Updated February 2016. Characaterpalooza has become a true pop-up meet and greet and their current schedule is completely unknown! It’s a toss-up as to where you can meet them now – you’ve got 2 locations to choose from: Outside the Front of the Park (near entrance) or near the exit of Tower or Terror.
(Historically, Characterpalooza took place inside the Magic of Disney Animation building. When it returned from it’s seasonal hiatus in March ’13, sets began occurring near Echo Lake and on the Streets of America. Then (2014) it moved to just New York Street (Streets of America.) Until early May, it met near the exit of Tower of Terror.)
Characterpalooza occurs almost daily at Disney’s Hollywood Studio’s, but have you ever heard of it? I’ll be honest, I hadn’t heard of it until 2012. It is an unadvertised Character meet and greet session (never shown on a Times Guide schedule) that takes place at Disney’s Hollywood Studios: near the exit of Tower of Terror, or just outside the front entrance of the park. For 1 or 2 half hour sessions in the evening, many characters (including rare ones) make an appearance!
It’s always a SURPRISE as to which Characters will appear for Characterpalooza, which is where the “palooza” comes from. The most common Characters to appear are Stitch, Captain Hook, Mr. Smee, Snow White, Pinocchio, Gepetto, and the Queen of Hearts; but many times a more “rare” character or two get thrown into the mix. (Not even Guest Services can tell you “who” is going to make an appearance at Characterpalooza!)
The timing and number of Characters to make an appearance depends on the following show times for Fantasmic each evening. Here’s what we’ve observed* happening in January & February 2016:
- If Fantasmic isn’t scheduled, Characterpalooza will NOT occur.
- If one Fantasmic show is scheduled for just 7 PM, Characterpalooza will typically begin between 2:30 – 2:45 at the front entrance.
- If that one show occurs on an Extra Magic Hour morning, Characterpalooza will begin between 4:10 – 4:25 PM at the front entrance.
- If two Fantasmic shows are scheduled for 7 & 9 PM, Characterpalooza will begin between 4:30 – 4:45 at the front entrance.
- Kenny the Pirate has an updated schedule within his Character Locator app – however, you must pay $6.99 to access the information.
- *These have just been our observations – do not hold us to it! Times and location can change at anytime. Characterpalooza can also be cancelled due to inclement weather or other non-disclosed reasons.
The pictures below are from a Characterpalooza event from May 2012 (when it occurred in the Animation Building.) Jafar, Rafiki, Mary Poppins with 2 Penguins, and Chip & Dale greeted everyone during the first set. The 2nd set of Characters consisted of: Jasmine and Genie, Pinocchio and Gepetto, the Wicked Queen (from Snow White), and Meeko. Two nights later many of the same came out, but some different ones that we saw were: Pocahontas with Meeko, Captain Hook with Mr. Smee, Mulan and Goofy. Hitting the outdoor Characterpalooza in 2013 – we met Pocahontas & Meeko, Belle, Max, Pinocchio and others. This is a great opportunity to meet a bunch of Characters that are relatively rare, and with short waits!
HINT: Be sure to have an Autograph Book with you to experience some extra fun and make more memories! Here’s our Favorite Autograph Book idea.
Our biggest HINT yet (another best-kept secret): Have you heard of Disney’s Youth Education Series? Just by enrolling our kids in one 3-hour in-park educational class facilitated by Disney, our family of 4 saved $710 on our admission tickets! You’re welcome to join us at Walt Disney World on Sept. 12 – 14th (2016) and receive up to 30% off admission tickets for your family too! Read all about it here: https://www.wdwhints.com/y-e-s-trip/