Those Creepy Fake Mickey Rides…

Is it just me, or does anyone else get creeped out by the bizarre knock-off Mickey rides often found outside bodegas around New York?


I have no idea why it’s automatically delightful whenever Disney anthropomorphizes animals, and I know this is the exact same idea…but something just feels off about it. Also, the idea of what that thing would look if it stood up and walked around with its bizarre proportions is good old-fashioned nightmare fuel.


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  1. It’s a variation of the Uncanny Valley concept. According to this concept, a robot that looks almost but not exactly like an actual human is creepy, while one that looks nothing at all like a human (e.g. C3PO) is amusing. Mickey obviously isn’t human, but his appearance is so widely known that an almost-but-not-quite knockoff strikes us as creepy.

    If these rides were in the form of a cartoon mouse that looked nothing like Mickey we probably wouldn’t consider them creepy.

  2. You think that Mickey ride is bad? Have you seen this Donald Duck ride?

  3. The last sentence of your post was pure awesome. ‘Good old fashioned nightmare fuel’ indeed. I laughed.

    I’ve never posted on your blog before, but I always enjoy your photos, perspective, and the hidden little gems you’re always finding in NY. Your road-trip posts were fascinating! Many thanks from the ‘Mini-apple’ (Minneapolis).

  4. Dang, lately you are killing me softly…Peter expressed my thoughts exactly as to why these pseudo-Mickeys are X-tra disturbing. And, David’s link to The Donald only added to the mirth. Lovin’ your blog!

  5. Here’s a kiddie ride from an old job of mine, creepy for different reasons entirely. The extra-special thing about that one is, as far as I could tell it was an actually licensed piece of merchandise. Someone, somewhere, signed off on this design.

  6. The mouse is in such an unnatural posture too. Is that one on Manhattan Ave?

  7. It’s the eyes, far too unsettlingly human, real Mickey has black dots that move him comfortably out of Uncanny Valley

  8. If it weren’t for the bow tie and lack of cape, I’d have said it could be a creepy Mighty Mouse ride, too 😉
    But then again, maybe it -is- a creepy Mighty Mouse ride, made by someone who doesn’t know how to tell one anthropomorphic mouse from the other?

  9. Definitely creepy. Glad I didn’t notice them last time. Is the chain there to protect whatever coin is in the box or is it to keep the mouse from attacking NYC during the full moon?

  10. Is that on Manhattan Ave in Greenpoint? If it is, the music is just as creepy.

  11. I sort of love those creepy kiddie rides, but I’ve been most curious about…this thing (doesn’t really resemble anything in nature, methinks). I’ve come across at least two of its relatives, which leads me to believe there ARE MORE OUT THERE. [shudders] I wonder who came up with the design and why, almost to the point that I thought I may as well just call the company and ask, “So who makes those…limbless…long-necked…google-eyed…thingamadoodles?” But my curiosity hasn’t driven me to do that yet.

    …Erm…anyhoo, love your blog!

  12. That one plays Yankee Doodle when it is on also, not just the melody but a creepy children’s chorus. I love China!!