Entering the Creep Zone

Don't get me wrong, here. I absolutely adore the wonderful characters created by Walt Disney. I especially love the characters as they appear in animated hand drawn films, and I often read Disney comics when I was a kid. Even an abstract creation like Mickey Mouse is quite wonderful. He doesn't really look like a mouse or any rodent I've ever seen. Yet, he remains a remarkable design both charming and appealing.

When these amazing creations have to take on a physical form it presents an entirely new challenge. Suddenly, these fanciful characters have to co-exist in the real world and the results can be both wonderful and scary. Back in the day when the marvelous new theme park, Disneyland opened its gates, it was expected guests would be greeted by the Disney characters. Sure enough, they were there when I entered the gates of the park back in 1955. Mickey, Minnie, Donald and the gang were all there cavorting around the park and entertaining the guests. It was all great except for one thing. The character suits were simply ghastly.

Much has changed since the opening of Walt's theme park many years ago. Today, fabrication techniques and technology has enabled the Disney creators to breathe new life into the park walk around characters. We've made a quantum leap from the early days of the nineteen fifties when fabrication techniques were still in their infancy. Kids squeal with delight and parents happily smile when they see Mickey Mouse interacting with guests at Disneyland or Walt Disney World. Today's walk around characters look pretty delightful even though they don't exactly resemble their hand drawn animated counterparts.

I find this is true today whenever I walk through the Disney theme parks with my grandchildren in tow. It's still a delight to see Mickey and Minnie waving to the guests and Donald and Goofy making kids laugh. However, once you remove these amazing characters from their special environment something truly weird happens and you enter the “Creep Zone.” A good example is this new book from Japan that shows the Disney characters in situations around the park. Maybe it's just me but I find photographs like these creepy as all get out. There's just something weird seeing Disney characters posing in real life situations. Maybe it's because they've suddenly left the cartoon world or because we're not seeing them in person. I'm not exactly sure why I have this reaction, but the new Disneyland book totally creeped me out and I recoiled with each turn of the page. Not to worry, of course. Perhaps most people will find this wacky new book totally delightful. Yet, when I see the Disney characters in this form interacting with each other, I totally freak. Like I said, it's probably just me. Or, does anybody else find this stuff absolutely creepy?