Trying to keep up with Character Palooza is like juggling snowballs. It seems like things change more than they stay the same. They change the times, they change the locations and they change the characters that appear. It’s pretty funny in a way because Disney World has moved to the Hyper Planner model of vacationing with pre-arranging your resort stay, rides and dining months in advance, but they try to keep character meets as some sort of top secret, black ops program.
If you ask the average Cast Member (who is doing what they are told) they will deny that Character Palooza even exists or act very coy about it all. Every time the Fantasmic! schedules change, I venture over, very low-key spy style, and try to discern the latest schedules.
Today I observed that the new 8:00pm schedules included a 3:30pm meet (expected) and a 5:05pm meet. The 5:05pm time was a pretty big shock to me because they arranged the time to fall right when everyone is leaving Lights, Motors, Action. Both meets were held on New York Street closer to the Writers Stop. If you aren’t sure where that is, use my Hollywood Studios Map.
A recent visit to Characer Palooza at Hollywood Studios
Character Palooza is an unpublished character meet and greet that takes place at Hollywood Studios. Here’s the article I wrote on Character Palooza a while back with more information.
We dropped in on Saturday afternoon and saw the Streets of America abuzz with meet and greet action. It’s funny how many people don’t know this exists and just stumble upon it. I’ve observed recently that the summer appearance can vary from 5:55pm to 6:10pm, so arrive a few minutes early!
We arrived at Character Palooza and Jordyn was hot and tired and was going to sit on the steps and wait on Debbie to meet some of her favorite characters…until she saw Max! In the same day Jordyn got to meet Mushu and Max for the first time, so she was pretty happy.
After Hollywood Studios chose to remove the Pixar Countdown to Fun Parade and Disney Channel Rocks from it’s entertainment offerings, the schedules for Character Palooza were changed dramatically. It’s left people wondering when and where the character free-for-all of rare characters will take place.
Here’s the new rules:
On a night when TWO Fantasmics are performed, Character Palooza will take place only at 6:00 pm on Streets of America
On a night when ONE Fantasmic is performed, Character Palooza 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 Character Palooza.
Given the current park schedule at Hollywood Studios, it would mean that Character Palooza or “Pop-up Surprise” as some Cast Members refer to it, will only appear ONCE per night at 6:00 pm on the Streets of America now through August 20th.
Here’s the description of Character Palooza that is posted on the top left of the blog. It contains a list of characters you might find.
How to take part in Character Palooza at Disney’s Hollywood Studios
One of the best character surprises is often referred to as Character Palooza (Characterpalooza), Pop-up Surprise or the Fantasmic! meet. Because it is an unpublished meet, there is usually a short wait for some great and often rare characters. This meet takes place out doors and can be canceled with the threat of inclement weather.
Where does Character Palooza take place?
It’s on New York Street in the Streets of America in Disney’s Hollywood Studios backlot. It’s could also be found in front of Lights, Motors, Action
When will Character Palooza occur during my trip?
Update: I removed the dates and I’ve added links to my Crowd Calendars that include the actual times, so I don’t have to answer the same questions repeatedly.
NOTE: There is NO Character Palooza on any Star Wars Weekends dates!!!
What characters should I hope to meet?
Here’s some of the characters that we’ve met over the years (which characters appear on a given day will always be a surprise, there’s no way of knowing what characters will appear in advance. If there are multiple appearances scheduled in a single day, you may see the same characters at each appearance.
Chip n Dale
Green Army Man
Queen Grimhilde (Snow Queen / Evil Queen)
Queen of Hearts
Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum
Do the characters sign autographs?
If they are capable of signing autographs, they will sign for you.
When there’s 2 or more times listed, do the same characters appear?
I would say it’s usually the same or similar sets.