No one ever wants to talk about garbage. It’s the stuff that you throw out of your house.  Couples argue over which one is responsible for disposing of it. All sorts of ‘taking out the trash’ phrases exist because people hate it so much and don’t want to think about it.

I’m going to challenge that perception today, though. I’m going to talk about the amazing ways that Disney park planners keep Magic Kingdom clean. Here are several garbage facts about Walt Disney World.

Walt Disney cared about garbage

Image: DisneyBack in the days before big data, Walt Disney embarked on something that no one had ever tried before. He built the world’s first theme park, a place where families could spend their days in a comfortable, safe environment. He faced myriad problems in breathing life into the Happiest Place on Earth, though.

One of Uncle Walt’s primary concerns was the garbage. This isn’t a joke, and I’m about to tell you something that will blow your mind. As you know, Disney treasured his time with daughters, and one of his favorite family outings was a trip to the park. It sounds delightful, right?

Alas, these trips occurred during the 1940s and early 1950s, back before hygiene was an ongoing concern of the public. The municipal parks of the era were nasty, which was cause for alarm for caring parents like Walt Disney.

Walt Disney’s invention is part of your everyday life

Image: DisneyAs he planned Disneyland, Uncle Walt examined the trash cans of the era. They were mesh cans that had a couple of major design flaws. The first was that a can with holes in it allowed goop to seep out. Yes, gross. The second is arguably worse. A can with holes in it doesn’t block the smell; instead, it filters that nasty scene. Trash cans of the era wafted affronts to the nose as an intrinsic part of the design.

Disney had a grand idea. He developed a new style of trash can, a rectangular one with some clever additions. It had a lid and two adjoining flaps on top. The flaps locked the trash into place AND prevented the smell from escaping.

Also, you’ve seen this design many times because it’s become the basis for modern trash can receptacles. Disneyland was the first place to host them. Amusingly, Disney allegedly presented his idea to trash can manufacturers of the time and was rejected. Yes, Walt Disney apparently revolutionized the trash can, but some shortsighted trashcan executive turn down a deal with him. For this reason, Disney never patented his idea.



Okay, that was actually a very interesting and informative read! And the Disney Dan trash can video was delightful. Thanks for this deep dive into Disney's garbage-- I hope they keep striving to keep pollution to a minimum.

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