10 Disturbing Things You Didn’t Know About Disney Theme Parks

 

1. There are dead people in Disneyland.

10 Disturbing Things You Didn't Know About Disney Theme Parks dead bodies huanted mansion

There is a tradition of guests bringing the cremated ashes of their loved ones and scattering them in the Haunted Mansion. Although these poor souls are vacuumed up each night by the cleaning crew, there still remain human remains in the park; one of the beds in Pirates of the Caribbean has a headboard that contains real bones. Because those are the perks of a pirate’s life — sleeping on furniture built from the corpses of your enemies! Sleep Number can’t compete with the shuteye you get on top of Blackbeard’s femurs.

2. Jungle Cruise has no need for us anymore.

10 Disturbing Things You Didn't Know About Disney Theme Parks real jungle cruise

Over the nearly 60 years it’s been open, the Jungle Cruise has developed into its own unique ecosystem. The fake jungle has become a real, self-sufficient jungle. Disneyland landscapers no longer tend to it beyond pruning the tropical plants once a year. Guys, if a fake jungle can become a real jungle, that means the animatronic animals can come to life and then literally all of my childhood nightmares are real.

3. Disney abandoned two theme parks.

10 Disturbing Things You Didn't Know About Disney Theme Parks abandoned

In 1999 and 2001, Disney shut down two of its parks in Disneyworld: Discovery Island and River Country, respectively. They were closed due to a new Florida law that forbid unchlorinated natural water from being used in amusement parks. But the company chose not to demolish either of them, so they remain standing and rotting today. In 2009, a brave man named Shane Perez visited the island.

4. There’s a ride that ends in Hell.

10 Disturbing Things You Didn't Know About Disney Theme Parks mr toads wild ride

Most of the oldest rides at Disneyland are “dark rides” – that is, they’re indoor rides that are sparsely lit and are meant to create “scenes” that you ride past. One dark ride, “Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride,” ended with Mr. Toad from “The Wind in the Willows” driving into an oncoming train and literally arriving in Hell. Like, ACTUAL Hell. Devils and fire and brimstone and all of that.

10 Disturbing Things You Didn't Know About Disney Theme Parks hell

To add to the fun-filled atmosphere of park guests being dead and suffering eternal damnation, the entire area was even heated. But the weirdest part of this is that it’s not a recreation of any scene from the movie or book versions of The Wind in the Willows. Whoever designed the ride just felt like adding a section where you got to see Walt Disney’s current resting place.

5. There is an underground world beneath Disneyworld.

Here’s something weird: Disney World was build with an incredibly complex, enormous underground tunnel system, perfect for your average terrifying Moleman society. These tunnels are called utilidors, short for utility corridors, and here’s what they look like:

10 Disturbing Things You Didn't Know About Disney Theme Parks magic kingdom tunnels

 

As you can see, when you’re at Disney World, there are always people underfoot. But why was this insane system of secret hallways built beneath the happiest place on Earth?

Walt Disney built the utilidors so cast members traveling between areas or doing things out of character wouldn’t ruin the magic, especially when they were performing tasks like garbage removal and hiding the corpses of kids who let the water from Splash Mountain get in their mouth. Disney wanted a system in his original Disneyland, but the park was too small, and building a secret underground lair was too complex for an existing park, so they just saved the idea until Disney World was being planned. The whole thing takes up about 9 acres – and some of the tunnels are so long that employees travel by golf cart-like vehicles.

Sadly, if you ever want to see the tunnels yourself, you’ll have to get a job at Disney World (or drink some of the water in Splash Mountain).

6. Disneyland Paris keeps making people want to kill themselves

10 Disturbing Things You Didn't Know About Disney Theme Parks disneyland paris

As reported by The Independent and the New York Daily News, a man working as a chef at Disneyland Paris committed suicide in 2010. Before he took his own life, he wrote on his wall: “I don’t want to go back to Mickey’s house,” except in French, which makes it no less terrifying and tragic.

But this wasn’t an isolated incident – in November 2013, another Disneyland Paris employee tried to light himself on fire but he was stopped just in time. The same year, a child fell out of a water ride and suffered severe injuries. Although Disneyland Paris is the most popular tourist attraction in Europe (with roughly 15 million visitors per year), it has an impressive body count, which is the absolute last thing a theme park should ever have. Besides a shortage of corn dogs. A theme park should always have more corn dogs than dead bodies.

It makes sense that Disneyland Paris has an upsetting history given that it was never called “the Happiest Place on Earth” but “Le Stupid Castle Dumb Americans Built for a Fucking Mouse.”

7. The Tree of Life has evil roots.

10 Disturbing Things You Didn't Know About Disney Theme Parks tree of life

The Tree of Life is the giant decorative tree that sits at the center of Disney World’s Animal Kingdom. The Imagineers needed a specific skeleton to make the ToL as flexible as they wanted. What worked best was…an old oil rig.

10 Disturbing Things You Didn't Know About Disney Theme Parks oil rig tree of life

So, to recap, the Disney park whose focus is environmental preservation has at its center a secret monument to fossil fuels. This is the single greatest irony to be recorded, second to maybe the fact that Dr. Seuss didn’t like children. I felt like I needed to add that in case this article wasn’t doing enough damage to your childhood.

8. Walt Disney is Big Brother

10 Disturbing Things You Didn't Know About Disney Theme Parks walt disney big brother

When Disneyland was built in the early 1950’s, Walt Disney put a secret apartment on the second floor of the fire department on Main Street so he could watch the guests in the park from a hidden vantage point, like Zeus watching the mortals from Mount Olympus (except smoking wayyy more cigarettes). After his death, the company decided to put a light in the window in Disney’s memory. Just to remember that we’re always being watched. Always.

9. No, seriously, Walt Disney is Big Brother.

10 Disturbing Things You Didn't Know About Disney Theme Parks walt disney big brother 2

What else did Walt do while building Disneyland? He made sure he could control as much of the guests’ sensory input as he could.

He controlled what guests heard. Discreet speakers were placed throughout the park to pump out music and sounds that specifically corresponded to each land.

He also controlled what guests saw. Most of the Disneyland buildings were designed with forced perspective to make them seem larger. Forced perspective means the scale of the building grows smaller as its height grows. If you look at the castle, you can see the second story is shorter — almost more squished — than the first story.

10 Disturbing Things You Didn't Know About Disney Theme Parks castle perspective

He also planted trees between the park’s different lands to prevent other lands from being visible and to make guests feel as though they are fully immersed.

And he even controlled what guests smelled by using the Smellitzer, a scent generator that pumps out fabricated smells all over the park. That’s why Main Street always smells like sugary goodness even though every trash can is stuffed with used diapers.

10. The only person with more power than Walt Disney? Cats.

10 Disturbing Things You Didn't Know About Disney Theme Parks aristocats

Disney realized that cats are cheap and convenient pest control so at night, when the park is closed, cats roam free. Pest control, you ask? Why would Disneyland need pest control? Because the happiest place on Earth is home to rats. Yup.

10 Disturbing Things You Didn't Know About Disney Theme Parks cat in park

Why does the presence of rats in Disneyland surprise you? After all, Disney’s mascot is a rodent, yet he’s officially approved the genocide of his brethren. Mickey Mouse, the ultimate traitor.

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