Here Are 25 Disney Facts That Will Surprise You

Without a doubt, there are millions of Disney fans all over the world, and I’m pretty sure all of you have got at least one Disney addict among your friends. Who knows, maybe you’re a Disney fan yourself! But no matter how many times you’ve seen Disney’s classics and no matter how many trips you’ve made to Disneyworld, I’m pretty sure there are several curious facts that your Disney that you’ve never heard of. After all, it’s been 82 years since Disney’s first feature-length film and 63 years since Disneyworld opened its doors! There’s a lot of Disney trivia to catch up on, so here’s a list of 25 mindblowing Disney facts that will definitely surprise you. Don’t miss #11, #4, and #2!

Photo: Courtesy of Still Real To Us

#25. Feral Cat Colony

We all know that Disneyland is full of humans dressed in our favorite Disney animal characters, such as BambiDonald DuckMickey Mouse, and Dumbo. However, it turns out that there are real animals as well.

Photo: Courtesy of Oklahoma Humane Society

This famous theme park is also home to a colony of feral cats, nicknamed “cats members”, which allegedly help control certain pests. Disney hired a team of veterinarians in order to keep these little fellas healthy, and all of them carry an ear tag.

#24. Sister Summit

Without a doubt, Anna and Elsa, the main characters from the 2013 movie Frozen, came to be one of Disney’s favorite characters ever. And as you may know, in the movie, both of them are sisters. And when the film was still being written, the chief creative officer came up with a brilliant idea.

Photo: Courtesy of Variety

As part of the brainstorm for the movie’s script, Disney Animation organized a Sister Summit for women, so that the girls would share stories on how it was like to have sisters. According to the director of Frozen, Jennifer Lee, this project “really helped the movie“.

#23. Alicia Keys’ Auditions

Those of you who saw Princess and the Frog were probably amazed by Anika Noni Rose’s interpretation of Princess Tiana. But did you know that several famous and iconic stars competed for that role? Can you guess who?

Photo: Courtesy of GRAMMY.com

Some of the famous actresses who auditioned for the role include Tyra Banks, Jennifer Hudson, and Beyonce. However, singer Alicia Keys was the most persistent of all, since according to the casting director Jen Rudin, she auditioned three times. I guess she really wanted that part!

#22. The Cinderella Fountain

What’s makes Disneyworld so impressive is the amount of effort and creativity put into every tiny detail, including this Cinderella Fountain in Fantasyland. I know what you’re thinking: what’s so amazing about a fountain?

Photo: Courtesy of Best Life

Well, this fountain has been designed in such a way that when adults look straight ahead at it, what they’ll see is a sullen representation of the famous Disney princess looking towards the floor. However, when children look up at it, they’ll see the princess with a crown on her head. Next time, duck down and verify it yourself!

#21. Dumbo On Times Magazine

Released in 1941, Dumbo was Disney’s fourth feature-length film, only after Snow WhiteFantasia, and Pinocchio. The movie soon became the talk of the town, and it was such a hit that the Time magazine wanted to name the elephant the “mammal of the year” and almost chose Dumbo as its front cover.

Photo: Courtesy of Variety

Unfortunately, the release of the movie had bad timing, since shortly after its release, on December 1941, the Pearl Harbor attack took place. Thus, the staff decided that the magazine’s front cover had to be centered on Pearl Harbor rather than a Disney movie.

#20. Snow White’s Honorary Oscar

1937 was a turning point in the history of animation, as it was the year in which Disney’s first feature-length film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, was released. Even though a few other animated films were produced during the 20s and early 30s, Snow White is considered the first film of modern animation.

Photo: Courtesy of Film

But what people don’t know is that two years later, in 1939, Walter Disney received an honorary Oscar for this movie, in the form of a full-sized Oscar statuette together with seven smaller ones in a row. The award was given on behalf of the film’s significant screen innovation and its contribution to the motion picture cartoon.

#19. Who Sang The Snowman Song?

Without a doubt, Let It Go is one of the best and most catchy Disney songs ever made, but let’s not forget that Frozen is filled with great other great lyrics. One of the cutest songs in the movie is Do You Wanna Build A Snowman?, sung by Elsa’s sister, Anna. But do you know who else sings in this song?

Photo: Courtesy of Genius

The artists behind the film’s music were songwriters Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, who are a couple in real life. One of their daughters, Katie, happens to be the little girl who sings the first verse of this song as young Anna.

#18. Chatting With The Creatives

I’m pretty sure that every kid’s dream is to meet with any of the so-called Imagineers who come up with Disneyworld’s attractions. In fact, I’m pretty sure that everyone who’s ever been to the park has left with several questions regarding how some of the magic happens.

Photo: Courtesy of Best Life

Well, it turns out that your dream may come true! Disneyworld offers the Dine with an Imagineer program, where you can have lunch and chat with one of Disney’s creatives and learn about what goes on behind the scenes. Of course, this will cost you some bucks, but it’s worth the spend!

#17. Magic Kingdom Underground Floor

Famous for its majestic Cinderella Castle, the Magic Kingdom is probably the most famous – and first – of all of Disneyworld’s parks. But did you know that underneath the Magic Kingdom lies a series of tunnels for cast members and crew to transport through the park?

Photo: Courtesy of Still Real To Us

However, what’s even more impressive is that these tunnels, called utilidors, were actually built on the ground level. This means that the Magic Kingdom was built as a second floor on top of all these tunnels. The reason behind this is Florida’s high water table and its constant heavy rainfalls.

#16. Epcot, The Model Community

Epcot is one of Disney’s most iconic parks, famous for its giant-sized golf ball. But do you know what its name stands for? It sounds creepy, but it’s an acronym for Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow. Why the name, you may wonder?

Photo: Courtesy of Orlando

Originally, Walt Disney planned Epcot to be a model community. His plan was to build a small city home to 20,000 people, and that would feature shopping areas, restaurants, theaters, and much more. The craziest part is that this model town was meant to be constructed in a climate-controlled setting. Obviously, everyone soon realized that this project was too futuristic, not to say unrealistic.

#15. The Last Film Approved By Walt

It is widely known that The Jungle Book was the last Disney film made before Walt Disney’s death in December 1966. Even though it was released in 1967, the movie had already been completed by the time Disney passed away.

Photo: Courtesy of Talk Film Society

However, while The Jungle Book was being made, there were a few other movies that were approved by Walt Disney himself, but that were created, produced and released after his death. The Aristocats was the last movie approved by the famous animator, so it’s the last Disney movie to include “A Walt Disney production” in its credits.

#14. Animals On Set

One of the reasons why Walt Disney’s films were so successful was that the animator went to great lengths to get things right. For instance, to make the animals in his films look authentic and realistic, he took live animals to the studio.

Photo: Courtesy of Scoopnest

So, for instance, during the production of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, rabbits, horses, and even skunks were taken to the studio for the animators to study and observe their movements. Similarly, during the production of the 1942 classic Bambi, two beautiful fawns were brought into the studio.

#13. Lady And The Tramp Spaghetti Scene

When Disney released The Lady and the Tramp in 1953, little did they know that the film would give birth to one of the most iconic scenes in the history of cinema. Of course, we’re talking about the scene in which both dogs accidentally eat the same piece of spaghetti and end up kissing.

Photo: Courtesy of YouTube

But the craziest part is that Walter Disney wasn’t a fan of this scene, and he even deleted it from the first storyboards. According to studio archivist Steven Vagnini, Disney believed that this scene would be too difficult for the audience to understand. Fortunately, directing animator Frank Thomas managed to change Disney’s mind.

#12. They Know Everything

One of the things that children most like about Disneyworld are the real-life people dressed in some of Disney’s most famous and adored characters. Even though signing signatures and pretending to be a cartoon seems like a piece of cake, it’s actually far from that. Disney staff and cast members go through extensive training to provide a high-quality service to the children (and the adults as well!).

Photo: Courtesy of Best Life

This training includes some very specific rules. For example, people must use two fingers at all times when giving directions. But the funniest rule of all is that cast members are not allowed to reply “I don’t know” when a tourist asks them something, no matter the question.

#11. Scent Machine

There is no doubt that Disneyworld is full of wonders, but these guys took things to another level. Science has proven that your sense of smell is directly linked to your emotions, and this led Disney’s Imagineers to add an olfactory element to the theme park.

Photo: Courtesy of Best Life

Believe it or not, the park uses a scent machine called Smellitzer to engage your senses. So next time you walk along Main Street, you’ll notice that there’s a strong popcorn scent, despite the fact that there are no popcorn trucks. This is just one example, but there are many other scents in different points of the park. How amazing is that?

#10. Fairytale Wedding At Cinderella Castle

Who said you have to be a member of a royalty to get married in a castle? Even though you can choose to get married in several different spots in Disneyworld, the best and most picturesque place of all is, without a doubt, the iconic Cinderella Castle in the Magic Kingdom.

Photo: Courtesy of abeautifulceremony.net

This Cinderella-style wedding can also include riding Cinderella’s horse-drawn coach, together with fireworks, other Disney characters, and much more! Sure, it will cost a lot, but think how magical it’ll be! You can also get married in the adjacent Wedding Pavilion, which was designed by Disney’s Imagineers so that guests can see the Cinderella Castle through the stained-glass windows next to the altar.

#9. Mickey The Hollywood Star

Mickey Mouse is not only the greatest and most iconic Disney star of all times, but he’s also a major Hollywood star! In 1978, on the 50th anniversary of the invention of Mickey, he had his own star placed on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Photo: Courtesy of Best Life

This was a historic event, as he became the first animated character to have his own star placed in Hollywood. Forty years later, in 2018, Minnie joined Mickey on the same strip with her own bronze star. Isn’t that sweet?

#8. Bambi, The Marine Corps Inspector

All of you who have seen Bambi will probably agree that Bambi is one of the most adorable and innocent creatures in animated history. But what do we know about the actor who voiced him, Donnie Dunagan?

Photo: Courtesy of Goodfellow Air Force Base

Dunagan was just a little child when he played Bambi, but he grew up to be a U.S. Marine Corps drill instructor. Allegedly, he kept his career as a child actor a secret during his 25-year military career. Who would’ve thought?

#7. Drawbridge At Sleeping Beauty’s Castle

One of the most amazing things about Disneyworld is its fairytale-like architecture, decoration, and design. However, not all of its architecture is just for show. Believe it or not, the drawbridge that lies in front of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle actually works!

Photo: Courtesy of Blog Mickey

Many people believe the bridge only serves decoration purposes, and the reason behind this is probably that it has only been used twice. It was first used the day the park opened back in 1955, and for a second and last time during an opening ceremony of the redesigned Fantasyland in 1983.

#6. Plastic Straw Ban

If you’re planning a Disney trip in the near future, you should know that there are several items that are forbidden inside the park’s premises. Though many of these forbidden items are obvious (knives, for example), some of them may come as a big surprise.

Photo: Courtesy of BBC

In the Animal Kingdom, plastic straws and balloons are strictly forbidden, for the animals’ safety. Just recently, the Walt Disney Company has announced its plan of banning single-use plastic straws in all of its locations and not just the Animal Kingdom, to help reduce the environmental impact.

#5. Mickey Rabbit

Mickey Mouse is probably the most famous character in Disney’s history, but little do people know that the animator’s first creation was Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. Disney created 27 animated short films about this rodent during the early 1920s, but in 1928, Universal Studios claimed the rights of this cartoon.

Photo: Courtesy of Best Life

After losing his characters to Universal, Disney decided to create another character, but this time he came up with a mouse called Mickey. Sound familiar? If you think about it, Mickey and Oswald have several similarities, don’t they?

#4. The Rock-Star Vultures

As I said, The Jungle Book was the last Disney film to be released before Walt’s death. But here’s a fun fact you probably didn’t know: during the making of the movie, the filmmakers came up with the crazy idea of The Beatles making a cameo appearance. But how?

Photo: Courtesy of Pinterest

Well, the four vultures that appear in the film were meant to be played by The Beatles. In fact, these characters were created so that they shared the bandmember’s hairstyles. Sadly, The Beatles weren’t able to get on board due to scheduling issues. What a shame! How cool would that have been?

#3. The Largest Park In The World

It’s widely known that Disneyworld is the largest theme park in history. But how big is it, exactly? Well, you’d be surprised to know that the Walt Disney World Resort is practically the same size than San Francisco, a city home to nearly 1 million people.

Photo: Courtesy of 800 Noticias

Let’s talk numbers. The Disneyworld resort covers an area of 40 square miles, only 10 miles smaller than San Francisco. It’s also twice the size of the island of Manhattan. It’s way bigger than Disneyland, too, which is only 0.13 square miles. Impressive, right?

#2. Disney And Dali

Can you imagine how a film made by surrealist painter Salvador Dali and iconic animator Walter Disney would be like? Well, wonder no more, because it happens to be that these two legends teamed up to create a six-minute one-reel called Destino.

Photo: Courtesy of parks & rides

This short film tells the story of Chronos, a personification of time, who falls in love with a mortal woman, and the two travel through different works of art created by Dali. This film was discovered in 1999 by Disney’s nephew, Roy Disney, the reason for which it was first released in 2003.

#1. Mickey And Minnie, A Real-Life Couple

Now here’s a fact that will definitely leave you shook: did any of you know that the real-life actors of Mickey and Minney Mouse were married in real life? Wayne Allwine, who voiced Mickey Mouse for over 30 years, and Russi Taylor, the woman who voiced Minnie, were a happy longlasting couple.

Photo: Courtesy of Orlando-Florida.net

Allwine and Taylor met in a hallway, right when she was heading to work on the 1988 musical TV special Totally Minnie. One year later they began dating, and they got married in 1991. They were together for nearly 20 years until Allwin passed away in 2009.

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    Hernán Tamargo

    Teacher. Political Scientist. Writer. Feminist... and much more!

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