For nearly a century, the Walt Disney Company has been a cultural mainstay. From films and television shows to theme parks and toys, the company has touched millions around the world in one way or another, inspiring childhood dreams and nostalgic memories alike.
However, as with any institution that large, Disney has inspired its fair share of myths. Thanks to the internet, many of these urban legends have taken hold as “fact” even though they’ve been disproven time and time again. We’ve accumulated some of the most prevalent of these myths to prove once and for all that they have no merit.
Myth: Cinderella Castle Can be Quickly Deconstructed Before a Hurricane
While Walt Disney World has closed down several times due to hurricanes, the Magic Kingdom’s iconic centerpiece can’t be taken apart to prevent it from being damaged. Despite the castle’s magical appearance, it’s a building like any other and is just as vulnerable to any potential natural disaster.
Myth: All of Walt Disney World is Built on Top of an Underground City
Admittedly, this myth has a kernel of truth at its core, since the Magic Kingdom is built on top of a series of underground tunnels known in Disney parlance as Utilidors. However, outside of the area underneath Spaceship Earth at Epcot, the system wasn’t replicated in any of WDW’s other parks.
Myth: Walt Disney is Frozen
This myth simply refuses to die, no pun intended. After Walt Disney succumbed to cancer in December 1966, rumors spread that he had been cryonically frozen, with the hope being that he could be “thawed” out when a cure was discovered for cancer. In later years, this myth evolved into the idea that Disney’s frozen body was kept in various places, including underneath Epcot. However, it’s flatly untrue. While Walt did apparently show some interest in cryonics, the first human being wasn’t cryopreserved until 1967, the year after Disney died. Walt’s remains were actually cremated and interred at Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, California.
Myth: Paramedics Will Only Declare Someone Dead Once They’re Off Disney Property
Once again, this urban legend — that medical teams won’t/aren’t allowed to declare someone dead until they’re off Disney property in order to uphold the company’s safety record — is categorically untrue. In fact, in the 60-plus years since Disneyland open, there have sadly been documented deaths on Disney property, including inside the theme parks.
Myth: Cast Members Portraying Toy Story Characters Will “Drop” to the Ground Any Time Someone Says “Andy’s Coming.”
Another myth that stems from a kernel of truth. In the past, cast members portraying Toy Story characters would drop to the ground and lay still like the film’s characters of a guest said “Andy’s coming.” However it was never an across-the-board policy that happened every time, and after an internet meme of a character laying on the ground went viral in 2013, Disney put a stop to the practice entirely for safety reasons.
Myth: There’s a Fully Constructed, Yet Unopened Boat Ride In Epcot’s Germany Pavilion
While there were originally plans for a Rhine River cruise attraction at the back of the pavilion, the construction never began as some believe. The only physical remnant of the original plan is a foyer and mural-covered wall at the location of the planned entrance gate and loading platform near the pavilion’s Biergarten restaurant.
Myth: Walt Disney is One of the Singing Busts in the Haunted Mansion Graveyard Scene
The busts are actually the Mellomen, a popular singing group who sang in several Disney films, as well as numerous Elvis Presley films. The specific members immortalized in the Haunted Mansion are Thurl Ravenscroft (often mistaken for Walt!), Jay Meyer, Verne Rowe, Bob Ebright, and Chuck Schroeder.
Myth: The Dream Suite in Cinderella Castle Was Initially Designed for the Disney Family
This myth is a classic example of truth being conflated with later fiction. Walt Disney did have an apartment above the fire station in Disneyland, and a suite was being constructed for Walt and his family in New Orleans Square prior to his death — said space went on to become the Disney Gallery and later the Disneyland Dream Suite. Walt died before proper plans of WDW had been made, however, and no lodging was ever planned for him in Orlando. The Cinderella Dream Suite was instead constructed in the mid-2000s as part of the Year of a Million Dreams promotion, carved out of a space previously used for storage and as the headquarters of the Walt Disney World phone system.
Myth: There is a “Club 21” at Walt Disney World
For years, it’s been rumored that WDW had a version of Disneyland’s famously exclusive – and expensive – Club 33 called “Club 21” which is completely untrue. However, Disney is currently constructing real Club 33 locations in all four Disney World parks, which should end the “Club 21” myth once and for all.
Myth: There’s Always a Vice President Animatronic on Standby at the Hall of Presidents in Case of Assassination
To be frank, there’s zero truth to this macabre myth. It’s unknown what, if anything, Disney would do in the case of a presidential assassination, as one has never occurred while the Hall has been open. Hopefully, it’s a question that will never need an answer.
We’re sure there are even more myths circulating about The Walt Disney Company and its theme parks than these 10. Let us know some of your favorites in the comments.
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