Monster Mouse: Random Monsters of Walt Disney World

May 9, 2018 — “Here’s what I’ll do,” I told myself, trying to plan how to take in all the oddity of Walt Disney World, knowing that just one visit to this place could keep me in content for a year, but trying to keep the experience focused on the kids and not my own inclinations. “I’ll limit myself by only taking photos of the oddest things I see in the parks and then post those on OTIS.”

And then I entered Walt Disney World.

I was so overwhelmed by its oddity and the way that oddity was so mainstreamed, that I really didn’t know what to take photos of. I mean, every single thing in those parks, from the statues to the rides to the environments to the flourishes, is odd. Of the kind that were they anywhere else, I would have devoted three-part OTIS articles to each and every thing. On top of that, every single thing in the park was being photographed by three dozen people at any given moment.

That’s not my usual experience with oddity. In other words, that’s an odd experience with oddity.

So I just ended up taking a bunch of random photos. Most of them were of my kids. And I just resigned myself that other than my visit to the Haunted Mansion, I just wouldn’t do a Disney post on the site.

Then I scrutinized my photos again and realized, for a kid-friendly theme park I had quite a few monsters on my phone. Let me show you some. Level of difficulty: No Haunted Mansion spooks.

A sea monster was the first monster I saw at Disney. He or she (I’m bad at identifying sea monster genitalia) was wrapped around the pool of our French Quarter-themed resort. His or her mouth and tongue are a water slide. Which I did, in fact, slide down. There is no photographic proof of that.

Our pool slide wasn’t the only sea serpent I saw. Here’s one made of Legos outside the Lego store at Disney Springs, right before the volcano makes him extinct.

The yeti climax of Expedition Everest in Animal Kingdom was a highlight of my visit, but not really one where I was able to whip out my phone for. But there were plenty of Yeti exhibits in the line not going by at roller coaster speeds, although I think I ripped myself off in that regard by Fast Passing this ride.

That yeti wasn’t the only Bigfoot I saw. There’s this walking carpet I ran into at Hollywood Studios. My love for Chewie goes back to my earliest years. Back then he was my favorite Star Wars character and my favorite monster.

DinoLand USA at Animal Kingdom was a revelation. And I took a lot of photos of dinosaurs there. But this guy (or girl, bad at brontosaurus genitalia, too) stole my heart, both for being the biggest dino on the property and for happily shading an entire dinosaur-themed carnival.

A Sleepy Hollow-themed snackery in the Magic Kingdom? I mean, the Headless Horseman is my favorite monster of all time, and he only gets cooler serving pretzel dogs and funnel cakes. Unfortunately, none of the snacks came on branded plates or with branded napkins and I didn’t hear a single strain of Bing Crosby at the tables. Something was missing from his place and it wasn’t a head. Still, a Sleepy Hollow-themed snackery in the Magic Kingdom?

After exiting the Frozen Ever After Ride in the Norway Pavilion of Epcot, where I fought the urge to take photos of Marshmallow the Snow Monster and just enjoyed the experience through the eyes of my youngest daughter, I was rewarded with a giant troll in the gift shop.

I found this wreath at the Christmas-themed It’s a Wonderful Shop at Hollywood Studios, and this photo was taken the very moment I realized that I needed to hang these on every door of my house come next Christmas.

Ursula isn’t on this list because she’s one of the more terrifying monsters Disney has ever dreamt in its darkest moments, even though she is. She’s here because far more frightening than Ursula herself is a giant puppet Ursula, which I witnessed aghast at Voyage of the Little Mermaid at Hollywood Studios.

The land of Pandora at Animal Kingdom was awe-inspiring, but these little guys were the only creatures I could find there. Not a single Mountain Banshee or Great Leonopteryx perched in the boughs of its giant trees or bathed in its waterfalls. And, since the Na’vi River Journey was shut down during my visit and I didn’t want to wait the hours-long line for Avatar Flight of Passage, my visit there was completely dragonless. Still, wandering around under the floating islands and amidst all the monstrous plant life was a good time.