10 Disney Parks Characters You Probably Can’t Meet Anymore
We like to think of the Disney parks as places where we can always find all of our favorite Disney characters, from the biggest stars to the most obscure bit players. But there’s only so much room in the magical kingdoms, and characters who don’t drawn a crowd often disappear to make way for characters promoting the latest movie or TV show from the Mouse House.
Here are 10 characters who once graced the parks with their presence, but are all but impossible to find these days.
Like many characters who don’t show up at the parks much anymore, Quasimodo was a victim of a movie that didn’t perform as well as Disney had hoped.
Quasi and the rest of the cast of ‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame’ can occasionally be found at Disney park races, holiday events, or any time Disney needs a ton of characters around. But if you’re hoping to see them at a regular meet and greet, you’re out of luck.
Kenai and Koda
Like Quasimodo, Kenai and Koda come from a movie that just wasn’t all that popular. The human-turned-bear and his adopted baby brother were the stars of ‘Brother Bear,’ which was bested in its wide release debut by ‘The Matrix Revolutions’ and completely overshadowed by the much higher earnings of ‘Finding Nemo,’ released earlier that year. The pair could occasionally be found in Animal Kingdom or the Canada pavilion at Epcot, but they’ve since been retired to the Disney vault.
Some Disney characters simply don’t work as walkarounds. Dumbo here is one example. Disney has made quadrupeds works as walkarounds, such as Pluto, but Dumbo just makes more sense as a ride.
Dumbo has shown up in the Main Street Electrical Parade, but he doesn’t do meet and greets.
The protagonist of the Journey Into Imagination ride could be found in and around the ride building with his pint-sized purple dragon Figment perched on his arm.
In 1999, Disney replaced the classic ride with the controversial Journey Into Your Imagination, which ditched Dreamfinder and reduced Figment’s role to a few brief cameos. Without the ride to back him up, Dreamfinder stopped appearing in Epcot.
The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Yes, this really happened. In the 1990s, Leonardo, Michelangelo, Donatello and Raphael made regular appearances in Disney-MGM Studios along with their human friend April O’Neil. No, it doesn’t make a lot of sense, especially considering that Disney never owned the rights to the characters. But they were extremely popular at the time and Disney had a new park to promote.
The Turtles kicked shell, danced, and sang in the New York section of the park until their departure later in the ’90s. They have never returned.
Disney did actually own the rights to the Power Rangers for a while, so their appearance in the Disney parks made a little more sense than the Turtles.
The colorful heroes, one from each of the show’s most recent incarnations, were taking photos with guests up through 2010. They left when Disney sold the rights back to Haim Saban.
The Stars of the Disney Afternoon
The Disney parks capitalized on the popularity of the Disney Afternoon programming block with rethemed rides, stage shows, and of course, characters. Everyone from the Gummi Bears to Darkwing Duck to Bonkers (remember him?) used to show up in the parks.
Eventually, the TV shows ended and the characters went into retirement, only showing up for the occasional special event.
The Muppets, particularly Kermit, were once a fairly common sight in the Disney’s Hollywood Studios (formerly Disney MGM Studios) park near the MuppetVision 3D attraction. They even had a couple of stage shows nearby. But when the Muppets’ popularity started to wane, they began showing up less. It didn’t help that at least a few Muppeteers thought that human-sized versions of Kermit, Piggy, and the rest were a bad idea.
There were puppet-sized versions of Bunsen and Beaker who travelled around the park in a vehicle known as the Muppet Mobile Lab, but it was a limited engagement. There have been hints of a possible return or even more Muppets at the parks.
Merlin, as seen in the Disney film ‘The Sword in the Stone,’ used to be part of a short show. Guests would be chosen to try their hand at pulling the sword from the stone to be crowned temporary ruler of the kingdom. Adults were never able to make the sword budge. A kid would prove to have the magic touch and make the blade rise (partway) out of the stone. The child’s reign would be cut short as the rightful ruler’s return was announced, but the stand-in king or queen would get some special mementos to take home.
Disney has since discontinued this attraction. The sword and the stone remain, but Merlin is gone.
The Three Little Pigs
Even though just about everyone knows the song “Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?”, the pigs who sing the catchy tune and their lupine nemesis aren’t high on the list of popular Disney characters.
Characters from short cartoons who aren’t part of Mickey’s inner circle tend to be pretty low profile. Fifer Pig, Fiddler Pig, and Practical Pig have all become rare to retired entirely, clearing the way for more princesses and other popular characters.
The video is of a recent Disney event called Long Lost Friends, showcasing characters who no longer make regular appearances at the parks. You can see that the pigs and the wolf are carrying signs with their names on them, just in case guests have completely forgotten who they are.