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

Cinderella Castle

Walt Disney World is an extraordinary place, and there are some genuinely extraordinary stories associated with it. There are also many myths and legends, some of them with a basis in fact, and some that are simply complete fantasy. In some cases, these myths have come to be accepted as the truth by many visitors to the resort. Let's take a look at 8 such legends, which are in fact completely false!

8. Cinderella Castle can be dismantled if a hurricane is approaching

Cinderella CastleThe legend: In the event of a major hurricane, the Magic Kingdom's iconic Cinderella Castle can be quickly broken down and safely stored away. Liberty Square construction (4)

Image: Disney

The truth:Dismantling Cinderella Castle would be a major operation - and certainly not one that could be undertaken quickly before a hurricane struck. The castle took 18 months to construct. The inner structure consists of a 600-ton steel-braced frame, while a 10-inch-thick reinforced concrete wall encircles it to the height of the outermost "stone" walls. Most of the exterior of the building was built using fiber-reinforced gypsum plaster, with fiberglass being used for the walls of some of the ornate towers. The towers consists of plastic attached to a cone of steel, and were lifted into place by a crane before being bolted onto the main structure. In short, Cinderella Castle is a sturdy beast that can (and has) withstand a battering from hurricane-force winds.

7. The plane in the Great Movie Ride is the actual one from Casablanca


The legend: The Lockheed Electra 12 plane that is seen in the Casablanca section of the Great Movie Ride at Disney's Hollywood Studios is the actual one used in the movie. The truth: It can't possibly be the same plane. The plane seen in the movie was not, in fact, a real one - instead, it was a combination of half-size and quarter-size models. Disney's plane is real, and the back half can be seen in the Jungle Cruise over at the Magic Kingdom.

6. The Magic Kingdom's Space Mountain decapitated a rider

Space Mountain

Image © Disney

The legend: A panicked guest stood up while riding Space Mountain. He was struck by a low-hanging metal ridge, and he arrived back in the station with his head missing. The truth:This is an urban legend, most likely created by adults to discourage children from attempting to stand up on roller coasters. Standing up on Space Mountain would actually be a difficult thing to do. There are suggestions that this myth derives from Imagineering discovering a decapitated test dummy during the ride's creation, but even those are unproven.

5. A welder died during the construction of Pirates of the Caribbean...and now haunts it

Pirates of the Caribbean

Image © Disney

The legend: At the Magic Kingdom, Cast Members working on Pirates of the Caribbean warn newcomers about the ghost of George, which supposedly haunts the attraction. George is said to have been killed during the construction of the ride, either by electrocution or by a falling beam. The truth: The reality is that there was no George, and that nobody died during the construction of Pirates of the Caribbean. In the excellent Realityland, author David Koenig speculates that he is probably an amalgamation of two workers who actually died in the years following the attraciton's opening, elsewhere at Walt Disney World (one was killed during the construction of an aluminium boat for the Seven Seas Lagoon, while another was electrocuted while working in a tunnel).

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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.


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