The Unsettling Truth Behind Disney’s Clown Problem

in Disneyland Resort, Walt Disney World

Pennywise at Sleeping Beauty Castle

Credit: Inside the Magic

When most people go to Disneyland or Walt Disney World, they go to ride the rides, relax at the resorts, and gorge themselves on unique food. So it’s safe to say that frequent run-ins with creepy clowns are the last thing expected from the happiest places on earth.

Mickey Mouse in front of the Cinderella Castle inside the Magic Kingdom with a couple of children
Credit: Disney

The Disney parks are home to some of the most magical experiences in the theme park industry, but that doesn’t mean the company hasn’t experimented with some less-than-successful ventures in the past. Although the parks are known for roller coasters, Character Meet and Greets, and Dole Whip, they’ve also been responsible for some serious nightmare fuel.

Related: Guests Kicked out of EPCOT Land

For a brief period in Disneyland’s early days, Walt Disney’s original park featured a lively circus attraction pulled straight from the film reels of Dumbo (1941). While it was undoubtedly entertaining back in the ’50s, it didn’t particularly live up to Disney’s brand of magic. And as Yesterworld points out below, what’s a circus without a few clowns?

The Drunken Clowns of Disneyland

The Mickey Mouse Club Circus was one of the earliest attractions at Disneyland, and it did draw a crowd during its early days of operation. That said, the road to Hell is often paved with good intentions… Or in this case creepy clowns.

Related: Unexpected Closure Hits Animal Kingdom, All Guests Redirected

Even by 1950s standards, the image of clowns just randomly walking the streets of Disneyland feels like something out of an unused twilight zone episode. Additionally, people really didn’t come to Disneyland just to see a circus performance, a fact that turns even stranger when you consider the studio’s history with the painted pranksters.

Disney is iconic for creating beloved animated characters, but they are also infamous for introducing many young viewers to the subject of the creepy clown. Eerie scenes from Dumbo, The Brave Little Toaster, and the infamous Jangles from Inside Out have kept many kids up at night, so it’s weird that the company would want to incorparate them in the same venue as Mickey and Minnie. Incidentally, this wouldn’t be the first time Disney tried to make clowns a thing at the parks.

Disney World’s Giggle Gang

Once again playing into the Dumbo motif, Storybook Circus at the Magic Kingdom had its own trio of clowns, known as the Giggle Gang, that would make regular performances at Walt Disney World. While these painted performers were a lot more approachable than their Disney land predecessors, it still feels strange to see a garden variety clown act at a Disney location.

Related: Disney’s Hollywood Studios Faces Another Major Closure

They might not be randomly walking around the park, but the Giggle Gang were far from the fanciful routines seen at Cirque du Soleil at Disney Springs. Even so, it’s clear to see why Disney hasn’t reinstated this act in the years they’ve been gone.

Disney has experimented with multiple breeds of entertainment. While it’s definitely exciting when the House of Mouse tries something new to draw a crowd, not every idea is going to be a winner. It’s safe to say Disney is done clowning around for a good while.

Have you seen any clowns at the Disney Parks? Tell Inside the Magic about it in the comments below!

in Disneyland Resort, Walt Disney World

Be the first to comment!