Hi, I'm Elliott and this is mental_floss on YouTube. Today I'm going to talk about some misconceptions about Disney, both the man and the company.
Misconception #1: Walt Disney was cryogenically frozen.
After Disney died in 1966, he was cremated, but the rumor that he was frozen was so persistent that his family opened the Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco in 2009. According to his daughter, Diane Disney Miller, "Other little kids would say to my kids, 'Your grandfather is frozen, isn't he?' And I couldn't let that stand." Plus, if he had been frozen, don't you think they would've unfrozen him for the premiere of the movie Frozen? It's like the best possible publicity stunt ever. Use your brains people. That movie totally flopped.
As for where people think his frozen body might be stored, that brings me to:
Misconception #2: Disney is buried underneath the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland.
I guess we can't really know for sure, but his family claims that he was cremated and his ashes were placed in Glendale, California at the Forest Lawn Memorial Park, so let's just put this urban legend to rest. Get it?
Misconception #3: Walt Disney designed Mickey Mouse.
It turns out that Walt didn't even draw Mickey all that much. After he went into business for himself in 1928, he did come up with the idea to create a mouse character, but Mickey himself was designed by Walt's partner, Ub Iwerks. I guess you could call the character a collaboration between the two men. Fun fact: Mickey was originally named Mortimer Mouse.
Which brings me to:
Misconception #4: Mickey Mouse was named after Mickey Rooney.
This is an interesting myth because it was Rooney himself who claimed it to be true. He said that he was playing a character named Mickey McGuire when he met Walt at Warner Bros. studio, which prompted Walt to name the character after him. Well, it was actually Walt's wife, Lillian, who suggested the name Mickey in place of Mortimer. Still, it's possible, I guess, that his wife could have been inspired by Rooney, but it's hard to believe considering Rooney was working for Warner Bros. at the time, and Disney had his own studio and Rooney changed his story a couple times, so who knows?
Speaking of character inspiration,
Misconception #5: Disney animators based Tinkerbell on Marilyn Monroe.
People tend to believe this one because the film came out around the same time that Marilyn Monroe was becoming a very popular actress, but the animators actually hired a model to base Tinkerbell on. Her name was Margaret Kerry and it took her six months of work to pose for the film. She acted out all the motions that Tinkerbell does. Plus, Kerry modeled for and voiced one of the Neverland mermaids.
Misconception #6: The Disney logo is Walt's actual signature.
Actually, Walt's real signature didn't even look like the logo. While he was alive, a few Disney employees were authorized to sign Walt's autographs. The logo that later emerged appears to be a fancier version of the signatures the various employees had attempted. An authentic Walt Disney autograph that looks like the logo has yet to be uncovered.
Misconception #7: The word "SEX" can be seen in The Lion King.
So this one is kind of a maybe. There's a scene in the film in which Simba lays down and some dust flies off the cliff, and if you look closely it looks like the dust spells out S-E-X for a moment. The film's animators have claimed that it was supposed to look like SFX, short for special effects. But like, you can decide for yourself whether you believe that—okay you have to. It's pretty weird that they chose an abbreviation with one letter off from sex. Liars.
Misconception #8: You can see Disney's face in the Haunted Mansion.
There's a bust that slightly resembles him in the graveyard scene of the Haunted Mansion, but that man is Thurl Ravenscroft, who you might know as the voice of "Tony the Tiger" for fifty years. Although Disney and Ravenscroft had similar moustaches, so it could be some sort of tribute. Who knows?
Speaking of the Haunted Mansion,
Misconception #9: The Haunted Mansion at Disneyland was shut down due to a guest's heart attack.
There's an urban legend that the Haunted Mansion really opened in 1962, then a guest rode it and had a heart attack, so the ride was shut down until 1969 and it was made significantly less scary. It's true that the ride's opening was postponed, but it wasn't for that reason. Other events got in the way, like Disney's death. Plus, the building hadn't even been completed by 1962, so there's no way this legend could be true.
Misconception #10: No one dies at Disney Parks.
The story goes that any time there's a serious medical emergency at a Disney park, that person is rushed outside the gate so no one is ever declared dead at a park. But there have been numerous declared deaths there, including some from a 1984 plane crash in the Epcot parking lot. It's not really a preventable thing, even with that Disney magic.