10 Disney Characters Who Only Appear in Disneyland


Disney has dozens upon dozens of recognisable characters originating in their extensive library of films and television shows. From Mickey and Friends through to new favourites such as Anna and Elsa, their impact on pop culture (and merchandising) has been incalculable. But there’s still more characters who you will only find in the Disneyland Resorts of the world, some you may and never heard of before now even if you’re a park regular.

Originally we included the cast of characters inhabiting the Haunted Mansion, but they’re since spread to cinemas thanks to the abysmal 2006 movie. Special mention to Madam Leota, Hatbox Ghost, The Bride, Hitchhikers and the rest of the gang.

10. CAPTAIN REX aka DJ R-3X

If you’ve ever ridden Star Tours, a staple of Tomorrowland, you would have enjoyed a trip through a galaxy far, far away in a Starspeeder 3000 piloted by the iconic C3-PO. Ol’ goldenrod wasn’t always the star of the show, as the ride originally featured the nervous Captain Rex. Unfortunately his employment was short lived, mostly due to him flying his tour groups into heated space battles. He wasn’t intended to be replaced by C3-PO, that’s an in-story mix-up.

Captain Rex has not been relegated to the scrap heap, however. After landing in Battu and being reprogrammed to spin sick beats he took up residence in the local eatery as a DJ. You can still find the rechristened DJ R-3X working in Oga’s Catina in Galaxy’s Edge.

9. CHUUBY

The newest entry on our list, but already popular enough to inspire his own merchandise. Heading over to Hollywood Studio’s popular attraction ‘Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railroad’, we find a colourful adventure through animation based on The Wonderful World of Mickey Mouse. The ride is packed with classic characters, but Chuuby is an original newcomer. Happy-go-lucky and full of song, this cute little bird appears throughout the journey and is most prominent towards the end to provide some extra entertainment while you wait to exit.

8. THE KING PIN

This is an odd one. It’s not the Kingpin from Marvel, and it’s not entirely a character. He’s a flesh and blood person who you may encounter at the Animal Kingdom Lodge in Disney World. You’ll know when he arrives as it will be announced by a cast member with much fanfare, and he may appear in his throne, ready to greet his subjects and receive offers of trade.

Ok, let’s back up. A big piece of the merchandise pie are collectable metal pins. There are hundreds if not thousands available to collect, allowing people to pick up a little souvenir featuring their favourite characters, ride, park events and more. Pin trading as taken off like wildfire, with blind bags and special editions available at every corner of every park, and fans organising meet-ups in Frontierland to swap. The King Pin is a noble figure with a seemingly encyclopaedic knowledge of pins, ready to make a deal with you or let you try your luck in his bag. Oh, and he even has his own pin!

7. REDD

If there’s one ride change that triggered snowflake conservatives, it was the removal of sexual slavery from the classic ‘The Pirates of the Caribbean’ ride. When your boat reaches the town of Puerto Dorado it is in the midst of being sacked and looted by invading pirates (originally a Blackbeard looking chap, now by Captain Barbossa looking for Jack Sparrow) with chaos spilling out onto the streets. You’ll find a drunk pirate sleeping with pigs, a man being dunked in a well, burning buildings, gun fights, musicians keeping up a lively score and the indomitable pirate Redd, lording over the supplies of rum.

Originally this scene of auctioned loot featured imprisoned women being sold – a ‘wench for a bride’ as the banner proclaimed. The auctioneer (the first audio-animatronic built for the ride) would be met with a crowd chanting “we want the redhead!”, referencing a particularly flirty and buxom woman. During a 2017 refurbishment the scene was retooled, changing ‘the redhead’ to Redd, a pirate involved in auctioning off loot. Redd is one of the most recognisable figures from the ride, and even appears as a walk around character on occasion.

6. SONNY ECLIPSE

Here’s another oddball one. If you happen to be in The Magic Kingdom’s Tomorrowland area and looking for a bite to eat you may stop at Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe for a burger or chilli dog. Whilst you eat you’ll have Sonny Eclipse serenading you on his astro-organ (don’t worry, it’s a piano). Hailing from the planet Zork, a resident of the city Yew Nork, Sonny Eclipse is a touring musician who has taken up residence in Cosmic Ray’s with a smooth jazz set. You may notice he’s also backed up by singers known as the Space Angels…don’t worry if you can’t see them, they’re invisible.

For extra fun, you can find his cousin Zzzzyxxx working in ‘Star Tours’ in Tokyo Disneyland.

5. JOSÉ and COMPANY

What would a trip to Disneyland, The Magic Kingdom or Tokyo Disneyland without a visit to the ‘Enchanted Tiki Room’? It’s the first attraction to feature audio-animtronics, and whilst cheesy it’s has a kitschy charm and lets you take a break in an air-conditioned room with a spot to sit down. Get a Dole Whip and take a break at least once and enjoy being serenaded by a huge flock of singing, joking and crooning birds led by José, Michal, Pierre and Fritz. Along with their Glee Club, singing flowers, ‘The Girls’ and chanting gods, the birds sing and provide light entertainment for about 20 minutes. They’re charming and full of character, and in Japan you get a Stitch as a guest star.

4. CHANDU

While in Japan, make sure you get to Disneysea and ride ‘Sinbad’s Storybook Voyage’. It’s in the Arabia section of the park (curry popcorn, make sure you get it) and is a highlight of the park. The whimsical and charming dark ride along with an absolute earworm of a tune was quite a bit darker when it debuted. Observing the tearing, shaken children exiting a ride full of giant monsters and vicious apes, Imagineer’s gave the ride a major overhaul. The new version was much more child friendly and introduces the fan favourite song ‘Compass of Your Heart’ and the very marketable animal side-kick Chandu.

Inspiring plushes, pins and snacks (a twist on the classic Tiger Tail snack), Chandu is a small tiger pal to Sinbad, adding a bit of humour to every scene. It’s hard to imagine this ride without this adorable little feline and the wonderful soundtrack. He also plays a mean drum.

3. ORANGE BIRD

Subject of public art, children’s books and endless merchandise, Orange Bird is Disney World’s biggest unofficial mascot. Appearing throughout the parks and Disney Springs, the bird/fruit hybrid has photo spots, meet and greets, food stalls and so many pins. People love Orange Bird. Having been designed for the Florida Citrus Commission in 1970, Orange Bird has been a closely linked with Disney World, most notably an odd concoction of soft-serve ice cream and frozen orange concentrate.

2. DUFFY AND FRIENDS

And yet, the reign of Orange Bird pales in comparison to the rapid take-over of Disneysea by Duffy the Disney Bear. Asian Disney parks in general seem fond of the teddy bear and his band of animal friends. Having debuted in Downtown Disney, the character found his fans in Tokyo Disneyland and now commands multiple stores, meet and greets and special spots to prop your Duffy to get a good photo. Every season sees a new batch of outfits for Duffy, his girlfriend Shellie May and friends Gelatoni, Cookie Ann, Lina Bell, Tippy Blue and ‘Olu Mel are a merchandising juggernaut.

According to lore, Minnie sewed Duffy together so Mickey would have company on his long trips. The takeaway here is that Minnie can create life and that brings up further questions. Honestly, try to ignore the lore and just pick up the latest outfits.

1. FIGMENT

The ever popular mascot of EPCOT, Figment the dragon is a product of our imaginations and encourages us to innovate and explore. What’s confusing is that he remains a very popular character despite his role in his attraction, ‘Journey Into Imagination With Figment’ ranging from annoying to obnoxious. Once the whimsical product of steampunk wizard The Dreamfinder, Figment was filled with child-like wonder and glee. In a series of poorly received ‘updates’, Figment became a bratty and unsavoury nuisance conjured up by Eric Idle’s worst performance.

Still, the spirit of the original Figment lives on, appearing throughout the park and the subject of best-selling merchandise. When a recent pause in Figment plush availability broke with a 40th Anniversary edition the line to get one was up to four hours. When a very limited Figment popcorn bucket appeared for one day, the line was reportedly up to EIGHT hours. Seth Rogan is reportedly working on a movie. Figment is a big deal.