If you were to look at any official Disney Website, you would not find the phrase “Characterpalooza” anywhere. If you went into the park and asked a cast member when and where the next Characterpalooza is to occur, you most likely wouldn’t get a straight answer, or even an answer at all.
The reason why is because “Characterpalooza” is the name that many die-hard Disney fans have given for special character meet-and-greets. Unannounced and sometimes rare character will come out to meet their unsuspecting fans for short amounts of time only. They are never scheduled on official Disney Websites or put into the parks times guide.
What do I need to know about “Characterpalooza”?
The most commonly referred to Characterpalooza is the one that occurs in Hollywood Studios. It can happen on any night that the night-time spectacular Fantasmic! is showing, although it is not guaranteed every time.
Depending on crowd levels and times, it can happen any time between 4pm and 7pm. Keep your eye out for a small crowd waiting near some character-less character attendants (the people wearing blue shirts and tan pants).
Once the location is open with character friends, make sure that you get inside the area as soon as possible. The character attendants will usually close it off ASAP, to insure low crowd levels.
Characterpalooza is typically found near the event building “Sunset Showcase” by the Rockin’ Roller Coaster ride.
In the past, it was known to be off to the side of the Tower of Terror ride, but once the word got out, the location had to be changed to control crowd levels.
Each Characterpalooza can vary from the last, with a range of 5-20 characters available to meet. All characters are among those in the night-time showing of Fantasmic!
Here is a list of just some of the possible characters you could see:
Mary Poppins and Bert
Genie and Jasmine
Pinocchio and Geppetto
The Evil Queen from Snow White
With so many classic, and sometimes rare characters out and about, it may be overwhelming to decide whom you want to meet first. The event only lasts about 20 minutes, so quickly decide which character lines you want to get in!
Side note: Make sure to bring your own camera, there are no Photopass cast member on site during Characterpalooza!
Epcot’s version of “Characterpalooza”
While visiting Epcot, many people have seen random character pop-ups and assumed that is it the elusive “Characterpalooza”. Although they are mistaken, there is some secret Disney Magic at work in the world showcase of Epcot.
From time to time, many characters like to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the busier parks such as Magic Kingdom, and visit Epcot unannounced.
Typically these unannounced meet and greets happen around 10am-2pm.
Our “furrier” friends including Chip and Dale, Pluto, Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Goofy, Rafiki, Mr. Smee, Baloo, and Stitch, like to visit from time to time in two locations.
The first location is a long pathway to the side of the American Pavilion.
The second location is a behind a large gateway near the Canadian Pavilion. Usually a character attendant will be seen standing at those locations, a good indication that some character friends are about to come.
Other character friends, such as classic princesses and other rare characters, can be found near the International Gateway and in Future World. (And on rare occasion they can be found at the gateway near the Canadian Pavilion.)
We’ve seen many characters there including:
John Smith from Pocahontas
Tarzan or Jane
The Evil Queen from snow white
There are so many, and those are just a few! The closer it gets to a seasonal event, such as Halloween, Christmas, or even the different RunDisney events, the more likely you are to see rare characters in Epcot.
With the abundant Disney magic that fills the parks, be sure to keep your eyes open for characterpalooza, and other random character pop-ups. The lines are always short, and the characters are always excited to see you!
Let us know what rare characters you’ve seen in these locations, and keep us updated on the characters you see on your next Disney vacation!