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5 Secret Walt Disney World Events You Won’t Find on Any Times Guide

Walt Disney World has no shortage of entertainment options. From regular character meet and greets to live performances, there are tons of ways you can fill a day at Walt Disney World without going on a single ride.

However, even though you may be a master of the times guide, did you know that there are several, unpublished entertainment offerings that happen throughout the day that are not made public on purpose? These “secret” events aren’t always scheduled, but if you find yourself at the right place at the right time, you can take part in some truly memorable events that are so far off the beaten path, some Cast Members might not know about them! 

1. Character Palooza at Disney's Hollywood Studios

Image: Joel, Flickr (license)

Character Palooza is a character meet and greet experience at Disney’s Hollywood Studios that occurs on most days when the park has performances of Fantasmic between the hours of 4 PM and 7 PM. During this unpublished secret event, between 5 and 10 random characters will randomly appear to take photos, sign autographs and converse with guests for about 20 minutes before disappearing. 

Because Character Palooza features characters that appear in the Fantasmic finale, it is a great way to meet rare characters like Brer Fox, the Genie, Mushu, Meeko and more. Though this event is really amazing, one drawback is the location for Character Palooza is always changing. Past locations include the Streets of America, Echo Lake, and the gates near Tower of Terror, and there's no telling where Character Palooza will happen on a given day. And if you’re hoping to get some inside info from a cast member on where this event is taking place, don’t get your hopes up, as most Cast Members won’t divulge any information about this event.

In fact, Disney doesn’t even deploy PhotoPass photographers prior to Character Palooza in an effort to avoid tipping off eagle-eyed guests on the lookout for this secret event’s location. Though there’s some element of luck involved in catching Character Palooza, for those who are committed (and don’t mind jogging around the park for three hours) this is a unique and rewarding event to experience.

2. Magic Cookie Hour at Disney's Wilderness Lodge

Image: Disney 

Though there are a quite a few freebees at Walt Disney World, this unpublished event is one of the least-known around the resort.  Every Saturday from 2-3PM, guests can head over to the Roaring Forks restaurant at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge to take part in Magic Cookie Hour. During this special event, guests will be able to grab a freshly-baked sugar cookie and decorate it with up to three colors of icing and all the sprinkles anyone could want. 

Though this event only happens at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, you don’t need to be a guest of this resort (or staying anywhere else on property) to take part in this fun, weekly event. 

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There are 21 comments.

During our last visit in early October, we saw Peter Pan running and jumping through Fantasy Land. At first we thought it might be a guest dressed up for the Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party taking place later that night, but it turned out to be the real deal.

I really wish they would bring back the walk around characters. There is nothing fun about having to schedule into your park itinerary to wait in line to see a character. I really miss the spontaneous sightings of random characters. Seriously a major buzz kill to see a character and then have a crazy line that is cutoff. How do you explain that to a kid?

We stumbled upon the hoedown, no idea it was a secret as we weren't really looking for events and parades on our guides. But was a great surprise! We took tons of pics. It was a rare opportunity to see Song of the South characters and the two cow characters from the really early cartoons. I'd never even seen them in the parks before.

We saw Peter Pan about 2 weeks ago behind the castle, just past the Carousel. He was hopping around in the flower bed looking for Tinkerbell. It was cute. Not many people saw him.

Did they bring back the "Let the Adventure Begin'? Thought this had been gone for a couple of years now...

I remember how magical it was when I was a kid and you would just turn a corner and find a character standing there. I can understand how important character experiences are for some children so I can understand why scheduled appearances would be a benefit to some people but having to schedule times and wait in lines for characters is really a lot less magical than it used to be. Even as an adult I still makes me happy to stumble across characters making unscheduled appearances in the park so I hope they continue to do more of this.

This past summer we saw Anastasia and Drizella on the carousel. When Anastasia wouldn't get off their mother, Lady Tremaine, came over and scolded her ad made her get off. It was hilarious. They then went behind the castle and stayed for pictures.

We saw this too while waiting in line for the carousel. The sisters put on quite an entertaining show--we thought it was hilarious! So fun to see characters interacting in the park!

They have something like a character palooza at Epcot once in a while too. I've seen it in the walkway between Italy and America (where Fife and Drum used to come out), and also where the pavilion is between Canada and UK. Just random times (usually earlier like 10am-12pm), with 2-4-6 characters out for pics.

I'm Sure some of the characters would love to roam but for their safety they tend to be stationed at a particular spot. Some people have been rude, going so far as to actually accost a character. When my friend's daughter was a character at SeaWorld, a group of young men literally beat her up! Craziness!

On our first trip to Disney World in August 2014, my toddler daughter looked tirelessly for Snow White and the Evil Queen. We really didn't know where to look and were sadly disappointed. We returned August 2016. Within the first 5 minutes of arriving at Magic Kingdom, Snow White approached my daughter (age 4), reached out her hand and asked if she would like to go for a walk around the kingdom. My heart melted as my little girl's dreams literally came true.

I recently saw a Meet and Greet with Peter Pan and Wendy outside the Contemporary, on the boat dock side. This was after Magic Kingdom had closed. I have never seen characters outside the parks before, and I still don't know what that was about.

Hi, Katelyn! What you probably saw was the meet and greet that happens at the conclusion of the Pirates and Pals Fireworks Cruise that is anchored (no pun intended) at The Contemporary

I was at Disney world a few weeks ago. In Hollywood studios, I had lost track of the rest of my party, only to turn around and see Tigger hopping along! He bounced right up to me, patted me on the head, I said hello and he kept on bouncing!
It really made my day.
I would love to see more characters like that, scheduling time to see them and waiting in line is too hard. We usually save up to do character dining instead.

The most awesome thing happened to us while we were in Epcot one day. Even though my family has been to Epcot a ton afterwards, this one time was very, very special. We were walking the world showcase when we saw a bus full of characters. It was obviously a character bus with the characters sticking their heads out. The characters got out of the bus at a back alley way and proceeded to take pictures (no PhotoPass), sign autographs. Needless to say, Chip and Dale were very mischievous! We had an absolute blast with classic Disney characters with absolutely NO line whatsoever! It truly was magical!

At Animal Kingdom Lodge they have cookie decorating as well. It happens every day at one pm in Boma: Flavors of Africa restaurant downstairs. It's free to the public and a lot of fun.

A Kiss Goodnight is a truly magical experience. I should not be posting this because it could take away some of its magic if more people indulge in this special event. The park is its most quiet during this time and I have found myself being practically alone with the castle. Sssshhh....don't tell anyone else but you should check it out!

On our last trip, my wife and I were strolling around Magic Kingdom after the fireworks show and stumbled upon a show in front of the Castle. It was only the two of us there and, until I read this article, I thought we were watching a rehearsal for a show. It's awesome that it's an actual thing. We're definitely looking for it the next time we're there.

In August Flynn Ryder was wandering around asking if anyone had seen Max. He interacted with us as we exited Peter Pan's flight; handed us a card with his picture on it as well. He was perfectly Flynn!

We ( my daughter and I) were taken off guard this past September when walking around fantasy land. My daughter was admiring the lanterns and completely absorbed in seeing rupunzels tower when quite suddenly rupunzel herself skipped by with Flynn rider in tow. To my amazement and completely surprize they did a circle dance with us, hugged my daughter and then skipped off again.
This was all during a parade that had absorbed most of the other visitors to the main street area. So the experience was actually really private and completely amazing.

The secret cookie hour isn't secret. Almost all the Disney's resorts properties,do the free decoration cookie hour. In Disney's beach resort, roast marshmallows and give it to the guest.

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