Home » 5 Shocking Examples of Cuddly Theme Park Mascots Turning EVIL

5 Shocking Examples of Cuddly Theme Park Mascots Turning EVIL

We all love the cuddly characters that meet-and-greet guests at theme parks. But every now and then, one of them switches to the dark side and becomes just a little evil…

Since the opening day of Disneyland in 1955, characters and mascots have been a prominent feature at many theme parks. Indeed, Disney has turned meet-and-greets into major attractions, with fans queuing for up to five hours to spend a few moments with Frozen‘s Anna and Elsa at Walt Disney World.

Of course, the characters are there to put a smile on the faces of children (and adults), and to add to the sense that visitors have stepped into another world. Occasionally, however, one of them will prove that they are just as fallible and prone to less-than-honorable acts as us mere humans.

Here are 5 examples of characters who overstepped the mark in their interactions with guests…albeit, often in the face of severe provocation.

5. Henry Hound and friends take revenge on children at Alton Towers

Henry Hound

Don’t mess with this guy. Seriously.
Image via YouTube / Alexander Machin

The most famous mascot at Alton Towers, the UK’s number one theme park, was Henry Hound. In his prime during the late 1980s and early 1990s, Henry was featured prominently in the park’s marketing, starred in several shows and was the headline performer in the parade. His partner Henrietta joined him for many of these tasks, often flouncing around in a colourful dress.

In Tales from the Towers Alistair Farrant, who – ahem – “worked with” Henry Hound in the early 1990s, recalls that the loveable dog was regularly abused by naughty children: “They’d pull his tail, they’d try to pull his head off or smack him in the face. Henry once had a lit cigarette shoved up his nose.”

Henry and his friends wouldn’t always take such abuse lying down: “You couldn’t do much – the minders would try and put them right. We used to find certain kids were worse than others. During the parade, they would come and try to kick and punch us. There were 20 or 30 of us and we knew certain parts of the route where nobody was really watching you, so we might retaliate slightly. There were some little s**ts and it was hard to resist.”

Think about the prospect of an army of characters putting you in your place next time you decide to heckle at a parade!

4. The Three Little Pigs terrify a teenage girl

Three Little Pigs

Image © Disney

Disney’s loveable characters would certainly never harm or assault a guest…would they? Well, one woman claimed otherwise in 1976. The woman, who weighed some 240 pounds, alleged that one of the Three Little Pigs had run up to her, grabbed her chest and begun shouting “Mommy! Mommy!”. Unfortunately for the allegedly distressed guest, her case didn’t progress far. Disney quickly pointed out that the Three Little Pigs are unable to move their arms.

However, the mischievous pigs were involved in another, much less serious incident that is covered in David Koenig’s Mouse Tales: Behind-The-Ears Look at Disneyland. In this case, the pigs stood perfectly still in the alcoves of Sleeping Beauty Castle, so that they’d appear to be statues. Guests surrounded them, posing for photographs. Just as one family member was about capture a precious memory on film, one of the pigs suddenly reached out and grabbed a fourteen-year-old girl. She was so terrified that she wet her blue denim pants.

3. “Winnie the Pooh” shocks children

Winnie the Pooh

OK, so this incident was more unintentionally hilarous than intentionally evil. But it still resulted in some confused looks from children and some suitably offended parents.

This character at a Chinese theme park closely resembles Winnie the Pooh, something that would surely raise eyebrows amongst Disney’s intellectual property lawyers. Their eyebrows might be raised even further, however, by the way that Winnie the Pooh has decided to dress today…with his trousers on back-to-front.

Needless to say, the hapless Winnie the Pooh-lookalike was apparently fired after just a single day in the job.

2. Captain Jack Sparrow teaches kids about alcohol

Captain Jack Sparrow

Walt Disney famously banned alcohol from Disneyland’s restaurants, with the exception of the super-secret Club 33. And when Disney introduced Captain Jack Sparrow to the park following the success of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, it wasn’t keen to let on that Jack’s unusual walking style and demeanour might be down to being more-or-less-constantly drunk.

Disney instructed Jack never to mention drinking. But, of course, the feisty character wasn’t about to mindlessly follow this rule. Instead, he assumed that since the characters in the Pirates of the Caribbean ride seem to spend most of their time boozing, there was nothing wrong sharing his love of alcohol with younger guests. He recalls:

When parents took pictures, I’d say “Everyone say ‘rum'”, and the parents loved it. The kids would just ask “What’s rum?”

Does this really qualify as evil? Maybe not in everyone’s eyes…but certainly in the eyes of Disney’s management.

1. Captain America (allegedly) grooms a minor

Marvel Super Hero Island

The other incidents on this list are largely harmless – but in this case, someone has really been accused of commiting a serious crime.

Universal Orlando’s Marvel Super Hero Island is, ironically, based on characters who are owned by arch-rival Disney (the licensing deal pre-dates Disney’s acquisition of Marvel). It’s likely that Disney isn’t thrilled about the latest publicity surrounding Captain America, who recently appeared in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Universal probably isn’t too happy about it, either.

According to this report, a Captain America has been fired by Universal after allegedly sending harmful material to minor. The minor in question was a 16-year-old girl who had posed for a picture with him at Islands of Adventure, before he started an online “friendship” with her.

Sergeant Louis Grindle pointed out just how badly the Captain America had let down his his fellow characters and guests at the park, saying: “The unfortunate part is that he’s in a position where he makes contact as part of his job, every day he makes contact with thousands of tourists, the majority of them juveniles and they look up to these characters, these super hero characters.”

Let’s be thankful that most theme park characters excel in their jobs and really do make our visits that little bit more special.