When it comes to toys, few brands can top Disney. Given all their properties, it’s no shock the company can have stores stocked with scores of merchandise. Whether it’s based on their movies, their iconic characters, TV shows, or more, the company is always prepared to have stuff for fans. It can be in stores, their theme parks, or even McDonald’s as it’s nearly impossible to find a home without some sort of Disney item in it. It’s also almost impossible to find a piece of merchandise that doesn’t have a Disney theme to it.
However, not all Disney toys come off great. Some can be very disturbing for the implications behind them and how they’re perceived. Others can just have horrible designs that make them look creepy. And others just fail on some level to make a person shake their heads in disbelief. Here are 20 cringeworthy Disney toys you cannot believe ever got made, let alone sold to show not everything Disney touches is magical.
20 Vintage Mickey And Minnie
Disney was doing merchandising long before Disneyland existed. However, the toy-making technology of the 1940s was... lacking to say the least. Thus, these two Mickey and Minnie figures look more like Jack Skellington. The eyes are blank circles and the massive toothed grins would freak out the Joker. Collectors may go wild for some older Disney toys but others may want to steer clear of these freaky mice.
19 Baymax Balloon
Maybe this wasn’t a noticeable thing when this was being put together. Turning the big soft robot of Big Hero 6 into a balloon is a perfect idea thanks to how he works in the movie. Having him inflate easily works out so it’s fun as either a decoration or a toy. The problem is that once inflated, it looks for all the world like the air hole/holder is a rather... detailed part of Baymax’s anatomy. Perhaps this should have been test-inflated before put out in stores.
18 Rafiki And Simba
Here’s a toy that ends up on a lot of “what were they thinking?” lists for good reason. It was part of a McDonald’s set to tie-in with Disney’s animated hit The Lion King. It replicates the opening scene of Rafiki holding up an infant Simba with the flick of a switch. The issue is that the “pre-lift” pose for the figure is... disturbing to say the least. It’s safe to say the new version of the movie will not inspire a toy like this. Hopefully.
17 Princess Toilet Seat
This is just so weird that is has to be discussed. Disney loves to slap their princesses on just about every piece of merchandising imaginable. It’s one thing for clothing, even underwear, to feature the faces of their loved characters. But a toilet seat featuring Belle, Cinderella, and Sleeping Beauty is still pretty odd. Obviously, this thing would become very messy thanks to what a toddler does, which sort of mars the beauty of it all. These ladies deserve a better place than this seat.
16 Rad Repeating Tarzan
Here’s a good case of a toy that seemed innocent in its design but dirty in its execution. It has a good “yell” mechanic and some nice hand movements to mimic swinging on vines. The issue is that the hand movements are below the belt and, combined with the yell, can come off as a rather adult move. Throw in the special plastic stand to hold him upright and it gets even worse. Disney and Mattel should have checked this one out a bit better first.
15 Hipster Belle
A key reason Belle is so loved is because she’s a huge bookworm who adores reading. Promoting that over her as a “princess” is good. However, this comes off badly. It’s a Funko of Belle in her classic dress and then a pair of huge glasses over her face. It looks like an elderly librarian instead of the vibrant young woman she is. The giant head makes it even freakier and it's not the best look for her.
14 Queen Of Clubs
This is just a failure on so many levels. A deck of playing cards based on Disney villains is a good idea with each getting their own portrait and look good. The problem is when you start going through the “club” cards and the Three of Clubs is... the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland. Anyone with a brain should know what card that character is meant to be, it’s completely obvious. Yet somehow she’s relegated to a low card of a totally different color which is a truly epic fail.
13 Pooh Stacking Rings
You really wonder what goes through the minds of some toy designers sometimes. It’s a fun idea of Pooh holding a stick so toddlers can toss rings onto it. There’s nothing wrong with that. What is wrong is where the holder for the rings is placed on Pooh’s body. Kids won’t notice it but adults sure will and the fact the thing rocks back and forth whenever a ring lands on it just adds another layer of disturbing to the “silly old bear.”
12 2017 Belle
While many still prefer the 1991 animated masterpiece, 2017’s Beauty and the Beast was also a big hit that has inspired other live-action versions of Disney animated films. Younger viewers loved watching a live-action Belle while seeing the tale unfold. Emma Watson was a great choice for Belle and one would expect plenty of good merchandising for her. Instead, this Belle doll looks nothing like Watson. As many noted, it looks like Disney was modeling the doll on Justin Bieber instead. This doll is no Beauty to be sure.
This is a fun doll in some ways. It’s nice and plush, and a good thing for toddlers. With a squeeze, it begins playing songs and a little dance to keep the little kids entertained. The mouth also moves when it sings. That’s really the problem as the mouths are designed in a rather weird way. Maybe it’s meant to look like a pacifier but it’s badly designed for some rather disturbing implications. Toddlers can love it, but it does look pretty weird.
10 Mickey Microphone
This is a good case of a toy kids probably wouldn’t see anything wrong with but adults would. The idea isn’t bad, a microphone shaped like Mickey with those famous red shorts and yellow shoes seems only natural. A kid would have fun talking into it a lot but adults would see it as something far different. Really, it’d be too easy from a distance to mistake this for a certain type of instrument which gives the “talking Mickey” line a new level of unusual.
9 Darth Goofy
Even before Disney bought Lucasfilm, the theme parks had the hit Star Tours ride. Obviously, merchandise included mixing Disney and Star Wars figures together. Mickey and Minnie as Luke and Leia were no-brainers. Donald as Han Solo was a bit offbeat yet worked. But Goofy as Darth Vader? The ruthless Dark Lord of the Sith who inspires terror portrayed by the lovable goofball? It made no sense and the figure just look totally ridiculous to make it a pretty bad mash-up.
8 Olaf Snow Cone Maker
This really is a great idea. If you’re going to make sno-cones, what better character to use than Frozen’s goofy snowman? However, the design could have used a bit more work. Maybe if the ice was coming out of a container Olaf held, it would be better. Instead, it looks for all the world like you’re scooping out the innards of the guy. Some kids may actually like that which just makes this a creepy way to get a cool treat.
7 Kayiodo Woody
On paper it sounded great. Japanese creator Kayiodo releasing a doll of Toy Story’s iconic hero with some special “paste on” faces to create different expressions. Sadly, these included a Woody face with a lecherous grin and eyes moving sideways. The Internet had a field day with the figure, noting how downright creepy it looked and photos of it posed in odd ways. It’s still amazing how this cowboy got warped thanks to a weird look.
6 Princess Heads
This is from the Epcot theme park and it doesn’t sound too bad as a display of Disney Princesses. However, having women with heads in glass cases doesn’t exactly strike someone as very fitting. It seems more like the plot of some horror movie. There’s also how the faces just don’t look quite right, especially Aurora and Jasmine. That you can “mix and match” the heads adds another layer of disturbing to a theme park souvenir some guests may skip on.
5 VHS Train
Never forget how Disney dominated the VHS market in the 1990s. From their hit movies to various cartoons, Disney sold millions of tapes to customers. This Happy Meal set has the idea of various VHS tapes forming a “train” yet it doesn’t look too good. Mickey’s arms are way too long and the Flubber bit looks weird. There’s the baffling choice of Pocahontas as the requisite Princess. This is a good reminder why VHS tapes aren’t used any more.
4 Madame Alexander
The Madame Alexander dolls are always pretty disturbing. They may look nice but the flat expressions and design can be freaky to look at in the right light. This set of Disney dolls (part of a deal with McDonald’s) look even worse. A human Mickey or Minnie is just not right in any way and having them be little kids is even worse. The Pinocchio looks just creepy as hell and the princesses aren’t better. That this was a Happy Meal set is just mind-boggling.
3 Potato Buzz
The point of Mr. Potato Head is being able to mix him up with pieces for his body and arms. The character got a nice showcase voiced by the late, great Don Rickles in the Toy Story movies. For some reason, Disney decided to make a Buzz Lightyear version of the figure. It looks as bad as it sounds with way too goofy faces, and the astronaut suit looks like it barely fits him. This thing should be chucked to infinity and beyond.
2 Disney Heroes Peter Pan
It’s a sad fact that some of Disney’s older animation is pretty un-PC by today’s standards. Peter Pan has long been slammed for its backward take on Native Americans which included literal red skins. This toy set goes the opposite way by having the characters so light-skinned that they don’t look Native at all. It just looks like a trio of white guys in war paint and feather headbands on an armed boat. This toy shows how you can go too far trying not to insult people.
1 Minnie Cleaning Kit
Disney tries to flex with the times but they still have a lot of toys meant for “girls only.” In this case, it’s a full-scale cleaning kit modeled after Minnie Mouse. It’s not a bad set with a broom, mop, vacuum cleaner, and more all modeled after Minnie. However, the unfortunate implications are all too obvious. It sends a seriously wrong message on who’s meant to be cleaning up a place and the fact that there isn’t a matching Mickey set doesn’t help.