Ever since its beginnings, Disneyland has been called the “happiest place on Earth,” the place where dreams come true. Plenty of people who have been to Disneyland have talked about a certain kind of “magic” that you can only experience after you enter the iconic theme park.
The rides are amazing, the buildings are spectacular, and you’ll get to do lots of shopping at the millions of souvenir shops all over the park. You’ll also get to see loads and loads of Disney characters roaming around the park. The modern-day Disney costumes are pretty well-done and look just like Disney characters. But it wasn’t always like that. For decades after Disneyland’s opening, multiple Disney characters went through different re-designs in order to achieve the look they have today. Why? Because they used to look downright creepy.
The so-called happiest place on Earth was arguably, at one time, the scariest place on Earth. The costumes back then looked more like props from a horror movie than for a child-oriented theme park. They were the stuff of nightmares and certainly not the friendly-looking faces you would see nowadays on the streets of Fantasyland.
If you want to see for yourself how nightmarish the Disneyland costumes looked back in the day, then check out this list of 15 photos that prove how disturbing Disneyland really was.
15. Minnie Mouse Stares Into The Abyss
I have no idea why but it seemed that a lot of the vintage Disneyland costumes came with some pretty creepy-looking eyes. The Minnie Mouse costume seen here is a perfect example of this. It looks like Minnie is staring out into the abyss…or into someone’s soul. It doesn’t look like the lipstick was the right choice either. Minnie is supposed to be sweet and stylish. More importantly, she is supposed to give off a feminine aura, but the Minnie Mouse seen here seems to the exact opposite of all that. I think we can all agree that the mouse looks super freakish here. Not exactly the best design for her. But you’ll see her looking much worse further down.
14. The Three Little Pigs Are Up To No Good
This was the second incarnation of the Three Little Pigs, Fifer Pig, Fiddler Pig, and Practical Pig from 1959. They look slightly less creepy than the later versions of themselves as you’ll see later, but that still doesn’t excuse them. The Pig in the middle almost seems to have a sinister gleam in his eyes like he’s plotting something evil. Since the Three Little Pigs are like three peas in a pod, all three of them could be plotting something dastardly. And they’re skipping through the park too? They’re definitely up to no good. I don’t think even the Big Bad Wolf would hassle these pigs. It would probably be in his best interest to steer clear of them and not get involved.
13. Pig Whispers Creepily Into Girl’s Ear
It’s Attack of the Pigs again. Only this time, there’s only one pig instead of all three. It still doesn’t make this photo any less creepy. Am I the only person who finds it a bit unsettling how the Pig here almost seems to be creeping on the girl standing next to him? He’s got his arm around her shoulders, and he’s looking at her with a borderline creepy look in his eyes. It’s like he’s some bad guy who’s trying to entice the girl to come to the dark side or some kind of weirdo who just likes creeping on young girls. I don’t know if the girl knew what the person in the costume was doing while they were posing for the photo, but she was probably a little unnerved when she saw the picture later.
12. Pinocchio Stares Into The Depths Of Your Soul
I read somewhere that halfway through the laser show, Pinocchio will turn and stare into your soul. As if he wasn’t already creepy-looking, he has to turn the whole thing into horrifying levels of terror. Funny, but I don’t remember Pinocchio looking like a serial killer who’s planning to murder you in your own home. Notice the vacant stare. However, you may be surprised to know that this isn’t the creepiest-looking version of Pinocchio. Throughout the years since Disneyland’s inception, there have been a few examples of Pinocchio looking less like a bright-eyed living puppet and more like a living nightmare. This is one of the latest incarnations after multiple redesigns. I guess Pinocchio will always just look creepy no matter how hard you try.
11. Mickey And Minnie Mouse Have Facial Scarring
I know what you’re probably thinking. You’re probably thinking something along the lines of “What is up with Mickey’s face?” It looks like he’s missing chunks out of his face, almost like someone threw acid on him or like his face just melted for no reason. Same thing with Minnie. These costumes were the original Mickey and Minnie costumes seen at Disneyland that Walt Disney himself borrowed from the Ice Capades, who had been making Disney-themed shows since 1950. Those missing chunks in Mickie and Minnie’s faces were actually just large view points, a.k.a. spots, for the performer to see out of. However, because people unsurprisingly thought the view points looked awkward and creepy, they were later removed, giving the mice a much cleaner look.
10. Lady Tremaine And Her Daughters Are Eerie-looking Dolls
Lady Tremaine and her selfish and spoiled daughters, Anastasia and Drizella, aren’t a part of the creepy Disney antagonists club, but they definitely look a little eerie here. I mean, none of them look like themselves, at least not how like they looked from the Cinderella movies. I think it’s mostly in the eyes. Although, to be honest, their faces wholly scream terror. They look nightmarish like those creepy-looking porcelain dolls who could totally play the part of the creepy doll, or dolls, in a horror movie like Annabelle. As one Pinterest caption states, Lady Tremaine and her daughters look like something out of Saw. I couldn’t have said it better myself. They easily could fit into a variety of horror movies.
9. The Disney Characters Leave The Ice
The photo seen above was taken in July of 1955, the same month as Disneyland’s grand opening. The people who put together ABC’s live TV broadcast of the opening ceremonies at Disneyland decided that there should be some Disney characters in the theme park’s inaugural parade, and they reached out to the people who produced Ice Follies, a touring ice show. They asked if they could borrow their Disney costumes, and that’s how we got what’s seen in the photo above. Apparently, Walt Disney wasn’t pleased with how the Ice Follies costumes looked. And who can blame him? The workers at Disneyland worked tirelessly to improve the design of the costumes, but it took years before they finally succeeded.
8. Mickey And Minnie Still Look Creepy
You’ve already seen the Mickey and Minnie Mouse costumes that looked like parts of their faces had melted off. The set of costumes here is the version that came after them. Like I said before, the Disneyland staff removed the view points from the costumes in an attempt to make the costumes appear less terrifying. However, the costumes seen here leave a lot to be desired. Mickey has a vacant look in his eyes, and he’s making a thousand-year stare. And then you have Minnie who looks just as spine-chilling with the same vacant look in her eyes as Mickey and is waving creepily at the camera like she’s the killer in a slasher flick. It seems that the Mickey and Minnie costumes went from being creepy to being a different kind of creepy.
7. The Seven Nightmares Of The World
The costumes of the Seven Dwarves seen here were originally designed in 1961 by animator and engineer for the Walt Disney Company, Bill Justice. They underwent a redesign during the mid-1970’s that made them look more on-model. And they were redesigned once more in the late 1980’s/early 1990’s to make it easier for the cast members wearing the costumes to sign autographs for guests and just basically move around better. But I think another reason for why the costumes kept getting re-designed is because they just never looked completely right. Certain dwarves definitely look better than others. Dopey is probably one of the biggest offenders out of the entire group. But then again, no one in the crew really looks normal.
6. The Mad Hatter Looks Mad Indeed
This was another work done by Bill Justice. It was his first attempt at making walk-around costumes for the Mad Hatter and the White Rabbit. Sometime after that, the costumes went through a slight redesign to make them more appealing and less terrifying for kids. But it was ultimately decided that there was no real way to make a non-creepy Mad Hatter walk-around costume, so the Disneyland staff made the Mad Hatter a face character; meaning, a cast member wearing the Mad Hatter attire would be permitted to talk directly to theme park guests. And it was a great decision on the part of the Disneyland staff. Both versions of the Mad Hatter walk-around costumes look creepy and undoubtedly freaked a lot of young guests to the park.
5. Dumbo Is Held Hostage By Creepy Clowns
Wow. Take a look at the ears of Dumbo. I don’t quite remember the elephant’s ears flopping down like that. But I digress. Dumbo doesn’t look that bad here, at least not compared to some of the other Disney characters we’ve seen on the list. But the problem in the picture here are the clowns standing on opposite sides of him. They look like killer clowns, and it almost looks like they’re keeping poor Dumbo hostage or something. I guess this is one of the reasons why people think clowns are so creepy. If you’ve seen the horror film It and it made you develop a fear of clowns (or strengthened your fear of clowns), then this probably isn’t the best picture to help you get over your fears.
4. Mickey Mouse And Donald Duck Stroll Through The Park
This photo taken of Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck was taken on Disneyland’s opening day, July 15, 1955. Since then, so much has changed concerning the appearances of the popular Disney characters, and for the better. Just like the Mickey and Minnie Mouse from earlier with the view points cut into the faces of the costumes, Mickey looks equally creepy here. Donald doesn’t look that bad—he most certainly doesn’t look as appalling as Mickey—but he’s not exactly at his best. These costumes weren’t made by anyone at Disney, however. They were actually designed and built by the same people who produced the Ice Follies. So I guess Disney gets a pass on this once since they aren’t guilty of bringing these monstrous creations to life.
3. Winnie The Pooh Is Possessed
This was how Winnie the Pooh was designed for his debut in 1966. It wasn’t until two years later that his new design had the hunny pot & hat replaced with an Uncle Sam hat as part of that year’s “Winnie the Pooh for President” promotion at Disneyland. And then, it wasn’t until the 1980’s that the hunny pot & hat were ditched entirely, and Winnie was finally given a serious model redesign that made him look more like the honey-obsessed bear that we all know and love. If only Disneyland had started that way with him from the beginning. The Pooh bear here looks seriously creepy, especially in his eyes. Is it just me or do they look red around the edges?
2. The Three Little Pigs Are Plotting Something
This was the earliest incarnation of the Three Little Pigs, Fifer Pig, Fiddler Pig, and Practical Pig from 1955. Like their fellow Disney characters, all three of them have creepy-looking eyes, especially Fiddler Pig in the middle. What is he staring at anyway? And then you have Fifer Pig and Practical Pig looking like they’re up to no good. Not only that, but look at their eyebrows too. They’re not exactly helping matters. I wonder what the little boy in the picture was thinking when he saw these costumes. He probably wasn’t thinking happy thoughts. I guess it’s just hard to make Three Little Pigs costumes that won’t scare children senseless, judging from these set of costumes and the later redesign of the costumes seen further up the page.
1. The Creepiest Versions Of Mickey Mouse And Minnie Mouse You Will Ever See
This has got to be the creepiest-looking Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse costumes seen at Disneyland, or anywhere, else ever. Between Mickey and Minnie, Minnie is probably the worse. She doesn’t even like herself. Well, neither of them do but definitely not Minnie. Their eyes look frightening. Their mouths look frightening. Basically, just everything about them just screams horrifying. They’re the horror versions of Mickey and Minnie. If these costumes were special costumes reserved for Halloween, I could understand why they were designed to look this way, but they were actually designed for year-round use. And I’m legitimately puzzled as to who thought these costumes were a good idea. Is it any wonder why the boy in the picture isn’t smiling and doesn’t appear to be happy at all?
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