Disney has no shortage of beloved characters in its films and animated features. Mickey, Donald, Goofy, and all the rest have been friends of ours since we can remember, but the Disney canon stretches even further than that. Disney’s colorful cast not only inhabits our favorite films but theme park rides as well.
Some of Disney’s greatest characters were born in their theme parks. From California to Florida, the Disney Parks have more than their fair of lovable cast members, and we’ve got ten of them here today. This is our list of 10 Disney characters who debuted in parks.
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#####IMG000000000#####via David Roark, photographer
We want the redhead! This wench has traded in her spot on the auction block in favor of her own crew of rascally scallywags in Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean ride. Inspired by real-life captain Anne Bonny, Captain Jack might have a little competition in Port Royal.
In the attractions 2017 update, the auction block scene was removed, but seeing as the redhead was popular amongst fans, she was remade into Captain Redd. Though there is still some debate between fans of the ride, Redd is more than worthy of a spot on our list.
9 Duffy the Disney Bear
One of the more obscure Disney characters, a popular plush and a smash hit in Disney’s Asian parks, Duffy is Mickey’s teddy bear friend with his own bedtime story and wardrobe. Not just a Disney World icon, but a Disney Parks sensation, Duffy has quite a following.
Accompanied by his gal ShellieMae and a slew of other colorful plush companions, Duffy has been a hit with young parkgoers and has made an even bigger impact with Disney fans overseas.
Looks like Disney is a language anyone can understand and we certainly find Duffy adorable.
8 The Yeti
Okay, maybe he’s not the friendliest face on this list, but he’s definitely one you think of when you hear the words Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The main attraction on the chilling Expedition Everest rollercoaster, the Yeti is one of Disney’s largest, and easily the most intimidating creatures ever designed. Adventurers beware
Visitors brave enough to ride this frightening attraction will face an encounter with the guardian of the Forbidden Mountain. Though ferocious and gigantic, the Yeti is still popular amongst fans of the park. If you’re looking for thrills and chills, pay him a visit at Expedition Everest.
7 Tiki Room Birds
Where the birds sing words and the flowers croon, it’s the Tiki-Tiki-Tiki-Tiki-Tiki Room! Our next flock of friends from the Disney Parks are those international avians, José, Michale, Pierre, and Fritz. This fabulous foursome has been serenading guests for years and doesn’t show signs of slowing down.
Accompanied by their bevy of birds, a crop of flowers, and a team of tiki gods, these guys create a paradise with an island vibe like nowhere else. With a Hawaiian inspired soundtrack and tropical vibes, you’ll want to sink into your Dole Whip when you spend time with these feathered friends.
6 Orange Bird
If you’ve been to the Walt Disney World resort, you’ve probably seen a little orange-headed bird around the Sunshine Terrace. This citrus-inspired cutie is Orange Bird and despite a brief disappearance until 2017, he has quite a history with the parks.
Being present in the early days of the resort, Orange Bird is one of the first original characters at the Florida park. Created as a mascot for the Florida Citrus Commission, he’s become something of a cult-favorite amongst seasoned Disney fans.
He’s so orange and cute we just want to squeeze him, so we can understand why. Think orange thoughts and try and catch him at the Sunshine Terrace.
5 The Country Bears
Zeke and Zeb and Ted and Fred and a bear named Tennessee are just five of the furry friends you can meet in Disney’s Country Bear Jamboree. Don’t let the corny exterior fool you, this is a Disney classic populated by some of the funniest critters in Frontierland.
Looking for a bit of country, a bit of Americana, a bit of folk, or just a place to cool off? Well, these guys will surely serenade you with a medley of catchy tunes. From Henry and Wendel to Liverlips and Big Al, we couldn’t bear to leave them off our list.
Before he was dropping beats at Oga’s Cantina in the new Star Wars Land, RX-24/Captain Rex was the original pilot for Star Tours. Voiced by the one and only Paul Rubens, Rex is a quirky little droid with a big personality, and definitely worthy of our list. No matter how many times he might have wrecked a ship or two.
One of the most overlooked droids in the Star Wars universe, Rex has been a fan favorite since he first graced Tomorrowland. Though he’s been replaced by C-3pO and R2-D2, the original model can still be found in the Star Tours loading bay. We think we like his upgrade a little more.
3 The Hitchhiking Ghosts
Weren’t you warned about hitchhiking strangers? This ghostly trio must have missed the memo. Phineas, Ezra, and Gus have become the mascots of Disney’s Haunted Mansion, and have since followed us out of the manor and into our hearts.
The Hitchhiking Ghosts are Magic Kingdom icons as much as the Astro Orbiter or Big Thunder Mountain. They’re on legions of park merch, have their own appearance in the Halloween Parades, and were even featured in the Eddie Murphy film. There aren’t many ghosts with their level of star power unless you count our next entry.
2 The Hatbox Ghost
We know we’re kinda cheating, but the Hatbox Ghost was just too popular not to include. After mysteriously vanishing, the Haunted Mansion’s resident Mad Hatter made a triumphant return in 2015 to a more than receptive welcome. And he’s been turning (and vanishing) heads ever since.
The Hatbox Ghost has one of the most interesting histories out of any of the spirits in the haunted mansion. His disappearance, illusion, and involvement in the attraction’s early days and development have all inspired many an engaging conversation in the Disney community. With such an impressive resume, it would be a grave mistake not to include him.
“Two tiny wings, eyes big and yellow, horns of a steer, but a lovable fellow. From head to tail, a royal purple pigment. And there, voila, you’ve got a figment.” Where would Epcot be without its favorite purple dragon? The unofficial mascot of Disney’s Epcot Center, Figment has been a park staple since the early days of his attraction.
With or without the Dreamfinder, he’s still a beloved addition to the park. Figment has appeared in nearly every Epcot special event from Flower and Garden Show to Food and Wine, and even stars in his own comic series. He’s become such a part of the parks, we can’t imagine Epcot without him.