Essentially they make exceptions for things like "Wreck it Ralph".
In the production of Wreck it Ralph they never paid to use things like Bowser or other similar IPs. Most companies were flattered by someone wanting to use their characters, and the chance for the almost free advertising. However the producers had to state exactly how they were going to be using the characters, then afterwards follow restrictions from the IP owners that were even stricter.
Which is why they suggested you get a legal counsel to contact them. It sets a minimum about of investment on your part, and with that investment it means that there will be similar/greater investment into quality of your "whatever"(no dilution in the quality of what their IP is attached to).