Journeys Through Life: Big Hero 6 Meet-and-Greet in Disneyland
When I think back over the dozen or so times I’ve been to Disneyland in my life, I realize that much of my indoctrination to the park, did not include a penchant for character interaction.
In recent years, the character meet-and-greet experience has snowballed into one that now commands long lines. Many would stand in line for a bit to meet the likes of Ariel or Jasmine, but Disney was surprised when the characters Anna and Elsa (from
Frozen) debuted in the Fall of 2013. Pretty soon, the lines to meet the two sisters commanded wait times of over 5 hours, and have been that way for almost a year (and counting!).
Naturally, talk of this explosion in lines for new character meet-and-greets, were on my mind when I decided to do the one for Big Hero 6, which would give attendees the chance to meet Hiro, and Baymax.
Much like the meet-and-greet for Wreck-It-Ralph, the one for Big Hero 6 was set up in the rear of the now-defunct Starcade location in Tomorrowland. The downside of this setup, is the line to see them, was pushed against the side of the wall, near the exit to Space Mountain, which became rather packed with humanity several times.
The day I visited, Hiro and Baymax were scheduled to appear between 10:30 am, through 5:00 pm. I arrived about 5-10 minutes after the scheduled start time, and was informed by a Cast Member that while Hiro would be there for the full event, Baymax’s time would be limited.
The mention that I was at a point in the line that was considered a 1 1/2 hour wait point, almost made me drop out…but as with most of my logical thoughts, I decided to wait and see.
A roped line snaked around inside part of the Starcade, while tape on the ground outside, informed people where to stand. As the line moved on, many of us were happy to see that Baymax was indeed “online,” and appearing with Hiro.
The meeting area was made up to resemble Hiro’s garage workshop, which included such touches as Baymax’s rocket-fist, and helmet sitting nearby. As well, Hiro’s computer monitors, showed parts of the martial arts programming that was added to Baymax’s information.
During the course of the line wait (which ended up being an hour for me, instead of their 1 1/2 hour estimate), Baymax did leave the staging area a few times, to “recharge his batteries.” Luckily, his charging times were relatively brief, and he carefully sidled back out to continue his sessions with Hiro.
When it finally came my turn to meet them, Hiro happily shook my hand, and introduced me to Baymax. Baymax eagerly extended an arm to hug me, and I was surprised that he was vinyl in texture (and just as huggable and soft!) his heart-dock was made of a plastic material, and it even looked like his head was plastic as well. And just like on the film, his eyes “blink”!
We took several pictures, with my favorite one being me with an arm around Baymax, and Hiro giving me a fistbump (as seen above). Hiro also suggested we do an arms-crossed picture in front of Baymax for a second pose.
When it was time for me to leave, Hiro suggested we do a three-person fistbump. Baymax tried his best, but couldn’t roll his hand into a fist. Even so, I concluded it with a “badeladelaldelah,” and a polite nod to Baymax.
I will admit that it was a pleasant experience, though I would strongly recommend getting there early as a precaution. I don’t know how much time Baymax generally is out, so an early visit would be a good insurance policy. I didn’t go back and see how long the line got after I left, but I bet it only got longer as the day wore on.
The guy portraying Hiro was very energetic, and I saw him being as loose and boisterous as Hiro was in the film. Baymax’s movements were simple, with him even nodding his head a few times, along with sidling through the back doorway when he needed a recharge. I was hoping that maybe he would have had some audio sounds from the film, but even so, his presence was very comforting.
One has to wonder if maybe some day, one of the kids who visited this meet-and-greet might actually make a helper robot, with his Disneyland memory in mind.