On the Character Tips from a Character Hunter podcast, I talked about Characterpalooza, where a bunch of random characters show up at Hollywood Studios. Since the podcast was recorded, they changed up how they do Characterpalooza, and I was able to experience it in May. It now takes place outside, not in the Animation building as in the past.
I had heard rumored times, anywhere between 4:10 and 4:40, that the first set takes place by Echo Lake (on the side by Indiana Jones), and the second set takes place by Streets of America. So we camped out at Echo Lake for about 10 minutes. When nothing happened we headed over to Streets of America. When no one showed up there, we headed back to Echo Lake.
We finally saw characters come out by Echo Lake at 4:40. And it wasn’t just a few characters like in the past when the event was held inside. There were 17 characters, and they just randomly walked around the area. Sometimes a line would form, and then sometimes they would keep walking around and you would have to ask them to stop. It was pure insanity, but a fun insanity! There were some guests who were more pushy than others, and jumped in front of others that were next in line. Most of the time, though, it was a controlled chaos, and you were able to meet the character. Usually, but not always, there was a character attendant around, so if we wanted to get a picture together with the character, we could. Each set lasted 20 minutes, and it felt much quicker than that!
During this first set, we met Pocahontas, Evil Queen, Jessie, Max, Green Army Man, Pluto, Jasmine & Geppetto. I was able to catch Geppetto just as the characters were leaving. Eight characters in 20 minutes is pretty good, and we might have caught another character if people didn’t keep jumping in front of us for Jasmine. The characters DO sign during Characterpalooza, but I decided to skip getting autographs since it would give us more time to catch more characters.
After the characters left, a Cast Member told us that next set would be at 5:30 on Streets of America. The characters come out by Lights Motor Action and head towards Streets of America, where they start meeting with guests. We were standing between the two areas when Minnie walked by and took my friend’s hand. I went to run in front to take a picture, but then she grabbed my hand too! So she walked with us, hand in hand, to her spot, which was so cute and fun! I wish someone else had gotten a picture of that, but it was a really cool memory!
After that, of course we were the first to meet Minnie. During the second set, we also met Pinocchio, 2 Penguins, Stitch, Queen of Hearts WITH Evil Queen, Quincy (a new-to-me character), and Chip. The same characters were out this set as were out in the first set. As insane as the first set by Echo Lake was, this one felt even more chaotic. It seemed a lot more crowded, but it still didn’t feel that much harder to meet the characters. The only characters in both sets that we didn’t get a chance to meet were Captain Hook and Meeko.
Another fun part of Characterpalooza is the characters have fun even when they aren’t meeting with guests. During the second set, I saw Meeko playing near a garbage can, Pinocchio playing with someone’s R2-D2 popcorn bucket, and Jessie and a Green Army Man were walking hand in hand (no one tell Buzz!)
The characters don’t stay the same every day, but there’s a good chance many of these characters are usually out for Characterpalooza. It’s a mix of regular characters (like Minnie), and rarer characters (like Max.)
Thankfully, there now seems to be a set schedule for Characterpalooza. Kenny the Pirate has posted a schedule that should hopefully help you to catch this fun event, so you won’t have to keep wandering back and forth like we did:
On a night when TWO Fantasmics are performed, Characterpalooza will take place only at 6:00 pm on Streets of America
On a night when ONE Fantasmic is performed, Characterpalooza will take place at 4:30 pm at Echo Lake & 5:30 pm at Streets of America
When there is no Fantasmic scheduled, there will be no Characterpalooza.
I’ve also heard that Characterpalooza doesn’t take place on Saturdays.
If you’re a character fan, Characterpalooza is definitely something you should try to catch at least once during your trip!
Heather is an annual passholder that loves coming up with excuses to take a trip to the World. Follow her adventures at Disney on twitter and instagram. Visit her website, I Love Characters, to see pictures of the almost 200 characters she’s met at Disney World and Disneyland.