See, this is why the Utiladors in Florida were made.
Was it during parade? The only times Ive seen characters in that corner of Tomorrowland is when the parade displaces the Main St meet n greet characters - if you get my drift. TL is the only place they can meet without crossing the parade route unless they sit out a set...
What was witnessed here was a "parade set." For decades, characters who normally spend their days on Main Street and Fantasyland will head to Tomorrowland during the parade - if they were out on Main Street, they'd be waving to themselves as they went by on a float. So, since they are still being paid to be there, Disney deploys them to Tomorrowland where they're out of view from the parade. This is nothing new.
As for the characters being out of theme, Disney doesn't care. It's simply a measure to get characters out of the way of the parades.
Perhaps it seems like a double standard, but a land like Tomorrowland or Fantasyland, which are more "anything goes" seems like it would be able to handle out of theme characters making an appearance without disrupting things than say New Orleans Square or Frontierland.
As one said earlier, it was probably a new hire training day. All character department new hires are put thru an orientation and then do what is called a set time in one area together one a few at a time. Since there are many hired in a height range, you will often see characters that are not often seen in order to get everyone into a costume. Usually these sets are done in New Orleans Square back by the train station, but I have seen them done elsewhere. No reason to panic, it is actually kinda cool
Overheard on a Disney Security Walkie Talkie: "Security, we have a guest beating the pulp out of a Baloo walkaround character in Tomorrowland. Can you please escort him to a more appropriately themed part of the park."
I'm in the "Yes, you are overreacting" camp.
I agree that characters should be kept within their respectable lands, ideally. However my reaction to this situation would not be to feel furious and be angry with people excited to see the character. I would actually probably be one of those people, as I have never seen Baloo, and would be really happy for the chance to get a picture with him.
I wouldn't mind it if it were an occasional thing--I'd be glad! Extra surprise character to see! And maybe less of a line if people aren't expecting him there? But if Baloo were in TL permanently, I could see where the problem would be.
We saw this a couple of weeks ago as well. My husband was a little irritated at it, seeing Adventureland and Fantasyland characters all over by Space Mountain.
I have not seen many out of place characters but I have seen out of place CMS. I saw a few weeks ago Carland CMs walking through Fantasyland. I did a double take when I saw it.
It's stange, but not upsetting for me. I'm just happy to see the characters at all, it's fun to see them out and about, doesn't matter where.