One of the things that I love and despise most in the world is the Disney Corporation. I understand that it’s evil, but there’s something about it that is so appealing, and has been since I was a kid. From that childhood love grew an adult fascination with everything Disney which has ultimately led me to a lot of facts, myths and mysteries about the corporation and the theme parks they run. Hopefully this article will pique your interest as well.
No One Has Ever Officially Died on Disney Property:
According to legend, whenever there is a death on a Disney park, the paramedics are not allowed to declare the person dead until they have left the Disney property.
Walt Originally Planned Epcot to be a Model Utopia
We all knew Walt Disney was brilliant, but a couple of his ideas were way off the charts, like super crazy stuff. One of the best documented examples of this was the original plan for Epcot Center. The full video can be found on a DVD series called Tomorrow Land in which Walt proceeds to explain that he hopes to construct a city, resort, and urban sprawl that will provide everything for the residents of his utopia. At the center of the city was a giant skyscraper which would serve as office buildings and a resort hotel for the guests. On the outskirts of this would be acres of parks for the residents, then outside of this would be a suburban sprawl of homes. There wasn’t a need for roads here, instead there were trails leading to the residents’ respective homes. The residents of this utopia don’t need to drive anywhere. They were expected to ride a series of Monorails and small 2 person cars on tracks called people movers that never stopped being in motion. Walt even planned a series of industrial parks for the more blue color workers that were accessible by monorail. This is not to say that you didn’t need a car, for residents of the utopia there was an immense parking garage for residents and guests beneath the central sky scraper. Of course Walt’s dream of this utopia was never realized and in its place we have a giant sphere.
There is a System of Tunnels Beneath Disney World
During the early days of Disneyland, Walt continuously had his dream of a seamless magical world destroyed by seeing misplaced cast members. He often would find cowboys in Tomorrow Land, Jungle Cruise drivers in Fantasy Land and princesses in Adventure Land. Walt’s solution to this was to build a series of tunnels with different levels beneath Disney World. Not only allowing the cast members to move around, eat, and take breaks, but also for merchandise and food to be moved around the park, as well as delivery trucks to be loaded and unloaded. The tunnels have different portals throughout the park where the cast members and deliveries can enter and exit the tunnels.
Mr. Lincoln Is Always Protected
This rumor is one of my favorite, solely because it’s so off the wall that it may be true. The rumor goes that if there is ever a fire in the Hall of Presidents then Mr. Lincoln falls through a trap door into a self contained sealed room that is fireproof. Now that’s dedication.
Monsanto’s “House of the Future” Was Nearly Indestructible
The original Monsanto’s “House of the Future” is something long lost to the past after Disney realized that homes wouldn’t be built with plastic, or with large rounded corners. So when the day finally came to demolish it Disney brought in a wrecking ball. When they took the first swing at the House the ball bounced right back at them, the house had a nearly unbreakable structure due to the plastic frame. The house then had to be manually taken apart because of this.
Disneyland has an Ultra Exclusive Club
This is one of the most widely known hidden facts about Disneyland. Somewhere in New Orleans square there is a high end restaurant that is attainable only by VIP guests with a special card called Club 33. The restaurant was originally used by Walt himself to hold parties at Disneyland, and many of the decorations there are originals with their little hidden secrets, most notable is a microphone hidden inside the deer antler chandelier and a small video camera inside the stuffed owl. Both of these were used by Walt to eavesdrop on his dinner guests when he stepped out of the room so he could see what they were saying about him. Disney assures their guests now that these have been turned off. In order to get a card to this VIP room you need to either know someone who works very high up at Disney or be a celebrity of some sorts. There is a waiting list somewhere, though it’s speculated the wait is about 80 years to obtain a card.
Cinderella’s Castle is Taller than it Seems
Cinderella’s Castle in Disney World is 189 feet. Despite the 189 foot height, the castle still applies an optical trick call forced perspective, making it seem taller than it really is. Walt originally planned for the Castle to be much larger, but according to Florida law, the castle could only be 189 feet tall without adding a 10 foot pole with a red blinking light on it for airplanes flying over head. As with all the park’s Walt despised anything that would break the illusion and so there is no pole attached.
Walt’s Private Suite In Cinderella’s Castle
While Walt was planning out Disney World, he wanted to have a private place for himself and his family to stay while in Florida. So he had a special suite constructed inside Cinderella’s castle so that he and his family could stay there. Of course since Walt Passed away before Disney World was completed the suite was turned into an office, until recently when Disney chose to refurbish it into the suite it was planned to be.
There is a Vice President on Hand at All Times
Continuing with our Hall of President myths, it is said that at all times there is an animitronic of the current Vice President on hand, in case something were to happen to the real President of the United States and the Real VP would need to take over. Not allowing any continuity errors Disney would simply swap out the old President animitronic and put in the new Vice President animitronic.
Walt Disney’s Ghost Still Haunts his Fire Station Apartment
This story was originally told to me by one of my friends who used to work at Disneyland. The primer is that above the fire station in Disneyland Walt had a small apartment constructed for himself and his family. One of the things he would do was turn on a small lamp by the window to let the guests know that he was there. Well after his death, or as the story goes, a cleaning women was surprised to find the lamp still on in the Firehouse. So she chose to turn it off when she was finished cleaning. Once she was outside she looked back at the firehouse and saw that the lamp was on again. Assuming it was just a prank by one of the other employees she went back upstairs and turned the lamp off. When she was outside the firehouse once again she noticed the lamp was on. So for a third time she went back to the apartment, turned the lamp off and waited. As the story goes while the woman was sitting there the lamp turned itself back on. From that point forward no one has ever tried to turn the lamp off, believing it was Walt’s wish that the light remain lit, letting the guests of Disneyland forever know that he is present.
Mark Condon is an avid Disney aficionado and accepts that all of these cases may not be true, but that’s why it’s called facts, myths, and mysteries about the Disney Theme Parks. If you happen to know of a myth, mystery or fact feel free to leave it in the comments below.