you are a back of the packer like me.
Oh… Worth. Every. Second.
Because Gaston, as he will surely tell you, is ahhh-maaaazing.
People. Skip the Frozen sisters!
They’ve got nothing on Gaston.
I’m sure you’ll agree after checking out some of these pictures.
As you can see he has biceps to spare!
Oh, you’re here for the race? If I ran them, I’d win.
How does it feel to be the 4th best good-looking person in this picture? Me, my biceps, and my hair are the top three.
It’s your pleasure to meet me. Always.
Err… maybe not.
runDisney Gaston Costume
I loved meeting Gaston so much that I stole his act.
Yes, he wins, and he knows it. Gotta love that kind of swagger in a guy!
It was fun to run the Cinderella 5K this year as Gaston. Best stop: France!
We met the Beast and played nice together.
The Beast— Yeah, not much of a talker.
But I leave people speechless, so it’s understandable.
Awkward Character Meet and Greets at Walt Disney World Featuring Gaston
To all who come to our happy place, welcome to the No-Guilt Disney Podcast – where we have no guilt about our love for all things Disney.
We are three Disney fangirls who probably know more about the Disney Parks than most grown women should – and we’re perfectly okay with that.
Oh my gosh, we so know more.
Yeah, and I’m super excited about this episode, so we should just jump right into it. Hello everyone. My name is Theresa, and you can find me on Twitter at @GertieTheDino.
I’m Jane and you can find me on Instagram at @RealMousewifeWDW.
I’m Patty Holliday from NoGuiltDisney.com and No-Guilt Travel, a travel agency that specializes in Disney and Universal vacations, when we are not in the time of COVID. You can find me on all things social @NoGuiltLife. All right, Theresa, go for it. I know you’re excited. Just rip off the band-aid. Tell us what you’re excited about
Earlier today, it was maybe about an hour or two before we started to record, they came out with a big announcement about some leadership changes for the Disney parks and some of the Disney resorts.
What do we know Jane? What what names did they throw out at us?
The big one that caught my attention was that Josh D’Amaro, who has been the President of Walt Disney World, is now officially the Chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products. So that’s the one that caught my eye. There were several others. I had to do a little research on some of these, because I didn’t know everybody on the list. But Josh was definitely the one that I knew and have feelings about. Jeff Vahle, I don’t know if I’m pronouncing his name right. He was named President of Walt Disney World Resort and he comes from…I believe it was President of Special Experiences. So he was over Disney Vacation Club and Disney Cruise Line. Ken Potrock was named President of Disneyland Resort. Kareem Daniel is President of Consumer Products, Games and Publishing. And Thomas Mazloum was named President of Disney Signature Experiences.
In somewhat of a little shake up, Rebecca Campbell has been named Disney’s Chairman of Disney’s Direct-to-Consumer and International division. So she was the Disneyland President, am I correct in that?
Yes, that’s correct.
She was definitely a President, but she’s only been there since lNovember. And then, of course, the parks have been shut for two months. So it kind of feels like – I don’t know, is this a good thing? Is this a bad thing for her? What do you guys think this means?
I think it’s great. I’m excited. I know less about her experience, but it’s interesting what you mentioned with only being there a short period of time, because prior to being President of Walt Disney World, Josh D’Amaro was President of Disneyland for a year. So he was also only very briefly in the role at Walt Disney World. One of the things I think that’s really notable about that, though, is within his time there, everyone was really able to get a sense of who he was, just by what a presence he had within the Walt Disney World Parks. So it’s made me very, very excited about this new role for him. I’m trying to be cautiously optimistic because he was only in charge of Disneyland for a year, a much shorter time period in charge of Walt Disney World. So we don’t have that history to kind of look back at and assess some of the decisions he may have made in those short periods of time. He’s taking over Bob Chapek’s old role in charge of the Parks and consumer experiences. And my biggest gripe with him being in that position was consistently that, to me, he was always a numbers guy, and he never understood the guest experience or the Cast Member experiences. So any decision he made was just a straight financial one. I’m really excited that we now have somebody in charge of the the Disney theme parks, who cares about the theme parks, and is excited about the theme parks, and making sure guests have a great time, making sure cast is looked after. I think that – especially as we are approaching, it’s going to be a new world of theme park experiences – he does have a finance background. So I think he’ll be able to find that right balance between, how do we cut costs, how do we save money, but not doing that in a way that impacts the experience guests are able to have and just the whole Cast Member experience, making sure that they’re continued to be taken care of, and they’re not just cutting things all over the place. So I’m excited about this, but I’m trying to tone it down, and stay realistic, and wait and see what happens. But I think this is great.
Would you say we’re gonna be going into <sings> a whole new world?
Yeah, I think it’s accurate, and much more appropriate then in Epcot.
All right. All right. It all comes back to Epcot. It always comes back withTheresa.
Like I said, I’m really excited to have somebody who seems passionate about the theme parks in charge of them, which it feels like we haven’t had that for a long time.
All right, well, there you have it. And that’s no shade exactly on Bob2, but it’s kind of a little shade. So Bob2, step it up.
I mean, one of the things that I had read on Twitter, which I thought was a really good point, was they kind of needed to bring in somebody that everybody may love. Because it’s either, you love Josh D’Amaro, or you don’t really have an opinion about him yet. But I have yet to find anybody that’s like, “Oh my God, he’s terrible,” right? So we’re probably coming into a time where a lot of projects are about to get scrapped. A lot of decisions are about to be made that are slightly unpopular. So they were like, “Oh, yeah, of course you want to bring in somebody that people like to do that.” <laughter> I was like, wow, this guy just went into a crap job.
He’s like, “I got it. I got I can handle this. Give it to me. Just give it to me.” So yeah, it was a big list, and it was a lot of a lot of changes, and a lot of shifting, and a lot to look forward to. So we’ll have to see how all this plays out when the craziness starts to reopen. Speaking of which, we are recording on Monday, but this is going to drop on Wednesday – and that means Disney Springs is open for business. Kind of cool, kind of exciting. I know, I know, kind of have to wear those masks, and get your temperature checked, and yadda yadda yadda. But it’s something, right? So if this is successful, maybe it will also pave the way, just like it did over in Shanghai, to the opening of the Parks. They opened up their shopping zones and their resorts first, and then moved into opening the actual theme park. So slowly but surely, maybe, hopefully, fingers crossed, pixie dust flying everywhere, this is gonna work out for us, right?
Yeah, I think this is the right way – we talked about last week, but this seems like the good way for them to open to test the waters, see how it goes, and then gradually phase in more and more.
Mmhmm, definitely, definitely. All right. So with all of that to look forward to, let’s talk about one of my favorite subjects, and that’s is character meet and greets – but not just character meet and greets, character meet and greets that go wrong. The more awkward the better. I love these things.
Yeah, these are these are a really fun time. So we put a call out in our Facebook group. If you’re not in it, go join No-Guilt Disney. And we also asked on Twitter, what were your awkward character meet and greet stories. And we got some good ones.
We did. And we got some with pictures too, which obviously in a podcast, we can’t add the picture. So make sure you come and join the Facebook group so you can see those pictures.
And a surprising number of these seem to revolve around one character in particular and that would be Gaston.
<laughs> I don’t know if that’s really all that surprising when you’ve spent any time with Gaston, because this is one character that has really leaned in to the whole movie persona, and there are some really awkward meet and greets with him.
I guess to me – I have not done a meet and greet with him yet, but what surprised me is you consistently hear that’s so many people’s favorite meet and greet. So it threw me off a little when I was like, oh, there’s there’s more awkward ones than I would have thought when you hear people talk about what a great meet and greet it is.
Oh my gosh, yeah, he is mine. I haven’t actually taken the time to meet with him for a couple of trips, but I went on a roll, okay? I went on a total Gaston roll for a while where that was pretty much my first stop once I hit the Magic Kingdom. I was just heading straight back to New Fantasyland to go get in line. I was actually in Disneyland…Disneyland didn’t have an official meet and greet with Gaston. He did come out for one or two of the Halloween parties, a couple of years ago is when he started doing that. I was there for a September trip where they were testing him out in the public, and I spied him across the parade route. They just roped it off, and they were getting ready to stop people from crossing. And I shoved my way through the front. Yes, I was horrible, and I apologize Disneyland people, but I don’t think I hurt any kids. But I did shove my way to get to him, because I was so excited to see Gaston in Disneyland, because this was a whole new thing. And I was with some friends and they tell the story, they’re like, “One minute we’re talking to Patty, the next we see her like draped all over Gaston’s biceps.” I was like, “Sorry, not sorry,” though, because he was really cute. This is my favorite Gaston ever because he looked like John Travolta from Grease.
Oh my gosh.
They do have similar hair.
He looked like John Travolta from Grease, and he was this tall – I got a pic of him somewhere, I’ve got to find it and I will put that in the Facebook group for you guys. It was only awkward over the fact that one minute I’m completely having a normal conversation with friends, the next minute I’m acting like a moron and sprinting and pushing people out of the way so I can get to Gaston, and yeah, I was 41 at the time. So yeah, I’m not proud of it. I’m not proud of my actions, but he was really great Gaston so I also have no regrets. All right. <laughter> So let’s talk more about your characters and those meet and greets that don’t maybe play out quite like you had in your head. And Gaston stories are definitely welcome. And I know I have a few actually to share. So that will be the thread, the common thread in this thing. Who wants to go first? Go ahead and hit me with yours, Theresa.
Great. I’m going to share one that came from Twitter. It came from Captain Skippy and it says, “My wife and I, at Food and Wine, go to the Chase Character Spot. As we’re entering, wife goes to Minnie, I go shake hands with Goofy. Somehow he ends up head butting me. His head goes backwards, we’re both falling over, And both Minnie and my wife just look at us like, ‘silly boys’.”
<laughs> Oh my gosh, that’s awesome. I would think that Goofy, being as tall as he is, head butting, and just controlling that head, doesn’t surprise me that it –
And there’s the hat, too.
Mmhmm Yep, yep. Yep, I could see it.
So I have one that is about Gaston. Tara posted in our Facebook group, and she said she accidentally touched Gaston’s butt. Accidentally.
She said, “I believe his reply was something along the lines of, ‘Sure, sure I won’t tell your husband’.”
Oh my gosh, I loved it.
Oh, that’s funny. Let’s see, Lisa told me, this is another Gaston story. Lisa told me: “One sunny day, we stood in line to meet Gaston and when we walked up, he was just so nice. Tons of compliments. He was just going overboard with great things to say to me. I mean, I was blushing. I was giggling like a schoolgirl. It was totally embarrassing, but I couldn’t help myself. And then I realized he was talking to his own reflection in my sunglasses.” <laughter> I love it. I absolutely love it. And you can picture it, right?
That’s exactly the kind of story I expect to hear.
Oh, totally. Totally. It was awesome. That’s awesome.
I love him.
I have one from Francisco.
Ooh, that’s fun to say.
So this is from Francisco, who said: “When I was a character attendant working with Mickey Mouse, in all seriousness, this man proposed and the woman he proposed to said, ‘We shouldn’t talk about this here’ and walked out. Needless to say, the interaction was over.”
Oh my. Poor Mickey!
I’ll say this – she didn’t ask to stay anonymous, but obviously, you know, we like to share Fransisco as our Cast Member stories, but this came from Clare. And I did ask her afterwards what that was like, because you figure as awkward as that was, when you’re working with characters, you have another family coming in immediately after, so you don’t have time to react. And she said, Yep. Because this was also when Mickey was still speaking. So because there was the talking Mickey, that Mickey couldn’t come up with a reaction. So she said there’s just like silence for about 30 seconds, and then just they had to move on to the next person.
That’s like…I’m awkward for them.
So this one came in from anonymous. So I don’t know, potentially could be a Francisco. I don’t know. We had actually mentioned this topic way back when we did an episode a couple months ago. But you know, we’re just getting around to it, because we’ve been so busy during quarantine.
Something like that.
So she said, he or she said: “I heard the Unpopular Opinions episode asking for awkward character meet and greets. I was once at Animal Kingdom with a friend hoping to meet Thumper and Miss Bunny, but we were too early. We ended up bumping into Pocahontas in her winterwear, so we decided to go see her and say -” I’m going to say that’s wrong – “‘Wingapo.’ She replied, ‘What?’ in a full, valley girl tone. She asked her brought us to the park that day, and my friend cleverly remarked that we were there to meet some giant rabbits. Once again, Pocahontas replied, ‘What?’ <laughter> We clarified, ‘Thumper and Miss Bunny?’ ‘Ohhhh, Thumper. Yeah, Thumper’s not that giant. He’s only in like this height range,’ and she held up her hand by her shoulder. After a brief speechless moment, my friend explained, ‘Well where we come from, rabbits are only about this big, so this height range was pretty giant to us.’ Wanting to change the subject, we told her we liked her boots. ‘Oh, these? Thanks. I got them in, like, my village.’ Then she leaned in and whispered, ‘I live in a village, right?’ It was a trainwreck.”
Oh no. <laughs>
I can only imagine that this was a guest with a great DisneyBound. It has to be, right?
Oh Pocahontas, bless your heart, sweetie.
Listen, my Pocahontas doesn’t act like that. I’m just saying.
She’s more the silent type?
She’s the strong silent type that just scares me every time I wake up in the middle of the night. Oh, that’s awkward. That’s awkward. Well, this is awkward. So we’ve been having some fun with Gaston; this was not fun. This is low-key, “Wait, what did you just say?” Gaston pushes it a little too far sometimes. So Allie wrote in and said: “My good friend and I were in Walt Disney World and waited to see Gaston. When we got up there, my friend was gushing over him, which he quite enjoyed, and then said she wanted him to forget Belle and be hers. He looked her up and down and said, ‘Yeah, no. I’m gonna pass on that one.’ And then moved on to the next family.” What?!? No, dude, that’s not…No.
There’s being in character. And then there’s this, going a little too far, little over the edge.
That was rude, is what that was.
I think it’s hilarious.
Gaston’s last day, and he was like, “I’m going out big.” I don’t know.
Maybe he really knew her, and she didn’t remember him or didn’t recognize him. And he was like, “Oh, we’re gonna play this game? Okay.”
I’ll share my own personal awkward meet and greet story. It’s not as bad as some of these, but for me, just because I lived it, it makes me cringe when I look back at it. Mine was with the Talking Mickey that was in the Main Street Theater. I’d never met the Talking Mickey, it was my birthday, I was really excited. I was on a trip that was just just me, and this was what I wanted to do, meeet Talking Mickey for my birthday. So I go, and I start to have the interaction with Mickey, and for a solid minute and a half, anytime I started to say something, the Talking Mickey was also saying something at the same time. So we would both talk, and then it would be silent. And then start to talk again, we would both talk, and it would just be silent. And I just kept looking at the Cast Member. I kept trying to say, every single time, “It’s my birthday and I’m here to see you!” but the Talking Mickey kept talking every time I tried to say that. So, like, do I say it again, because I don’t know if they heard it? And I just kept looking like helplessly at the Cast Member who was there, until finally the Cast Member was like, “Mickey, it’s her birthday!” <laughter> It’s not as bad as some of these other stories, but I’m just like, it’s one of those things. Like I don’t…do I just shut up? Do I keep talking? What do I do? Can we reverse this and start over again? I never went back to Talking Mickey ever again.
Oh, that was probably a good day when you found out that Talking Mickey was no more. <laughter>
Thank goodness. At least if it’s just me carrying on a conversation, I’m fine with that. After seeing so many amazing videos of other people and their experience with it, it just…it did not go that way at all.
It’s crazy. So I’m going to share my awkward character experience as well. It goes back a little…I think it was 2015 or so. So I had met Goofy in a meet and greet, I don’t remember where, but he touched my butt. Not once, but twice. Not like an accidental graze, by the second time I was like, “Okay, it’s time for me to go now.” I let it go because listen, I’m an adult, it’s fine. So then I met Chewbacca pretty close after meeting Goofy. It wasn’t the same day or anything, but I go often, so it was probably within the same month or so. I went when they had Star Wars Weekends. So I came to meet Chewy and the Ewoks – they would come out on only on that weekend. Chewbacca got super handsy with me, and I was like, “Okay, Chewbacca,” and I actually have this picture where I took Chewbacca’s hands, and put them on my shoulders, and was like, “We’re just gonna hold them right here.” So I take my picture with Chewbacca, and this guy is like 6’5″. I’m like, I wonder if that same person as Goofy. So I leave Chewbacca, and he sends the handler after me to come back. And I’m like, “What? What do you want?” Cuz you know, I’m not friendly when we’re doing this. And he’s like, gesturing to me, like he’s trying to get my number.
That’s weird, dude.
I think this was back when the characters were 501st – like, I don’t think they were legit Disney, at that point.
Yeah, if this was Star Wars days, you’re right. It could have been.
This was Chewbacca was a fixture in the park, it was like rare to see him. And so that’s why I was like, I don’t know, Is he the same guy that was Goofy? I mean, everybody got a little handsy at one point.
Yeah, that’s weird.
That is something else, that is something else. Well speaking of Star Wars, here’s one. Sara says: “Isn’t every interaction with Darth Vader an odd one? Me: ‘I’m here to join you.’ Vader: <very long pause> ‘No.’ Okay then, been rejected by the dark side. How does that make you feel?” <laughter>
I mean, Kylo Ren did that to me.
With Kylo Ren, I’ve seen similar interactions.
Yeah, Kylo Ren told me that I was a resistance sympathizer. And look, everyone that’s listening at home – I may have imbibed on that day. And I was with friends, so they were like, “Uh, she loves Darth Vader.” Which is true. Darth Vader is my boy. He was like, “No, no,” and he, like, was fighting with me. I was like, “You, my friend. You need to leave my park.”
I will fire you. You’re done. Bye bye.
Characters, man. They can be a lot of fun and I, for the most part, love them. But every now and then, you do get these super awkward ones. And I’m going to throw this one out, because I think it’s horrifyingly awkward. So this is a story that was sent in anonymously. And this lady says: “I met Peter Pan, and I was with a friend. And I was already feeling weird for standing in line for a character without any children. But my daughter loves the movie, and since I was there on a girls trip and feeling a little mom guilt (I know, I know. No Guilt Life, haha), I knew I had to stop for this one. And the first thing he says to us is, ‘Okay, which one of you wants to be my new mommy?'”
Wow. I cannot even…I don’t know that we can top that. I mean, I think that’s pretty much the awkward of all awkward when you’re at Disney, by yourself, with Peter Pan.
I can’t even come up with what my own response to that would be.
I probably would have said something like, you know, no thanks, or I don’t know. I would have come up with something, because I would have been like, “Oh you wanna you want to play games now? Come on let’s go.”
I think I would have just been too shocked and too stunned. And, since I was in Magic Kingdom, way too sober to say anything witty or clever that wouldn’t have gotten me thrown out of the park. Alright guys, well, those were fun. Anybody else have anything else they want to add before we do sign off here?
I think if you get really bad secondhand embarrassment, the plus side to changes coming to Disney is we won’t have to live through any of these awkward moments for quite some time.
Oh, that’s no good. I don’t like that. But it’s a fair point. It is a fair point.
So if you want to be featured on the next podcast, or you have a great idea of what we should talk about, we’re here. Come join us at our Facebook group and let us know, or you can shoot us an email at NoGuiltDisneyPod@gmail.com.
And make sure you join us each week on the No-Guilt Disney Podcast, because as Patty likes to say:
It’s no fun to fangirl Disney alone. Bye, y’all.
Have you had an awkward character meet and greets featuring Gaston?
Patty Holliday is a Marvel loving, Disney obsessed wife, and mother of four. She’s a travel agent specializing in Disney & Universal vacations- and loves a candid confession. Find her in Virginia (or anywhere frequent flyer miles or her trusty minivan takes her.)