recapped the twisted story behind one of the most enduring "urban legends" surrounding the Disney theme parks — the (false) claim that Disney soon would be building a theme park in Texas. We've lost count of the number of emails we've received over the years from Disney fans and from Texans looking for confirmation of this claim. It's not true — never has been true, but the rumor's persisted in large part because so long as people believe there is a quick buck to be made, someone else will tell those people what they want to hear.The Dallas Morning News this week
Thomas W. Lucas Jr. is on trial in federal court in Texas on fraud charges for allegedly faking and spreading the Disney story to entice people to buy land near the supposed development. Lucas made money on commissions from those purchases, according to prosecutors. But "Disney is coming to Texas" is just one of many false urban legends surrounding the Disney theme parks that have frustrated (and, let's face it, entertained) many Disney fans and parks cast members over the years.
Let's take a look at a few other classics:
Walt Disney's body was frozen and is being kept under the castle
Walt Disney projected a public image of ever-faithful confidence in the future. On his television show, in documentary films, and in his theme parks, Disney celebrated science and the promise of that "great big beautiful tomorrow" that technology could deliver for us. So when Walt died of lung cancer in 1966, many people came to believe that Walt would have made one last bet on technology — that by having his body frozen cryogenically, he could give science the opportunity to revive him at some point. In reality, Walt's body was cremated (which is pretty much the opposite of cryogenics, when you think about it), and his ashes were interred at Forest Lawn in Glendale. Snopes.com has more links.
The Toy Story characters will fall to the ground if you yell "Andy's coming!"
In the Toy Story movies, Woody, Buzz and the other toys would fall limp to the floor whenever Andy or another human being would come into the scene. So wouldn't it make sense if those characters in the Disney theme parks would do the same when they heard Andy was on his way? Leaving aside that the characters don't seem to have any problem remaining animated, signing autographs, and posing for pictures with thousands of other human beings every day, this claim went viral several years ago, leading to an epidemic of people shouting "Andy's coming!" at the costumed characters. Whether any characters actually did this in the parks before, or it was just a gag among cast members themselves, Disney managers soon declared that no characters will be dropping to the ground, whether Andy is coming or not. More from Snopes.
Disney's turkey legs aren't really turkey
Disney sells hundreds of turkey legs in its theme parks every day. Many guests love the meaty treats, with those big, over-sized poultry legs seeming like a perfect indulgence while on vacation. But some guests look at those turkey legs and wonder if maybe they're just too big. Sure, a turkey's bigger than a chicken, but is it really that much bigger? And turkeys can be kind of expensive. Maybe Disney is selling something else, — a different, cheaper bird that it's just passing off as turkey meat? Thus, the wild claim that Disney's turkey legs aren't really turkey, but actually emu legs. Never mind that an emu is much larger than a turkey and its meat tastes much different. This story's just wild enough that not just the bird-brained have fallen for it. Dewayne Bevil shoots it down.
River Country was closed because of brain-eating amoebas
Disney's original water park closed for the season in 2001, then didn't reopen in 2002. But why? According to the rumor, the death of an 11-year-old boy from amoebic meningoencephalitis was to blame. The boy contracted the deadly infection after an amoeba entered his nose and attacked his nervous system. The incident allegedly led the state of Florida to changes its law, barring water parks from using water from lakes in their attractions. Sound plausible? Well, a boy did die from an amoeba infection at River Country... in 1980, 21 years before the park closed. It was one of four cases of amoebic meningoencephalitis traced to fresh-water swimming in Florida that year — none of the others involved River Country. Florida law also doesn't bar the use of lake water in attractions. It just requires that waterpark water be fit for human consumption. So why did Disney close River Country? For the same reason that many attractions and tourism businesses closed in 2001 — because of the world-wide decline in tourism following the September 11 attacks. By the time tourism recovered, Disney had invested in two big, better, more-accessible water parks: Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach. Werner Weiss has the full story.
Please tell us your favorite fake Disney and theme park stories, in the comments.Tweet
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