A man with a controversial past and some fascinating quirks, Walt Disney and his creations have been captivating the world for decades. Fittingly, some of these facts are just plain strange. Here are 5 interesting tidbits about the man who brought so much joy to so many (and none to some).
1. He Lived in a Disneyland Apartment
Well, sort of. For a time after Disneyland was built, Walt Disney was so smitten with watching the patrons enjoying themselves that he ended up keeping an apartment on Main Street in the beloved theme park. It remains as it was, save for some minor changes in décor, and there has even been rumours of it being haunted with Walt’s ghost – employees of Disneyland have reported seeing the light turn on after hours and a shadowy figure behind the curtain; now the light is left on as a tribute to Disney. Or maybe some people were just freaked out.
2. He Was Weird About Hot Dogs
Apparently, Walt Disney placed trash cans twenty-five steps away from hot dog stands at his theme park, because that’s exactly how long it took him to finish his hot dog on his way to throw out the wrapper. His housekeeper was also instructed to keep a stash of hot dogs on hand lest he face deprivation, and his famous character Mickey Mouse uttered his very first words in 1929: “Hot dog!”
3. He Was a Hypocrite About Facial Hair
Walt Disney did not allow employees to have any facial hair, which isn’t necessarily the strangest policy (albeit a bit particular), but his guests were not even allowed to have facial hair. If a male guest were to sport a beard, mustache, or even long hair they would have been removed from the park, even though Walt Disney himself had a moustache for years. Same went for halter tops on ladies. This policy was updated in 1970, and employees of Disneyland can now have short facial hair. Yay.
4. Many of His Characters Don’t Have Mothers
In a tragic accident after Walt Disney finally made it big with Snow White in the 1930’s, Disney lost his mother in a carbon monoxide accident at the new home he had purchased for his parents. Some think that as a result, many of his future characters reflected his persisting feelings of loss and guilt. Bambi, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Belle, and Cinderella all either lost their mother young or had never met them. There are some holes in this theory, as a lot of his characters were created prior to his mother’s passing, but it’s still an odd theme to be aware of.
5. He Made Propaganda Films About the War
During World War II, after the attack on Pearl Harbour, the US Military took control of Disney studios for eight months. During this time, Disney helped create films to strengthen the nationalism of American citizens, including a short showing Donald Duck making fun of the Nazis, and one encouraging Americans to support paying taxes. This is still the only time in history that a film studio has been controlled by the military.
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