Did you know that sometimes groups of characters come out to meet and greet in the Animation Building at Hollywood Studios? When there is no early showing of Fantasmic! (early, as in a pre-7:00 pm showing) then you may be able to see either one or two waves of characters, including some who don’t come out very often in other locations.
To get to the Animation Building, go to the Animation Courtyard and then head toward the entrance for the attraction “The Magic of Disney Animation”. If you wish to experience the attraction, you can head to the left and do that first, but otherwise, you can go to the right and go straight to the Animation Building. It is the same building where the Incredibles and Sorcerer Mickey meet, and also where you can participate in the Animation Academy (which is an excellent experience as well, one which deserves a post of its own.)
If the characters are going to come out, you may see preparations beginning inside the building around 4:40 pm or so for the first wave at 4:50 pm. You may notice greater numbers of Character Attendant cast members in the building leading up to that time. Right around 10 ’til, if characterpalooza is going to happen that night, characters will start to emerge from backstage.
Common areas inside the Animation Building where these extra characters will meet and greet include:
- The upstairs hallway leading from the exit of “The Magic of Disney Animation”.
- Along the wall just across from where Winnie the Pooh is currently meeting.
- On the lower level near the stairs closest to the Animation Academy, right by the “You’re a Character” kiosks.
- In the alcove to the right of Sorcerer Mickey’s line, near the kiosks for “The Sound Stage”.
If you get in line near the end of the first set and there will be a second set of characters coming out at 5:30 pm, you may not be warned that you will be seeing the character(s) meeting in that location for the second set instead. (We got in line recently to see Mary Poppins and Mr. Penguin, but we met with Pocahontas and Meeko instead, as Mary and Mr. Penguin had to go backstage before we reached the front of the line.) Character Attendants will close off the lines near the end of the final set of the night, however, in an effort to keep guests from being disappointed when the characters need to go backstage again.
Characters you may see include (but are by no means limited to): Chip and Dale, Pocahontas and Meeko, Captain Hook and Mr. Smee, Mary Poppins and Mr. Penguin, Stitch, Aladdin, Pinocchio and Gepetto, the Snow Queen, and members of the fab five (other than Mickey, of course, who is already in the building.) Sometimes rare characters make appearances there, too. Just this last Wednesday (September 21, 2011) Max from Goof Troop appeared in the second set, meeting with Goofy. So keep those eyes open when characters are emerging from backstage!
If you love to meet and greet characters, make sure you peek into the Animation Building in Disney’s Hollywood Studios starting at 4:40-ish pm. There could be some interesting characters out there until around 6:00 pm. (But arrive earlier than that to secure a space in line!)