The Happiest Place on Earth has a bit of a two sided reputation: source of eternal childish wonder, and monolithic corporation crushing all who oppose the All-Mighty Mouse. When the two meet, however, you get some strange and dark facts that would be embarrassing for any corporation. But for Uncle Walt’s company, they are devastating.
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Eighteen year old honors student, Debbie Stone took a job at California’s Disney land in the summer of 1974. She was a hosted on America Sings, that featured 6 rotating stages which allowed guests to watch without leaving their seats.
A mere nine days after the ride opened, audience members heard screams that they thought were part of the performance. While the exact details are unknown, Debbie’s body was found crushed between a rotating stage and a stationary wall. This makes Debbie’s case the only example of a cast member’s death at a Disney theme park.
4.Disney’s Abandoned Parks
River Country(1976-2001) and Discovery Island(1974-1999) were a pair of Disney oddities right next to each other: a water park and a zoological park. Neither park is still in operation, but neither has been demolished. This has lead, of course, to a number of brave souls venturing into them. Reports from Discovery Island indicate there’s a mishmash of dilapidated rides, old staff photos, and even snakes preserved in jars.
Publicly both were closed due to lack of interest, but privately the parks were a serious danger. IN 2001 “Naegleria Fowleri” was found in River Country’s surrounding lake. Naegleria Fowleri is a brain-eating amoeba, with 95% fatality rate. The amoeba already killed a guest in 1980.
Is there a set of secrets that doesn’t involve the Feds? In this case, ol’ Walt was a bit fond of J.Edgar Hoover’s FBI, agreeing to report on the activities of Hollywood’s elite, form actors to union activists. This began when Disney testifying before the House Committee on Un-American Activities, during a strike by animators. The testimony impressed Hoover so much that Disney was allowed to film inside the FBI headquarters in Washington, in exchange for unfettered access to parks and scripts, some of which changed at Hoover’s request.
To this day, government documents about Walt Disney and his interaction with the FBI are redacted due to “national security”.
2.Happily Ever After(life)
In 2007, a woman released unknown white substance while on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. After being found out, the woman claimed it was baby powder. Many people in the Magic Kingdom, however, suspect it was actually human remains.
Since the 1990’s, people have tried to spread the ashes of their loved ones in Disney theme parks, particularly in the Haunted Mansion. The activity is so common that Disney cast members are trained to respond, and custodial crews use sophisticated vacuums to target the remains that manage to get through the air.
There’s a commonly quoted animal fact that lemmings commit mass suicide in order to control their population. Problem is, it’s wrong. And this lie goes all the way back to White Wilderness (1958), a Disney nature film meant to showcase the lemming. Filmed in Canada, nit features careful edit and angel manipulation to trick the viewer into thinking they are seeing a huge natural lemming migration.
And that’s when the lemming’s supposedly jump off a cliff, the narrator declaring:
“They’ve become victims of an obsession, a one track though: Move on! Move on!”
The final shot supports this, with a lake full of dying lemmings. Except, like a lot of false suicides, they didn’t jump. They were pushed. All by your friends at the Happiest Place on Earth.