How the French Navy Saved the Eiffel Tower From Destruction

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends related to architecture and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the architecture urban legends featured so far.

ARCHITECTURE URBAN LEGEND: The French Navy saved the Eiffel Tower from being destroyed.

One of the most famous man-made structures in the world is the Eiffel Tower, the wrought iron tower in Paris, France, built over a period of 1887-1889 by the firm of Gustave Eiffel, who designed the tower and whose name is now attached to the structure.

It was highly controversial at the time, since, for many years, it was the tallest man-made structure in the world and, well, a lot of French artists weren’t thrilled with its design, so imagine not liking a design and seeing it as THE TALLEST STRUCTURE in the world? That would drive you nuts, right? But anyhow, people got on board fairly soon and its fame was fairly cemented.

However, what was NOT cemented was the tower itself. Learn about how it was saved from destruction in the early 20th Century!
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Does Disney Give Free Tickets for Life to Any Baby Born in a Disney Theme Park?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends related to amusement parks and whether they are true or false.

AMUSEMENT PARK URBAN LEGEND: Disney gives free tickets for life to any baby born in a Disney theme park.

Disney’s “Golden Pass” program (originally “Gold Pass”) is a fun little program that Disney has that allows access for free to nearly all Disney theme parks to its recipients (the only exception are the Japanese Disney parks, which are not owned by Disney). The recipients range from foreign dignitaries to “Disney Legends” like Sterling “Winnie the Pooh” Holloway and Adriana “Snow White” Caselotti. It also includes “normal” people like Dave MacPherson, the first paying customer at Disneyland back in 1956 and also, more recently, the two billionth Disney theme park customer, Emmalee Mason.

Here’s one once owned by TV producer Jack Wrather (who financed the first Disneyland hotel back in the day when Walt Disney’s credit line ran dry during the construction of Disneyland)…

Legend is that they ALSO give Golden Passes to babies that are born in Disney theme parks. Is that true?
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Was Cinderella’s Castle at Disney World Designed to Have a Secret Apartment Inside for Walt Disney?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends related to amusement parks and whether they are true or false.

AMUSEMENT PARK URBAN LEGEND: Cinderella’s Castle was designed with a secret apartment inside for Walt Disney’s personal use.

In the an earlier edition of Amusement Park Urban Legends Revealed, I discussed an urban legend involving Cinderella’s Castle at Magic Kingdom in Florida’s Disney World. Now here’s another one!

Walt Disney had a secret apartment in Disneyland in the Main Street Firehouse. So when designs were made for Magic Kingdom in Florida, did Disney want a similar apartment built in Cinderella’s Castle?
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Where Did the Liberty Bell in Magic Kingdom’s Liberty Square Come From?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends related to amusement parks and whether they are true or false.

AMUSEMENT PARK URBAN LEGEND: The Liberty Bell in Liberty Square in the Magic Kingdom is from a series of 50 replicas made of the Liberty Bell for the Bi-Centennial.

In Liberty Square in the Magic Kindom, there is a replica of the Liberty Bell…

Here’s how the story goes:

In 1976, 50 replicas were cast and molded in honor of our country’s 200th birthday. Each state would receive one and place it in a spot of their choice. However, the state of Pennsylvania had a problem. They already had the original Liberty Bell in Philadelphia. Why would they want a replica? Years later, Walt Disney World realized Pennsylvania had the replica and asked if they could have it for Liberty Square. Pennsylvania agreed and on July 4th, 1989 the replica Liberty Bell was hoisted and lowered into its permanent spot inside Liberty Square at the Magic Kingdom where it still sits today. Florida remains the only state with two of the 50 replica Liberty Bells.

Is that true?
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Did a Mute Man Speak for the First Time in Over Five Years After Riding the Cyclone?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends related to amusement parks and whether they are true or false.

AMUSEMENT PARK URBAN LEGEND: A man who had been mute for over five years spoke after riding the Cyclone.

Built in 1927, Coney Island’s Cyclone roller coaster is one of the most famous roller coasters in the history of roller coasters…

It had its perhaps most famous testimonial to its greatness in 1949 when a West Virginian coal miner named Emilio Franco rode the coaster.
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Is Cinderella’s Castle at Disney World Designed to be Able to be Broken Down in the Event of a Hurricane?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends related to amusement parks and whether they are true or false.

AMUSEMENT PARK URBAN LEGEND: Cinderella’s Castle at Disney World is designed to be able to be broken down in the event of a hurricane.

Cinderella’s Castle is a major tourist attraction at both the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World….

AND in Tokyo Disneyland…

For something as fairly straightforward as Cinderella’s castle, it sure has drawn a lot of untrue stories over the years.

The simplest false story about the castle is the notion that bricks are involved in the building of the castle. That’s just plainly untrue – it’s just made to LOOK like brick and stones are used to make it.

However, an explanation for what it REALLY is made out of is also off the mark a bit, as well. The castle is often described as being made out of fiberglass (besides, of course, the concrete and steel foundation). While there ARE fiberglass aspects to the castle, the majority of the castle is instead made out of fiberglass-ESQUE material, specifically it is carbon fiber reinforced gypsum plaster. As you might imagine, “it’s made out of fiberglass” is a lot easier to relay than “it’s made out of carbon fiber reinforced gypsum plaster,” which would explain the confusion.

A story about Cinderella’s Castle that is even more fanciful is the notion that the castle is designed so that it could be taken apart in case of a hurricane, as Orlando is certainly susceptible to hurricanes.
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Did Some Riders on the Simpsons Ride in Universal Studios Once Unexpectedly Get Doused With Vegetable Oil?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends related to amusement parks and whether they are true or false.

AMUSEMENT PARK URBAN LEGEND: Riders of The Simpsons Ride at Universal Studios Orlando were unexpectedly doused with vegetable oil during a ride!

After a long and popular tenure at Universal Studios (both Orlando AND Hollywood branches), Back to the Future: The Ride became a thing of, well, you know…

It was replaced by what has become one of the most popular amusement park rides of all-time, The Simpsons Ride.

The Simpsons, as they are wont to do, even made self-referential fun of the fact that they are replacing Back to the Future, with a video that plays as people wait on lie that works in Doc Brown from Back to the Future…

Christopher Lloyd even voices Doc Brown for the short video (which features Professor Frink going back in time to try to stop Krustyland from taking over from Doc Brown’s Institute of Future Technology, only to inadvertently CAUSE the ruination of the Institute, allowing Krusty to take over).

The ride was the fastest ride to ever reach one million customers, which it achieved in July of 2008, only months after opening in May of 2008.

However popular it was, fans of the rides were likely NOT fans of something that happened on June 13th of 2008.
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Was Disneyland’s First Opening So Screwed Up That They Pretended It Didn’t Happen for More Than a Decade?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends related to amusement parks and whether they are true or false.

AMUSEMENT PARK URBAN LEGEND: The Opening Day of Disneyland was so fraught with problems that for a decade or so Walt Disney did not acknowledge it as the park’s actual opening.

Every year, on July 17th, workers at Disneyland (at least the “cast members” or whatever the heck they call the people who interact with the public) wear buttons stating how many years it was since Disneyland opened its doors on July 17th, 1955.

However, that Sunday was such a disaster that for over a decade, Disney did not even acknowledge that day AS the opening day for the park!
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