It’s the Little Things: Why Pluto is My Favorite Character

Pluto is my favorite character. Not just because I’m a dog lover or because his animated shorts, which chronicle his encounters with other cuddly creatures, are clearly the best of the canon.

I love Pluto because he is responsible for my favorite Disney World experience.

One fine day in Orlando, my family and I were exiting Epcot to take a midday nap (like the expert theme parkers we are), when out of the corner of my eye I spotted Pluto sitting in a doorway.

Now, when I say sitting in a doorway, I don’t mean sitting like a humans sits. This Pluto character was positioned in a “dog” sitting position, like so:$(KGrHqJ,!rYE88g6Vti!BP5up1enow~~60_35.JPG$(KGrHqJ,!rYE88g6Vti!BP5up1enow~~60_35.JPG

Hands on the ground, legs in the squatting position, you know, like Pluto would sit! To make it even better, he was sitting in an automatic doorway. So a very frustrated platinum door was desperately trying to close, only to be blocked repeatedly by the happily panting Pluto.  I wish I had a photo to show you, but trust me when I say it was incredibly amusing.

So, with a shout to my parents I darted over to Pluto to…I dunno, scratch his ears or something? All I knew was that Pluto was unattended and being amusing and I wanted to get in on the action.

As soon as I walked up to Pluto he leaped up, grabbed my hand, and dragged me inside. Pluto dragged me through the carpeted building, past red velvet ropes and Disney photographers, stopped in front of a fake backdrop, slapped his arm around my shoulder, and posed for the camera.


But before the photographer could put the lens in focus, I heard an angry stomping noise. I looked to my left and saw a perturbed Mickey Mouse, dressed resplendently in a swanky blue suit, pointing next to him and stomping his foot.

“You’re supposed to see Mickey before you see everyone else,” the cast member helping Mickey explained. Meanwhile, Pluto is still tugging at me and posing for the camera, clearly an anxious pup ready for his closeup.

“Oh, okay,” I started to walk over to Mickey when I saw a giant line waiting outside the door, waiting to see Mickey.

Apparently this was the newly opened Character Connection (now called Character Spot), an indoor meet and greet in Epcot. They had just opened for the afternoon, and I had just, essentially, cut to the front of the line.

I hesitated, feeling bad for butting in front of a bunch of small children, but Mickey was calling! So I got over the guilt pretty quickly and jumped the red rope to take my picture with Mickey.


Then I made my way down the line, getting my picture with Pluto, Goofy, Chip ‘n Dale, and Donald Duck. My family even caught up to me and joined in!


It was a wonderful, unexpected surprise that made my trip all the more magical. I should mention (as you can tell from these pictures), I wasn’t a little kid when this happened. I was 17, so not the usual small child that the characters usually target. It just goes to show that these organic, spontaneous interactions make all the difference no matter your age. The next day, I caught a nasty stomach flu and was stuck in the hotel alone. Feeling badly, my family brought me back a gift: a stuffed animal Pluto. To this day, I still keep and treasure the Pluto as a reminder of my most magical Disney day.

pluto stuffed animal

See? Spontaneous character interactions aren’t just good for return visitors, it’s good for merchandising.

So, although things like the Fairytale Hall are great for heat and crowd management, I hope that the organization of meet and greets doesn’t take away from the extra, spontaneous moments that Disney is known for. I hope I can still see Bre’r Bear and Bre’r Fox riding Splash Mountain (another highlight, although they weren’t on my boat). I hope that the characters don’t forget about the “big” kids who need love, too. Because, as always, it’s the little things that make all the difference.