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 Toy Story Nearly Canceled Because It Was Too Dark of a Story?

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

MOVIE URBAN LEGEND: “Toy Story” was nearly canceled because the original script was considered too dark.

In an old Movie Legends Revealed a couple of years ago, I discussed how Pixar accidentally deleted 90% of their work done on “Toy Story 2” nine months into the project. The studio managed to recover from that near disaster, but what is interesting is that there almost came a time when there would not have even been a “Toy Story 2,” because the original “Toy Story” came within two weeks of being canceled by Walt Disney Studios!

Read on to discover why!
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Was Disney’s Beauty and the Beast Re-Tooled Because Belle Wasn’t Enough of a Feminist?

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

MOVIE URBAN LEGEND: An earlier version of “Beauty and the Beast” was scrapped due to Belle not being enough of a feminist heroine.

A peculiar challenge exists when you are writing a film for a large corporation such as Walt Disney Studios is that there are so many executives to answer to on each movie that it is difficult to maintain a cohesive voice for any given film. Therefore, it is unsurprising to note that a number of Disney films have undergone rather dramatic makeovers from their original screenplays. For instance, as we noted in a Movie Legend Revealed from a while back, Elsa in Frozen was originally the villain of that film.

The 1991 Disney classic, “Beauty and the Beast,” however, underwent a more dramatic transformation than most, as the original version of the film was completely scrapped well into the filmmaking process, leading to a completely new film having to be created in less than the normally allotted production time of a Disney animated film. Amazingly enough (in a good way), one of the key areas of contention with the original version of the film was that the heroine of the film wasn’t enough of a feminist!

Read on to see how it all went down!
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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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Did Robin Williams Ad-Lib So Much During Aladdin That the Movie Was Ineligible for a Best Screenplay Academy Award?

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

MOVIE URBAN LEGEND: Robin Williams ad-libbed so much of Aladdin that the movie was rejected for a nomination for an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay.

Tragically, Robin Williams passed away last year at the age of 63. With the sudden passing of such a comedy icon, the internet was filled to the brim with tributes to Williams. Along with these tributes came a number of, for lack of a better term, “lists of interesting facts about Robin Williams.” This is not surprising, of course, as numbered lists have become very popular on the internet. However, I noticed something a bit distressing about these lists – they seem to use a lot of the same “facts” and these facts did not seem to be fact checked at all, instead seemingly going under the theory of “Well, if Site X and Y are reporting it, I guess we can, too.” That’s pretty standard behavior for small independent websites, but I’m talking about this behavior from the Huffington Post and CBS News. Honestly, it looks like writers just pulled things from the Internet Movie Database (IMDB)’s Trivia page and just ran them as facts. The issue, of course, is that these “facts” are user-submitted and are often unsourced, leaving the truth behind them up in the air. One fact I saw repeated a number of times on these lists in the weeks following Williams’ death is that Robin Williams ad-libbed so much of his dialogue as the Genie in Aladdin (a role which ended up causing him a lot of aggravation, as we covered in an old Movie Legends Revealed) that the film was ineligible for an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay.

Is that true?
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How did the Song “Let it Go” in Frozen Save Elsa From Being a Villain?

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

MOVIE/MUSIC URBAN LEGEND: The song “Let it Go” in Frozen saved Elsa from being a villain.

It obviously comes as no surprise to any observers of the film-making process (particularly original stories) that what actually ends up on the screen is a result of a series of edits, evolutions and adjustments to the original story of a film. Just a quick glance at the history of Movie Legends Revealed shows examples like E.T. evolving from a horror film to a family-friendly drama, Godzilla evolving from a giant ape or a giant octopus into his more familiar final form and Darth Vader going from being Anakin Skywalker’s killer to actually BECOMING Anakin Skywalker.

However, Disney’s recent hit film, Frozen, had a particularly interesting inspiration for its evolution – as it turns out, it has a song to thank for altering the villain of the piece, “rescuing” Princess Elsa from being the villain of Frozen. So how did the future hit song “Let it Go” change the entire scope of the film? Let’s find out!
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Did Walt Disney Used to Not Allow Women to be Trained as Animators?

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

MOVIE URBAN LEGEND: Walt Disney used to not allow women to be trained as animators for his company.

A great phrase that is used to refer to societal change is the “new normal,” which is an excellent distillation of the idea that what is “normal” to us is always in a state of change. So while we can look back at the past and pass judgment on how backwards certain viewpoints that were “normal” then, there is a good chance that eighty years from now the people of 2084 will be looking back at 2014 and shaking their heads at some of the things that are currently “normal” in our culture. However, while you can accept that that will always be the case, it doesn’t mean that you still can’t be surprised at what passed for “normal” years ago. You can still be surprised to look at the lengths a movie company had to go through to get the word “damn” into a movie in 1939. And you can still be surprised to see sexist views simply matter-of-factly expressed by a company in their correspondence. That is what we’re examining today, as reader Mark G. wrote in to see if I could authenticate (or debunk) a letter that made the rounds back in 2007 reportedly from 1938 that stated that Walt Disney would not hire any women to train as animators for their films (Meryl Streep famously quoted this letter in a speech about Emma Thompson’s performance in the historical drama about the contestable relationship between Walt Disney and Mary Poppins author PL Travers, Saving Mr. Banks).


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Was the Unrated and Explicit Trailer for Nymphomaniac Accidentally Shown to the Audience of the Animated Film Frozen?

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

MOVIE URBAN LEGEND: The unrated and sexually explicit trailer for Nymphomaniac was accidentally shown to attendees of a showing of the children’s animated film, Frozen.

There is an old journalism adage that goes “everyone reads the false report and no one reads the correction.” This is true to this day, where rarely anyone actually reads the corrections section of a newspaper, but it is an even bigger deal in the era of internet news, where not only does news spread faster, but while a false report in a newspaper might appear in a single edition of a newspaper, false reports on the internet will always remain out there and so when you search for information on the story, the widespread original story is still going to be the one that shows up the most in your searches.

This appears to be the case with the story of how the sexually explicit “red band” trailer for Nymphomaniac was accidentally shown at a movie theater filled with movie goers there to see the Disney animated film Frozen.

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Did Robin Williams Vow to Never Work for Disney Again Over a Dispute Over the Size of the Genie on the Aladdin Movie Poster?

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

MOVIE URBAN LEGEND: Robin Williams vowed never to work for Disney again over a dispute over the size of the genie on the Aladdin movie poster.

Disney’s 1992 film, Aladdin, was a massive blockbuster and a good deal of the success was likely attributable to actor Robin Williams’ inspired performance as the Genie in the film. However, as it turned out, while the film itself was magical, Williams’ experience with Walt Disney Pictures was much less so, to the point where he vowed to not work for Disney again after what he claimed were violations of some interesting conditions he placed upon him performing in the movie, including the size of his character on the posters for the film.

Read on to see what the deal was!
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Did Walt Disney Keep the Actress Who Played Snow White From Taking Other Roles So As To Avoid Ruining the Illusion Behind Snow White?

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

MOVIE URBAN LEGEND: Walt Disney kept the actress who played Snow White under contract for years to keep her from ruining the illusion behind Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs by performing elsewhere.

A common practice that films used to use was to not credit certain voice actors for their performances. Marni Nixon is now famous for doing the singing for the lead female characters in West Side Story, The King and I and My Fair Lady, while not being credited in any of the three films. Similarly, Betty Noyes was not credited for her doing the singing for Debbie Reynolds’ character in the hit film Singin’ in the Rain (as I’ve detailed in a past Movie Legend, that was particularly ironic considering the plot of that film, as Reynolds’ character is hired to do voice dubbing for another character in the film!). In the cases of these uncredited singers, the idea was to not ruin the illusion that stars like Natalie Wood, Deborah Kerr, Audrey Hepburn and Debbie Reynolds were doing their own singing. A similar approach was used by Walt Disney when he began doing feature length animated films with 1937’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Disney did not credit any of the voice actors because he wished to maintain the illusion with their audience that these characters were real. Disney did not credit any voice actors for his next three films, Pinocchio (1940), Dumbo (1941) and Bambi (1942). Finally, in 1943 he began crediting voice actors and Disney films have credited actors ever since. However, with the case of the most famous character from Disney’s earliest films, Snow White, Disney took any even more aggressive position to keep the illusion alive.

But how far did he go? Did he actually prevent the actress who played Snow White from working on other projects to keep the illusion of Snow White alive?
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