Mickey Mouse can start hugging again at Disney parks

April 5, 2022 GMT
FILE - Costumed Cinderella greets a young guest at an event marking the inclusion of Disney's "Cinderella" into the National Film Registry on its 70th anniversary, June 20, 2019 at the Library of Congress in Washington. The costumed characters at the Disney parks in the U.S. have been back on the job for almost two years since the parks were temporarily shuttered due to the spread of the coronavirus. But there are a few things they haven’t been able to do during that time: Give hugs, sign autographs and experience close-up interactions with visitors. That is about to change in a few weeks when the Disney parks re-introduce character greetings.  (AP Photo/Oscar Wells Gabriel II)
FILE - Costumed Cinderella greets a young guest at an event marking the inclusion of Disney's "Cinderella" into the National Film Registry on its 70th anniversary, June 20, 2019 at the Library of Congress in Washington. The costumed characters at the Disney parks in the U.S. have been back on the job for almost two years since the parks were temporarily shuttered due to the spread of the coronavirus. But there are a few things they haven’t been able to do during that time: Give hugs, sign autographs and experience close-up interactions with visitors. That is about to change in a few weeks when the Disney parks re-introduce character greetings.  (AP Photo/Oscar Wells Gabriel II)
FILE - Costumed Cinderella greets a young guest at an event marking the inclusion of Disney's "Cinderella" into the National Film Registry on its 70th anniversary, June 20, 2019 at the Library of Congress in Washington. The costumed characters at the Disney parks in the U.S. have been back on the job for almost two years since the parks were temporarily shuttered due to the spread of the coronavirus. But there are a few things they haven’t been able to do during that time: Give hugs, sign autographs and experience close-up interactions with visitors. That is about to change in a few weeks when the Disney parks re-introduce character greetings.  (AP Photo/Oscar Wells Gabriel II)
FILE - Costumed Cinderella greets a young guest at an event marking the inclusion of Disney's "Cinderella" into the National Film Registry on its 70th anniversary, June 20, 2019 at the Library of Congress in Washington. The costumed characters at the Disney parks in the U.S. have been back on the job for almost two years since the parks were temporarily shuttered due to the spread of the coronavirus. But there are a few things they haven’t been able to do during that time: Give hugs, sign autographs and experience close-up interactions with visitors. That is about to change in a few weeks when the Disney parks re-introduce character greetings. (AP Photo/Oscar Wells Gabriel II)
FILE - Costumed Cinderella greets a young guest at an event marking the inclusion of Disney's "Cinderella" into the National Film Registry on its 70th anniversary, June 20, 2019 at the Library of Congress in Washington. The costumed characters at the Disney parks in the U.S. have been back on the job for almost two years since the parks were temporarily shuttered due to the spread of the coronavirus. But there are a few things they haven’t been able to do during that time: Give hugs, sign autographs and experience close-up interactions with visitors. That is about to change in a few weeks when the Disney parks re-introduce character greetings. (AP Photo/Oscar Wells Gabriel II)

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Mickey Mouse will soon be able to hug again.

For nearly two years, costumed characters at U.S. Disney parks have kept their distance from visitors because of the pandemic. They haven’t been able to give hugs, sign autographs or interact up close with fans.

That is about to change in a few weeks when the parks reintroduce traditional character greetings. As soon as mid-April, personal interaction between visitors and costumed characters will be allowed again at Disneyland in California, Walt Disney World in Florida and on Disney cruises, the company said late last week in a blog post.

The parks closed temporarily because of the coronavirus in spring 2020. After the parks reopened that summer, costumed characters could only be seen waving from a distance in the parks or in parades. Last fall, the parks allowed the costumed characters to return to locations around the parks for individualized meet-ups with visitors, but they were only allowed to greet visitors and have their photos taken from a distance.

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“Very soon, you will once again be able to hug Mickey Mouse, get an autograph from Mulan, and share a laugh with Goofy,” the post said. “We know many of you have missed these special moments, and your Disney character friends have missed you, too!”

Not all the traditional locations for character greetings will be open right away, the company said. They will be reopened in phases.