9 Weird Facts About Disney World Everyone Thinks Are True!

Sep 20, 2018

9 Weird Facts About Disney World Everyone Thinks Are True! | Things to Do at Disney World | Westgate Resorts
By Rich Weidman

9 Weird Facts About Disney World Everyone Thinks Are True!

“If you can dream it, you can do it.” – Quote falsely attributed to Walt Disney

Ready for some weird facts about Disney World everyone thinks are true (but not necessarilly)? Although the above motivational quote seems to be pure Walt Disney and it has been posted all over the Internet as being attributed to him, the reality is that the inspirational quote can be traced directly to Disney Imagineer Tom Fitzgerald, who wrote it specifically for the now-defunct Horizons attraction at Epcot! In fact, Disney World myths and rumors continue to spread like wildfire over social media these days. Whether you’re exploring Disney’s Magic Kingdom, taking a stroll around the world at Epcot, checking out the movie-themed attractions at Disney’s Hollywood Studios or trekking around outdoors at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, chances are you’ve heard someone mention one of these so-called “facts” about Disney World before. Join us as we demystify the Disney Do’s and Don’ts so you can distinguish the creepiest Disney urban legends and craziest Disney myths from what’s real!

Disney Myth #1: Walt Disney lies in a cryogenically frozen state somewhere at Disney World.

According to this longstanding Disney World urban legend, after Walt Disney died of lung cancer at the age of 65 on December 15, 1966, he was cryogenically preserved and stashed in a secret chamber somewhere at Walt Disney World Resort with hopes of revival in the future (another popular Disney myth places Disney’s frozen body in a storage area underneath the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland!). Reality: Walt Disney was cremated soon after his death and his ashes were interred at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California. By the way, other celebrities buried at Forest Lawn include Humphrey Bogart, W. C. Fields, Michael Jackson, Jimmy Stewart, Elizabeth Taylor, Dorothy Dandridge, Nat King Cole, Errol Flynn, Spencer Tracy, L. Frank Baum, Chico Marx, Sammy Davis Jr., Jean Harlow, Clark Gable and Larry Fine, among others.

Disney Myth #2: A Ghost named “George” haunts the Pirates of the Caribbean.

A welder named George was reportedly killed during the construction of Pirates of the Caribbean, which opened in Adventureland in 1973. Today, George’s ghost continues to haunt the immensely popular dark ride attraction at Disney’s Magic Kingdom. Not only does George roam aimlessly around the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction, but he will shut the entire ride down if he is not greeted properly by Disney cast members! Reality: There is no evidence that any workers died during the construction of Pirates of the Caribbean. The rumor appears to have been started and perpetuated by veteran Disney employees simply as a method of scaring new Disney cast members!

Disney Myth #3: Walt Disney appears as one of the singing busts in the Haunted Mansion.

One of the five “Grim Grinning Ghost” busts in the graveyard section of the Haunted Mansion in Liberty Square looks remarkably like Walt Disney (specifically the lead singing bust second from left known as “Uncle Theodore”). Reality: Uncle Theodore was in fact portrayed by legendary voice actor Thurl Ravenscroft (1914-2005), best known for serving as the voice for the animated “Tony the Tiger” mascot for Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes commercials (“They’re Grrrrreeaaat!”) and singing “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” in the classic 1966 cartoon How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Ravenscroft received a Disney Legends award in 1995. For the record, the other Haunted Mansion busts are named “Rollo Rumkin,” “Cousin Algernon,” “Ned Nub” and Phineas P. Pock.

Disney Myth #4: A secret apartment was built within Cinderella Castle for Walt Disney and his family.

Just as Walt Disney had a secret apartment over the fire station on Main Street at Disneyland (this is a fact, by the way!), he authorized the construction of a “dream suite” within Cinderella Castle at Disney’s Magic Kingdom. Reality: As mentioned above, Walt Disney died in 1966, several years before construction even began on Cinderella Castle. The so-called “Cinderella Castle Suite” was created specifically for Disney’s Year of a Million Dreams celebration in 2006 out of an unused storage space. In a similar vein, there is no secret nightclub known as “Club 21” near the Pirates of the Caribbean either.

Disney Myth #5: A Magic Kingdom guest “lost his head” at Space Mountain.

One of the most disturbing Disney urban legends involves a reckless Disney guest getting decapitated after standing up on the Space Mountain ride. Reality: There is absolutely no evidence that anything like this tragedy ever occurred at Space Mountain or on any other Disney World thrill ride. According to some takes on this Disney myth, it was allegedly a “test dummy” that was beheaded during an initial testing of the ride long before Space Mountain was first opened to the public! As a side note, astronauts Scott Carpenter, Gordon Cooper and Jim Irwin all took part in Space Mountain grand opening ceremonies at Disney’s Magic Kingdom in 1975.

Disney Myth #6: Toy Story characters react humorously whenever Disney World guests shout, “Andy’s Coming!”

According to this frequently cited Disney urban legend, Toy Story characters at any of the Disney World theme parks immediately drop lifelessly to the ground when a guest shouts out “Andy’s Coming!” in their direction just like in the Toy Story films. Reality: Although there are reports that this gag has happened in the past, Disney reportedly has banned the practice due to safety concerns (especially since the it went viral several years ago and guests were constantly badgering the Toy Story characters to replicate the action!).

Disney Myth #7: No one is every declared legally dead on Disney World property.

According to this long-held and widespread Disney myth, guests who die at Disney World will not be declared dead until they are removed from park property. Reality: There is no evidence to suggest that Disney engages in this practice and the source of this Disney rumor remains unknown.

Disney Myth #8: Someone hanged himself on the It’s a Small World ride.

Another of the more gruesome Disney World myths involves the vague story of someone (was it a Disney cast member or a Disney guest?) who hanged himself (or herself!) on the It’s a Small World ride in Fantasyland at Disney’s Magic Kingdom in the late 1990s. The horrible ordeal was caught on film by a Disney guest, according to most versions of this Disney urban legend. Reality: There is simply no record of a Disney cast member or Disney guest for that matter ever hanging themselves on the squeaky clean It’s a Small World ride! In fact, a photo widely circulated on the Internet as “evidence” of the hanging reportedly depicts one of the Disney animatronic characters simply moving along on an elevated zipline.

Disney Myth #9: Parts of Cinderella Castle can be easily dismantled during hurricanes.

According to this widely cited Disney myth, the 10 spires of the 189-foot-tall Cinderella Castle can be quickly removed to prevent them from getting damaged in the event of a hurricane. Reality: Although Cinderella Castle was built to withstand hurricane winds up to 90 miles per hour, no portion of it can be disassembled for any reason. The spires are, in fact, permanently attached to the castle.

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