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Top 5 Disney Myths That Won't Go Away

VO: Ashley Bowman
Written by Michael Wynands Everybody loves Mickey Mouse but it looks like he's got a few skeletons in the closet. In this episode of 5 Myths, we're looking at the origin of characters like Donald Duck, Goofy, Minnie, Pluto, Oswald The Rabbit... and also classic disney movies like Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Lion King, Mulan, Beauty and the Beast, Star Wars, and more. Also be on the look out for some surprising myths about Walt Disney, Ub Iwerk, and Disney World. Was Donald Duck Banned in Finland? Can People Be Pronounced Dead In Disney Land? Did Walt Disney Create Mickey Mouse? Find the answers here.

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Written by Michael Wynands

Top 5 Myths About Disney

Enter the House of Mouse, where rumors abound. Welcome to WatchMojo’s Top 5 Myths.
In today’s instalment we’re counting down the top 5 myths about Disney.
One of the biggest myths? The one that Walt Disney was cryogenically frozen - but we already talked all about that in our “Top 10 Myths about American Icons” video.
Fear not mouseketeers - there’s still plenty left for us to debunk on behalf of this Magic Kingdom.

#5: Walt’s Famous Quote: “If You Can Dream It, You Can Do It”

Like any other massive corporation, Disney has weathered its fair share of criticism over the years. But Disney has arguably done a lot of good over the years too - be it their partnership with the Make-A-Wish Foundation, or just their general ability to inspire. Walt Disney’s legacy has kept magic alive for generations of kids, teaching them that anything is possible. The man behind the magic has had numerous inspirational quotes attributed to him over the years, but sadly, many of them were not his own words. This particularly poignant line “If You Can Dream It, You Can Do It”, was actually written by Disney employee Tom Fitzgerald in the 1980s for the Epcot ride “Horizons”. For his part, Fitzgerald has called the misattribution amusing, but flattering.

#4: A Disgruntled Employee Drew A Penis As Part of The Little Mermaid Castle

Disney has frequently been accused of subliminal sexual messages. You’ve got that hard to hear line in “Aladdin”, the reported “S-E-X” in “The Lion King”, and of course, the presence of penises in The Little Mermaid. Did the priest have an erection? No, apparently he just had knobby knees. But the phallic shaped spire of the castle on the theatrical poster and cover is hard to explain. Rumors circulated that it was an intentional move by a disgruntled Disney employee who had received notice of termination. But it wasn’t even a Disney employee who drew the image - the job was outsourced. And according to the artist, it was totally accidental - a result of him rushing to meet a deadline.

#3: Donald Duck Was Banned In Finland For Not Wearing Pants

You may be too young to have remember this one… but according to legend, Donald Duck’s exposed bottom was simply too much to bare for the people of Finland, and so he was banned. It makes for a funny story, but any media outlet that reported this particular incident should be regarded as a bunch of quacks, because Finland never established any such policy. In reality, a local party representative, Mr. Markku Holopainen, simply suggested that the city stop purchasing Donald Duck comics for the community youth centers as a means of cutting costs during an economic downturn. The council agreed. But when elections rolled around in 1978, he was labelled as “the man who banned Donald Duck”, and the media ran with it.

#2: No One Can Be Declared Dead On The Premises

Disney is allegedly so concerned with the reputation of their theme parks that they force paramedics to remove bodies from the grounds before declaring them dead. While Disney likely does everything possible to keep the death toll down, even they don’t have the clout to pull off that sort of arrangement. When someone dies in their theme park, it’s a matter for police and paramedics, just like anywhere else. In some states, paramedics can’t declare death until the body is brought to the hospital - in others, it can be called on-site. Whether or not Disney encourages paramedics to delay that declaration until they’ve left the premises is still hotly debated… but the truth is people have been declared dead within the parks on multiple occasions.

#1: Walt Disney Designed Mickey Mouse

While Walt Disney is credited with the creation of Mickey Mouse, he was not the man to actually design him. After the loss of Oswald the Rabbit to Universal, Walt was desperate for a replacement, and came up with the idea of a mouse named Mortimer. His wife allegedly hated the name, and suggested “Mickey” as a more fitting moniker. He took the concept to Urb Iwerk, who, in 1928, designed the first recognisable iteration of the character we know today, including his trademark shorts with the large buttons, and the circular head and ears. In 1929, the white gloves got added. In 1938, animator Fred Moore made Mickey’s body more pear-shaped and introduced the modern eyes, as well as the skin-toned face.

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