The popularity, yet lack of Disney Villains – DePaoli on DeParks

This week, Oogie Boogie Bash opened at Disney California Adventure. With that, we got the treat of some new meet-and-greets added to the party, including Sid from “Toy Story,” Cruella from the new live-action film of the same name, and Agatha Harkness from “WandaVision.” These are some very cool characters to add to the party, but notice that none of them are from a Disney animated feature. Considering the love that people have for the Disney Villains, it’s somewhat surprising that Disney doesn’t capitalize on this more by creating new villains in their animated films.

disney villains

In 2015, the Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular debuted at Magic Kingdom as part of Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. Of course, the show was headlined by the Sanderson Sisters from the 1993 film “Hocus Pocus.” Beyond that, the most current villains featured were Dr. Facilier from 2009’s “The Princess and the Frog” and Hades from the 1997 film “Hercules.” For a company like Disney that pumps out movies, that’s having to go back pretty far just to find a proper villain.

Disney Villains After Hours event at Magic Kingdom

The love of Disney villains goes well beyond Halloween, even having prompted Disney to create the Disney Villain After Hours event at Walt Disney World. These events typically sell out even when it isn’t the spooky time of year. Don’t get me wrong. I love seeing the classic villains like Maleficent, the Evil Queen, Ursula, and beyond. But I would also love to have some more current animated villains to add into the mix.

Muppets' Constantine meets fans at Disney's Hollywood Studios

The talented people putting these parties together have done a great job getting creative and finding new characters to feature. Constantine from “Muppets Most Wanted” was a clever and popular addition. But it does sometimes feel like they have to look really hard or dig deep to find current characters to fit into that villain mold.

In my opinion, the last real Disney villain we got from a Disney animated major motion picture was Mother Gothel from “Tangled.” Mother Gothel was full of bad intentions and evil, while also having an iconic musical number associated with her. But “Tangled” was released in 2010, making it 11 years since we were introduced to her. Even she wasn’t as iconically evil as a witch like Ursula, but I would say no less evil than Gaston.

Walt Disney Animation features always have some sort of “bad guy” character causing obstacles for our hero to fight through, but they’re not as blatantly evil these days. My guess is that they’re trying not to scare children. But I beg of you, Disney, please scare the children of 2021 so that they can grow up to love their generation of Disney villains as much as we do ours.

One of the most still-featured villains today is Cruella de Vil from the 1961 film “101 Dalmatians.” If you haven’t seen that movie recently, let me remind you that she literally talks about drowning puppies — yet can still be found almost daily entertaining guests during normal park hours at Disneyland. If you go back and look at the Evil Queen transformation in “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” it’s truly terrifying. Even being exposed to this at a young age, we all grew up fairly well-adjusted.

I guess Disney could go on featuring these iconic villains of yesteryear for eternity, but I would love to see some fresh, new Disney animated villains to add into the mix. Do you miss the more villainous Disney characters lacking from current Disney animated features? Who do you consider to be the scariest villain? Let me know in the comments.

If you have any theme park topics you would like to hear my opinion on, let me know in the comments. You might just see it pop up in a future DePaoli on DeParks.

Jeff DePaoli is a voiceover artist and producer living in Los Angeles. He can be heard as the voice and producer of “That Halloween Podcast” featuring exclusive interviews with talents from within the horror and haunt industry at DePaoli’s opinions are his own and do not necessarily represent Attractions Magazine.


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  1. We consider ourselves blessed to have attended the 2016 Club Villain dinner-dance meet & greet in the facility currently housing Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy. What great performances & atmosphere. We continue to decorate our hotel rooms with the green, gold, & purple foil streamers we snagged after the show.

    I vote Mother Gothel the most evil, authoritarian to the core.