This past weekend marked the celebration of the Lunar New Year, and, while it’s celebrated by many different Asian countries, those in the West so associate the occasion with the region’s largest nation that many refer to it as “Chinese New Year.” As a result, it seems like the perfect time to spotlight Disney Animation’s most predominate Chinese character: Mulan. While she can be found meeting guests in Epcot’s China Pavilion daily, Mulan can also be seen at Disney’s Hollywood Studios riding on Steamboat Willie during the finale of “Fantasmic!” as well as making occasional unannounced meet and greet appearances before the show, as in the picture above. These random occurrences, dubbed by some Disney fans as “Character Palooza,” typically occur in out-of-the-way corners of the park during the late afternoon or early evening and features a rotating lineup of characters from the popular nighttime show.
Although meeting Mulan at Disney’s Hollywood Studios requires a bit of luck even for those in the know, it’s certainly an appropriate place to see her, especially given her history with the park. The 1998 release of “Mulan” marked the first feature film produced exclusively at the now-defunct “Walt Disney Feature Animation Florida” facility located inside what was then known at Disney-MGM Studios Theme Park. Following a decade of producing animated shorts and contributing to classic Disney movies like “Beauty and the Beast” and “The Lion King,” the production of “Mulan” marked a major milestone in the Florida studio’s history and led to other feature-length assignments including 2002’s “Lilo and Stitch” and 2003’s “Brother Bear.” While the studio was unfortunately shut down in 2004, with a portion of it facilities now home to “Star Wars Launch Bay,” it’s nice to see Mulan, one of the biggest stars to come out of “Walt Disney Feature Animation Florida,” continue to have some sort of role at today’s Disney’s Hollywood Studios.