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Did You Know? Disney Parks Fact vs Fiction!


Fact vs Fiction

Disney Parks are rife with history and legends. Some true, others….ehh not so much! We decided to round up some of our favorite facts, myths, legends, and historical tidbits to help you separate fact from fiction. Some of the facts on the list are truly amazing, others are so outlandish that we wonder who could’ve possibly come up with them.  The next time someone tries to pass off a Disney urban legend to you as fact, true Disney Addict that you are, you’ll know better.

 

Haunted mansion
People Spread Ashes of Their Loved Ones in the Haunted Mansion
Fact or Fiction: FACT
Many people have taken the invitation to become the 1000th resident of the Haunted Mansion a little too seriously and have tried to scatter the ashes of their loved ones inside the Haunted Mansion. However, this practice is strictly forbidden, not only in the ride but everywhere on Disney property. You don’t want to do this. It happens so often that Cast Members are actively on the lookout for it. When it happens, the ride is shut down and a special vacuum is deployed to remove the ashes. While the idea of spending eternity at Disney is pretty great, spending it in a vacuum or worse, a landfill is not. Do keep in mind, this is also a crime and if caught you will be escorted out of the Park by security. So while this does happen, we strongly discourage it.

 

Jungle cruise
The plane in the Jungle Cruise is Actually the Back Half of the Plane That was Formerly in The Casablanca Scene at The Great Movie Ride
Fact or Fiction? FACT!
The plane crash that you see just past Schweitzer Falls is in fact only the back end of the small prop plane. The front half of the plane was used in the Great Movie Ride (may it rest in peace). However, another enduring legend about this particular plane is that it is the original movie prop used in Casablanca. This, we are sad to report, is not true.

 

Coco
The Haunted Mansion is Being Re-Themed and becoming a Coco Based Ride
Fact or Fiction: FICTION!
No. Just no. Coco may very well make an appearance in a Disney attraction one day but as of now, there are no official plans to do so. Also, we can with relative certainty guarantee that if Coco does get his own ride it will not be The Haunted Mansion. While we have learned to never say never, The Haunted Mansion is a beloved Disney classic. It has become something of a Disney institution and we don’t see it ever going away.

 

Main street
There is No Gum Sold on Disney Property
Fact or Fiction: FACT!
This is completely true, though the reasons why are hard to verify. When this fact is reported it is often followed by the statement that gum isn’t allowed in Disney Parks at all. This is simply not true. You are allowed to chew gum inside of Disney Parks, but you’ll have to bring it with you (And please dispose of it properly- don’t be “that guy”).

 

Horizons
Walt Disney Famously Said “If You Can Dream It, You Can Do It”
Fact or Fiction: FICTION!
Surprised? If you’ve ever had the theme song for “Horizons” stuck in your head you shouldn’t be. Walt is credited with many inspirational sayings but this one is commonly misattributed to him. This famous saying was actually coined in the 1980’s around 20 years after Walt Disney’s death by Imagineer Tom Fitzgerald specifically for the Epcot attraction “Horizons”. If you’re bummed out that your favorite Walt Disney quote isn’t actually a Walt Disney quote may we suggest our favorite? “Around here, however, we don’t look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things, because we’re curious… and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”- Walt Disney

Trash can

The Trash At Disney Parks Are Sucked Down Tubes to Underground Tunnels
Fact or Fiction: BOTH!
At the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World, there is an underground tunnel system called the Utilidors and they do have trash chutes. However, that is where the facts of this urban legend ends. The trash cans are not hooked up to these chutes  (that would be a logistical nightmare when you stop to think about it). The trash is collected manually from the trash cans and then taken backstage to chutes.

Thurl

One of the Singing Busts in the Haunted Mansion is Modeled After Walt Disney
Fact or Fiction: FICTION!
We can see how this one got started. The headless bust does bear a resemblance to Walt Disney. The bust is actually modeled after Thurl Ravenscroft. Even if you’ve never heard his name, you’ve heard his voice. Ravenscroft sings the lead vocals in “Grim Grinning Ghosts”, plays the voice of Fritz from The Enchanted Tiki Room and can be heard on both The Pirates of the Carribean and it’s a small world soundtracks.

Opera house

The Bench Walt Disney Was Sitting in When He Had the Idea for Disneyland Can Be Found AT Disneyland
Fact or Fiction: FACT!
One day when his daughters were very young, Walt sat on a bench at Griffith Park in Los Angelas while they rode the carousel. There it occurred to him to build Disneyland because he wanted a place for children and their parents to have fun together. That bench now sits at the Opera House on Main Street U.S.A at Disneyland.

 

Spike
Photo Courtesy of D23

The Gold Spike in Sleeping Beauty’s Castle Is the Geographic Center of Disneyland
Fact or Fiction: FICTION!
These markers were nothing more than surveying tools so that the center of the castle would line up with the center of Main Street. That’s it. If you look at maps of Disneyland, even on opening day, the castle has never been in the center of the park. It is a fun story though.

 

Ak logo
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Was Originally Intended to Have a Land Devoted to Mythical Creatures
Fact or Fiction: FACT!
Have you ever stopped to wonder why there are dragons on the Animal Kingdom sign? It’s because originally they were supposed to be a part of the Park! Beastly Kingdom was intended to be a land unto itself in the parks. Construction delays and budget overages, however, caused the project to be put on hold. The hastily put together Camp Minnie Mickey was added as a stopgap until the land could eventually be created. It never would be. The project was scalped in favor of Pandora: The World of Avatar.

 

50th Aniversary
Cinderella’s Castle is Built to be Easily Taken Apart in Case of a Hurricane
Fact or Fiction: FICTION!
While this one seems outlandish in and of itself, it gets even more so when you delve into some specifics. Florida building code has some pretty tough requirements that all structures must adhere to. The reason behind this is so that the buildings can withstand the harsh winds that come with hurricane season. It wouldn’t make sense to have a castle that can withstand hurricane force winds but still take it apart. This one is just false from start to finish.

 

Mosaics
The Prince of Morroco Sent His Personal Architect to Assist With Building the Epcot Pavillion
Fact or Fiction: FACT!
This one sounds like the stuff urban legends are made if doesn’t it? But it is completely true! The Prince was thrilled at being included in the World Showcase and wanted to make sure that everything was as authentic as possible so he sent his personal architects to create the beautiful traditional mosaics you see around the pavilion.

 

Cinderella statue
Disney World Has a Statue That Looks Different to Children and Adults
Fact or Fiction: FACT!
We had to double check this one ourselves but it is in fact true! Behind Cinderellas Castle in the Magic Kingdom, you’ll find one of my favorite places in the park. There is a statue of Cinderella with her woodland friends (including Jaques and Gus Gus). Behind her is a mural and on that mural is a crown floating above her head. Or at least that’s what you see if you are an adult. From a child’s perspective (or if you kneel before the princess) the crown appears to rest right atop her head. How cool is that? Also, from an adult perspective Cinderellas downward gaze looks forlorn but from a child’s perspective, you can see her smiling expression. always thought this status was beautiful but I love it even more now.

Cat disneyland

Disneyland is Infested with Feral Cats
Fact or Fiction: FACT!
In fact, they even have an Instagram account! They help control the pest population in the park! The cats aren’t exactly feral though. They are cared for by Disney veterinarian staff. We wonder if any of them made friends with Grump Cat when she visited the park?  As for a Disney World version? We’ve heard rumors, but couldn’t verify it.

 


The is a Basketball Court on top of the Matterhorn
Fact or Fiction: FACT (KIND OF)!
The legend says the climbers of the Matterhorn have a full basketball court up top to keep them occupied on their breaks. We looked into it and found that not exactly true. They DO have a basketball hoop and that’s close enough for us to call this one true!

 

Epcot 35
EPCOT was Originally Intended to Be a Utopian Futuristic Society Where People Actually Worked
Fact or Fiction: FACT!
Walt envisioned a place where people would live, work and play and that was what he intended Epcot to be originally – hence the name Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorow. He died before these plans could be realized however and Imagineers discovered that the logistics of such a place were too costly to implement. Instead, the Epcot that we know and love today was born. It is based on a Worlds Fair, with different corporate sponsors and pavillions exploring different topics. Disney eventually DID create their experimental community- though vastly different than the community Walt imagined. Celebration orida is a master planned community by the Walt Disney Company.

 

Haunted mansion entrance
There is a Ring in the Pavement Outside of the Haunted Mansion at Walt Disney World
Fact or Fiction: FICTION…..or is it? Guests used to exit The Haunted Mansion through a turnstile in Liberty Square. Year’s ago the turnstile was removed but a piece was left behind in the pavement. That piece just happened to bear a striking resemblance to an engagement ring and this an urban legend was born! Disney has since paved over this spot and in true Disney fashion, listened to the cries of their fans who missed “the ring”. There is now an actual engagement ring hidden in the pavement outside of the attraction. Happy haunting…oops, we mean hunting!

 

As for the ghost haunting the Pirates of the Caribbean? Well…we will neither confirm nor deny that one, you can decide that one all on your own. Did we miss your favorite fun fact or urban legend? Be sure to let us know what it is in the comments!

 

Jill Bivins

Jill Bivins is a lifelong Disney fan and mom to a precocious three year old son. Her first visit to Walt Disney World was in 1987 (when she was two) and she has made well over a dozen trips since. When Jill isn't at Disney, she's eitherplanning her next trip or scheming up ways to convince her husband to agree to go to Disney.

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