Yep, it's true. The official breakup of The Beatles happened at the Polynesian Village Resort at Walt Disney World in 1974. But no, it wasn't like George Harrison and Ringo Starr started slapping each other and Paul McCartney walked out, swearing to never play with them again. They kind of thing might have happened at Abbey Road Studios years before, but, on December 29th, 1974, John Lennon became the final one of the Fab Four to sign the paperwork that dissolved the business interests as a group and he did while on vacation at Disney. It had taken about five years for paperwork to get worked out and Paul, John, and George were supposed to meet up in New York City to make it all official. Unsurprisingly, John refused to show up and they later had the paper sent to him in Florida. Where he signed them and made it all official. Lennon was assassinated in 1980, thereby ending any hopes Beatles fans had of a reunion.
One of the most famous songs in Disney history is "Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah" but many fans have never seen the movie from which it comes. The movie, "Song Of The South," which has never been released on home media and hasn't seen the light of day since the early 1980s when it was briefly re-released in theaters by Disney. Long held rumors have said that the reason it's never been released on home media in the US is that the NAACP has threatened to boycott Disney if they ever do. Well, that much is not true, but let's face it, it's a very offensive movie by today's standards.
The movie stars James Baskett as Uncle Remus and is basically a mixed live action and animated re-telling of the Br'er Rabbit stories from the 19th century. Even while it was being produced, it faced scrutiny from African-American groups, including the NAACP for its alleged portrayal of the "slave-master relationship."
It has been re-released in theaters a few times, but no, it's never been released on home video, DVD or otherwise, in the U.S.. Disney is not a company that likes controversy and this movie is very controversial.
Of course, they've released "Dumbo" and that has a scene that is considered as racist or more racist than anything in "Song Of The South"
It's true. At the original park, Disneyland in Anaheim, CA, there is a large, feral cat population. The cats are allowed to remain on the property because they keep the rodent population in check and it turns out, people would rather see a stray cat than a stray rat. The cats are cared for, there are shelters for them behind the scenes and there are litter boxes and food bowls which the staff leave dinner in. They are also spayed and neutered. They are there though, to work, like all the other cast members at Disney. The deal is they get full reign over the park at night and in return, they hunt the rats and other pests. Everyone wins! Occasionally, sharp-eyed guests will catch a glimpse of one of the cats during the day, but for the most part, they stay hidden until it's hunting time.
Disney may be the happiest place on earth for children, but when it first opened, it might have been the happiest place on earth for women shopping for underwear. That's right, that's not a misprint, there was actually a lingerie shop on Main Street when Disneyland opened in 1955.
The "Intimate Apparel Shop," as it was formally known as, was Victorian-themed and sponsored by the Hollywood-Maxwell Brassiere Co. of Los Angeles, a popular boutique in its day. It had not only all of your Victorian corset needs, but also carried all the latest in undergarment fashion for women. In true Disney fashion, there was even a robot salesperson, known as The Wonderful Wizard of Bras, though he was less actual robot and more mannequin with a tape recorder.
There is something weirdly appropriate about a company that required a strict dress code selling Victorian underwear.
Those four vultures that kinda look the Beatles in The Jungle Book were supposed to be voiced by John, Paul, George, and Ringo, but tragically, John Lennon didn't like the idea, so the collaboration didn't happen.
In 1966, the Beatles were far and away the biggest thing in pop culture. So big, in fact, John Lennon quipped in '66 that "The Beatles were bigger than Jesus." And while that wasn't true, there certainly wasn't anyone bigger in pop music. Being as popular as they were, Disney reached out and offered a role voicing the four vultures in the movie The Jungle Book, but Lennon wasn't sure and told their manager, Brian Epstein, to pass on the offer.
When the film was released, it was clear that the vultures had been based on the Fab Four, complete with thick Liverpudlian accents and mop-top haircuts.
What a thing it could have been to hear the Beatles acting and singing in one of the all-time Disney classics.
Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev's two-week visit to the United States was one of the most iconic moments of the Cold War. It had an almost surreal feel to it. This strong-willed, dyed-in-the-wool Soviet Marxist touring around America eating hot dogs and taking in the sites. He was part scary Cold War enemy and part bumpkin tourist.
His trip started in Washington DC where he held important meetings with President Eisenhower and then he took off for New York, California and a few spots in between, like Iowa, before ending up back on the East Coast for more meetings at Camp David.
Before he headed back to meet with Ike, while he was still in California, he expressed his desire to visit the most American place of them all, Disneyland!
Sadly, it was determined that it would be too much of a hassle, coordinating security, dealing the crowds, etc... for the visit to happen, so Khrushchev had to leave the States without a Mickey Mouse hat he craved. Maybe if he had experienced the Happiest Place On Earth, he could have returned to the USSR with a new, child-like vision of peace and prosperity and the Cold War could have ended 30 years before it did. Alas, it was not to be,
Everyone has heard the phrase "a bunch of lemmings" for people that blindly follow the group, no matter the consequences. It's become ubiquitous in American culture. Did you know it comes from a Disney nature film called "White Wilderness" from the 1950s in which there is a scene where hundreds of lemmings dramatically go running and jumping off a cliff and swim out to sea, thereby committing what the movie calls mass suicide.
Facts about lemmings notwithstanding (they don't commit mass suicide), the famous rumor that surrounds this scene is that the lemmings were actually pushed off the cliff by the filmmakers. Well, they weren't pushed but they did manipulate the lemmings and the photography to tell the story they wanted to tell, which was the false narrative about the mass suicide. Why would they do that?
Club 33. The secret watering hole only opening to members of the club is indeed a very real thing at Disneyland and at other Disney parks around the world.
Behind an innocent looking green door in the heart of the New Orleans Square section of Disneyland lies a beautiful club that Walt Disney original designed and included in the park to host sponsors and other VIPs when they visited the park. After Disney passed away, Club 33 evolved into a members-only club that regular visitors to the park could join for a fee so they would have a private oasis to escape the crowds and the heat of the day and enjoy the adult beverage of their choice. It is, in fact, the only place alcohol is served on the property.
In 2017, it was announced by Disney that a Club 33 would be opening at Walt Disney World, in the Magic Kingdom park, for the first time, where it will again be the only place that serves alcohol in the park. Alcohol is served in other parks, though. It's a long-standing tradition for people to get trashed as they "tour the world" at Epcot!
There are lots of untrue rumors about nudity hidden in Disney animated movies, but this is actually true! In a 1999 home video release of the 1977 movie "The Rescuers" someone actually did slip in a bit of nudity in two of the frames. Very briefly, through a window in the background, sharp-eyed viewers could catch a glimpse of a topless woman that was apparently a taken from the centerfold of a Playboy magazine. Disney quickly learned about the offending frame and immediately recalled over 3 million VHS tapes It's a little unclear when the picture was slipped in, but it was not on the 1992 VHS release, which was made from a different master print. It was, apparently, in the original 1977 theatrical release. For their part, Disney claimed it was done sometime in the post-production process and was not done by the animators.
This used to be true, though, in recent years, it's changed.
Back in the day, when the first "Toy Story" movie came out, Disney added characters as mascots to their parks. It made perfect sense, the movie was a huge hit. The secret was that if a guest yelled: "Andy's Coming!" the characters had to hit the hit the deck and freeze, as the toys did whenever their owner, Andy, walked into the room.
At first, it was a well-kept secret trick and only a couple times a day would a savvy guest play the game, but later, with the dawn of the internet and a meme that spread, the secret was out and people would yell it constantly, sometimes 50 or 60 times a day according to cast members. So sadly, the game ended and the characters no longer freeze when they hear the magic words.
It's not as weird as you might think. It's pretty standard by school film strip standards to have some kind of video that teaches girls about menstruation.
Well, okay, yeah it's pretty weird that Walt Disney would make a movie that was intended to teach young woman about their bodies and their reproductive systems. But it's not that weird that Disney would be interested in making educational films for schools, which is what this was.
The short film was made in 1946 and it is, predictably, outdated. While the biology is correct, it never once mentions the word sex and it only refers to a woman's vagina twice, which is downright Victorian.
It's unclear how many schools used the film or how "popular" the film was at the time, but it's certainly been a hit on the internet with millions of views on YouTube.
Oh - and it was apparently sponsored by Kotex.
Steve Martin is a legend. Comedian, magician, world-class banjo player, beloved American. And there is nothing more American than working at Disney, right? Martin worked in the most appropriate place for him as well, the Magic Shop, where they sell magic tricks, joke books and all kinds of things that might have worked their way into his early standup bits, like rubber chickens and arrows through the head.
During his time in the park, Martin credits the legendary Wally Boag, the host of the Golden Horseshoe Revue at Disney as one of his earliest and biggest influences. It's safe to say, Steve Martin might not be the Steve Martin we all know and love had it not been for his job at Disneyland.
What is the meaning behind "A113?" It first appeared on a license plate in the very first Pixar movie, "Toy Story" and, like actor John Ratzenberger, has appeared in every single Pixar movie since, in one form or another.
So, what do these mysterious numbers mean? Well, they are not a secret code for spies working overseas or a message to aliens monitoring Disney movies. It's nothing quite as dramatic, instead, it's a simple tribute and inside joke by the animators.
A113 was the number of a classroom at the California Institute of the Arts, where a number Pixar animators learned their craft and they started slipping it in as a tribute to that in the early movies and it has now become a good luck charm and an inside joke among those that work on the films.
It was even made its way into non-Pixar movies. Maybe you can spot in The Avengers or Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes!
It's one of the most famous quotes in United States history. As reporters grilled Nixon about the ongoing Watergate Scandal, President Richard Nixon declared "People ought to know if their President is a crook. Well, I'm not a crook!" The amazing thing about that iconic quote that people don't know is that the press conference was happening at the Contemporary Resort at Walt Disney World on November 17th, 1973.
Seven Presidents have visited Disney World during their terms as President, but only one made a speech like that. It turns out, of course, that Richard Nixon was a crook and less than nine months after he denied being one in Florida, he would resign the Presidency. Still, the only man to ever do that.
Ok, this is not exactly the most well-kept secret and many people know this rumor to be true, but it's still pretty darn cool.
Under The Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World are acres of tubes, tunnels, wires, and rooms. It's how cast members go from place to place within the park, entering and exiting through hidden doorways, called Utilidors.
Underground in these tunnels exists everything needed to run the park above without ruining the "magic" for the guests. The legend goes that Walt Disney got upset while walking around the original Disneyland in California when he saw a cowboy from Frontierland walking back after his shift through Tomorrowland, ruining the illusion the park he was trying to create. Walt's solution? The tunnels.
Walt Disney World is built at sea level in Florida and because of the water table, it's impossible to build much underground where the park is located in Orlando. So the park itself is actually on the second floor, so to speak, with the tunnels technically being the ground floor. It's an impressive feat of engineering, to say the least
In the tunnels, there are electric carts to drive cast members to their designated area, there are break rooms, rehearsal rooms, warm up rooms, cafeterias, basically, everything needed to make the park run. All of the plumbing is exposed to allow for quick maintenance and at the heart of it all is the nerve center of the park, the control room that monitors the cameras and operates many of the rides and other attractions. There is also a pneumatic tube system that captures all the trash from the trash cans above and sends it to the trash compactors and recycling center. That's right, when you throw away your hamburger wrapper, it doesn't go into a bag or anything so mundane, it actually enters a system that sucks it around the park, where it is dealt with appropriately.
Because of this system, there is rarely a reason to break the magic in the park, either by out of place cast members, maintenance men, security guards or even trash collectors.
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