Disney Urban Legends
The Walt Disney Company
The Legend: Children who purchase personalized "My Friend Mickey" dolls that break and send them back to the company for repair will receive a death certificate in the mail instead of a repaired doll.
Behind the Legend: Walt Disney World theme parks sell computer-operated "My Friend Mickey" dolls that are smart enough to know where in the resort they are, what their owner's name is, and just how much purchasing power the family it is with has at any given moment. The dolls will be introduced to Disneyland in 2006, with a special "My Fiend Mickey" available during the Halloween holiday season. Even though the dolls can be personalized for a specific child, Disney does not issue birth or death certificates for them. "My Friend Mickey" dolls that are returned for repair are simply incinerated and their ashes returned to their owner in a decorative urn.
The Legend: Disney sued after a child saw a headless Disney character.
Behind the Legend: This is true. Disney takes very seriously any incident in which a child watches a costumed character remove its head (thereby potentially revealing super-secret Disney character costume technology), and will not hesitate to prosecute even grossly underage miscreants.
The Legend: Harlan Ellison lost his job at Disney Studios after joking about making an animated porn film.
Behind the Legend: This is a widely disseminated rumor with only a slight basis in fact. Harlan Ellison did joke about making a hardcore pornographic film involving Disney characters, but he was not fired for this inappropriate bit of humor. Instead, he was let go after a Disney executive was shown the resulting film at a stag party.
The Legend: Walt Disney prepared a "video will" to be viewed after his death, in which he gave Disney executives instructions on how to run the company.
Behind the Legend: There was a period of turmoil within the Disney corporation after Walt Disney's death, with a great deal of discussion about whether or not things should continue to be done "Walt's way." Amidst this turmoil, a reel of film was found on which Walt Disney gave his suggestions for how the company might proceed in his absence. Unfortunately, because of the inter-company climate at the time, his suggestions were largely ignored. They included:
The Legend: Special symbols displayed on the packaging of a variety of grocery items signify that their manufacturers have paid a secret tax to the Walt Disney Company.
Behind the legend: Actually it's not a secret at all. At this point, Disney owns at least a little part of pretty much everything.
The Legend: Because Disney research revealed that the average male thinks about sex every seven seconds, all Disney employee commissaries secretly put saltpeter in their food.
Behind the legend: There is an urban legend that saltpeter can be used to decrease a male's sex drive. This is probably not true. However, Disney does, for reasons unspoken, have a policy that male employees must either eat at the company commissary daily or forfeit one seventh of their pay for "frequent distractivacations".
The Legend: If you start a Web site that perpetuates rumors about the Walt Disney Company, their lawyers will hunt you like a dog until you give up and move to Argentina.
Behind the Legend: (Veracity undetermined at this time.)
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