10 DARK Secrets of DISNEY
From theme parks to animated classics, Disney’s name has been attached to more things than you can count - including deep, dark secrets. These ten nuggets may be attached to the multimedia conglomerate, but chances are none of the higher ups, including good ‘ole Walt’s ghost, ever wanted us to know that dear sweet Disney has any connection to them.
Child Molesters and Sexual Predators
From 2006 to 2014, upwards of 35 Disney employees had been arrested for sex crimes involving children, including possession of child pornography and propositioning a minor. Now, we’re not at all saying Disney officials knew of these disgusting activities of these said employees and, considering the thousands of people employed by Disney, 35 over the span of 8 years isn’t a drastically high statistic… but this is a children’s theme park, and any number over 0 sex offenders is likely going to shake parents up a bit. A sting conducted in 2016, dubbed "Operation April Fools", nabbed another of Disney’s finest, a security guard at Disney World.
Disney and Animal Cruelty
You know that thing about lemmings? The one that essentially states if one falls off a cliff to its death, the rest would mindlessly follow? Would you believe that lemmings don’t actually do that? Would you also believe that Disney essentially perpetuated that myth with the nature documentary White Wilderness. In the documentary, lemmings are depicted falling off of a cliff and drowning one-by-one, as if driven by some strange destiny. Since these tiny rodents aren’t known for these suicide pacts, there’s only one way Disney could have fostered that footage. Sorry, lemming and Disney lovers, but the production company orchestrated the entire thing, killing the small critters in the process. The filmmakers took several dozen lemmings and placed them on a turntable to mimic a migration until it was time to herd them off the edge.
Ashes to Disney
Disneyland may be the happiest place on Earth, but it may also be a candidate for the most haunted. It seems there’s plenty of stories floating about revolving around loved one’s spreading the ashes of decedents throughout the park. In 2007, a story gained traction claiming a woman was caught dumping a powder substance into the waters of the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. Though the woman claimed it was baby powder, avid Disney blogger Al Lutz was none-too-sure. Speaking on the act of dumping ashes at Disneyland, Lutz writes that the “craze seems to have gotten its start at The Haunted Mansion” in the 1990’s. While Disney has yet to corroborate Lutz’s claims, one would think this would be one dark, biohazardous secret they’d like to keep under the radar.
The Real Bones of the Pirates of the Caribbean
Ever wonder how some of the skeletons on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride looked so authentic? While Disneyland had plenty of money to sink into realistic props, many have alleged that the park used real skeletons and human remains to complete the look of the popular pirate attraction. When the prop skeletons proved “too unconvincing,” the design team behind the ride allegedly approached UCLA Medical Center for some more authentic set pieces, and they went as authentic as one can go. As time wore on and technology bred better-looking prop bones, many of the real remains were replaced with fake ones, though it’s said that the skull that hangs over a bed in the treasure room is still the real deal.
Disney and the FBI
Walt Disney himself is one of the entertainment conglomerate’s darkest secrets with his secret apartment and all, but the man just keeps on getting more mysterious the more you look at him. For instance, Walt essentially had an in with the FBI, working as an informer for the Los Angeles bureau office. The give-take relationship allowed Disney access to FBI headquarters for filming and gave J. Edgar Hoover a few of certain Disney scripts for shows like “The Mickey Mouse Club.” Why was Walt so involved with the FBI? It all came down to communism and the entrepreneur’s anti-communist views. Disney wound up being a big advocator of the Un-American Activities Committee and fingered many Hollywood figures, even some of his own animators, as communists.
Walt’s Secret Apartment
Like knowing you’re being watched over? That’s probably why good ‘ole Walt never divulged the details of his secret apartment built right in the middle of Main Street in Disneyland. The little crow’s nest was a 2nd story unit in the firehouse, fully furnished to fit Walt’s comforts, and allowed him to oversee how his park was running daily. Keeping with the theme, a fire pole was built inside of the closet, though rumor has it the pole was covered up when a fan stumbled upon the hideout and tried to climb up it to meet Mr. Disney himself. The small space was tended to after Walt’s death and was restored back to its original glory for a guided tour of Walt Disney’s Big Brother watchtower.
Imagine having to wear underwear that’s dedicated not specifically to you, but rather to the character you’re portraying. Sweaty, questionably-washed undergarments passed around from employee to employee, nothing between you and the shared fabric. These were once the conditions at Disney World where actors were required to wear special underwear to avoid unsightly lines in the costumes. And yes, it’s as disgusting as it sounds. It wasn’t until 2001 that the issue was brought up for negotiations, finally allowing these costumed heroes to wear underwear designated specifically for them.
Abandoned by Disney
With how popular parks like Epcot, Animal Kingdom, and all varieties of Disneyland and Disney World are, it may be hard to swallow that somewhere out there, Disney has a park that’s simply rotting down to nothing. Tucked away in the deep green foliage of Florida, not far from Disney World, lies the ruins of Disney’s River Country, a water-themed park that was open from 1976 to 2001. In 1980, a young boy was killed by an amoeba known to fester in stagnant waters of Florida, but the park lived on for another 21 years, finally closing when it proved to be no match for Typhoon Lagoon Water Park and Blizzard Beach Water Park, two other Disney properties. Now, River Country sits like an overgrown lost civilization, seemingly abandoned without care.
Disney and Sex
Some of Disney’s most notorious naughty secrets are not quite what people make of them, but that doesn’t mean the animators didn’t screw up here and there, forgetting that they included some highly inappropriate material in a children’s movie. Though a former Disney animator pretty much debunked the Bishop’s erection in The Little Mermaid and the word “Sex” appearing in The Lion King, there are a few nuggets of dirtiness that he couldn’t explain right away, like the brief frames of porn visible in the background of a scene in The Rescuers and Jessica Rabbit’s lack of underwear in a frame of Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
Think your child is safe from lewd acts just because they’re within the confines of the Happiest Place on Earth? What Disney won’t likely advertise about some of their most prestigious rides, like Space Mountain and Tower of Terror, is that riders have been known to bare their finer assets during pivotal points in the ride. Those points, of course, typically being when the camera captures the excursion’s most thrilling moment. Up until about 2009, Disney even had staff dedicated to picking out these nudie shots and removing them from circulating on the very public viewing board at the ride’s exit.