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The Truth Behind 30 Urban Legends About Disney

Ever hear the one about the ghost that haunts "Pirates of the Caribbean"? Ever want to find out if it's true or not?

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1. The Tower of Terror attraction is being replaced by a ride based on Elsa’s ice castle from Frozen.

disneynewsnet.tumblr.com

FALSE!

What started as a Twitter joke spread to a Tumblr parody blog filled with intentionally misleading news and false facts, which is where the rumor really picked up steam. While it isn’t true, the idea is somewhat based in truth, given that the Epcot ride Maelstrom was shut down to make way for a Frozen-themed ride in the Norway Pavillon.

Also, Bob Iger probably never said, “I just wanna be rad and hip with the times, coolio?” (Not publicly, at least.)

2. Also, the Tower of Terror attraction is haunted.

View this video on YouTube

youtube.com

FALSE!

If ghosts were real, riding the Tower of Terror over and over again would be a pretty rad way to spend your afterlife. But, the ride probably isn’t haunted. (Unless you count a hauntingly good time!) (Sorry.) Just looking at the quality of the video above, which is where this rumor originated, it’s plain to see how fuzzy and low-quality the picture is. The ghost is most likely just a digital video artifact.

3. The broken singing bust on the Haunted Mansion ride is Walt Disney.

Flickr: expressmonorail

FALSE!

The broken bust singing toward the end of the Haunted Mansion attraction is not supposed to be Walt Disney. The image projected onto the bust is actually the face of Thurl Ravenscroft, who is one of the singers on the track that plays in that section of the graveyard. (He also happened to be the original voice of Tony the Tiger.)

4. When it first opened, the Haunted Mansion was much scarier. It was revamped and toned down after a guest suffered a heart attack on the ride.

Flickr: jeffkrause

FALSE!

The ride hasn’t really changed all that much since it originally opened in 1969, and nobody has ever suffered from a heart attack brought on by the attraction. This rumor likely started circulating when the building at Disneyland that would become the Haunted Mansion sat closed for six years, even though the attraction had been first announced in 1963. The opening was likely delayed due to the World’s Fair in 1964, and then Walt Disney’s death in 1966.

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5. The hearse parked in front of the Haunted Mansion attraction was the same hearse used to carry the Mormon leader Brigham Young to his final resting place.

6. There is a basketball court built into the top of the Matterhorn mountain attraction in Disneyland.

extinctattractionsclub.com

TRUE!

Sure enough, the top third or so of the Matterhorn Bobsleds attraction is actually a maintenance space for the ride, and is used by cast members in a few of the live shows that take place within the park. The basketball hoop was installed so cast members could kill time while they waited for a show to begin or during bad weather.

7. Women regularly flash the camera on Splash Mountain.

Flickr: armadillo444

TRUE!

It happens all the time. But the ride operators scan all the photos before they’re displayed on the monitors at the end of the ride, so don’t ever expect to see any saucy pictures after your ride is over.

8. The airplane seen on the Great Movie Ride is the same airplane that was used during the filming of Casablanca.

Flickr: quietkid

FALSE!

Rumor has it that when Imagineers were searching for a screen-accurate Lockheed Electra 12A to use on the Great Movie Ride, they just happened to come across the actual plane that was used during the filming of Casablanca. Except, Casablanca was filmed on a soundstage too small to hold a Lockheed Electra 12A, and any airplane seen in the final scenes was a ½- or ¼-size replica prop.

Also, I hate to burst your bubble, but the alien on that ride isn’t actually a real alien either.

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9. The back half of that same plane can be seen on the Jungle Cruise attraction.

Flickr: lorenjavier

TRUE!

Even though it’s not the plane from Casablanca, the back half of the plane from the Great Movie Ride is the downed aircraft alongside the river on the Jungle Cruise ride.

10. The ghost of a welder who died during the construction of “Pirates of the Caribbean” still haunts the ride.

Flickr: brettkiger

FALSE!

This is apparently a favorite tale of seasoned park employees, who insist to new cast and crew working in the parks that a welder named George died while building the “Pirates of the Caribbean” attraction, and that his restless spirit still haunts the ride. But, as far as anyone can tell, there’s no real evidence that George ever existed.

11. There’s a real human skull hanging above the bed in the captain’s quarters on “Pirates of the Caribbean."

Flickr: ksher55

ACTUALLY MAY BE TRUE!

This rumor has been confirmed by a cast member at one of the Disney parks. (Though who can say if she was telling the truth or not.)

12. There’s a private club in Disneyland called Club 33, and it’s the only place in the park where alcohol is served.

Flickr: insidethemagic

TRUE!

Yep, it’s there. In fact, you don’t even need to be a member to confirm its existence. It’s marked with a sign, which is publicly visible right on street level in New Orleans Square.

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13. There is ANOTHER even more secret lounge called Club 21 near the “Pirates of the Caribbean” ride.

Flickr: normlanier

FALSE!

Nah, sorry. Club 21 isn’t real. In fact, the legend of Club 21 has likely been conflated with Club 33, which is near the “Pirates of the Caribbean” attraction.

14. Nobody has ever died in a Disney park, because injured and expired guests are removed from park property before officially being declared dead.

Flickr: 64604717@N03

FALSE!

This is a persistent rumor, and a difficult one to claim as false outright, due to the nature of emergency medical services and when they do and do not declare death. That said, people have been declared dead on the grounds of Disney parks before, like when a plane crashed into the parking lot at Epcot in 1984. Open and Shut.

(The three guests pictured above survived the incident unharmed.)

15. The Skyway attraction in Tomorrowland was closed after a man fell from one of the cabins.

Flickr: randar

FALSE!

Sure, the Skyway closed after a man fell (well, probably jumped, to be honest) from the ride, but not because a man fell from the ride. In 1994, a 30-year-old man did plummet 20 feet into a tree from the ride (he only received minor injuries), but it was the first recorded incident in the 38 years the ride had been in operation, so the decision later that year to shut the ride down was likely due to financial reasons.

16. If you shout “Andy’s coming!” around any characters from the Toy Story films, they’ll drop to the ground as though they’re lifeless.

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POSSIBLY ONCE TRUE! BUT NOW FALSE!

This may have worked at one time, but apparently Disney parks have discontinued the practice for safety reasons.

17. The mural at the Grand Floridian resort in Disney World depicts a Nazi solider watching over the scene.

snopes.com

TRUE!

The artist responsible for the painting has apparently claimed to have included a Nazi officer in the background of the Great Gatsby-era party scene depicted in the mural at the Grand Floridian resort.

18. The Disney parks have been sued due to the trauma caused to guests who witnessed characters backstage without their costume heads on.

Flickr: marc-flores

MOSTLY FALSE!

Two separate lawsuits against Disneyland have included some mention of a guest seeing a costumed cast member without their head on, but both times the accusation was part of a larger of complaint. One claim was made by a family who had been detained backstage for shoplifting, and another by a woman whose family was held in a security office after being robbed at gunpoint.

19. The recent outbreak of measles at Disneyland was caused either by an illegal immigrant or a child who had already been vaccinated against the disease.

okay, Disney throwing shade. #measles

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FALSE!

There was an outbreak of measles at Disneyland in December of 2015, but the source of the outbreak has not officially been identified, and there is no evidence that supports claims that it was either an illegal immigrant or a vaccinated child. In fact, the director of the CDC stated that a lack of vaccination was likely responsible for the recent spread of the disease. The rumors were likely started on social media to whip up anti-vaccination and anti-immigration sentiments among the public

20. Disney parks removed the character Piglet from all their retail shops at the request of the Muslim community.

Flickr: samlavi

FALSE!

This story was invented by a website called Elect Leaders, and like the fact above, was probably meant to stir up anti-Muslim sentiment on social media. Elect Leaders seemingly lifted the idea from an actual Guardian story from 2000 about a shop in the town of West Yorkshire, England, that had received several polite requests to not sell products featuring the Piglet character.

21. Tattoos are completely banned from all Disney parks.

Flickr: kevlar

FALSE!

If an article from Inked magazine that ran on APRIL 1 is to be believed, Disney parks have put a hard ban on anyone displaying visible tattoos (including a number of the animatronics on the “Pirates of the Caribbean” ride). According to a quote from a Disney spokesperson named April Engañar (whose name curiously translates to “April Fool”), "We don’t think that tattoos fit into the image of a wholesome Disney family.” The magazine never said outright that it was a prank, but all the signs are there.

22. And until pretty recently, Disneyland’s dress code prohibited men with long hair.

Flickr: markcollettephotos

TRUE!

When Disneyland first opened, the official employee appearance code had loads of prohibitions, including mustaches, beards, and long hair on men. Unofficially, that dress code extended beyond employees, and until the late 1960s, men with long hair would actually be turned away at the entrance to the park.

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23. An enormous baobab tree growing in India naturally forms the shapes of animals in its trunk.

Flickr: jaysmark

FALSE!

Maybe you got an email from your grandfather or saw a Facebook post on your aunt’s wall about this beautiful natural phenomenon in the heart of India, where a mystical baobab tree has grown and naturally taken the shape of an entire kingdom of animals. Well, it’s no surprise to anyone that’s been to Disney’s Animal Kingdom park that this awe-inspiring miracle tree is actually just the very man-made “Tree of Life” attraction.

24. Walt Disney was cryogenically frozen and will be reanimated when medical technology is capable of keeping him alive.

Flickr: caseorganic

FALSE!

While alive, Disney insisted on keeping his personal life private, so the details surrounding his death and burial arrangements were never made public, which is how the rumor that he was cryogenically frozen probably got started. Disney’s grave can be found at the Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California.

25. Walt Disney’s will stipulates that the first male to become pregnant and give birth will be granted a substantial piece of the Disney empire and the wealth that goes along with it.

Universal Pictures

FALSE!

Walt Disney’s will left 45% of his estate to his immediate family, 45% to the Disney Foundation, and 10% to his extended family. At the time of his death, the Disney companies (including the parks) were publicly held, so they weren’t even his to give away. Also, of course he didn’t. That’s bananas.

26. Walt Disney created a film for his executives with explicit instructions for maintaining the company after his death.

Walt Disney Pictures / Via tallahassee.com

FALSE!

The scope of Walt Disney’s work and ambition was more than could be accomplished by one man in one lifetime, so the idea that he had committed his instructions for future generations to film isn’t so far-fetched. That said, no such film exists. Disney was working on many different projects toward the end of his life, but much of the larger company strategy had already been passed off to other leaders and teams.

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27. Walt Disney’s films never had mother characters because Disney felt responsible for his own mother’s death.

Disney

PROBABLY FALSE!

Following the success of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, Walt Disney bought a house for his parents near Disney Studios in North Hollywood. Shortly after they moved in, a leaking gas furnace led to Flora Call Disney’s death at the age of 70. While it’s true that Walt Disney felt tremendous grief, he never claimed that his mother’s death was an influence on his work, and three of his early movies that are often cited in support of this myth — Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Dumbo, and Bambi — were already in production before his mother died.

28. It’s A Small World was evacuated after someone hanged themselves and one guest happened to catch a photo.

PROBABLY FALSE!

Let's think this through...

In order to hang themselves from what appears to be an empty section of ceiling on one of the busiest attractions in the world a lot of different things would need to happen: You would need to get past some of the toughest security imaginable, then scale the walls or set pieces of the ride (without being noticed), then somehow get yourself out into the center of the room, then somehow rig up a rope, then get it around your neck, then finally kill yourself.

Seems pretty implausible when it's all laid out like that. Not to mention that the hanging person is dressed an awful lot like a character on the It's A Small World attraction…an attraction that features many different animatronic characters hanging from balloons and other props hanging from the ceiling.

29. The character Snow White represents cocaine, and the seven dwarves represent the stages of cocaine addiction.

Disney

FALSE!

What does that even mean? A cursory search for “stages of cocaine addiction/withdrawl” brings up a lot of different results, but none of them seem to list “Sneezy” or “Bashful” or “Doc” as significant stages in either the addiction or withdrawal process. Also, while cocaine use in some form was popular in the early 20th century (see Coca-Cola), the narcotic had been outlawed by 1914, and didn’t really become popular again until the 1960s/70s.

30. Disney created an early cartoon that depicts Mickey Mouse using his erection to make Swiss cheese.

b3ta.com

FALSE!

Nope. Don’t believe the tweets. The image above was created by users on the site b3ta.com, and appears to be mostly cobbled together from early Disney shorts, including “Steamboat Willie.” Need more proof? The Health and Safety Executive Regulation (as seen on the “HSE Regs” poster in the background) didn’t exist until the 1970s.