Disney Urban Legends
The Legend: A baby left in a Doom Buggy by forgetful parent died on the Haunted Mansion.
Behind the Legend: Guests frequently leave items behind when they exit Disneyland rides and Attractions. Although it is true that three or four times a year guests forget to take their children with them when leaving the Haunted Mansion, the children are always discovered by cleaning crews during the night and returned to their rightful home or another home of equal value.
The Legend: The Haunted Mansion Doom Buggies often stop to give handicapped people a chance to enter ride vehicles.
Behind the Legend: Not true. When someone needs to (for example) transfer from a wheelchair to a Doom Buggy, the ride is not stopped but slowed down. This was originally known as putting the ride in "creep" mode, but that was changed to "slow" mode because some disabled people objected to being called creeps, and then to "disabled" and finally to "bonus" mode for the same reason.
The ride does stop with annoying frequency, but that is because members of the maintenance staff, scurrying around in near darkness to keep things looking neat both on and off stage, have a tendency to accidentally trip over the cord and pull the plug out of the wall.
The Legend: Black cats are routinely sacrificed in the Haunted Mansion by Satanic cults while the ride is closed for its annual transformation into Haunted Mansion Holiday.
Behind the Legend: Whether this is literally true or not is a matter of how one defines "routinely," "sacrificed," and "Satanic." For example, if "routinely" means "all the time," "sacrificed" means "more than just tourtured at length," and "Satanic" means something other than "Walt Disney Company upper management," then the statement is false. Also, some of the cats aren't black.
The Legend: A baby was born on the Haunted Mansion. In honor of the event, Disney gave the family free passes to Disneyland for life.
Behind the Legend: Not true. Although a baby was indeed born on the Haunted Mansion in August of 1966 (in Madam Leota's room, to be exact), the family only received passes to go on the Haunted Mansion as often as they liked free of charge. They still have to pay to get into the park. This shows the penny-pinching nature of some of Disneyland's management, as does the fact that, as soon as the baby was born, a manager demanded that it purchase an admission ticket.
The Legend: The Haunted Mansion closed for a time after a guest suffered a fatal heart attack.
Behind the Legend: The Haunted Mansion is so horribly frightening (particularly the lawnmower scene with its animatronic body parts and rivers of blood) that it has taken the lives of dozens of weak-hearted guests throughout the years. However, the Mansion has never been closed because of one of these deaths -- Disney just increases the "happy haunts" count and keeps on going.
The Legend: A woman once had a terrifying dream that stopped her from dying on the Haunted Mansion.
Behind the Legend: Believe it or not, this one is true. In 1973, an 80-year-old woman, the night before her first trip to Disneyland, had a dream that she was back in high school but couldn't remember where her class was even though it was final exam day, and to top it all off she had forgotten to study or put on clothes.
The next day at Disneyland, she saw the Haunted Mansion and refused to go on it because it reminded her of a crabby old man's house that she had to walk past on the way to school as a child. Only days later, the woman had a physical exam and it was found that she had a weak heart. The doctor agreed that, had she gone on the Haunted Mansion, she would have had a heart attack and died like so many had died on the attraction before (see previous legend).
The Legend: One of the singing busts in the Haunted Mansion is Walt Disney.
Behind the Legend: Correct. The others are Leslie Nielson, Buddy Ebsen, and James Stewart.
The Legend: The hearse in front of the Haunted Mansion is the actual horse-drawn hearse used to carry Brigham Young's body to its grave.
Behind the Legend: This could not possibly be true, since Brigham Young is still alive (albeit old, brittle, and subsisting primarily on vitamins, pure water, and bizarre rituals). He lives a quiet, solitary life in an anonymous mausoleum, surrounded by the dusty caskets of his wives.
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