Where to Find Walt Disney World Characters – Hollywood Studios Edition
As much as we love going on rides, watching a parade roll by or seeing fireworks light up the night at the end of a fun-filled day in the parks, one of our favorite things to do at Walt Disney World is meet characters. From that very first hug to walking away with a new autograph in your book and a picture-perfect photo, you can’t beat the magic of seeing your favorite Disney characters, Pixar pals or Star Wars heroes or villains come to life.
And there’s no better place to do that than Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Sure, Disney Parks like Magic Kingdom, Epcot and Animal Kingdom also offer plenty of opportunities to meet Mickey and the gang. However, if it’s Darth Vader and Kylo Ren, Woody and Jessie, or Fancy Nancy and Doc McStuffins you’re after, then you won’t want to miss the character-palooza that is Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
So, exactly which Hollywood Studios characters can you see and where? What are the best ways to meet them? (Traditional character meet-and-greets, more informal sightings and character meals are at the top of our list.) Or, what if you’re short on time but are still looking for a little character magic? (That’s where Hollywood Studios’ many character-themed attractions come in.) Grab your autograph book and read on for our complete guide to seeing characters at Hollywood Studios.
Due to the pandemic, some Hollywood Studios character experiences may be temporarily unavailable. Refer to the My Disney Experience app for the most up-to-date information.
Where Can You Meet Characters at Hollywood Studios?
When it comes to celebrity sightings, there’s no better place than Tinseltown. So, it’s only natural that Disney’s Hollywood Studios is also home to a star-studded cast of characters, from classic Disney pals and Star Wars characters to new favorites from Pixar and Disney Junior.
Of course, all that star power can be a little daunting. Don’t worry, we’re here to help. Here are some things to consider when tracking down characters at Hollywood Studios.
What is the best way to see Hollywood Studios characters?
The “best” way to see characters at Hollywood Studios is the one that fits your schedule, the characters you want to see, the kind of encounter you’re looking for and, potentially, your budget. In general, for an up-close interaction that won’t cost you anything extra (except for the time you spend in line), you can’t beat a traditional character meet-and-greet.
Not only can you come face-to-face with your favorites, but characters also give out hugs, pose for pictures and sign autographs, making for a truly memorable experience. That said, due to their popularity, character meet-and-greets also have the potential to be very time-consuming, which can make them a hard sell for those with an already jam-packed vacation.
Character dining can be a great alternative if you have a bit of wiggle room in your travel budget. Though on the pricier side, a character meal allows you to combine a close-up character encounter with breakfast, lunch or dinner, saving you time without skimping out on the Disney magic.
If you’re short on both time and money, your best bet is to go to a character sighting (AKA a socially distanced interaction that takes up only a minute or two and is perfect for snapping a selfie from afar) or catch your favorite in either a stage show or a character-themed attraction. Alternatively, while they’re not offered at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, if you’re visiting a park like Magic Kingdom or Animal Kingdom, you can also take in a parade or cavalcade.
What time are characters out in Disney’s Hollywood Studios?
In general, Hollywood Studios character meet-and-greets and sightings start at or shortly after the park opening and continue through the late afternoon or early evening, depending on the character. Certain characters with permanent meet-and-greet locations, such as Mickey and Minnie or Chewbacca and Darth Vader, will meet continuously throughout the day, while other characters greet guests intermittently. Use the My Disney Experience app for current characters, appearance times and locations.
Do Hollywood Studios characters walk around the park?
Yes! Though you won’t find Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse strolling down Hollywood Boulevard, there are some Hollywood Studios characters that do roam the park, particularly those in Stars Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. There, Star Wars characters like Rey, Chewbacca, Kylo Ren and the Storm Troopers can be spotted around Black Spire Outpost, whether hanging out near an X-Wing Fighter or surveying the crowd from above a garage.
Another area you might see characters frolicking about is in front of The Hollywood Brown Derby. The fenced-in lawn nearby is a prime picnic spot for Chip ‘n’ Dale. And while they don’t sign autographs or give hugs, it sure is fun to spend a few minutes watching those rascally chipmunks do their thing.
Where can you meet Mickey Mouse at Disney’s Hollywood Studios?
Although there isn’t an official rule (though there probably should be!), you can’t go to Walt Disney World and not meet Mickey Mouse. He is the big cheese, after all. Fortunately, Mickey and his main gal, Minnie Mouse, both greet their adoring fans all day long over on Commissary Lane at Red Carpet Dreams.
Can you see Disney Junior characters at Hollywood Studios?
Yup! For those traveling to Disney World with young children, chances are that your little ones are going to want to see some of their favorite Disney Junior characters. Happily, these animated pals can be seen in a couple of different locations around Hollywood Studios.
Animation Courtyard is home to Disney Junior Play and Dance!, a live stage show featuring the likes of Vampirina and Doc McStuffins, along with a few Disney Junior character meet-and-greets. Or, you can also treat your kiddos to the Disney Junior Play n’ Dine breakfast at Hollywood and Vine, which is headlined by Doc McStuffins, Vampirina, Fancy Nancy and Goofy.
Where to Find Disney’s Hollywood Studios Characters Right Now
For many, whether it’s meeting Darth Vader or seeing Minnie Mouse all dressed up in her holiday best at Hollywood and Vine, seeing Hollywood Studios characters can be one of the most memorable parts of a Disney World vacation. Luckily, you’ll find a ton of opportunities to see your favorite character at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, including character meet-and-greets and sightings, stage shows, character dining and, of course, character-themed rides.
Keep reading for the many Disney character experiences available at Hollywood Studios in 2023. However, as these opportunities are subject to change, be sure to check the My Disney Experience app for the current list of character locations and appearance times.
Hollywood Studios Character Meet-and-Greet Locations
What better way to kick off your day at Disney’s Hollywood Studios than with a character sighting? Donald Duck and Daisy Duck roll out the red carpet for incoming guests, welcoming them from a balcony overlooking the park entrance. After giving a wave to Daisy Duck or her beau, head up Hollywood Boulevard for another character sighting. Chip ‘n’ Dale can often be spotted picnicking and snacking on acorns on the lawn in front of The Hollywood Brown Derby.
Once you’re done enjoying the adorable antics of Chip ‘n’ Dale, make your way over to Red Carpet Dreams on Commissary Lane for a meet-and-greet with Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse. Here, the iconic Disney stars take some time off-set to greet their fans and sign autographs backstage. While the big cheese is all decked out as Sorcerer Mickey, his leading lady dazzles in a pink evening gown.
After leaving Red Carpet Dreams, say “hello” to Olaf, everyone’s favorite snowman, at Celebrity Spotlight in Echo Lake. While you’re there, feel free to give him a warm hug to show him how much you care. Don’t worry, he won’t melt! This is also where you’ll find Hollywood and Vine, the only character dining location at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, which is located on the other side of the lake.
There is no Hollywood Studios character meet-and-greet currently offered on Grand Avenue. Refer to the My Disney Experience app for any possible updates.
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge
After hugging it out with Olaf at Celebrity Spotlight, leave Tinseltown behind for an out-of-this-world adventure in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. There, you’ll come face-to-face with members of both the Resistance and the First Order. Although there isn’t an official meet-and-greet, several different Star Wars characters can be spotted roaming around Batuu, including Rey, Vi Moradi and Kylo Ren. You’ll also want to keep an eye out for patrols of First Order Stormtroopers, who have been known to heckle unsuspecting guests as they explore Black Spire Outpost.
Toy Story Land
Afterward, say “goodbye” to Galaxy’s Edge (or, as they say in Black Spire Outpost, “may the Spires keep you”) before strolling over to Toy Story Land just next door. While he isn’t always there, Buzz Lightyear has been known to appear near theToy Story Land main entrance. Or, if he’s too busy fighting the evil Emperor Zurg, you can pose with a Buzz Lightyear statue near Alien Swirling Saucers.
This is also where you’ll usually find two of the rootinest, tootinest characters from Toy Story, Woody and Jessie. If you’re lucky, you might even see some Green Army Men out patrolling the area. So, be sure to snap a selfie if you have the chance.
There is no Hollywood Studios character meet-and-greet currently offered in Pixar Place. Refer to the My Disney Experience app for any possible updates.
Next, it’s on to the character-palooza that is Animation Courtyard. The first character you’ll come to if you’re walking from Toy Story Land is Sulley, more formally known as James P. Sullivan. The lovable blue-and-purple monster from Monsters, Inc. has a meet-and-greet at Walt Disney Presents, a museum-like exhibit filled with fascinating artifacts from Walt Disney’s life. Once you’ve finished exploring the Walt Disney Presents gallery, stick around for a showing of Walt Disney: One Man’s Dream, a poignant, 15-minute film about the visionary creator’s journey.
From there, continue further into Animation Courtyard for even more character encounters. Disney Junior characters, including Doc McStuffins, Fancy Nancy and Vampirina, meet and greet their young fans just outside Disney Junior Play and Dance. This is also where you can see Mickey’s best pal, Pluto.
Also at Animation Courtyard is Star Wars Launch Bay. Not only does this immersive exhibit feature movie props, costumes and more from the galaxy far, far away, but Star Wars Launch Bay is also the official meet-and-greet location for three different characters: BB-8, Chewbacca and Darth Vader.
Last but not least, wander down Sunset Boulevard towards The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror for an especially goofy character sighting. That’s right, Goofy and his son Max wave at guests from the balcony of The Hollywood Tower Hotel.
Other Ways to See Hollywood Studios Characters
Although meet-and-greets are the most popular way to see characters at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, they certainly aren’t the only way to catch a glimpse of your favorite Disney pals. Depending on how much time you have and the size of your budget, you can also see them in stage shows, during a character meal and on rides at Hollywood Studios.
Stage Shows & Other Live Entertainment
Beauty & the Beast Live on Stage
Kick back and relax for this tale as old as time. With beloved songs, a lavish set and a talented cast of characters, Beauty & The Beast Live on Stage brings this romantic fairy-tale musical to life—no pricey Broadway ticket required. Unless you’re heading to Fantasmic (which we highly recommend you do), this is also the only place to see these characters at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. So, be sure to see the show if you’re a Beauty and the Beast fan.
Characters: Belle, the Beast, Gaston, Cogsworth, Lumiere, Mrs. Potts, Chip and other characters
Join four of your favorite Disney Jr. characters and bust a move to a soundtrack of catchy tunes at this lively stage show. Clocking in at 25 minutes, the playful DJ dance party is sure to be a hit with young Disney guests. Let your little one get their groove on—and burn off some energy in the process—as they watch their favorites take to the stage.
Characters: Mickey, Doc McStuffins, Vampirina and Timon (subject to change)
See Sorcerer Mickey face a gang of devious Disney Villains during a showing of Fantasmic. With much-loved music, an epic battle between good and evil, thrilling pyrotechnics and water effects and a dazzling array of both common and more unique characters, this recently returned stage show is an absolute must when visiting Hollywood Studios.
Due to the show’s popularity, you should expect long lines and a packed house. Depending on the evening, only one showtime may be offered. However, if two showings are available and you and your crew have enough gas left in the tank, try to stick it out until the second show, as there tends to be (slightly) fewer guests.
Characters: Mickey Mouse and an impressive cast of other characters
Showtimes: 8:00 PM, 9:30 PM (subject to change)
Location: Sunset Boulevard
For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration
Ready to let it go as you sing along to a flurry of Frozen songs? See Disney’s famous sisters take to the stage for a delightful retelling of the movie during For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration. Led by the Royal Historians of Arendelle, with special appearances by some frosty friends, this hourlong show is a hit with Disney Princess fans of all ages. Don’t know the words to the songs? Not to worry! The lyrics are projected so everyone can join in the fun.
Attention! The Green Army Men don’t just keep watch for Andy to come home. They’re also talented drummers, too. So, march on over to Toy Story Land for a chance to hear (and see) their toe-tapping rhythms in action.
One of our favorite ways to see characters at Disney World is during character dining. Like Cinderella’s Royal Table in Magic Kingdom, Akershus Royal Banquet Hall and Garden Grill Restaurant in Epcot, Tusker House Restaurant in Animal Kingdom and Chef Mickey’s at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Hollywood and Vine offers character dining all day long. However, unlike those other character meals, this lively table-service restaurant features two different groups of characters depending on when you eat.
In the morning, the Hollywood and Vine character breakfast features appearances by Disney Jr. characters alongside AM favorites like eggs benedict, french toast and chicken & waffles. Or stop by for lunch or dinner for Minnie’s Seasonal Dining. With a buffet of seasonally inspired dishes, special décor, and classic characters all dressed up in their festive best, this is one character meal you’ll want to go to again and again. Dates for Minnie’s Seasonal Dining include:
Silver Screen Dine – Early January to mid-March (January 6 to March 15, 2023)
Springtime Dine – Mid-March to late May (March 16 to May 24, 2023)
Summertime Dine – Late May to mid-August (May 25 to TBD, 2023)
Halloween Dine – Mid-August to early November (TBD, 2023)
Holiday Dine – Early November to early January (TBD, 2023)
Disney Junior Play n’ Dine Characters: Doc McStuffins, Fancy Nancy, Goofy and Vampirina
Minnie’s Seasonal Dine Characters: Mickey, Minnie, Pluto and Goofy
Character Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Location: Echo Lake
Hollywood Studios Attractions Starring Your Favorite Disney Characters
Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy
Ka-Chow! Cruise down Sunset Boulevard and into the world of Cars at Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy. With an immersive, wraparound screen and Lightning McQueen as your instructor, learn if you’ve got the stuff to become a champion racer during this high-octane show. There are also appearances by several other characters from Cars, which make for excellent photo opportunities.
Location: Sunset Boulevard
Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway
Join Mickey and Minnie on a madcap, animated adventure through their wonderful world of cartoons on Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway. Blending lovable characters, an innovative ride system, eye-popping visual effects and slapstick comedy, this is one ride you won’t soon forget.
Location: Hollywood Boulevard
If there’s one thing the Muppets know, it’s show business. However, when the Muppets create a new filmmaking invention, things are bound to go a little haywire. Set in a replica of the Muppet Theater from The Muppet Show television series with plenty of zany antics, this immersive show is sure to leave you laughing out loud. Wocka wocka!
Location: Grand Avenue
Slinky Dog Dash
Jump in Slinky Dog’s coils and hold on tight for a lively ride through Toy Story Land on Slinky Dog Dash. Featuring two launches, a top speed of 40 miles per hour, appearances by Andy’s toys and plenty of twists and turns, this family-friendly roller coaster is fun for riders of all ages.
Location: Toy Story Land
Star Tours – The Adventures Continue
Climb aboard a Starspeeder 1000 and jump to hyperspace on Star Tours – The Adventures Continue. On this intergalactic flight simulator, your leisurely flight through the stars is hijacked by enemy forces, who are in hot pursuit of a Rebel spy. Fortunately, C-3PO as your unwitting pilot, you should (hopefully) get out alive. Thanks to an array of randomized scenes from throughout the Star Wars galaxy, the attraction feels fresh and exciting every time you ride.
Location: Echo Lake
Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance
Join the Resistance as they take on the First Order in Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. With an impressive queue, multiple ride systems, an army of stormtroopers, and a team of Resistance fighters by your side, this wildly immersive ride shouldn’t be missed. You’ll even come face-to-face with the dreaded Kylo Ren. Still one of the most popular rides at Disney World, consider splurging on Individual Lightning Lane access to skip the long wait. May the Force be with you.
Location: Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge
Toy Story Mania!
Don your 3D glasses and put your hand-eye coordination and arm strength to the test on Toy Story Mania. With appearances by Buzz Lightyear, Woody, Rex, Mr. Potato Head and other characters from Toy Story, as well as a toy box full of Easter eggs from childhood’s past, this midway-inspired, shooting arcade-style attraction is perfect for fans of the movie, gamers and nostalgia seekers alike. Challenge your fellow riders to see who wins the top score.
Location: Toy Story Land
Vacation Fun – An Original Animated Short with Mickey & Minnie
Need to cool off and rest your feet for a while? Make your way to the Mickey Shorts Theater for Vacation Fun, an animated short film starring Mickey and Minnie. Once the show is over, have your own vacation fun with your crew—and take a photo to remember it by—in life-sized scenes from their cartoon world.
Location: Echo Lake
Well, that concludes our guide to seeing Hollywood Studios characters. What are your favorite characters to meet at Disney’s Hollywood Studios? Let us know in the comments! Then, learn how to stretch your travel budget with our Disney World discount tickets.