We tackle the myths, legends, and tall tales that have sprung up about Disney parks.
UNCLE WALT’S H.Q., SVALBARD — Disney Parks and Resorts and Spas are, without question, the most popular parks, resorts and spas ever created by a rodent. With so many people attending every year, it’s only natural that some rumors and stories pop up from time to time about the Disney parks.
But are those stories true? Well, there is a relatively obscure fact-checking website out there that is fairly reliable on non-political matters (that is, approximately 5% of the time). But we at Uncle Walt’s Insider have so much more specific knowledge about Disney that there’s no need to go to that other site. You’re in the right place!
So let’s jump right in to some of the wackier stories out there:
MYTH: The Animal Kingdom’s Tree of Life was built on an oil derrick frame.
FALSE. The “oil derrick” frame story probably came from the fact that oil was discovered on the property during the construction of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park, and Disney moved the Tree of Life over the oil wells to disguise them from park guests. But the Tree of Life itself is absolutely real, and grew naturally with shapes of animals in its bark. You can even buy your own to plant at home!
MYTH: The movie Toy Story was inspired by the “it’s a small world” ride.FALSE. The story is told that Toy Story director John Lasseter had nightmares as a child after riding “it’s a small world,” and that later inspired him to create a movie about toys coming to life. In actuality, the story is exactly backwards! Walt Disney saw a preview screening of Toy Story very early in its development, and that inspired him to create the “it’s a small world” ride for the 1964 World’s Fair. Amazing how things can get so mixed up, huh?
MYTH: Walt Disney was cryogenically frozen after his death and stored in Sleeping Beauty Castle.
FALSE. This is so wrong, but it’s the story that just will not die, no matter what the evidence or how many times it’s denied. So for the last time, Sleeping Beauty Castle is not where Walt’s frozen body is stored.*
MYTH: Cast Members who “worked with” characters used to have to share underwear.FALSE. Well, it’s true to some extent. It just wasn’t job-related.
We’ll be back later with more Disney urban legends to debunk!
*There’s more than one reason our headquarters is in icy Svalbard.
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Cover photo Cinderella Castle (inflatable) at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom Park. Public domain, via Pixabay.