When you’re visiting Epcot, keep your eyes open, because you might see someone who you didn’t expect to find! I’m talking about popup characters who don’t usually appear in the park. You might even see someone who you have never seen in any of the Walt Disney World theme parks.
Popup characters will not be in the My Disney Experience App. There is also no one specific place to look. I’ve seen them near the World Showplace building, by the International Gateway Entrance, and most recently in the area between the American Adventure Pavilion and the Italy Pavilion. There could be other spots too, these are just the places that I know of.
When I’ve seen popup characters, there’s usually little or no wait. There are also no PhotoPass photographers, so have your phone ready. Since there usually isn’t much of a wait, you’ll be able to have some great interaction with the characters and take your time.
There is a reason why the popup characters aren’t found in the My Disney Experience App. They are characters in training. A lot of work goes into becoming a character, but it can’t all happen behind the scenes. They need to get out and greet guests, because that’s the best way to learn how to interact. The character handlers are often also in training. Some of the friendliest Cast Members that I’ve seen lately have had the “earning my ears” ribbon on their nametags.
Epcot is the perfect place for training popup characters because there are open spaces on the side. It makes it easy to have characters close to the guests without huge lines forming.
There is no guarantee that you’ll see popup characters when you’re at Epcot. Chances are you won’t. I’ve seen them mostly on weekdays when the park isn’t overly busy. If I don’t run into any, that’s okay, I won’t be disappointed. But if I do see some popup characters, it’s such a good surprise.