Entertainment with Surprise Character Appearances!

Those of you who watch our Instagram Story probably already know that we love the entertainment at the parks! It’s nice to take a break from rides for a bit to watch a show or two!

One of our favorite things about entertainment at Disneyland are the surprise appearances by Disney characters! There are actually quite a few shows on the daily entertainment schedules that don’t specify a Disney character(s) will join, so we feel like they’re easily missed! We’ve put together a list of some of our favorite shows with characters that we think are worth seeing. The shows on the list are great because they don’t typically draw a large crowd BEFORE start time due to the fact that not a ton of guests actually know the characters are part of the performances! Read on for more details!

D I S N E Y L A N D

The Disneyland Band with Mickey & Friends and the Dapper Dans

The Disneyland Band with Mickey, Minnie, Pluto, Goofy, Donald, Chip ‘n Dale and sometimes the Dapper Dans – this show happens everyday!

The band starts in front of the castle at 12:15 PM, they play a couple songs, then Mickey and his friends join them to teach everyone how to march for the march along down Main Street. Once they start the march along, everyone can join in by following behind the group down Main Street toward Town Square. They’ll reach Town Square (in front of the Main Street Train Station) at around 12:30 PM. We typically choose to not watch the march along part just because we prefer to stand on the curb facing the Train Station for the main part of the show to see the characters dance (see photos below to see what we mean).

One of the best parts about this little show is, you don’t need to reserve a viewing spot too far in advance. Not many people know that the characters are part of it, so you can usually stand on the curb facing the Main Street Train Station about 10 minutes before show time (you might even be the only one there before the crowd gathers around once people hear the band coming)!

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The Disneyland Band in front of the castle before the characters join.

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Mickey & his pals arrive before the march along down Main Street!

These photos were taken right after we marched down Main Street with the band and characters. You’ll have a good view of the show, but you’ll be off to the side vs. standing on the curb facing the Main Street Train Station (see next photo). 

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This photo was taken from the curb facing the Train Station – best spot to stand!

The Strawhatters with Mickey, Minnie, Pluto and Donald

The Strawhatters are such a fun band that play along Main Street throughout the day, and on the Mark Twain! Our favorite performance from them includes dancing with Mickey, Minnie, Pluto and Donald.

The show happens Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday at around 10:45 AM. The schedule doesn’t state that the characters perform, so like the show we described above, not a ton of people usually crowd around in advance! We recommend getting a spot on the curb by The Mad Hatter (facing the Disney Showcase store) about 10 minutes before showtime, before people start crowding around.

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Pluto performing first with his leash – so cute!

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Donald competes in a “Best Drummer in the World” competition. He drums first, then a lucky kiddo from the audience (gets picked BEFORE the show starts) drums next! The kiddo who performs gets a cute Strawhatters button!

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Minnie does a cute little dance while one of the Strawhatters sings. We’re always so impressed by how well these characters can dance in their giant shoes and outfits! Ha!

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Mickey and Minnie’s dance!

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The show ends with Mickey conducting the band to the “Mickey Mouse March!”

The Disneyland Band with Belle and the Beast

The Disneyland Band has always performed in front of the castle at 11:00 AM everyday, but ever since the live-action Beauty and the Beast movie came out, Belle and the Beast have joined them during the part of their show when they perform “Be Our Guest!” The daily schedule doesn’t state that the characters join the band, so it’s definitely worth seeing if you have a Beauty & the Beast fan! This is likely going to be a temporary thing until Belle’s Provincial Town in Fantasyland ends (Red Rose Taverne restaurant, etc.), but for now, we really enjoy having them be a part of the show! You can also catch them usually at some point during the day (sometimes right after this performance) enjoy a ride around the kingdom on King Arthur Carrousel among the other guests!

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The Pearly Band with Mary Poppins and Bert

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The Pearly Band is another one of Disneyland’s very talented groups of performers! This 7-piece band wanders through Fantasyland, entertaining guests as they stop along the way and play familiar Disney tunes. We love them! The band also sometimes perform with Mary Poppins and Bert in front of the castle during one of their afternoon performances. There are even opportunities for guests in the audience to join in on the dancing! We recommend checking with a Cast Member to find out exactly what time they will perform with the band so you don’t miss it! We’ve seen it happen a couple different times in the afternoon.

You can also sometimes find the Pearly Band enjoying King Arthur Carrousel in Fantasyland (pictured below)!

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The Pearly Band going for a spin (while they play their instruments!) on King Arthur Carrousel! So fun!

Musical Chairs with Alice and The Mad Hatter

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At around 2:30-2:45 PM everyday, you can find Alice and the Mad Hatter hosting a wild game of musical chairs with the Ragtime Pianist at Refreshment Corner on Main Street!

This isn’t something that is on the park schedule, so we suggest either asking a Cast Member exactly what time the game will happen (we’ve seen it as early as 2:15 before) or just head over to this spot around 2:15 and grab a snack while you wait!

Don’t be late for this very important musical chair date with everyone’s favorite Wonderland duo! You won’t want to miss it.

Hook & Ladder Co. with Goofy

The Hook and Ladder Co. has performances throughout the day, but sometimes in the afternoon, Goofy will show off his moves with the band! We recommend checking with a Cast Member for the exact time Goofy will be out (times can vary)!

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We don’t have a photo of Goofy dancing with the band, but they perform in the location pictured above, right in front of the Main Street Fire Station.

C A L I F O R N I A   A D V E N T U R E

Red Car Trolley Newsboys

The Red Car Trolley Newsboys are one our favorites in California Adventure! The songs they sing are fun, the dancing is awesome and Mickey joins in halfway through the show! They have performances throughout the day starting mid-morning, so be sure to check the Disneyland App for exact times.

The daily schedule doesn’t specify that Mickey is part of the performance, so if you have a Mickey Mouse fan, this 25 minute show is a definite must! And for all you parents out there who are Newsies lovers (like us!), they sing “Seize The Day” at the end and it’s kind of the best thing ever (they just need a young Christian Bale in there… THEN it would be PERFECT. HAHA!)

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Five & Dime

Five & Dime is a really fun jazz band that performs on Buena Vista Street multiple times daily (check the Disneyland App for show times)! The music they play is awesome, but another bonus to their performance is that Goofy joins in to show off his dancing skills! The daily schedule doesn’t specify that Goofy is a part of the show, so be sure to check them out if your little one is a fan of the Goof!

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And that’s it for our favorite shows with surprise appearances by characters! We hope this helps you plan your day if you’re looking to add some entertainment in between your schedule of attractions!


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