Different generations need different videogame icons to identify with. Right now for example kids all over Angry Birds and part of that is that that's THEIR game. It isn't their parents' game, it's for them. Every generation wants their own icons in all forms of entertainment.
Indeed. That is why my 7 year old cousin can tell you who Woody and Buzz are but wouldn't have a clue who the hell Mickey Mouse is.
That just tells me your cousin's parents only showed him Toy Story (possibly 1-3) and he's never been to Disneyland. My 3 year old son knows Mickey, Donald, Buzz, Woody, Simba, Wreck-It-Ralph, Merida, Lightning McQueen, Mater, Goofy, etc.
My son also loves trains and drawing and playing piano and hitting baseballs and basketball and football. Gotta give them variety for them to figure out what they like.