Characterpalooza – an actual Disney best kept secret!

October 5, 2012 Cheryl 6
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Walt Disney World claims to have lots of best kept secrets, but here is one that actually lives up to that claim!  “Characterpalooza” is an unadvertised Character Greeting session that occurs almost daily at Disney’s Hollywood Studio’s on the Streets of America!  It used to occur inside the Art of Animation building, but the recently moved it so the characters can roam around and greet guests!!

Who will you see?  Well that is the surprise!   Not even Cast Members can tell you who is going to make an appearance!

The timing and number of Characters depends on the following show times for Fantasmic that evening:

  • If Fantasmic isn’t scheduled, Characters will appear from 4:50 to 6:50 PM.
  • If the first Fantasmic begins before 7:30 PM, then Characterpalooza will not occur since the Characters will be getting ready for Fantasmic.
  • If the first Fantasmic begins at 7:30 PM, Characters will only appear between 4:50 and 5:10 PM.
  • If the first Fantasmic begins at 8:00 or 8:30 PM, Characters will appear from 4:50 to 5:50 PM.
  • If the first Fantasmic begins at 9:00 PM, Characters will appear from 4:50 to 6:30 PM.

Last time we were there we saw Captain Hook, Mr. Smee, Genie, Jafar, Snow White, Pinocchio, Gepetto, Queen of Hearts, Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dumb, Mary Poppins and her penguins, and The Wicked Queen (from Snow White).  The Little Einsteins were also there!  We are really big on getting Character signatures, so any chance to catch a rare one is a treat.  If you feel the same way, I would definitely recommend scheduling some time in the Streets of America!

Get tips like these and more when you book your Disney vacation with me.  Request a free no-obligation quote today and let me help you plan a character-filled Disney getaway!

Many thanks to for providing research material for this article.  You can read their article on Characterpalooza here!  Kenny the Pirate is also an excellent reference for the most up to date information on Characterpalooza!!




I’m a T-Rex (roar)…I’m a Tyrannosaurus

August 15, 2012 Cheryl 0
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That might be a song from PBS’ Dinosaur Train, but today it is a fitting, since we had lunch at the T-Rex in Downtown Disney.  This is T’s favorite restaurant – so much so that I have (on multiple occasions) had to show him YouTube videos of the restaurant just so he could get his dinosaur fix.  To be fair, he has wanted to be a paleontologist since he could say the word…and when you combine life-size animatronics dinosaurs with macaroni and cheese, you have a real hit!!  J and I on the other hand are not as big of fans.  Atmosphere I would give it a 10, but food, well, not quite as high.   This restaurant is actually celebrating its 4th anniversary at Downtown Disney this fall.  It is part of the Landry Restaurant family – the same group that brought us Rainforest Café.  The T-Rex is quite similar in idea – lots of life-size prehistoric animals, the occasional meteor shower, and several different rooms/areas that represent different habitats (we were in the Ice Age Room).  The décor is very well done, and you can walk around taking pictures of the moving dinosaurs, so that is pretty cool.

As for the food, well, it took me quite a few visits to find an item on the menu that I actually liked.  I did find one – the Triassic Tortellini – and it is good.  Tri-color tortellini with mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, and chicken in an alfredo sauce (it comes with peas, but I omit them).  Pretty tasty!  J usually gets the burger (which they can never cook to the right temperature) but today he got the Tyrannosaurus T-Bone, which they still didn’t get right.  He likes his steak still mooing – medium rare, and the first steak was closer to medium well to well.  They did remake the steak.  He said the second steak was ok, and that the seasoning was tasty, but the steak itself was chewy – not something you would expect of a $30 plus dollar steak.  Dessert on the other hand was delicious!  We have never gotten it before, but since we are on the dining plan, we did today.  J got the Ice Age Indulgence, which was layers of ice cream sandwiches, fudge sauce, whipped cream and Heath Bar Crunch, and I got the Cosmic Key Lime Pie.  Both were large and very good

Next we were off to Hollywood Studios.  We had a lot of fun on the Toy Story Mania, Star Tours, and the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster rides.  Toy Story Mania is a 3-D ride where you play arcade type games (ring toss, break the plates, etc) and try to get the highest score.  It is very popular, with wait times of up to 90 minutes today.  Star Tours is the Star Wars ride, and a must do for our family.  This is also a 3-D ride that simulates you flying in a space ship.  With the updates they did to the ride, there are now 54 different possible combinations, so the chances of getting the same ride twice are pretty slim.  Today we escaped from Storm Troopers, went to Hoth, saw Yoda, and then ended on Coruscant.  It was a new combination for us, so T was pretty excited!!  The Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, however, didn’t go over as well with him!  It is an indoor ride that starts off super fast and heads into a crazy ride through Hollywood, and goes upside down and through lots of twists and turns before your arrival at the Aerosmith concert across town.  Maybe in a few years he will feel differently!

Between the rides we got to see the Pixar Pals Countdown to Fun! Parade, which features (as you can guess from the title) all of the stars of the Disney/Pixar films.  It is a fun parade, with lots of colorful floats, dancers in bright costumes, and the song “I don’t want to work” played quite a few times.  Something new this year – right before the parade starts they actually do a flash mob, where guests are taught a few dance moves and then do a huge performance on Hollywood Blvd. The flash mob was lead by Disney Cast Members who “filmed” the event.  It was surprisingly popular with well over a 100 participants. Fun!

We are huge character signature fans so we always plan on stopping in the Art of Animation building to see what characters are around for Characterpalooza.  Today The Queen, Rafiki, Mary Poppins and her Penguin, Minnie Mouse, Pluto, and Chip and Dale were there in addition to the regulars (Sorcerer Mickey, Pooh, and The Incredibles).  We already had everyone’s signature, but it is always fun to see who is going to show up.  Jake (from the Neverland Pirates) was outside though, so we did stop over to see him.

Tomorrow we are off to EPCOT.  We are having dinner at Le Cellier Steakhouse in the Canada Pavilion, and I am hoping to check out Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure.