Disney has all but abandoned original ideas when considering new Park attractions. Instead, they’ve chosen to utilize the vast catalog of intellectual properties at their endless disposal to draw in the crowds. Most Disney rides are based around movie characters that Disney has created or acquired in their march to world domination. I can’t recall the last time Disney opened an attraction at Walt Disney World or Disneyland that wasn’t based entirely on one of their many protagonists. I’m not saying that’s an issue, but at some point, Disney will have to reach deep into their archives if they wish to continue using names from their animations to build rides or shows around. This got me thinking; there are plenty of fan-favorite characters that Disney could create a ride, show, or even a land around. Many of these forgotten Disney characters are considered rare and lack representation around the Parks. So without further ado, here’s a list of Forgotten Disney Characters we’d like to see more of at Walt Disney World or Disneyland.
Forgotten Disney Character Number 1: Chicken Little
You most certainly remember this Disney classic (sarcasm intended) from 2005. Chicken Little is not only a forgotten Disney character in terms of rides, shows, or attractions; you’d be hard-pressed to find anything with this famous fowl in terms of merchandise, either. The film didn’t impress movie-goers back in the day, but it gave us some loveable and memorable characters. Anyone who’s seen the movie can back me up as they certainly remember Abby Mallard dancing and singing “Wannabee” by the Spice Girls.
I’d like to be clear about this choice. I don’t think there’s a way you could incorporate Chicken Little into an attraction. The film is not well known and wouldn’t fill seats for a show, and any groundbreaking ride ideas using the property elude me at the moment. However, I’ve included Chicken Little on this list of forgotten Disney characters simply because I think he deserves some merch, or at the very least, an ice cream. Other famous Disney chickens have gotten their own signature foods at Walt Disney World; why not Chicken Little?
Forgotten Disney Character Number 2: Tarzan
Oh yeah! Imagine a ride system similar to Flight of Passage at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, but instead of banshees, you’re swinging and sliding through the jungle as Tarzan. Now imagine that same ride is set to the banging soundtrack Phil Collins gave us for the original film back in 1999! Amazing, right? Although there is some representation of Tarzan in Disney Parks, we’d like to see more of it! A few drive-by characters on boats and a quick fireworks show nod at Magic Kingdom don’t cut it. We need more! This film is one of those that lays the nostalgia on thick, and Disney could definitely use that to their advantage.
Much like many of the other characters on this list, Tarzan is accompanied by a variety of fun characters who would fit perfectly in a show or attraction. The catch, it would have to be done right. We want to avoid a repeat of Tarzan Rocks! Naturally, Tarzan and his friends would make a great fit at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Maybe even over there at Dinoland U.S.A once they retheme it!
Forgotten Disney Character Number 3: WALL-E
Unlike Chicken Little, you have a better chance of finding WALL-E on merchandise in a Disney Park. He’s around, but not to the extent he deserves to be, especially considering there’s a Park that seems an almost perfect for him at Walt Disney World. As Pixar’s ninth feature film, WALL-E would feel right at home among his other animated pals at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and with the advancement we’ve seen from Disney in terms of animatronics, what’s stopping them from giving us a roaming WALL-E?
Actually, come to think of it, there’s another place WALL-E might actually fit better, and he’s already there sort of. Tucked away at World Discovery in EPCOT is the Green Landing Family Play Zone. You can find WALL-E and his companion Eve on a sign there among the play place. This is definitely under-deserving for our little robotic friend. As the film takes on the issue of protecting the environment in a world that is consuming more and more, an educational attraction featuring WALL-E would be well suited!
Forgotten Disney Character Number 4: Chernabog
We all love a good villain, and there’s none more synonymous with Mickey Mouse (besides Pete) than Chernabog. Making his debut in 1960 as the memorable horned baddie in Fantasia, Chernabog would definitely draw in some crowds! Although he’s an easily recognizable character in Disney culture, most don’t even know his name, and there’s very little representation of him in the Parks. This is probably by design as some may consider him to be a little scary and even demonic. Still, given his tradition of opposing Sorcerer Mickey, we’d love to see him included as a focal point in a nighttime spectacular.
We’ve all seen Maleficent in Fantastmic at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Imagine Maleficent’s dragon reimagined as Chernabog! We’re not suggesting replacing her, but incorporating him somewhere in one of the nighttime shows, or maybe even during the Halloween villain spectaculars, would be incredible. We feel like this would be a win as villains are always in high demand at Disney Parks. People would flock in droves to check him out as he battled Mickey in front of Cinderella Castle!
Forgotten Disney Character Number 5: Oliver
Now for this one, we don’t really see a show or attraction working well. Instead, we’d propose a spot in a parade! You probably not only remember Oliver from the 1988 Disney film Oliver and Company, but chances are also you remember his K9 companion Dodger too! If you remember Dodger, you almost certainly remember him strutting down the street singing “Why Should I Worry?” You cannot tell me that this song wouldn’t work exceptionally well in a Disney parade!
Although the film is old enough that many younger Disney fans have most likely never seen it, it’s still memorable enough that many can recall it easily. It’s easy to envision Guests lined up down Main Street U.S.A, getting down to the catchy tune as they dance along with Oliver and Dodger. So, although a ride or show may not work, a spot in the parade would definitely be a welcomed sight!
Forgotten Disney Character Number 6: Anyone From Atlantis: The Lost Empire
Characters from the 2001 film Atlantis: The Lost Empire aren’t necessarily forgotten as much as they are unrepresented. The truth is there’s a large following of the film who have always been pretty unhappy with the lack of portrayal at Walt Disney World and Disneyland. Milo, Kida, Aubrey, Helga, Vincenzo, and definitely Gaetan ‘The Mole’ would all do well in just about any approach Disney decided to take. They’d work in a show, parade, nighttime spectacular, or even a ride.
To be fair here, there was a time when Disney seriously looked at incorporating Atlantis: The Lost Empire at Disneyland. It probably would’ve done well. A submersible-type adventure ride would be the perfect opportunity to include the intellectual property, and that was Disney’s idea, but it never fully came to fruition. Still, we’d love to see it happen! So, Disney, if you’re reading…make do it!
Forgotten Disney Character Number 7: Yzma and Kronk
You’ve all seen the meme! Coming in last, but certainly not least are Yzma and Kronk from The Emporer’s New Groove. We love you too Kuzco but this one kind of writes itself. Imagine a ride, whatever platform you choose, that kicks off with most quotable lines to ever grace a Disney film. “WRONG LEVER!” Is it too early to get a retheme for Tron: Lightcycle Run? Probably, but that launch would fit so well with that line. How did Disney not think of this?
The 2000 film was a hit with fans, maybe not initially, but its popularity has grown. Not to mention, Disney already has Patrick Warburton on speed dial from working with him on Soarin’. It’s a no brainer. Out of everything on this list, this would probably work the best. Although there is some representation within the park for the film, this one is perfect for a ride! With a ton of great characters, including Kuzco of course, it just fits and we’d love to see it happen, as would many others!
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This list is definitely not all-inclusive or final, and to be honest, if we tried to list every single character or film that deserved a place in the Parks, we’d be here for days. Between all of Disney’s Parks, there probably isn’t room for them all! Disney fans may find themselves in agreeance with our list, or you may hate it. Either is fine, but we sure wish there were more opportunities to experience Disney’s vast ensemble of characters outside of watching movies and shows. But again, in case we weren’t clear enough the first time, don’t do Tarzan Rocks! again, please!