The propensity to inspire legends is one of the strong suits of Walt Disney theme parks. Some of them are whoppers, too. Doomed spirits haunt some of the happiest places on Earth. Dolls come to life at night, switching places before the next morning’s guests arrive. Uncle Walt’s head resides somewhere on the premises. Or maybe he’s not dead at all. Maybe he unearthed the secret of longevity, and that allowed him to take up permanent residence behind the scenes, controlling all phases of the Disney empire to this day.
What follows are a series of rumors that seem so far-fetched that no one could possibly believe them, yet some people do. Perhaps you’ve even fallen victim to a couple of these hoaxes yourself. If so, you’ll want to read on to discover these completely untrue “facts” about Disney theme parks. Warning: there’s a lot of debunking ahead. On the plus side, if you’ve got friends who spend an inordinate amount of time passing along this nonsense as a way to talk smack about Disney, you’re about to turn the tables on them in fairly epic fashion.
The ghostly remnants of Walt Disney...
The legacy of Walt Disney is so epic in scope that rumormongers have devoted countless hours coming up with seemingly plausible ways that his spirit might live on at his parks. And those are the well-intended people starting those rumors. Haters craft even taller tales regarding his corpse and whether it or not it may be a Corpse-sickle…Corpsicle?
Anyway, both parties wound up creating equally alarming versions of the truth. Some people believe with every fiber of their being that the frozen heads of Walt Disney and Ted Williams are resting in a vault somewhere, waiting to become real-life Futurama characters. A&E’s Biography, now the Bio Channel, eventually devoted an entire article to debunking this belief. They note that the cause of confusion is a second party account of Disney’s philosophy on the subject as relayed by a devout disciple of the corpsicle industry. And even THAT GUY plainly stated that Uncle Walt’s family cremated his body. So, if a friend ever tries to state this as fact, please do me a favor. Walk over to your refrigerator, open your freezer, grab a Popsicle, walk over to your friend, and smack them with it. They deserve it.
Worst. Viral video. Ever.
Disney’s most ardent supporters don’t do his cause any better, though. No, they don’t think that the frozen remains of Walt Disney reside under Pirates of the Caribbean. Their belief is even more outlandish. They subscribe to the notion that Walt Disney loved his theme park so much that he couldn’t leave it. After his death, he found a way to stay at the Happiest Place on Earth rather than shuffle off this mortal coil and ascend to the afterlife.
Yes, this sounds crazy. Yes, it IS crazy. It’s a real thing that has enough supporters to maintain an oddly large amount of traction. In fact, someone brings it back to the public eye again every few years. A recent example occurred in the winter of 2015. The Mirror and Huffington Post both ran stories suggesting that cameras accidentally caught a ghost on camera. At Disneyland. And it was Uncle Walt.
The whole thing feels like a campfire tale run amok. Someone with a vivid imagination doesn’t know when to quit, right? Alas, these posts are all too true. Some writer stumbled on a grainy 2009 YouTube video. It purportedly reveals security camera footage of a ghost trekking through, fittingly, the exterior of Haunted Mansion on its way to Rivers of America. The fact that it’s obviously a reflected light doesn’t seem to dissuade anyone from their Fox Mulder-esque belief. This 63-second second trifle of viral video has somehow accumulated over 13 million views.
Walt Disney: Reverse Vampire
What you can conclude from the above is that people really want Walt Disney to haunt his theme park. Why they don’t want him to rest in peace or enjoy his heavenly reward is beyond me. The strange part is that this isn’t even the most desperate attempt to place Uncle Walt at Disneyland right now.
One of the least likely myths in the entire world, and almost certainly the quirkiest at Disney, is that Imagineers are even greater than you thought they were. During their research, they unearthed the technology to make Walt Disney immortal. I realize you’re waiting on a punchline right now, but what could I say that’s funnier than that?
The philosophy surrounding Disney’s continued and not at all impossible existence is that he wanted to get out of the spotlight. Rather than place himself at the forefront of all transactions involving The Walt Disney Company, the founder and namesake of the corporation instead resides in an understated apartment in Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World. From this home hidden in plain sight, he orchestrates all the business decisions that allowed his people to buy Pixar, Star Wars, and ESPN among other financial masterstrokes. I strongly suspect that current CEO Bob Iger HATES this myth, because it makes him the Milli Vanilli of the Fortune 100.