So you've likely heard a lot about the Streetmosphere characters at Disney's Hollywood Studios, either from this site or from stories from others. You've heard how funny they are or how one or two of them interacted with a family/friend/cohort/neighbor/colleague/enemy/sibling and had one of those "you had to be there" moments. And despite all of these great stories about streetmosphere characters, you've never actually met and interacted with one yourself! Truth be told, there are plenty of those people out there and I should know, because I used to be one of them. Fear not, for you too can join the group of many who regularly enjoy Streetmosphere characters on their trips to the Studios and break the ice.
Many guests do not talk to or watch Streetmosphere characters either because they believe they are mere distractions and not worth their time, or fear stopping to watch a show because they believe they will be drawn into a show where they will be forced to wear clothing of the other gender while dancing the hula in front of dozens of strangers. I used to be one of those people and felt that stopping would take away time from an attraction as well as possibly make a spectacle of me. The reality is in my many dozen encounters with Streetmosphere characters none of my fears have come to fruition. Rather, I've found the Streetmosphere acts worth my time and I've never remotely felt out of place.
The first thing you have to realize is that this is Walt Disney World. No Streetmosphere character is going to humiliate you beyond perhaps a quick verbal jab. These are professionals who know the fine art of entertaining guests by simply talking to them, with no script ahead of time. Their goal is to entertain you and they can't do that if they make a mockery of you. I can tell you that they also can tell if a guest is uncomfortable, they'll ease off. You should never worry that you're going to be publicly humiliated and certainly don't let that fear keep you from enjoying some great entertainment.
Speaking of great entertainment, Streetmosphere acts are wonderfully entertaining and there's a good reason why you see a large crowd around an act going on; it's because it's fun. There are generally a few types of acts. The first is a solo act, where one character walks around alone and interacts with guests they encounter. This is the most intimate type of act and my favorite since you can really get a good sense of the character and they can make the enterainment personal. There are talent agents who roam the streets looking for guests with "talent", there are characters who are aspiring actors who are trying to "make it" in Hollywood, magicians and more. The next type of act is when two or three characters will interact with each other but also draw in those in the crowd similar to how a character does his or her show if they were alone. While there may be a general direction to their skit, generally they are looking to the crowd to provide input to the show and quite often the show will venture off on a tangent based on crowd interaction. Lastly, there are group shows where the characters perform a skit. These skits range in topic, but generally involve the characters following a type of scripted show with the assistance of the crowd. These differ from characters doing their bits on their own, in that these are far more scripted in direction. These types of shows are real crowd pleasers and while they can involve guests, the real highlight of the show are the characters themselves and the ad-libbing they perform on the spot.
If you're new to Streetmosphere all together, I highly recommend the large group skits. You can generally distinguish these skits from other skits because the characters are driving in some sort of vehicle. The Hollywood Public Works is a group comprised of Streetmosphere characters acting as plumbers and electricians who are trying to "do a job". Another popular skit is a joke competition as well as the filming of a scene for an upcoming film by one of the director characters. What's great about these group skits is that it's a great introduction for those who haven't seen Streetmosphere before because these shows are unintimidating and don't involve a lot of guest interaction so one can "lay low" and enjoy the show without fear of becoming part of the center of it. They are also quite well thought out and well performed. Be sure to arrive right when the shows begin because arriving in the middle can leave you a little lost as to what's going on.
Once you see a show or two, try another type of show. While every show will be different than any before (thanks to the guest interaction), you ought to try out different type of skits to see which would be ideal for you. While I relish the solo character walking around for the intimate feel it brings with it, others enjoy the larger scale shows for the great gags you'll find there. Regardless of what show you see, I think you'll find the entire notion of Streetmosphere highly entertaining. There are usually many shows throughout the day and it's a great way to plug up some time if you're between attractions or waiting for a show or even a dining reservation.
Trying something new at Walt Disney World is a mantra I encourage to everyone because there's always something different to try and that's part of what makes Disney World such a fantastic vacation destination. Don't underestimate the entertainment value of the Streetmosphere characters because they truely are entertaining and if you've never taken the time to stop to see them before, I bet you'll quickly find Streetmosphere to be a new favorite activity to do at the Studios on future visits.