Wednesday 1 April 2015
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Characterpalooza! One of Disney’s best-kept Secrets!

Updated March 2015. Characaterpalooza currently meets 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.) NOW – it meets near the exit of Tower of Terror! Information for times and locations have been updated below.

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 outside by the gift shop/exit of Tower or Terror. 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.
    • Characterpalooza will also not occur on Star Wars weekends.
  • If one Fantasmic show is scheduled, Characterpalooza will typically occur twice in the late afternoon.
  • If two Fantasmic shows are scheduled, Characterpalooza will occur just once, usually around 5:40 p.m., but always check out Kenny the Pirate for the updated schedule!
  • Per Kenny the Pirate’s calendars, for the months of March and April (2015), Characterpalooza occurs at the following times:
    • During the entire month of March, Characterpalooza will occur only at 5:30 p.m. daily.
    • During the month of April, Characterpalooza will occur daily at 5:40 p.m.
      • On these dates, two showings of Characterpalooza will occur at 4:40 and 5:40 p.m.: April 12, 14-17, 19, 21-24, 27-30th.
    • To see times for the remainder of 2015, visit Kenny the Pirate’s 2015 Characterpalooza Schedule page. Scroll down and click on the month of your visit, then scroll down on that month’s page and click on the week of your visit. Kenny’s crowd calendar will show you all Characterpalooza times for that week as well as other scheduled events & shows.

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. 8 or 9th (2015) and receive 40% off  admission tickets for your family too! Read all about it here:

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?

  • Terri

    (Sorry for the late reply!)
    April 4th @ 5:40 p.m.
    April 5th @ 5:40 p.m. (Easter Sunday will have “lowest” crowds at Hollywood Studios and Epcot.)
    April 6th @ 5:40 p.m.

  • Amy

    Hi- Do you happen to know the schedule for May 25-29? Thanks

    • Terri

      May 25, 26, & 27 @ 6:10 p.m.
      May 28 @ 4:35 p.m.
      May 29 = NO Characterpalooza

  • Rachel

    We will be arriving at Disney Easter morning(staying outside of the park) so, we are hoping to make it to Epcot by 2. Do you need to ride Tower of Terror to meet the characters? I was worried that Epcot would be busy because of it being Easter.

    • Terri

      Epcot and Hollywood Studios are actually the recommended parks for Easter Sunday, since both Animal Kingdom and Magic Kingdom will have Extra Magic Hours that morning (drawing more people to those parks.) You do not need to ride Tower of Terror to meet the Characterpalooza characters… you can get to the “exit area” simply by walking passed the main entrance to the ride – you’ll notice the gift shop (ride exit) on the left and the Characterpalooza ‘meeting spot’ straight ahead (look for the closed gates – those will open and the Characters will come pouring out.) ;o)

  • Brittni

    Hi- Do you happen to know the schedule for August 6-13? Thanks! (Thanks for this post about the characters new location!)

    • Terri

      Aug 6 – 13 it will occur once each day at 4:35 p.m. Check back in early July though… since Aug is 5 months away, the times could change or there could be another new location. (And you’re welcome!) ;o)

  • Capn_Jacq

    Any insight for May 16th?

    • Terri

      According to Kenny the Pirate, NO Charactepalooza on 5/16 due to Star Wars weekends.

  • Krissaye Kris

    Any characterpalooza dates for July