Strange But Somehow True Facts about Disney Parks
Disney theme parks have provided magical experiences since 1955.
Yes, Disneyland qualifies for senior citizen status these days, but it still offers plenty of surprises.
Here are several strange but somehow true facts about Disneyland and other Disney theme parks.
You Can Play Mile-High Basketball at Disneyland
Okay, “mile-high” basketball is a bit of an exaggeration. The location in question resides toward the top of Matterhorn Bobsleds.
Once we factor in Disneyland’s elevation, the basketball court hidden within the Matterhorn is roughly 200 feet in the air.
Also, this place isn’t a full-sized court or anything. Instead, it’s a half-court that Walt Disney himself commissioned.
Here, let’s have a Disney Legend explain how this happened:
Yes, the top part of the Matterhorn was empty until Disney added a (non-regulation) basketball hoop.
Wanna See a Dead Body?
Have you ever wondered whether Pirates of the Caribbean felt too authentic?
Well, that might not be your imagination. Disney fans speculate that some of the skeletons on display at the Disneyland version of this ride once lived.
Yes, the belief persists that Disney has housed some human remains at Pirates of the Caribbean.
Is that true? Well, it was at one point. During the earliest days of the attraction, Disney didn’t find artificial skeletons believable.
Allegedly, Disney tried creating fake ones, but the results were laughable.
So, Imagineers visited UCLA, where they procured some dead bodies. Yes, I’m serious.
In recent years, park officials have denied that human remains, well, remain. Instead, they claim that they swapped out real skeletons for fake ones years ago.
However, some cast members have privately indicated that this isn’t true, leading to a weird hunt.
Some fans obsess over whether up to four “fake” skeletons are, in fact, the real deal. A cast member claimed on record that at least one was still there:
Feral Cats Are Everywhere at Disneyland
I wouldn’t say that they’re everywhere, as I’ve never seen a cat on Mad Tea Party…although that would be hilarious.
Anyway, during the early days of Disneyland, Walt Disney’s team informed him that the park had a rodent problem.
Do you know what the natural predator of rodents is? Oh yes, your sweet cat that gains all your social media likes would murder a mouse without hesitation.
Seriously, just tonight, we found a critter in our garage. My wife laughed and casually stated that if it went into the house, one of the cats would get it. Cats are murderbots.
Disneyland cast members can confirm. In fact, one of them (or a loyal park guest) set up a website for the cats of Disneyland.
Hilariously, Uncle Walt never intended to use cats as rodent repellent.
Instead, when he planned an attraction at Sleeping Beauty Castle, his team made a discovery. The castle had a feral cat problem that exceeded the rodent problem.
Of course, people like cats much more than rodents. So, the solution revealed itself in the form of cat covens inside the castle.
This feline armada led to a new problem: fleas. But that’s a story for another day.
Today’s Disneyland Resort cats are so popular that many have names and frequent social media appearances!
Horse Fashion Is a Thing at Disneyland
Disneyland trolleys have remained popular for generations. Guests love the idea of a horse-drawn trolley transporting them from Sleeping Beauty Castle to the train station and back.
Alas, everything you see at Disney must fit into the theme, which means the horses need outfits and special shoes!
Okay, the shoes fill a need rather than a flair for fashion. The horses walk over uneven territory due to the tracks in place.
So, cast members fit each horse with special rubber-soled shoes to reduce the stress on their hooves.
Meanwhile, Disney dresses some of them with specialized suits and costumes so that they’ll maintain the theme.
By the way, Disneyland’s horses walk an average of four hours per day for four days per week. It’s their exercise and your trolley ride.
The People vs. Shenzi, Banzai, and Ed
Here’s one that isn’t about the parks per se but rather an intellectual property that you’ll find on many Disney campuses.
Apparently, a hyena biologist – which is a real job, I swear – took offense at The Lion King’s portrayal of hyenas.
You know the slobbering nitwits that work as Scar’s muscle right up until they get fed up with him and turn against the lion?
Well, someone who had dedicated their life’s work to studying hyenas felt that Disney did a disservice to the species in The Lion King.
So, this individual filed what I sincerely hope was a tongue-in-cheek lawsuit against The Walt Disney Company.
Obviously, the case never went anywhere, and nobody can even find a record of the name of the applicant.
I presume they preferred to remain anonymous since the lawsuit is even dumber than Shenzi, Banzai, and Ed in The Lion King.
Have You Checked Lost and Found?
Walt Disney World operates a Lost and Found Center, which it pretty much has to do.
Otherwise, Disney cast members would cycle through sunglasses at an alarming rate.
Over the years, Walt Disney World has tracked an average of more than 200 daily pairs of sunglasses at Lost and Found.
In fact, since the park opened more than 50 years ago, Disney has collected nearly two million (!) pair of sunglasses.
Sadly, I must confess that at least a couple of pairs of those were mine.
How Many Turkey Drumsticks Can You Eat?
No, this isn’t a challenge of some sort. I’m sure you’re good for at least one, possibly even two, depending on how much you’ve walked the parks that day.
Disney has turned the giant turkey legs into a staple of park visits. Everyone knows what those giant turkey legs look like, and it makes us want them.
There’s something imposing about this food that brings out our inner competitive eater. We want to pull a Joey Chestnut on them.
For this reason, Disney sells an almost incomprehensible two million pounds worth of turkey legs each year…at Disneyland alone!
So, if you’re thinking about starting a giant turkey farm, Disney could probably use a few more suppliers.
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Feature Photo: Disney