You would be hard pressed to run out of things to do while visiting Disney World. The rides, the food, the shows -- you could spend a week exploring just one park and still not see everything. What a lot of Disney fans don't know, though, is that the Happiest Place on Earth is also full of secrets. Even though you may consider yourself a master at Fast Passes and character meet-and-greets, there are events happening in the parks every day that only a lucky few know about.
Character Palooza is one of the best kept secrets at Disney World, and you won't find it on a Disney events schedule no matter how much research you do. This secret gem of magic happens at Hollywood Studios, and is an unofficial character meet-and-greet with a twist: you'll meet special characters that are rarely seen out and about around the other parks. The event is purposely downplayed to avoid long lines and keep attendance at a minimum. Even cast members are trained to be vague about the existence of this event so it truly is a surprise if you happen to encounter it.
Character Palooza happens on days that Hollywood Studios hosts their nighttime showing of "Fantasmic!" Typically during the hours of 4-7 p.m., weather permitting, these rare characters will come out of hiding to hang out with guests for a short period of time. Normally, five to 10 characters will randomly appear to take photos and sign autographs, but only for about 20 minutes. The event is so secret that Disney's PhotoPass photographers aren't even deployed for it -- so make sure your camera is ready just in case!
The event became well known for occurring in front of the Tower of Terror in the past, but is now moved around the park from time to time to keep guests on their toes. Queen Grimhilde, also known as the Evil Queen, is usually present for Character Palooza, and sometimes greets guests with Snow White alongside her. Other characters that occasionally appear are Mushu, Dopey, Gepetto, Robin Hood, Pinocchio, Jafar, Poccahontas, Meeko, Rafiki and Genie. There is no set attendance list for the event, so you never know who might pop up!
One of the best ways to find a Character Palooza is to check social media. If you're hanging out in Hollywood Studios around the time of "Fantasmic!" but don't see any characters, check Twitter or various Disney insider Facebook groups to see if anyone has found them. There's no guarantee the the special meet-and-greet will even be happening that day, so don't be discouraged if you don't stumble upon them! Have fun at Hollywood Studios and let the magic happen when you're least expecting it.