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Unveiling Disney’s darkest secrets

While the jolly company may be perceived as perfect, the truth behind it is shocking

Maggie Pasztor

Staff Writer 

February 12, 2024

Photo courtesy of

Menacing Mice - These unsettling costumes were purportedly what used to greet children at the beloved parks.

Since 1923, the Walt Disney Company’s productions and media have been idolized by millions of kids around the world but what secrets does this corporation have?

With four parks, hundreds of groundbreaking films, and 100 years of historical magic, Disney is cherished by many, but with every corporation, there are secrets they don’t want the public to know. 

The Infamous Underground Tunnels

Originally built for Magic Kingdom, these utility corridors, or utilidors, run beneath what is considered the grounds of the park but have since expanded to under Epcot as well, though the tunnels themselves are smaller. According to Mouseplanet, a recognized source for information on the subject of Disneyland, Walt Disney World, and the Walt Disney Company, Walt Disney himself was strolling through Tomorrowland in Disneyland when he spotted one of his workers dressed as a cowboy going to Frontierland. Apparently, this situation was unacceptable as it stoll away from the experience, as the cowboy did not match Tomorrowland’s futuristic theme. His solution was to build a set of subterranean tunnels under the park, though, after careful consideration, he realized this and implemented these utilidors beneath the park. While these tunnels were the first to arise across the parks, the most famous, and large, set of tunnels runs throughout Magic Kingdom. However, unlike Disneyland utilidors, these tunnels were built at ground level in order to accommodate for the elevated water level of the area, and Magic Kingdom was built above the tunnels. The structure of the park is specifically designed so guests don’t realize they are gradually entering what is considered the second floor of the park, directly above the tunnels.

Since When were Human Skeletons Decoration?

The beloved Pirates of the Caribbean ride has been a favorite to many since 1967 when it was built, with its swashbuckling experience and incredibly well-thought-out set design. However, this set had some aspects that one would not expect in any typical ride. A UK-based science website known as IFLscience shares that the skeleton bones used on the initial set were not fake, and were instead genuine human remains imported from the University of California in Los Angeles. Luckily now with the influence of technology, more accurate plastic models were produced to replace the authentic, eerie bones that encompassed the ride. 

Photo courtesy of WDW Magazine

Say Cheese - This traumatized kid was forced to pose with these creepy critters who seem more interested in him than their trap bait.

The Evolution of Minnie and Mickey’s Costumes

While the Mickey we all know and love now is depicted as friendly and welcoming, the costume concept was not always perceived as so. The costume design in the 1950s was more than creepy, with the characters’ wide eyes, downturned eyebrows, and unsettling grins. According to WDW Magazine, an award-winning media outlet that produces Disney-focused content, the costumes were reused from their original role in Disney Ice Capades to fill this position at the park, without the ice skates of course. Since then, the costumes have evolved so kids are not so terrified, but the impact that the original costumes left has not been forgotten.

Walt Disney Frozen in Ice?

Since Walt Disney’s death due to lung cancer in 1966, rumors have spread as to if he really passed. This conspiracy theory goes as such: Disney was cryogenically frozen within ice, therefore preserving his body so that he could supposedly return in the foreseen future. While this idea was implausible at the time, and may always be, the idea had always fascinated Disney according to the 1985 published biography “Disney’s World" by Leonard Mosley. In this biography Mosley mentioned how interested Disney was in relating to the topic as his health was declining, and that despite his battle with lung cancer, he had his lungs removed in the case that he would need them to be brought back later in life. However, the doctors supposedly only saved parts of the lung for science rather than conserving the organ as a whole, going against Disney’s wishes. Yet another source spreading this enigma was accredited to the 1993 biography titled “Walt Disney: Hollywood's Dark Prince.” This biography further mentioned Disney’s hopes for his body’s preservation via cryogenics. Some sources even went far enough to claim that his real burial spot was a freezer stored beneath the “Pirates of the Caribbean” ride at Disney World including, a credible American public broadcasting service. Though these theories have spread to many, the idea itself has been discredited by many sources, but who knows, maybe rather than Disney being on ice… he is in it.

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