(ABC4) – In a world of dark news and endless controversy, here’s one piece of news that will make you grin from ear-to-ear — you can hug Mickey Mouse again.

Disney Theme Parks have finally brought back character hugs. Guests lining up for meet-and-greets with their favorite Disney characters can now ruffle Donald’s feathers, touch noses with Goofy or enjoy a warm, hearty bear hug with Winnie the Pooh. 

The new announcement will allow all guests to hug costumed characters across all Disney Parks and Disney Cruise Lines. This follows a recent announcement of the removal of all mask mandates at Walt Disney World on Wednesday.

“Hugs are back!” Disneyland posted on their Instagram account on Tuesday. “Who’s at the top of your “must meet list” for your next visit to Disneyland?”

After an unprecedented closure due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, when Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, Calif. reopened after a 13-month closure in April 2021, guests flooded the park, albeit with strict health protocols in place.

One notable restriction was the social-distancing measures in place when meeting characters. The characters were often propped up on a platform or were isolated with a rope partition during interactions. No autographs or intimate interactions. Guests could take only take photographs with the characters while standing over six feet away.

“During the past two years, we’ve taken a very gradual, intentional approach to health and safety protocols,” says Disney in a blog post. “Recent trends and guidance have provided opportunities for us to bring back some of our most beloved magic, like character greetings and dining experiences. While not all locations will be available immediately, we anticipate reopening in phases throughout the spring and early summer.”

As the world slowly reopens amid an endemic phase of COVID-19, guests were seen happily, sometimes even tearfully, reaching out and hugging Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and all of their pals while visiting Disneyland and Disney World parks on Tuesday.

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