Rumors. They’re everywhere.
Even at the magical kingdom of Disney World. The happiest place on earth.
And some of them are as fright-inducing as the Haunted Mansion. But are some of them too bizarre to be believed?
Or are any of them factual?
Right from the start: most are false. But a few are not.
A hint: here are a half dozen often long-lasting and popular ones that are false. And a couple that are real.
Rumor: Park-goers have placed human remains in the “Haunted Mansion.”
Fact: Perhaps not a bad idea, considering the setting. But evidence of this really happening? None…unless someone out there wants to admit doing it.
Rumor: But Walt himself is buried out there…was it under “Pirates of the Caribbean”…or was it “Cinderella’s Castle”?
Fact: Walt died Dec. 15, 1966. Rumors have circulated for years that his body was frozen, part of the cryogenic movement. He will be revived in the future when science has that ability.There have been (mostly discredited) biographies about Disney’s interest in cryogenics. The frozen story came up because of that interest. Sometimes, it is his entire body that sticks around. And sometimes just the head. But his remains are located at the Forest Lawn Cemetery in Glendale, Calif.
Rumor: But one of those singing busts in the graveyard in the “Haunted Mansion” is really Walt Disney. Looks just like him.
Fact: The image projected onto that particular bust is someone with the unlikely name of Thurl Ravenscroft, who is actually best known as the voice of “Tony the Tiger.” But yes, he does look like Walt.
Rumor: Marilyn Monroe was the model for Tinker Bell.
Fact: This has been around a long time. The film rights to St. James Barrie’s hugely popular book and stage play of 1911 only became a Disney film that was released in 1953. Around that time, Marilyn Monroe was just beginning to be discovered. That accounts for the rumor. But several reputable accounts tell us that that Margaret Kerry (who also voiced a mermaid in the film) provided the model for Tinker Bell.
Rumor: Donald Duck was banned in some places. The reason: he did not wear pants.
Fact: Perhaps the most common story goes that in 1977 Finland banned Donald Duck because he doesn't wear any pants. Various accounts tell us that the real story behind the myth was political. A city of Helsinki official suggested during a meeting that a great economy move would be to save money by not buying pants for young people, ala Donald Duck. This was meant as a joke. But the rumor turned into a twisted fact that Finland (or another country) banned the duck not only because he lacked pants but also because he was not married.
Rumor: The “Haunted Mansion” is so scary that it was killed people. Heart attacks.
Fact: No one has died at the “Haunted Mansion.” Records tell us that is the case. But that brings us to another rumor:
Rumor: No one officially dies on Disney property. They would not let it happen.
Fact: Ridiculous, of course. People do die here. The rumor is that Disney denies it happens because this is utopia and no one could ever expire here. But guests have died on attractions that include “Big Thunder Mountain” and “Mission: Space.” Some fatalities were caused by pre-existing medical conditions. But some fatal accidents were also caused by ride defects. And some guests ignored safety advice and warnings. Public records provide those facts. As for Disney’s alleged death denials, no proof has ever come out that the pr folks attempted to hide or deny it happened.
Rumor: Finally, on a less serious note: Disney theme park employees used to be banned from having mustaches, beards and long hair.
Fact: Hard to imagine today, but it used to be true. The policy was relaxed in 2000. Since then, they can have neatly trimmed mustaches (which were generally grown during vacation time). Since July 2003 onwards Cast Members have also been allowed to sport corn row hairstyles, providing they meet park specifications. As for female cast members, they can now wear eye make-up. Or they have had that option since 1994.
Unrelated but fun, give this fun little brain trick try...