TPT logo

Your guide to theme parks in Orlando and beyond

 

Main menu

8 Completely Untrue "Facts" Many People Believe About Walt Disney World

4. The first three theme parks opened on the date that Walt Disney was kicked out of the army

Walt DisneyThe legend: It is said that the first three theme parks at Walt Disney World all opened on October 1, because that was the date that Walt Disney was dishonorably discharged from the U.S. Army for drawing cartoons on Army trucks. Walt is said to have been so proud of this event that his successors felt the date should be used for future park debuts. The truth: This one is total garbage. For starters, Walt Disney was never actually inthe U.S. Army. When the US joined the fighting in the First World War, he was too young to enlist. Instead, he joined the American Ambulance Corps of the Red Cross, lying about his age in the process. He left the service in October 1919, but not on the first of the month. On top of this, while the Magic Kingdom and Epcot officially opened on October 1 in 1971 and 1982 respectively, Disney-MGM Studios actually opened on May 1, 1989.

3. Toy Story characters react to "Andy's Coming!"

Toy Story characters

Image © Disney

The legend: If you yell "Andy's coming!" at Toy Story characters at Walt Disney World, they will stop what they are doing and lie flat on the ground. The truth: The Orlando Sentinel tested this one out, and was informed by a Walt Disney World spokeswoman that yelling the phrase won't lead to the comedic sight of the characters flopping to the floor. However, that doesn't mean that it has neverhappened. Videos posted online suggest that it has, but that Disney has stamped out the practice for safety reasons.

2. The Contemporary Resort rooms are designed to be replaceable

 

The legend: The rooms at Walt Disney World's Contemporary Resort were designed so that they could be removed at any time, allowing a new one to be slotted into place. However, the steel frame settled, trapping the original rooms in the structure. The truth: Yesterland has helpfully debunked this one. The United States Steel Corporation, which built the Contemporary, diduse it as a proving ground for modular construction techniques. Finished rooms (with utilities such as plumbing already installed) were slotted into the steel frame, having been manufactured on an assembly line. However, there was never any mention of the rooms being replacable.

1. EPCOT was to be enclosed under a vast, weather-controlled dome

Weather domeThe legend:Walt Disney planned to build a futuristic city dubbed the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow (EPCOT) at his Florida resort. The 50 acre city center was to be fully-enclosed inside a giant dome, enabling Disney to control the weather.

The truth: Like most myths, there is of course a hint of truth to this one. The original version of Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress debuted at the New York World's Fair in 1964. One of the many predictions that the show made for the future was that cities would be enclosed in climate-controlled domes, ensuring that the weather outside was always comfortably warm and dry. Disney looked at the feasibility and cost of just such a dome when considering plans to open a theme park in New York. It was deemed far too expensive. But Walt still hoped to ensure that residents and visitors wandering around the center of EPCOT would be not be exposed to rain or excessive heat. Since Walt Disney first announced plans for EPCOT, many people have assumed that the entire city would be enclosed by a giant dome. However, that seems unlikely. Instead, the famous video in which Walt outlines his plans suggests that the entire 50 acre city center will be enclosed, but not necessarily by a dome. It was more likely to be tucked away under a conventional roof, with enormous skylights to allow natural light in.
Go to page:

Pages


There are 12 comments.

In regards to the plane used in the Casablanca section of The Great Movie ride, there is a small possibility that the plane was actually used in the film. While I haven't seen the movie in over 10 years, I've been told that there is a shot of the propellers starting up. A shot that's far too complex and detailed for the paper models they used in the movie. So it's possible that the plane used in the propeller shot is the plane on The Great Movie Ride. At least that's how I currently understand it, but I need to re-watch the movie to test the theory. Supposedly they filmed that whole scene on an indoor soundstage and not outside on an airfield with an actual plane flying because there were restrictions on flights during the war, but that could be false also.

Apparently the plane in the background of the movie was a scaled-down mock-up made out of plywood to fit in the soundstage and the ground crew were all little people to not skew the scale.

The authr needs to check his facts a little better. I guess you never bothered to watch Walt's original video on his plans for EPCOT, or as he deemed it, the Experimental City Of Tomorrow. The video is extremely detailed in the plans for his version of EPCOT. This included a ground level shopping district with people movers and monorails going overhead. No cars would be allowed on the streets allowing people to roam freely without worry. The shopping district would go around the entire central luxury hotel. It would also be fully enclosed with a roof like you see in malls being solid with clear roof type panels spread throughout.

There is agood bit more to this version of EPCOT that never got built. After Walt died the rest of the team felt that his original plans for The Orlando Project with the city, the manufacturing center, and the airport wasn't going to work and decided to build the theme parks as we know today.

Originally the rooms on the second to last fact were suppose to be inter changeable but over time the metal around each pod would not allow this happen today. It was suppose to work like that so the room could easily be redesigned. I believe I heard this fact while watching a show about Disney on the travel channel

I agree with your assessment. I was told on a Keys to the Kingdom tour that they were designed to be replaced. There was settling of the Contempory that locked the rooms in place.

The plane in the Casablanca scene has been described as being an original film prop by the tour guides in The Great Movie Ride, so I wouldn't term that a legend so much as a blatant lie, if, in fact it is untrue. I have read in several places that the ending of Casablanca was re-shot, weeks after the film wrapped. It was a challenge, because Ingrid Bergman had already cut her hair short. The hair we see in the final scene was a wig. Perhaps the plane was used in the alternate ending? Also, the film starts with a plane coming in for landing in the sunlit city's airstrip. Perhaps it was used there...?

You might want to double-check your "facts" before posting these sorts of things because #2 actually IS true.

In the old Backlot tour they said that the plane in Great Movie Ride was Walt's old plane that he flew to Florida in. The other half is supposedly in the Jungle Cruise. Honestly I think Disney Cast Members enjoy playing with us, keeping us guessing *L*.

The plane in the Backlot Tour was the one he flew in. The one in The Great Movie Ride is a different plane. The back half of that one is in Magic Kingdom.

I was told the Contemporary story when I was training to be a monorail pilot. It could be inaccurate, but I'm guessing this is probably true. For one thing, the part about the metal settling makes sense. Secondly, WHY would they use it to test modular construction, if not to replaces the modules? I'm not an architect, but I would expect that building a structure as one unit would be far sturdier and more efficient than building it like a pile of legos. Also, the hotel is named the Contemporary. Why would they name it that? The hotel has become incredibly anachronistic over the years. This should be updated to say it's unclear if it's true.

9. Johnny Depp sometimes runs around the Pirates of the Caribbean ride dressed up as Captain Jack Sparrow.

This is not true nor has it ever been true. Consider the amount of training that Cast Members have to go through in order to safely operate the attraction, do you really think they would let someone who is untrained run around loose in the ride? No. Also, do you really think that a multi million dollar making actor had nothing better to do than run around in a ride all day? So before you ask, no. That is not Johnny Depp. That is Captain Jack Sparrow.

Pages

Connect with Theme Park Tourist: