I was an Entertainment Host in the Character department for a couple years. I also grew up in the area going to Disneyland all the time.
In the character department, especially when it’s crowded, my first priority was always for my characters’ safety. There were guests that yelled at me because the line for Pooh was closed for the night, even after I explained that they would be out walking around again in 15 minutes.
But then there were days like this one. I was working at the Pooh Corner location, standing up by Pooh when a small girl and her mom came up. The girl was afraid to go up to pooh, one of those ones where she wanted to go up to him, but was afraid. Her mom went up to him first which often helps but she was still aprehensive. I asked if she wanted me to go with her. She nodded and we went a few steps before she stopped again. “Don’t you want to see pooh?” I asked her. She looked longingly up at him, like she almost thought she could, but then she gave a sigh and shook her head. “Okay,” her mother said. “Maybe next time.” And they started to walk away, but then the little girl turned around and ran back and hugged me instead.