100 Things You Didn't Know About Disney

Join us as we take a look at 100 things you didn't know about Disney films, theme parks, Walt Disney Pictures, Disney Culture and the man himself...






  • Walt was his parents fourth son

  • Walt’s first job as a paid artist, was as a small child, when a neighbour paid him to sketch a picture of his horse

  • Walt’s first paid employment was a paper run which he did with his brother Roy. The pair had to wake at 4:30 am to do the before school run, and did another run of another publication after school. It is reported that the year the boys did the paper run, their grades suffered

  • When Disney was just 31 years old, he suffered from a nervous breakdown

  • Walt first studied animation while he was still at school, attending Saturday classes at the Kansas City Art Institute

  • Walt’s backyard had a working, miniature steam railroad installed in it

  • In high school, Disney was taken on as the cartoonist for the school newspaper

  • Disney attempted to join the US Army but was turned away for being too young. His solution to this was to forge his identification and enrol in the Red Cross as an ambulance driver

  • Walt’s favorite meal was a bowl of chilli and beans

  • Though Walt is often accused of being racist, those who knew him personally argue that this was not the case. Walt was often alleged to practice anti-semetism, despite regularly donating to Jewish charities, hiring Jewish employees within his studios, and even receiving the title of ‘1955 Man of the Year’ by a local Jewish organization

  • Walt received 22 Academy Awards, and almost 60 nominations, as well as an Emmy award, two Golden Globes and more Oscars than anyone before him

  • Though New York was actually the place to go for animator’s at the time, Walt chose to relocate to Hollywood due to his brother Roy living in California

  • Walt Disney was involved with the planning of the 1960 Winter Olympics

  • Despite the common rumour that Walt Disney was cryogenically frozen, his remains were actually cremated two days after his death, and were interred at the Forest Lawn Memorial Park in California

  • In 1960, Disney was given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame with two stars – one for film, and the other for television

  • Walt’s face appeared on a U.S. postage stamp in 1968

  • Those who knew Disney well claim that Walt had a public persona, which he put on when he was acting within his role at Walt Disney Pictures. In a close setting, he was said to act shy, insecure and self-deprecating – traits which he hid when in public. Disney himself even acknowledged that he had an outward façade, stating, "I'm not Walt Disney. I do a lot of things Walt Disney would not do. Walt Disney does not smoke. I smoke. Walt Disney does not drink. I drink.”

  • Walt’s final words were ‘Kurt Russell’. Nobody, including the actor himself knows why





  • Mickey Mouse was actually voiced by Walt Disney himself in the early years

  • Several Disney films have been preserved in the Library of Congress including Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,Fantasia, Pinocchio, Bambi and Mary Poppins

  • Walt Disney Pictures was originally titledDisney Brothers Studio’

  • Though many believe Mickey Mouse was Walt’s first project, it was actually Oswald the Rabbit who was created first

  • Mickey was originally named by Walt as ‘Mortimer Mouse’ but his wife Lillian disliked it and suggested he call him ‘Mickey’

  • Production of Snow White began out of Walt’s frustration with producing short, formulaic cartoons

  • Disney’s propaganda film Der Fuehrer’s Face which is often cited as evidence of Walt’s anti-Semitism, won an Academy Award

  • In the mid-1940s, Disney owed $4 million worth of debt to the bank. When a meeting was called between banking executives, the bank’s founder reassured the rest of the board that Disney would eventually grow to dominate the animated market. It is only because of this chairman that Walt Disney Pictures was given the chance to go on and flourish

  • Because of financial reasons, Roy Disney suggested in 1948 that Disney begin to produce live action films

  • Once Disney had broken into the world of T.V., merchandising was the next natural step. After the release of The Mickey Mouse Club, merchandising took off, with the company experiencing record sales of coloring books, comics, watches, hats, pins and more

  • The news of Walt’s death meant that Roy, who was retiring, instead deferred his retirement in order to take control of the company

  • After Walt’s death, Walt Disney Pictures continued to create a large amount of live-action films, but abandoned animation until the late 1980s with the release of The Little Mermaid, which kicked off what is now known as the Disney Renaissance

  • For two years, Disney was the sole owner of the U.S. patent for Technicolor, making the studio the only one who could produce technicolor films

  • Walt Disney Pictures received an Oscar in 1938 for their film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. When Walt claimed the award he was given one normal sized Oscar trophy plus seven miniature Oscars



Disney Parks


  • Disney Parks are painted and touched up nightly, to keep everything in pristine condition

  • When Walt built Disneyland, he honoured his father Elias, but attaching a small sign on Main Street, U.S.A that reads “ELIAS DISNEY, CONTRACTOR, EST. 1895.”

  • Disneyland Hong Kong is set out according to Feng Shui

  • Disney Parks are now in so many locations around the world that the sun never sets on Disney Parks

  • Disneyland was originally designed to include The Land of Oz, but this section was never constructed

  • When Disneyland opened, it had a lingerie store in the main street which sold bras

  • Epcot’s World Showcase has room for several more countries

  • Walt’s research for the original park included visiting the Tivoli Gardens in Denmark, which influenced his design and layout for Disneyland

  • Research also included imagineers visiting every amusement park in the United States to identify pitfalls and problems that could be avoided in the design of Disneyland

  • Disneyland Paris features a restaurant inspired by Gusteau’s from Ratatouille, as well as a full size Mcdonald’s

  • John Lennon signed the paperwork that officially disbanded The Beatles at a Disneyland Resort

  • The inside of the parks are not visible from outside the parks

  • Disneyland was originally to be built on a lot in Burbank, but the site soon proved to be too small and the larger plot in Anaheim was purchased instead

  • After the attacks on 9/11, Disney World was completely evacuated in just 30 minutes for fear that it might be the target of the next terrorist attack

  • Main Street, U.S.A was built as a replica of the main street of Marceline, Walt’s hometown

  • 3 babies have been born at Disneyland

  • Disneyland Tokyo sells soy sauce flavored popcorn

  • The gold trim on the It’s a Small World ride is made from 22 carat gold

  • Space Mountain is the third tallest mountain in Florida

  • Disneyland paved the way for Disney’s entry into the world of television. Roy Disney believed that T.V. would be a powerful selling aid for the company as well as providing revenue to fund their other ventures. The first series piloted in 1954, called ‘Walt Disney’s Disneyland,’ a series filled with cartoons, live action tales and other material from the Disney Studio

  • Main Street, Disneyland Tokyo is covered so that visitors don’t get wet during rain

  • Fourteen of the original rides from opening day, are still intact at Disneyland

  • George Lucas attended the opening day of Disneyland at age 11

  • Disney Parks have a ‘jail’ which serves as a holding area for thieves and those causing problems, until they can be escorted out of the park

  • Even though Walt himself had a moustache for most of his life, when Disney World was first opened, guests were not permitted entry unless they were clean shaven

  • The famous ride ‘It’s a Small World’ was not built for Disneyland, but rather was one of four exhibits built for the 1964 World’s Fair. After the fair, a decision was made to install it into the park

  • Disney World is roughly the same size as San Francisco

  • After the opening of Disneyland, Disney began planning for the opening of a ski resort in California, a development which was later canned.

  • On average, Disney workers find over 1.5 million pairs of sunglasses per year, as well as 6,000 cell phones and 18,000 hats

  • When Disney World was being built, Walt did not like the idea of costumed characters walking through the ‘wrong’ lands in order to get to their places, so he designed an elaborate tunnel system which runs beneath the ground of Disney World. This allows characters to dress underground and arrive in their allotted spots without spoiling the illusion

  • Artificial scents are piped through the air at the parks, with different scents inhabiting different areas

  • Steve Jobs was Disney’s largest single shareholder and was on the board of directors. On the day he died, Disney World flew its flags at half-mast

  • Walt had rubbish bins places 25 steps from each hot dog stall, as this was how long it took him to eat a hot dog before he needed to dispose of the waste from it

  • If you hear ‘Code V’ at a ride, it means someone vomited

  • When the Pirates of the Caribbean ride was built, Disneyland imagineers didn’t like the look of the fake skeletons so they installed real ones purchased from the UCLA Medical Center

  • Disney is the second largest purchaser of explosives in the world due to the large number of fireworks set off each night





  • Mickey was inducted onto the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1978, being endowed with his own star for films. He was the first animated character in history to have received this honor

  • Disney Music came largely through the positive reception to the television shows, specifically in relation to the mini-series Davy Crockett. This overnight sensation was largely popular due to its theme song “The Ballad of Davy Crockett” which sold ten million records. As a result of this success, Disney formed its own record production entity, Disneyland Records

  • In 2009, Walt’s daughter opened the Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco, displaying artefacts from his life and career

  • Disney is mentioned in much of pop culture, including references in a novel by H.G. Wells, the made-for-T.V. film about the life of Annette Funicello, a Goosebumps book, an episode of Dr. Who and a Justin Beiber song, the T.V. show The Big Bang Theory, just to name a few

  • Clownfish sales went through the roof after the release of Finding Nemo

  • The voice of Mickey (Wayne) and Minnie Mouse (Russi) got married in 1991, and remained married until Wayne passed away in 2009





  • The sorcerer in Fantasia’s name is “Yen Sid.” Now read it backwards…

  • Frozen is the first Disney film to have a female director

  • The quietest character in Disney history is Dumbo who does not speak. Second in line is Aurora, who says a mere 18 lines during her short screen time in Sleeping Beauty

  • ‘Reflections’ from Mulan was Christina Aguilera’s debut single

  • The voice of Donald Duck created the dog bark sounds needed for 101 Dalmatians

  • R&B singer Alicia Keys auditioned for the role of Tiana in The Princess and the Frog

  • The middle child part of the song ‘Do You Want to Build a Snowman?’ was sung by the daughter of the song writers

  • The internet is full of information on ‘The Pixar Theory’ which demonstrates how all of the Pixar films are connected in the same world

  • In Monster’s Inc., Boo’s real name is Mary. This can be seen in a drawing in her room and is a sneaky reference to her voice actress, Mary Gibbs.

  • Though commonly referred to as ‘dwarves,’ the film is actually titled Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, which was the accepted plural for ‘dwarf’ at the time

  • Sid’s hallway in Toy Story is carpeted with the same carpet as the hotel in The Shining

  • Merida and Ariel are the only Disney Princesses to have siblings

  • Amy Adams dress in Enchanted weighed almost 50 pounds, just under half of the weight of the actress herself

  • The film Lilo and Stitch contains more Elvis songs than any of Elvis’ films

  • The voice of Ariel, Belle and Pocahontas all had cameos in the film Enchanted

  • .The following names were all considered for the Dwarfs in Snow White: Baldy, Gabby, Nifty, Sniffy, Swift, Lazy, Puffy, Stuffy, Tubby, Shorty, and Burpy

  • Aladdin’s face was modelled on Tom Cruise

  • The only films that depict both parents who remain alive during the duration of the film are Mulan, Peter Pan, 101 Dalmatians and Lady and the Tramp

  • The Black Cauldronwas Disney’s first animated film to obtain a PG rating

  • Pride Rock and the Gorge were modelled on an actual location in Kenya

  • Chicken Little has the lowest rating of any Disney film

  • Abba was originally offered the contract for The Lion King’s soundtrack, but turned it down

  • The characters names in Frozen spell out the name of the author of The Snow Queen – the story the film is based on. Hans, Kristoff, Anna, Sven (Hans Christian Andersen)

  • Urusla from The Little Mermaid was modelled on the drag queen Divine

  • The author of Mary Poppins hated the film. Reportedly she cried throughout the premiere and refused to allow Walt Disney to produce any more of the films in the series

  • The most expensive film ever made was produced by Disney – Pirates of the Carribbean: At World’s End

1 comment

  • A

    The parents staying alive part is not complete. Both parents stay alive in Tangled and Zootopia as well.

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