BY The Toy Story Fanatic Devo
Due to how big and popular the Walt Disney Corporation is, myths, rumors and all around weird stuff finds its way into Disney lore quite a bit and it makes us scratch our heads. Sometimes, it’s hard to know exactly what is true and what is fake and where the fake stuff comes from.
Today, we’re going to tackle some rumors and strange happenings from Disneyland, Walt’s first park and my personal favorite.
Skeletons of the Carribean
For years, a rumor has swept the internet about how when Pirates of the Caribbean first opened, Disney Imagineers didn’t think the fake skeletons looked good enough so they used real skeletons from Cadavers used at a UCLA. The rumors say that the original skeletons are now all gone but the Skull above the governor’s bed is still real.
The status of this is true. There were real skeletons for a time but these were phased out by later Imagineers and given proper burials once the sculpting for bones got better. Some employees insist there are still some there but with how through Disney is in cataloging everything, I think it’s safe to say they are all gone.
As for the Skull above the Governors bed. With how widespread this rumor is, there is no doubt in my mind that particular prop is just that. A prop.
Tomorrowland was built by Nazis!
Now that the clickbait is done, let’s get some background. Walt Disney was a very active man during World War 2, having created tons of propaganda cartoons (many of them now classics) and even getting his name in some classified blacked-out files in the government’s files.
Now what his name was doing in military files is not known, but I think its safe to say a lot of it had to do with “Operation Paperclip”. After the war was over, Russia and America fought to get German scientists to bring over their work from the war era in an effort to stay ahead of the other nation. Operation Paperclip granted amnesty, jobs, and many other benefits to these scientists should they choose to come over to the American side. While a good number of these jobs were with the government, Walt Disney was working on the Disneyland project at the time and was willing to hire some of these German engineers to work on certain rides and attractions, particularly in Tomorrowland.
One of the most important of these scientists was Wernher Von Braun. He worked in the German Aerospace programs and developed rockets meant to travel people into space. He also briefly worked at Disneyland and designed certain elements and landmarks after what he knew best- rockets to the moon!
So while the story is a bit weird, it’s cool to think that the rockets you are seeing in the park were as cutting edge as pre-moon-landing America was going to get! Also, for you history buffs, you may notice that some of the attractions, particularly the Rocket to the Moon look a bit like Nazi missles.
The original Haunted Mansion
Legend says that the Haunted Mansion we have now is not the same as the first. Apparently, the first incarnation of the ride was so scary that it gave a man a heart attack and he died on the ride.
This rumor is false.
First of all, Disney property is one of the safest places you could be during any disaster natural or personal. The parks are virtually earthquake, fire, tornado, and hurricane-proofed. Pixar’s studio was built to withstand nearly 6 feet of shaking in any direction. The first aid stations are close enough to you wherever you are and disability services are hard to rival.
Also, Records indicate few changes happened to the Haunted Mansion since it’s opening. The basis of this myth is that it took so long for construction to complete itself. While the exterior was completed in 1962, The worlds fair in 64 and Walt Disney’s death in 66 slowed the ride’s opening to 1969, leading many to speculate that huge changes were made to the ride during that time.
Again, we have Disney’s amazing record keeping to thank for dissolving this myth. Only minor changes have taken place since 1962 and while a few props were removed, they have been confirmed to be in a storage facility nearby and are mostly broken animatronics and props that make their way into things like Halloween decorations and switch-out props in Pirates of the Caribbean (again. No skeletons).
Hope you liked this edition of The D Files. What are some rumors and strange things you’ve heard of? what would you like us to cover next? Leave your thoughts in the comments below, be sure to like our Facebook page for great tips and content every day and remember to keep wishing on stars.