Tuesday 3 March 2015
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Characterpalooza! One of Disney’s best-kept Secrets!

Updated Oct. 2, 2014. 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. Now (2014) it only occurs on New York Street (Streets of America.) Information for times and locations have been updated below. As of Sept. 28, a new location for Characterpalooza has been reported – near Tower or 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 just a few months ago. It is an unadvertised Character meet and greet session (never shown on a Times Guide schedule) that takes place next to Echo Lake and on the Streets of America. 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 that evening:

  • If Fantasmic isn’t scheduled, Characterpalooza will NOT occur.
  • Beginning November 2nd (2014) Characterpalooza will go on it’s Winter Hiatus – returning in early 2015. (ie. No Characterpalooza appearances even if a Fantasmic show is scheduled.)
  • If one Fantasmic show is scheduled, Characterpalooza will occur at 3:30 p.m. and 5:05 p.m. on the Streets of America.
  • If two Fantasmic shows are scheduled, Characterpalooza will occur only at 6:00 p.m. on the Streets of America.

We were able to hit Characterpalooza back in 2012 (pictures below). Jafar, Rafiki, Mary Poppins with 2 Penguins, and Chip & Dale greeted everyone during the first set. The 2nd set of Characters consisted fo: 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.

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.

This is a great opportunity to meet a bunch of Characters that are relatively rare, and with short waits!

Terri is owner, creator and an author for WDW Hints. She enjoys taking less-traveled paths of WDW and sharing her lesser-known discoveries with you!

  • Carrie @ My Favorite Finds

    We didn’t know about this either, until our third trip. We just happened upon it after attending One Mans Dream. It was super fun! Glad to know I wasn’t the only one unaware of it :).

  • abilsky1

    This is a fantastic tip

  • Lisa

    we always hit this area! We have seen maleficent, the characters from up, goofy, the incredible, Frozone,pooh and pals, chip and dale, all in the space of 20 minutes!

  • Melanie

    We stumbled into this building when we were there a few weeks ago and I couldn’t believe all the characters inside! We were going for the animation class, but were able to get a few pics with the characters. The wait time was only about 5-10 minutes/character. Quite the find, a hidden gem. Take the animation class while you’re there, my whole family really enjoyed it.

  • SamiSah

    Ahh, I wanna hug Meeko! I’m jealous now.

  • nancy

    We stumbled on to it one time before. It was a night they didn’t have Fantasmic and was told that is when they do it. I didn’t realize they did it even with Fantasmic that is good to know. We met Prince John and the Sheriff from Robin Hood, Incredibles and the other superhero (the one that does stuff with the ice), Meeko, Belle in her blue dress and quite a few more that I can’t remember off the top of my head. We very excited to see the characters from Robin Hood because I never see them out.

  • Heidi Strawser

    I just heard about this a few weeks ago. We will definitely be checking it out on our next trip. We love those elusive characters!

  • NIcole

    You mentioned a winter hiatus due to winter hours, but what if no Fantasmic is schedule that winter day?

  • Terri

    Sorry for the delayed response! Winter hiatus means No Characterpalooza even if there isn’t a Fantasmic show scheduled.

  • Susan

    Do you have any idea if Disneyland does this as well?

  • Sarah Trout

    We met Frozone, Mr Incredible, Sorcerer Hat Mickey, and Pooh Bear once!

  • Amber Britt

    When we went a couple years ago we found it too….The Incredible’s were there, Sorcerer Mickey, Minnie, Pooh Bear, Lotso, Mulan, Mr. Smee, Pocahontas with Meeko, Chip and Dale, Snow White, And Pluto :) I love it everytime we go bc the line is not long so you’re able to get in and out without a big crowd!

  • Tm Moyer

    does this happen ini November of this year…2014?

  • Terri

    Hi Tom!
    Sorry to bring bad news, but Characterpalooza (so far) is only scheduled for Nov. 1st of this year (occurring at 3, 4 and 5:10 PM). It will then begin it’s ‘Winter hiatus’ November 2nd and beyond. Fantasmic occurs at 6:30 PM on select nights in Nov/Dec, making it too early for Characterpalooza to occur. It will likely return in early 2015 as it has in the past.
    Thanks for your question though! I’ll work on updating this article tonight. ;)

  • Sely

    Specifically where or what building the characters located on Streets of America

  • Terri

    There are 2 streets that make up the ‘Streets of America’ – San Francisco Street and New York Street. The characters meet on New York Street.

  • Stacey Garlin Lederberg

    Do you know if Characterpalooza has begun again? We are going to WDW this weekend?

  • Terri

    Characterpalooza IS happening now! ;) Watch for it to occur near the exit of Tower of Terror. Friday (1/23) it will occur at: 2:40, 3:50 and 4:40, Saturday (1/24) @ 4:10, Sunday (1/25) @ 4:10, Monday (1/26) No showing, Tues (1/27) @ 4:10, Weds/Thurs/Fri (1/28, 29 & 30th) @ 2:40, 3:50 and 4:40 p.m. HAVE FUN!!! =)

  • Kenny

    Do you know when it will occur in March

  • Terri

    3/1 @ 4:10 p.m.
    3/2 – 3/7 daily @ 2:40, 3:50 & 4:40

    3/8 @ 4:10
    3/9 @ 5:30
    3/10 – 3/13 @ 4:00
    3/14 – 3/31 @ 5:30

  • Robyn

    Do you know when the characterpallooza will occur during the first week of February 2015? Also does the Disney Junior dance party always happen at 10pm?

  • Terri

    This week, Characterpalooze will occur:
    Mon & Sat @ 4:10 p.m.
    Tues – Fri @ 2:40, 3:50 & 4:40 p.m.
    The Disney Jr. Dance party times are always listed on the Times Guide – they cancel for inclement weather.

  • Becky Taylor Bernard

    How is the schedule for last week of April, first week of May? please!

  • Terri

    HI Becky – Here’s the Characterpalooza schedule for that time period:
    4/26 @ 5:40 p.m.
    4/27 @ 4:40 & 5:40
    4/28 @ 5:40
    4/29 & 4/30 @ 4:40 & 5:40
    5/1 @ 4:00
    5/2 @ 5:40
    5/3 @ 4:30
    5/4 @ 6:10
    5/5 – 5/8 @ 4:35 p.m.

  • Shaan

    What is the schedule for April 4-6?