Prioritizing the Hollywood Studios Characters – Locations, Pictures, Wait Times, Best Times to Meet etc.

by josh on December 9, 2013

12/5/13 Update: Updated Meet and greet times, added links to verify times with Disney, added new characters and removed retired ones.

This is the second part in the character prioritization series.  Check out the Magic Kingdom edition here.  It provides a little color about what you’re looking at below as well.  Basically, the point of this article is to identify where the various characters are located and create a plan to minimize waits as much as possible.  While even the “lowest priority” characters will have afternoon waits of 10 to 15 minutes, it simply isn’t possible to meet every character first thing in the morning when waits will generally be shortest.  Because of that, we need to identify the characters that will have the longest afternoon waits and visit them first.  Then we can move on to the “less popular” characters later in the morning or whenever we can expect their waits to be shortest.

Luckily, it’s much easier to meet the characters in the Studios because there are fewer of them, Let’s have a look at who we can expect to see:

Overall Strategy: The three key character meets are Buzz Lightyear/Woody, Sofia the First, and Phineas/Ferb.  If all three are priorities, you’ll want to start with Buzz/Woody and then move on to either Sofia or Phineas/Ferb.  You can also minimize waits at Sofia or Phineas/Ferb by getting in line about ten minutes before they’re scheduled to return after a a lengthy break.  I like to save the Animation Courtyard/Building characters for the early evening.  If you head over to Sorcerer Mickey, The Incredibles, Wreck It Ralph/Vanellope, and the Disney Jr. characters after 5pm, you should find much shorter lines than the afternoon.

Buzz Lightyear and Woody – Buzz As RocketMan and Woody as Sheriff Woody Pride

Priority: Highest

Location:

The entrance is located right across the street from Toy Story Midway Mania.  The line starts out here (when necessary) and continues inside.

Usual Meet Times:

Process: Get in line and wait your turn.  There are a few props inside that make good photo ops.  If you arrive in the late morning or afternoon, you may need to line up outside first.  Luckily, the interior portion of the queue is air-conditioned.  Usually both Woody and Buzz meet alongside a statue of Hamm.

Interaction: Good.  Woody in particular has a lot of fun with guests.

Wait Times: The Toy Story Friends ordinarily see the longest wait times of any Studios characters.  It’s one of only a few Meet and Greets that has a posted wait time outside:


Unfortunately, it isn’t terribly accurate as far as actual wait times are concerned.  Afternoon wait times are ordinarily 30 to 50 minutes, making this your highest priority.

Best Times to Meet: The best time to meet is in the morning, right before they’re scheduled to appear.  With the Studios allowing guests to enter the Park 15 minutes prior to the official opening, you should have no trouble collecting FASTPASSes for Toy Story Midway Mania, riding it, and then popping over here for a quick picture before moving on.  Woody and Buzz are usually a higher priority than Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, or any of the other attractions because afternoon waits are so long and it doesn’t offer FASTPASS.  Obviously, the capacity of something like this is thousands fewer than other attractions over the course of the day.

Waits are also shorter at the very end of the night and you would ideally meet them during the first Fantasmic.

Other Meet Locations:

Buzz Lightyear:

  1. Magic Kingdom – Buzz meets in the same outfit in Tomorrowland between his Space Ranger Spin and Carousel of Progress.  Lines are usually shorter, but you won’t meet Woody along with him.
  2. Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party 2013 – Buzz met intermittently in his usual location and his usual rocketman suit.

Woody:

  1. Magic Kingdom - Woody meets with Jessie near Splash Mountain’s exit in Frontierland in the same outfit.  Lines are usually about half as long, but you’ll be meeting him outside in the heat/rain with Jessie instead of Buzz.
  2. Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween/Very Merry Christmas Parties 2013: Woody hosted a dance party along with Bullseye and Jessie.

Sofia the First – Purple Dress

Priority: High

Location:

To the right of the entrance to Disney Jr. Live on Stage and directly across from Voyage of the Little Mermaid.

Usual Meet Times:

Process: Line winds around outside and uncovered to the right of her.

Interaction: Variable. With her popularity and long lines, she typically takes a picture with guests and that’s about it.

Wait Times: Peak in the 30 to 40 minute range by 11am most days.

Best Times to Meet: Get in line by 9:20am to reduce waits to 10 to 15 minutes. Alternatively, get in line by 3:45pm to minimize afternoon waits when lines will be long elsewhere.

Other Meet Locations: None at this time.

Phineas and Ferb – Classic Outfits

Priority: High

Location:

Unfortunately, the Phineas and Ferb Meet and Greet is similar to the Merida Meet and Greet in that it’s difficult to explain where it is. Hopefully you know where at least one of those arrows is pointing. Basically, it’s located straight across from the exit to Muppet Vision 3D and next door to Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano in the Streets of America. If you were to exit Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show and continue walking straight along the rightmost path through the Streets of America, you would arrive right here at Phineas and Ferb. From Toy Story Mania, you would take a right after exiting the attraction (or a left while looking at the entrance) and walk toward the Backlot area. Continue walking down that path past Backlot Tour and towards Studio Catering Company. Continue walking straight and take a left when you arrive at Herbie’s Drive In/The entrance to Lights, Motots, Action! Extreme Stunt Show. You’ll pass the Premier Theater and Cars Meet on your right and then arrive at Phineas and Ferb. Hopefully that makes sense.

Pardon the old map, but their location is circled above.

Usual Meet Times:

Process:

The queue for Phineas and Ferb is outside in the sun/rain, which is one reason why it’s a higher priority than the indoor Meet and Greets in the Animation Building.  You’ll wait your turn and then say hello to the boys.

Interaction: Okay. It’s a shame they don’t talk, but they do their best to communicate.

Wait Times: Afternoon wait times are often in the 20 to 40 minute range. The area where they’re located doesn’t get a lot of foot traffic other than from the Muppet Vision 3D exit. That show unleashes several hundred people on the area about three times per hour. Each time that happens, the wait is extended by five to fifteen minutes. However, not a ton of people ordinarily enter the Phineas and Ferb line after exiting Muppet Vision. It’s not usually as bad as it might seem considering the number of people pouring from Muppet Vision.

Best Times to Meet: Arriving by 9:25am for the 9:30am set or 3pm for the 3:10pm are your best bets. In the morning, that should give you enough time to ride Toy Story Midway Mania nd visit the Toy Story characters before heading over.

Your second best choice is arriving before the characters appear at 3:10pm. Disney does not ordinarily open the queue until right before the characters arrive, so you’ll need to hang out at the entrance to the queue until it’s opened. That’s the only downside to the 3:10pm meet. The good news is that few people get in line or wait around if characters aren’t present. With long afternoon break, there won’t be any residual guests from the prior meet.

Otherwise, I recommend visiting in the final hour that they appear. Most nights, you can arrive an hour before regular close to find much shorter lines than the afternoon. However, that can also run into Fantasmic if you’re interested in seeing that show. Try to avoid 11am – 2:30pm when lines are longest.

Other Meet Locations:

  1. Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party 2013 – Tomorrowland in Buzz Lightyear’s regular spot to the left of Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin.

Mickey – Sorcerer Mickey

Priority: High

Location:

Sorcerer Mickey is located inside the Animation Building on the lower floor.

This is the Animation Building, which is located straight back from the main entrance.  For a full tour of the Animation Building, check this post: http://www.easywdw.com/uncategorized/state-of-the-monorail-night-of-joy-edition-animation-building-tour-pressed-turkey-sandwich-from-studio-catering-company/.  To get to Mickey, enter the gift shop on the right side and continue walking through.  Keep walking through the various exhibits until you arrive in a much larger room.  Continue walking and you’ll see Mickey on the lower floor.  Wreck It Ralph is in a similar location.  You can also continue straight through toward the arrow that says “Bypasses Animation Tour.”  This will also take you into the character greeting area.

Usual Meet Times:

Process: Mickey’s line is located right in front of him.  Hop in the winding queue and hope there aren’t any buckets of water nearby.

Interaction: Good.  It’s not as spirited as you might hope, but it’s still Mickey Mouse in his coolest (in my opinion) outfit.

Wait Times: Mickey often sees wait times in the 30-40 minute range most afternoons.  When his queue is mostly full, the usual wait is about 30 minutes.

Best Times to Meet: This is one I would actually put off until the evening.  The problem is that Mickey begins appearing at 10am, which is right around the time most people are arriving.  A lot of people have Mickey Mouse on their minds and will head over here first thing. People also head over immediately after the first Disney Jr. show.  If you were to arrive at 9:50am, you would most likely find a queue that is mostly full, which would result in a total wait of 30 to 40 minutes, which is way too long to spend in the morning.  The best time to meet Mickey is after 6pm.  If that cuts into Fantasmic, plan to head over as late as possible so that you can still head to Fantasmic and get situated in time to enjoy the show.

Other Meet Locations:

  1. Animal Kingdom – Mickey meets in his safari/park ranger outfit at Adventurers Outpost alongside Minnie.  From mid-November through December, he wears a Christmas sweater and Santa hat.  Lines are typically just as long here, but he does offer FastPass+ at Animal Kingdom and you get the bonus of meeting Minnie.
  2. Animal Kingdom - Mickey meets diners at Tusker House Restaurant in his safari outfit for breakfast and lunch.
  3. Epcot – Mickey meets in his classic outfit along with Minnie and Goofy at the Character Spot.  Afternoon waits are typically 15 to 30 minutes and you have the benefit of meeting Minnie and Pluto in their classic outfits as well. Waits are shorter before 10am and after 6pm.
  4. Epcot – Mickey meets diners at Garden Grill in his farmer’s outfit.  He meets along with Pluto, Chip, and Dale.
  5. Magic Kingdom – Mickey meets in Town Square Theater in his magician outfit.  He usually talks to guests here and offers legacy FASTPASS and FastPass+.
  6. Contemporary Resort – Mickey meets diners at Chef Mickey’s in his chef outfit along with Minnie, Pluto, Chip, and Dale.
  7. Fort Wilderness Campsite – Mickey meets diners at Mickey’s Backyard BBQ in his cowboy (hoe-down?) outfit along with Goofy, Chip, and Dale.
  8. Polynesian Resort – Mickey meets diners in his luau outfit along with Lilo, Stitch, and Pluto during breakfast.
  9. Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party 2013 – Mickey met with Minnie in his pirate costume in Town Square Theater.
  10. Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party 2013 – Talking Mickey met in his usual magician outfit.

The Incredibles – Mr. Incredible and Frozone – Very Super

Priority: Moderate

Location:

The Incredibles meet in the Animation Building as described in Mickey Mouse’s section above, only they are located on the top floor above Mickey and Wreck-It Ralph.

Usual Meet Times:

Process: The queue for The Incredibles is out in front of them.  Wait your turn and play nice because they are very powerful.

Interaction: Good.  They are as personable as one might expect.  Mrs. Incredible no longer meets.

Wait Times: Afternoon wait times often hit 15 to 25 minutes.

Best Times to Meet: I would visit at 6pm in conjunction with Mickey and Wreck-It Ralph.  Visit Ralph first, then these guys, and then Mickey.

Other Meet Locations: Mr. Incredible, Mrs. Incredible, and Frozone dance with guests at Magic Kingdom’s Tomorrowland Dance Party.

Wreck-It Ralph and Vanellope – I’M GONNA WRECK IT!

Priority: Moderate

Location:

They meet in the Animation Building with Sorcerer Mickey on their left and The Incredibles above.

Usual Meet Times:

Process:

The entrance to their queue is on the left.

It winds around in pleasant air-conditioning with a few interactive screens and an 8-bit music soundtrack.  There are a few other gags to keep you occupied.

Interaction: Good.

Obviously, it would be a lot more fun if they talked, but Ralph is so big that it’s a fun photo op.  They may or may not sign autographs, but they do provide a card with their signatures to take home if they don’t sign live.

Wait Times: Afternoon waits are usually 15 to 20 minutes.  You can gauge how long it will take pretty easily be checking on the line in back.

Best Times to Meet: I would arrive in this area by 5:30pmpm and meet Minnie, then Ralph/Vanellope, then The Incredibles, and then Mickey to reduce waits.  If you’re not interested in the other characters, whenever it’s convenient in the afternoon would work.  It’s comfortably air-conditioned inside and not a bad place to spend a few minutes in line.

Other Meet Locations: None.

Mike Wazowski and James P. “Sulley” Sullivan – Monsters U.

Priority: Moderate Low

Location:


This is another one of the more difficult to find Meet and Greet locations.  Mike and Sulley meet down a narrow walkway straight across from Studio Catering Company in the Backlot Area.  They are located in between the entrance to Lights, Motors, Action Extreme Stunt Show and the Backlot Tour.

Usual Meet Times:

Mike Wazowski:

Process: Mike and Sulley’s line is located right in front of where they meet.  Hop in and prepare to help power Monstropolis with fear (and laughter).


Mike reminds me a lot of a turtle.  I mean, if you pushed him over there’s no way he could get up, right?

Interaction: Average.  Mike can’t do a whole lot, but Sulley is big, blue, and happy to see you.

Wait Times: Afternoon wait times are usually in the 15 to 20 minute range.  Longer waits are somewhat rare due to its unfortunate location.  It just isn’t obvious at all unless you’re exiting Backlot Tour.

Best Times to Meet: Lines are usually nonexistent just before 11am when both Mike and Sulley first appear.  Otherwise, I like to arrive around 4:30pm because lines will be shorter and it’s more likely that both characters will appear.  Other than those two times, lines are generally consistent in the 15 minute range.  The only foot traffic this location really gets is from people exiting Backlot Tour.  Once guests disembark a Tour tram and pass by this area, some of them will inevitably get in line.  This is less of an issue before 11am when Backlot Tour is much less popular than the afternoon.  Backlot Tour is mostly a non-issue after 5pm as well.

Other Meet Locations: This is the only location where either character ordinarily meets.

Sorcerer’s Hat Meet and Greet – Goofy/Pluto (Goofy in a Suit and Pluto in a Collar), Chip/Dale (Top Hats/Ties), Donald/Daisy (Summer Apparel), Stitch (Naked)

Priority: Moderate Low

Location:

The Sorcerer’s Hat is hard to miss at the end of Hollywood Boulevard, which is the main drag leading into the Studios from the entrance.

Usual Meet Times: Characters appear from Park open until 12pm most days.  They do appear during the entirety of morning Extra Magic Hour if there is one scheduled and also begin appearing at 8am if Hollywood Studios has a normal 8am open.

Process: Each character or set of characters has its own individual line that’s located informally next to the character.  You’ll need to enter multiple lines if you’d like to meet multiple characters.

Interaction:





Interaction is generally average to good.  This isn’t exactly the most storied location in the World, but the characters do their best to make up for it.  In other words, the interaction is more or less as good as you’d find at their other meets.

Wait Times: Wait times for each character generally peak around 15 minutes from 10:30am – 1pm.  Lines can occasionally be longer if a large group gets in line or a group takes a lot of time taking pictures in various configurations.

Best Times to Meet: These characters are a lower priority than most others and a lower priority than the major attractions. They are best skipped until at least 10am. If part of the group is headed to the rides with height requirements in the morning, like Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster and Tower of Terror, then others may want to head here to meet characters. This is also an easy location to meet up at. If you miss characters early, return at 2:05pm and wait for the characters to reappear before people realize they’ve arrived.

Other Meet Locations: All of these characters are widely available in the other theme parks.  See the Magic Kingdom Prioritization for a more specific list.

Jake from Jake and the Never Land Pirates – Arrrrrrrrrrrrr Matey!

Priority: Low

Location:

Jake meets next to Sofia in Animation Courtyard.  As you’re looking at the entrance to Disney Jr. Live on Stage, Jake will be located to the right.  This is also right across from the entrance to Voyage of the Little Mermaid.

Usual Meet Times:

  • 9:30am – 4:30pm with intermittent breaks

Process: The line for Jake is off to the right side of where he meets.  Wait your turn to duel to the death!

Interaction: Average to good.  This is a particularly popular Meet and Greet for kids in the 2-6 age range.  Jake isn’t particularly communicative, but he’s very sweet.


Wait Times: It’s rare to see waits that exceed 15 minutes and waits in the 5 to 10 minute range are more common.  While Jake is extremely popular with boys between the ages of 2 and 7, his character is lost on a lot of people.

Best Times to Meet: This is one that you can more or less visit at any point during the day  Lines tend to become a bit longer after a Disney Jr. Live on Stage show gets out so don’t plan to head over right after unless you’re among the first people to enter the line.  Otherwise, a visit sometime in the afternoon is best.

Other Meet Locations:

  1. Hollywood Studios – Jake meets buffet diners at Hollywood & Vine for breakfast and lunch along with June and Leo from the Little Einsteins, Handy Manny, and Special Agent Oso.

Minnie Mouse – Classic Polka Dots

Priority: Low

Location:

Minnie meets in the Animation Building in between Mickey and Ralph.

Usual Meet Times:

Process:

Minnie’s queue winds around inside in front of where you’ll meet her.

Interaction:

About as good as it gets for a non-speaking character.

Waits are typically short and she spends more time with each guest than most.

Wait Times: Typically ten minutes or less. Her meet is not at all obvious and it isn’t rare to find nobody in line.

Best Times to Meet: Before the other characters in the Animation Building in the late afternoon or early evening. If Minnie is the only character you’re interested in, visiting in the afternoon is best as most people will have higher priorities.

Lightning McQueen and Mater – Cars

Priority: Low

Location:

Lightning and Mater sit to the right of Phineas and Ferb in the Streets of America.  For a detailed look at where they’re located, see the Phineas and Ferb pictures above.  Basically, they are on the walkway straight out from the entrance/exit to Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show.  Or as you’re exiting Muppet Vision 3D, take a right, walk around the corner, and you’ll see them sitting here.

Usual Meet Times:

Process: The queue for Lightning and Mater winds around to the right of them.  Hop in line and wait for your turn to interact with two inanimate objects.

Interaction: Poor.  They don’t do anything.

Wait Times: Peak waits are usually 10 minutes or less, but occasionally may be slightly higher if a large group gets in line.  Because the characters don’t interact, there isn’t much to do other than walk up and take a picture with them.  Since they aren’t going anywhere during the day, there’s no concern over waiting for breaks either.  In some ways, they are the perfect meet!  And in other ways, not so much.

Best Times to Meet: As late into the evening as possible is usually best.  If you’re headed here from Toy Story Midway Mania or the Toy Story Meet and Greet, you may also be able to take a pit stop here and snap a quick picture in 30 seconds or a minute before moving on to Phineas and Ferb.  Theoretically you’ll want to avoid 11:30am – 4pm or so, but even during those hours, lines usually aren’t too bad.

Other Meet Locations: This is the only location where either character usually meets.

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

RebeccaMcK February 10, 2012 at 4:06 pm

Great info and pics. I’ve “met” everyone now (well, my DD6 has – I just snap the pics) so we’ll just go to the Characterpalooza at Animation Academy from now on to see if we catch any rare characters or just anyone we haven’t seen before. When it was raining our day at DHS last October, they held the Phineas & Ferb meet inside the Premier Theater (grey building)….a CM told us outside the Muppetvision building when we asked, and sure enough there was a sign or two along the way to point us the right direction.

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Melanie February 10, 2012 at 8:08 pm

Our family are big Phineas & Ferb fans. We’ve Memorized all the catch phrases, watched every episode too many times to count, and even saw the stage show (Phineas & Ferb Live: The Best Live Show Ever!) when it came to town last fall. Hubby spent entire January 2011 WDW visit asking cast members why P&F weren’t available.

So needless to say P&F were a top priority for us on this year’s visit. We had scoped out the location while visiting the Osborne Family’s Spectacle of Dancing Lights the night before so we knew just where to go. Line was fairly short at 11 AM on Marathon Sunday, but we were having so much fun singing along to all our favorite P&F tunes at we would have gladly waited longer. Interaction was good, though characters did not talk. But then Ferb does not say much anyway. No director on hand while we were there.

Afterwards 7 year old daughter headed straight for the nearest merchandise cart to get a P&F backpack, which she now takes to school daily. She is now the envy of her classmates. Later we went back for Perry pajamas.

Now if we could only get a photo op with Agent P!

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keri February 11, 2012 at 2:08 am

Thanks so much, Josh!

but you didn’t include the DHS whatsits “characters of Hollywood” or whatever? I was kind of hoping you might mention them. I guess they’re more performance than m&gs, so they wouldn’t technically count.

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Natalie February 11, 2012 at 8:54 am

Thanks for all of the info Josh. This is great!

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RebeccaMcK February 11, 2012 at 11:29 am

@Melanie
Yes, Agent P and Candice would be great, too. In the indoor m&g (rain location: Premier Theater) we didn’t have any director or DJ but there was P&F music playing (theater has speakers obviously) and a CM kept going around telling people about her favorite songs and how she constantly posts the little brothers song on her brother’s FB page and Doofenschmirtz’s daughter’s “my dad” song on her dad’s page, etc. She was a little creepy, lol. But anyway, she was a fan and kept us somewhat occupied during the wait. P&F took a short break in the middle of our wait to see them, but it still didn’t take more than maybe 30 minutes to get through it. I also just found out that a local Girl Scouts day camp here in the summer is going to be a theme of “Phineas & Ferb’s Best Camp Ever” – so guess what we’ll check out for my DD6′s first daycamp (other than Vacation Bible School)?! I don’t know if they’ll have the characters there, but it’s five days and maybe DD6 will try it. DD’s school doesn’t allow characters on anything (no backpacks, no lunch boxes or clothes)…public charter school with uniforms.

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Jenn M February 11, 2012 at 2:49 pm

This is great information! I love knowing what to do and when to go, so I can help minimize the wait. There is so much to see and do, that you don’t want to waste anymore time in line. I saw the list you did for MK, but do you have one for AK too?

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Dawn February 11, 2012 at 5:16 pm

speaking of “lists” is there going to be a “printer friendly” bullet type list? just wondering…as if you dont have enouph to do!

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kristen Wotruba-kolb February 12, 2012 at 1:14 pm

No more little Einsteins outside the Animation building? They were at the top of our list! Does this mean the only way to see them is to eat at Hollywood and vine? I am not overly eager to eat there.

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RebeccaMcK February 14, 2012 at 11:31 am

They do have an Agent Perry costume…Agent P was at the ESPN place with the First Lady for the kids’ fitness promotion thing they did last weekend. It’s too bad they can’t (or won’t?) add him to the regular meet’n'greet! Maybe someday. Or maybe he’ll be a party perk at some point (MNSSHP or MVMCP).

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RebeccaMcK February 14, 2012 at 11:34 am

@kristen
I don’t think the Little Einsteins are out for “free” meet’n'greets any more at DHS. You might want to check at the buffet place (H&V) to make sure they’re still there, too. Not sure what their character lineup is now, and I’ve never been in there. I heard at one point Agent Oso (the panda) was there? A long time ago maybe JoJo the clown (from JoJo’s Circus)? I don’t have Disney Channel any more (not for over a year) so I don’t even know what shows are still on….all I know is Jake & the Neverland Pirates is a huge hit and they’ve just renewed it for a third season. So he’s outside along with Handy Manny at DHS.

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m l eason May 30, 2012 at 10:02 pm

In March my greatniece and nephew wanted so much to meet P&F. We got in line 3 times only to have it rain just as we got to the front of the queue. DGN age 7 declared this was “the worst day of his life…” But hopefully there will be other opportunities on other trips. It made a cute memory for me but I’m sure he’d rather have had the photo. I really appreciate all the work you put into these articles to help us maximize our trips. Thanks, Josh.

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Ronni March 16, 2013 at 5:58 pm

I wish I knew about Characterpalooza when I was there a few weeks ago. It looks awesome. and JAFAR? Really?

*dies*

MAYBE they’ll still be doing it when I go back in June….

Love these character posts. That’s one of my favorite parts about visiting WDW.

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squeaky March 16, 2013 at 6:42 pm

Last time I saw Wreck-It Ralph which was at the beginning of the month, they had Vanellope signing autographs but not Ralph. They also give out a magnet now instead of the card.

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Pam March 18, 2013 at 7:44 am

The picture of Jafar sneaking up on those people is so awesome. You should find a way to include that in all DHS posts.

Also, can I apply to be your apprentice? You have the best job ever!

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