Whether you enjoy the original in California or its larger cousin in Florida, you can't deny the presence of genuine magic in the Disney parks. From The Happiest Place on Earth to The Place Where Dreams Come True, the rides, characters, and experiences are unforgettable and enjoyed by fans around the world. But like with so many things, it isn't all pixie dust and Mickey bars.
As wonderful as the parks are, they have been a source for many a chilling urban legend and creepypasta. Thankfully, little reality goes into crafting these yarns, but that doesn't mean some people don't believe them. Here are ten Disney Urban legends people still believe.
10 Great Disney's Ghost
One of the more obvious tall tales on our list is that the ghost of Walt Disney himself has been seen in both parks. Manifestations of the company founder vary from story to story, ranging from a flickering light in the Main Street Firehouse to a full figure walking aimlessly through the street at night. He's been seen in the castle, on Main Street USA, and even in the window of the Haunted Mansion.
Naturally, these are all fictitious tales crafted by cast members. Like many campfire stories, they were made for entertainment purposes. After all, who doesn't love a good ghost story?
9 It's Our House Now
What sounds like an ingenious idea to expand the parks is unfortunately completely false. The story states that Disney had once planned an entire park around its villain franchise. This so-called Dark Kingdom would have been a darker, twisted version of the Magic Kingdom, featuring villain-inspired attractions and structures.
With an Ursula ride, a Gaston beer garden, and Maleficent's mountain as the centerpiece, it sounds like an interesting concept, but unfortunately, it's all totally false. While we're certain there is an immense audience for this idea, it wouldn't really reflect the cheerful disposition of Disney's image.
8 A Game of Cat and Mouse
We're sure you've heard this one before, but part is based in truth. The story says that Disney released a legion of cats in Disneyland to rid the park of its rodent problem. Though they weren't originally on Disney's payroll, there are cats at the castle.
In 1955, a family of feral cats was discovered in Sleeping Beauty's castle, the cats were adopted by park staff, but that's not where the story ends. Disney does have a "controlled clowder" of Cat-Members that act as pest control, but they were not introduced by the company. It's somewhat unknown where they came from, but they've since gained a following and even a fansite.
7 Something Smells
Do the words "Disney" and "mind-control-technology" go together? It does to a certain number of conspiracy theorists. Apparently, Disney has attempted to mind-control their masses by smell-centered technology. Obviously a false claim, Disney's smell-technology does exist.
Disney's Smellitizers are small devices that create different aromas to arouse a different sensation depending on where they're placed. You might smell popcorn and cotton candy on Main Street, but you might smell old wood and dust in the Haunted Mansion. Fascinating technology, but more for immersion than mind control. We will give points for creativity on this legend, though.
6 Haunted Mansion Heart Attack
Disney's Haunted Mansion is loaded with legends and lore, especially during its early days of construction. From the disappearance of a worker to noises and ominous voices being heard from the halls, the stories are certainly spooky. But what if someone was literally scared to death?
During the first preview of the attraction, the house was so scary one guest had a heart attack and died after the first ride-through, resulting in the original haunt being closed. This has been proven false, but the mansion did open later than scheduled, but mostly due to other Disney projects.
5 Character Costume Cooling
We're not even sure why people still believe this one with countless cast member confessions, but it still exists. The myth states that all the Disney fur character costumes are equipped with a cooling system in their masks to prevent heat exhaustion. A cool concept, but one that's on thin ice.
The character costumes do not have any sort of advanced technology, but they do get extremely warm. Disney character performers have to commit to the role, become one with the suit, and never break character. No amount of heat can stop them from bringing the magic to life.
4 Mystical Baobab Tree
There are some legends based in truth, some that are borderline believable, some inspired by hearsay, and then there are those that are completely, totally, and utterly wrong. The myth of Animal Kingdom's Tree of Life takes the cake for flat-out false. We honestly can't believe we had to put it on the list.
Apparently, there is a rumor going around that the Tree of Life's animal carvings and patterns are natural and that Disney imported the entire thing from Africa. The centerpiece for Disney's Animal Kingdom is perhaps one of the most man-made objects within the park, and though it's iconic, it's not natural.
3 Dead Men Tell No Tales
Aye, but they do tell tales... At least in this cast member ghost story. During the construction of Pirates of the Carribean, a cast member/Imagineer named George died in a welding accident and now haunts the attraction. Every morning cast members tell George good morning and in the evenings they bid him goodnight, lest the spirit of the welder cause mischief in the morning.
The story has been told over and over, some saying George was crushed, burned, or otherwise maimed in construction, but there is little evidence of the death. Still, it's a story passed on to Disney staff, and it's still enjoyed today.
2 What's In the Box?
Yet another Haunted Mansion tale graces our list. Any fan of the attraction can identify the horseless hearse outside the manor, but do they know it's supposedly sordid story? According to legend, the hearse contains the remains of religious leader Brigham Young or the bones of Bobby Driscoll.
Both stories are false but still float around the Disney fandom. The original hearse in Disneyland did come from Salt Lake City, and speculation said it was used for Young's funeral, but there is no solid evidence. The Driscoll story is tied to the mysterious events surrounding the former Disney star's death, but that's another legend altogether.
1 Small World Suicide
Easily the most chilling tale on our list, the story of a hanging body seen inside It's a Small World. The legend states a family caught glimpse of a hanging body dangling from the ceiling shortly before being told to evacuate the ride. Creepy beyond belief, but actually quite impossible.
A guest climbing up into the workings of the ride is far-fetched, but an actual suicide attempt would be next to impossible. Upon closer inspection, the hanging body was an unused puppet from the attraction. Disney has the habit of storing props in unused, unseen spaces. This was a coincidental fluke, but it sure made for one whale of a tale.