If you're someone who watches Disney movies whenever you have a little bit of time off and dream of getting married in Disneyland, or even if you're someone who doesn't care much about what kind of Disney Princess you are, you have to admit that Disney is everywhere.
What started out as an artist's dream in an office that was the size of a broom closet has now turned into one of the biggest media companies to exist in the world. Disney is so present in all of our lives, whether we're watching a princess movie or watching sports and we don't even realize it. Here are some facts about the magical world of Disney and the less magical side of Disney that may surprise you.
15 They Own 1/3 Of The Media
When you think of the Walt Disney Corporation, you probably think of princesses, cartoons, and lovely theme parks, but in reality, they are so much more than that.
While magic and cartoons are the exterior of the company, just a little peEk inside will show you that Disney is slowly taking over the entire country; and later, the entire world. They keep buying different media companies and shoving more content under their belts and we're almost none the wiser. Just recently Disney bought out Fox which means that while we can finally have an Avengers and X-Men crossover movie without infringing on copyright, the diversity of people controlling the media we consume is getting smaller every day. Disney is going to control us all fairly soon.
14 Disney Made A Lot Of WWII Propaganda
Back in the day, classic cartoon icons Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck weren't just made for light entertainment, but were put in the forefront of propaganda films for the Allies in WWII. The U.S. and Canadian governments commissioned Disney to make a bunch of propaganda and military training videos. By the year 1942, around the time the U.S. decided to get involved in the war at all, almost the entirety of the company was employed to making these films instead of the usual kind of Disney movie. Even for the citizens back home, the company animated a few shorts at the beginning of their features to boost morale and encourage an anti-Hitler sentiment. One of the most notable shorts is called "Der Fuehrer's Face" and featured a very familiar Donald Duck, and even won an Academy Award.
13 Disney Sued A Daycare
Yeah, you read that right: Disney, the company that is supposed to bring smiles to children all over the world sued not just one, but three different daycares in 1989. The reason was because these three Florida daycares had giant murals of iconic Disney characters painted on their walls. I can imagine that the people in charge of decorating the daycares were just thinking of ways to put up images of characters that most kids love and identified with, and they were definitely not expecting to get hit with a lawsuit. Sure, Disney does have the right to do this because they own the copyright to all of these images, but is it morally worth it? It's not like a daycare in Florida is going to make hot profits off of having Mickey Mouse on the wall.
12 There Are Some Pretty Racist Characters In The Movies
It's not that much of a secret that Disney has had a pretty sketchy history with racial sensitivity, but you may not have realized quite how bad it is (or was). We have the crows from Dumbo that are obviously offensive caricatures, even having the audacity to have the lead crow be called Jim Crow (really?). The Indians in Peter Pan are always under criticism these days, with good reason. Even in more recent movies, like The Little Mermaid, some of the background fish are portrayed in pretty offensive ways, and even our beloved Sebastian is kinda racist.
While all of these are pretty shameful, Disney has kept them in the movies. Then there's the black centaur in Fantasia that was literally cut out of the later version of the film. They're really trying to forget their mistakes over thinking that making a shoe-shining, dark-skinned centaur was a good idea without actually owning up to it.
11 Disney Park Ticket Prices Increase Each Year
Starting a new year is hard enough with having to deal with a holiday hangover and seasonal depression in January, and it doesn't help to know that it's about time for Disney theme park prices to increase. Every year—except for 1976, 1977, and 1989—Disney has increased the price of daily admission tickets to their theme parks. If you think about it, Disney is really just contributing to the capitalist machine. Sure, inflation makes prices go up in general every year, but wages have been stagnant for decades, so it's like we have to pay more for the same thing while still only having the same amount of income. It's not like Disney isn't making enough money to keep their ticket prices the same every year; they literally own half the country by now, but corporate greed can never be satisfied
10 Disney World Is One Of The Largest Employers In The U.S.
Just like all the other large companies that have made a monopoly on the media and the workforce, Disney employs a whopping 195,000 people. Just in Walt Disney World alone, there are 62,000 employees, or as they call them "cast members," making it the largest single-site employer, and the biggest production, in the entire country. That's just wild. Disney World has become so large and such an important part of American culture, that it's become this integral to the economy of Florida and really the U.S. as a whole.
There are 62,000 people who are working for a decent wage making sure that the Magic Kingdom stays magical throughout. At least if you work for Disney you'll know that the company is always going to be doing fine since Disney is pretty much in charge of everything in the country.
9 They Own A Town, And It's Creepily Perfect
The idea of a utopian and aesthetically perfect community that's right next to Disney World may seem like a dream on paper, but the reality is a little less amazing. You might have heard of Celebration, Florida, which is a Disney passion project, trying to create the most Disney-esque town that is actually livable. If you're really into Disney, you might think that this town could be your jam, but when you look past the aesthetically pleasing storefronts, you can see that it's not at all as it seems.
For one, the Neighborhood Association is so strict and there are so many rules that you must follow to keep the appearance of the town pristine — you can get fined for leaving your Christmas lights up a day later than is allowed. It's also built to be like a small town, which means that everyone in town is always up in everyone's business, which is never fun.
8 The 'Pirates of the Caribbean' Ride Has A Real Human Skull
The Pirates of the Caribbean ride is one of the most popular rides for its amazing design and look. If you haven't been on it, it's basically a nice boat ride that gets hijacked by pirates and it takes you on a spooky pirate ride after that — skull, crossbones, and everything.
One of the things that makes Disney rides so special is their insane attention to detail and beautifully designed rides. This is no exception for the Pirates ride. In fact, it might look too real at some points because it is real. That's right, there are some skeleton props that are actual human bones. Back in the day when fake skeleton making wasn't as accurate as it is nowadays, Disney opted to use some real skeletons from the nearby university to use as props. Nowadays most of the bones have gotten a proper burial and have been replaced with fake skeletons, but the skull hanging above the bed in the treasure room is actually real.
7 Several People Have Died At Disney Parks
Most people think of Disneyland and Disney World as perfect places where nothing could go wrong, but in fact, there have been quite a few times where things have gone wrong, even deadly.
There are a few incidents where people have failed to follow safety procedures and ended up hurt or even dead. In 1966, there was a guy who was trying to sneak into the park by way of the Monorail. Since this is a vehicle that cannot stop instantly, he was hit by an oncoming train and his body was then dragged a good 30-40 feet. There were also two instances where people died from the Matterhorn ride at Disneyland. Both ended up dying after falling out or being ejected out of their bobsled. And surprise, neither of them wore seatbelts. While there have been some tragedies at Disney, it hasn't been the fault of the park, but by stupid people who couldn't follow simple instructions.
6 They Are Using Some Seriously Advanced Technology
It turns out that some of the attractions at Disney use power that compares to a lot of facilities that create the most advanced technology. Like, more than a lot of actual scientific institutions that solely focuses on technological advancement. For example, Epcot's Mission: Space attraction needs more computer power than NASA's real space shuttle. Just think about that —a ride at an amusement park requires more power than something that would be actually launched into space. Do you know how far space is?! Do you know how much power you need to launch and run a whole space shuttle? The fact that a ride that only emulates space needs more power to function than the real thing is pretty wild to me. It makes me wonder if Disney is making their own rocket to launch in the future. It could happen, anything is possible at Disney.
5 There Have Been Criminal Employees
You may not have heard about this much on the news, but since 2006 there have been at least 35 Disney World employees who have been arrested on charges of child pornography or other similar crimes. Just in 2017 after a giant sting operation, two more Disney employees have been arrested. This is pretty alarming considering the amount of interaction with children on a daily basis at Disney World and it may require stronger background checks of prospective employees in the future. None of the crimes seem to have happened on Disney World property, but it is still extremely scary to find that many people involved in such abhorrent behavior. Hopefully Disney is doing as much as they can to prevent the next predator joining in the ranks of the Disney crew.
4 The Most Expensive Movies Of All Time Are All Disney
Since it's no secret that Disney just sits on huge piles of money, it doesn't come to that much of a surprise that the title for most expensive movie ever made goes to a Disney film. It also helps that Disney owns more of the world's media every day so that one day, every movie will be a Disney movie, but that's for another conversation.
The most expensive movie budget ever is Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End at over $300 million. The second largest budget was for another Disney classic, Tangled, at $260 million. We've come so far as a society to warrant putting that much money into a single film, but as we see from the future, it pays off for the most part. But still, that is just so much money.
3 Walt Disney Was Part Of An Anti-Communist Group
The Cold War was a weird time in American history and it turns out that a lot of the iconic figures in history were caught up in all of it, even if they weren't exactly known for their politics. Such can be said for Walt Disney, who was part of a group called the Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation of American Ideals, which was a conservative group of people in the film industry who were trying to protect the industry, and the country, from communist infiltration. This just screams 100% McCarthyism. They were the ones responsible with calling people in the film industry out for being communists to Congress. As you can imagine, it ended up being pretty anti-Semitic, which proves that your historical fave is extremely problematic.
2 The 'Pirates' Ride May Be Haunted
Having a real human skull as part of the decor isn't the only messed up thing about this attraction. There is apparently a ghost named George who haunts the Pirates of the Caribbean ride ever since the worker named George died in an accident in the '70s while building the ride. They say a steel beam fell on him during construction, and ever since he's always been apart of the ride. While George hasn't been officially recognized as a haunt by Disney, people who work at the park believe he exists. Every once in a while, he'll let his presence be known by some footsteps or a mysterious call from no one. Workers will also say, "Goodnight, George," before shutting down the ride each night.
1 They Prevented Others From Making Colored Films
We may take colored films for granted today, but when the technology first came out it was a big deal. It's too bad for people who weren't Disney back then, though, because for a few years Disney owned all the rights to Technicolor—the process for creating colored movies at the time—which prevented other studios from making color movies. Even today we hear of artists patenting certain colors or techniques to prevent anyone else from using them, and that's a pretty d**k move. In Disney's case, that is also a total d**k move, but I can see how it really got them able to move ahead of the game. If his movies were the only ones in color, then they had to have stood out quite a bit against the rest. As a business move, it was genius but as an ethical thing it was pretty rude.