8 WEIRD Disney Controversies and Moments That Deserve More Attention

Let’s face it, Disney can get a little weird sometimes, right?

Some WEIRD stuff happens here

You know about the Splash Mountain controversy, the problem with people spreading ashes, and maybe even the tragedies at the Disney Parks. However, the rabbit hole goes even deeper and there are more weird moments and controversies that we sometimes forget about!

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We recalled a few weird Disney controversies and moments throughout history that still have us laughing nervously. Here are eight that stood out!

Real Bones on Pirates of the Caribbean

We get that the ’60s were a different time, but in retrospect, Disneyland’s Pirates of the Caribbean using real skeletons and skulls in its set pieces when it opened in 1967 is still pretty weird!

It smells like pirates up in here.

Disneyland wanted to make sure the bones looked real so they used real human remains from UCLA Medical Center. Mission accomplished, we guess… Fortunately all the bones on the ride today are fake.

Under New Management Catastrophe

Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room is a beloved Magic Kingdom attraction, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t go through a rough phase. From April 1998 to January 2011, the attraction was known as The Enchanted Tiki Room (Under New Management), featuring Iago from Aladdin and Zazu from The Lion King.

Enchanted Tiki Room

The show had a pretty lackluster reception from guests, who found it disrespectful to the classic attraction, annoying, and abrasive. The attraction caught fire on January 12th, 2011, and was eventually changed that same year into what we know and love today. Jokes are still made that it was fate that caused the fire, causing a wrong to be righted.

Mission: SPACE Is Allowed to Exist

EPCOT’s Mission: SPACE has a ton of warning signs essentially telling you not to ride this ride. The Orange side (the more intense side) advises against riding the attraction on more than one occasion.

Mission: SPACE

One of the warning signs reads: “For safety, you should be in good health and free from high blood pressure, heart, back, or neck problems, motion sickness, or other conditions that can be aggravated by this adventure.”

Another sign says, “CAUTION! You may experience motion sickness on this adventure! Mission: SPACE is a realistic and intense simulation of space flight. It is unlike anything that you have ever experienced.”

There are sick bags on both the Orange and Green sides and you’re given multiple chances to quit. You even have to give one final “thumbs up” sign to a cast member in the seating area. What even is this ride?!

We Wants the Redhead!

The transformation of the redhead in the auction scene of Pirates of the Caribbean into Redd the pirate in 2017 is well-documented. The change was controversial at the time, even so much so that there was a rare incident at Disney’s D23 Expo in Anaheim.

Pirates of the Caribbean’s Redd!

“We wants the redhead,” became a real-life cry when fans booed and jeered during Disney’s announcement of the ride change. The removal of the bridal auction scene remains somewhat controversial, but it’s hard to deny how cool Redd is in this iteration of the classic ride.

Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride Ends WHERE?

While Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride was removed from Magic Kingdom in 1998 to make way for The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (a controversy in itself), the ride still exists over at Disneyland.

The entrance to Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride in Disneyland. [Chuck Schmidt]
Most of the ride is your standard dark ride with a few neat practical effects and that classic Disney charm, but the ending is wild for a children’s ride. Passengers end up getting “run over” by an oncoming train, pass away, and wind up in…umm…the Bad Place — fire-breathing demons and all.

To be fair, the scene is done hilariously well and the room being heated is a nice touch (especially during a cold evening), but it’s kind of crazy to think this ride has escaped major controversy for all these years!

You Sunk My Jungle Cruise

This moment is more recent, but it doesn’t make it any less weird. Back in 2020, Magic Kingdom’s Jungle Cruise accidentally let passengers go for a swim!

Jungle Cruise

On one ship, water filled the main seating area, forcing guests to climb onto the benches and the outside edges of the boat. The sinking boat was removed from circulation, and the ride reopened the same day. Talk about testing your luck! We know the boat skipper makes a lot of jokes about sinking, but they’re supposed to stay jokes! 

Animal Kingdom Protest

When Disney’s Animal Kingdom opened in 1998, it was met with some backlash from animal rights activist group PETA and other Florida-based animal rights groups. They protested Disney keeping animals in captivity and even attempted to dissuade travel agents from booking Animal Kingdom vacations.

Animal Kingdom

Not only that, 150 deputies were sent to Animal Kingdom on opening day to manage a large gathering that was expected. As it turned out, only 24 protestors showed up for a quick and peaceful protest. The rest is history.

Abandoned Water Park

Disney’s first water park, River Country, is a long-forgotten relic. It was operational from 1976 until 2001 along the shores of Bay Lake and was themed as Tom Sawyer’s swimming hole. Now, it’s themed as an old-fashioned ghost town.

River Country

That’s right, River Country is still sitting there, lifeless and falling apart. While there has been work to take it apart, River Country still remains a ghost of old Disney World. Spooky.

The Disney Parks are packed with a rich history and we love talking about it! To learn more about the Disney Parks’ past, present, and future, be sure to stay tuned right here at AllEars!

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What are some weird Disney Parks moments and controversies we missed? Let us know in the comments!

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One Reply to “8 WEIRD Disney Controversies and Moments That Deserve More Attention”


    On our first visit to WDW we stayed in the Contemporary Hotel and spent lots of time at River Country. I had kids 7 and 8 and it was 1979. I was sitting in the pool watching my kids on the rock slide and got my first ever sun burn. Thank heaven there was a Clothing shop in the hotel because I couldn’t stand a nothing on my shoulders. Husband found a Terry cloth dress in the shop for me that tied around my neck. I wore it for 3 days straight. Great memories.