Strange Facts about Walt Disney and His Theme Parks

Strange Facts about Walt Disney and His Theme Parks

Empire has put together a list of 90 facts, many of which you might not know and the ones you don’t know they are quite extraordinary !

Here are some for you: 

Walt’s final words – written rather than spoken – were, rather cryptically ‘Kurt Russell’. No one, including the actor himself, has any idea why.

Contrary to rumors, Disney’s daughter has assured the press he wasn’t cryogenically frozen.

Aged 16, Walt signed up for the army, but was rejected because he was too young. Instead he became an ambulance driver in World War I France.

‘Man is in the forest’ was a code used by animators to warn colleagues to get back to work when Walt Disney was coming down the hallway.

Main Street is based on 1910 America, while Tomorrowland was designed to represent 1986 – both were chosen because they were Halley’s Comet years.

The Matterhorn rollercoaster at Disneyland has a secret basketball court inside it for Disneyland staff to use.

Steve Martin used to work in the magic shop at Disneyland.


The theme parks use a patented ‘Smellitzer’ device designed to pump certain scents around. Whether it’s a waft of sea salt in Pirates of the Caribbean, or vanilla in Main Street, your senses are constantly being played.

It’s rumoured that Walt Disney had a phobia of mice. While this is hard to prove, it is a fact that his big-eared creation was named ‘Mortimer’, until his wife persuaded him that ‘Mickey’ had a better ring to it…

Apparently, if you send Mickey and Minnie Mouse an invitation to your wedding they’ll send you back an autographed photo and a ‘Just Married’ badge. If you send Cinderella and Prince Charming an invitation, you’ll get an autographed congratulatory certificate.

The Disney World resort is about the same size as San Francisco.

Walt Disney’s attention to detail was legendary. He placed the bins at Disney World 25 steps away from the hot dog stall, as this was how long it took him to eat a hot dog.

Each year, several families ask to scatter a loved one’s ashes into the Haunted Mansion ride at Disneyland. The answer is always no, but a family has been caught in the act before.

Like air stewardesses, Disney Princesses have to fit a certain body type to work at the parks. While princesses are between 5’4″ and 5’7″, Tinkerbell, Alice and Wendy must be more petite – between 4’11” to 5’2″. Oh, and you need to be a real spring chicken: 27 is considered over the hill.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was make-or-break for Disney, costing his studios $1.4m to make. It was widely derided as Disney’s Ruin, by people subsequently proved non-psychic. Adjusted for inflation, it’s one of the ten highest-grossing films of all time.

Lots of early Disney films are a mother-free zone: The Jungle Book, Pinocchio and – sob – Bambi. It’s been suggested that this was because of their creator’s guilt over the death of his own mother in 1938. Fresh from the success of Snow White, he had bought a home for his parents, but tragically a faulty heating system led to Flora Disney’s death from carbon monoxide poisoning.

Disney World, Florida, opened in 1971, long after after the original Disneyland in California. Walt was unsettled by the sight of costumed characters having to run through the ‘wrong’ lands to get to their allotted spots, spoiling the magic at the first site. He came up with an elaborate tunnel system which runs beneath Disney World, and allows actors to put on their costumes and appear in the appropriate land without shattering the illusion. The entire park is built on a gentle incline to accommodate these.

While staff weren’t allowed to grow a beard until last year, when it was first opened guestsat Disney World weren’t granted admission if they had facial hair! It’s rich when you consider that Walt rocked a moustache from the age of 25 onwards. Visit Empire For Complete 90 Facts

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