With Halloween coming up, there is no better time to look at some of the disturbing secrets behind the Happiest Place on Earth and its iconic films.
From the dark and disturbing, to the outright bizarre, we count the top seven disturbing Disney secrets.
We are used to many of the villains in Disney movies meeting untimely ends, but some characters, appear to get their comeuppance, more than others.
One example is Scar from The Lion King. Scar’s death is implied at the end of the film, but his disturbing cameo in another film is nothing short of horrific. At the beginning of The Lion King, Zazu sarcastically tells Mufasa that Scar would make a handsome throw rug. Three years later, Zazu’s comment comes to fruition when Scar reappears in Hercules as a throw rug. Though it is not unusual for Disney to make light of death when it comes to villains, this one goes too far, making it particularly creepy.
Other disturbing references include a toilet seat cover in Toy Story 3 which has an uncanny resemblance to Sully from Monsters Inc. This is particularly creepy when we remember Randal’s line to Sully in the original movie:
“I heard humans skin monsters and make toilet covers out of their fur"
The internet is full of videos and blogs about the hidden (and not-so-hidden) messages embedded into Disney films. The following are the most prominent sexual references in Disney films:
The Little Mermaid. Not only did the original publicity material contain phallic imagery, but the Bishop who oversees the wedding in the film is also well known for the bulge evident in his pants. While officials claim that the bulge was only the knee of the Bishop, it is interesting that when the DVD was re-released, the Bishop was missing his pants tent as it has been digitally removed.
The Rescuers. In two frames of the film, a woman appears in the window of an apartment wearing no top. Rumour has it that animators included the frames as a nod to Playboy and its iconic centrefolds and intended for it to be a private joke, but when public outcry broke out among parents, Disney recalled over three million copies of the movie and issued an official apology.
The Lion King. In a scene depicting Simba collapsing on the edge of the cliff, there is a scattering of pollen seen. Though the Walt Disney Co. insists that the pollen comes together in the sky to spell the letters ‘SFX’ (a reference to special effects) most agree that the word clearly spells ‘sex’.
Aladdin. In the 1992 film, there is a scene where Aladdin and Jasmine are talking on the balcony. When the shot cuts away from Aladdin, he can be heard muttering a sentence which sounds uncannily like ‘Good teenagers – take off your clothes!’ According to the director’s commentary, the line is actually ‘Good kitty. Take off and go’. Curiously, this innocent line was edited out of all future DVD releases.
Who Framed Roger Rabbit? The famous sex symbol Jessica Rabbit has a major wardrobe malfunction in this racy film. Thinking it would be entertaining, animator’s snuck a few frames into the film of Jessica showing what she had for breakfast. In the scene where the car crashes and Jessica is thrown from the car, her crotch is shown briefly under her dress. In later releases of the film, Jessica’s character was digitally altered to add white underwear.
One of the most disturbing scenes from any Disney movie occurs toward the end of Beauty and the Beast, when Gaston plummets to his death of the castle rooftop.
After his showdown with the Beast, Gaston loses his grip on the castle and plunges to the ground – but just before he does, he flashes the Beast a wide-eyed look in which human skulls can be seen in his pupils. Officially, the Walt Disney Company states that the skulls were placed to help viewers feel confident that Gaston’s fate is sealed.
Interestingly, some versions have been altered to remove these skulls.
A common question among Disney fans and critics of the film is why so many characters don’t have mothers, or lose them during the film. While theories about this are mainly due to speculation, the official explanation given is usually due to an issue close to Walt’s heart. According to this theory, Walt Disney experienced severe guilt after his mother passed away in the house that he purchased for her. Reportedly, Walt bought his mother the home after his success on Snow White and the Seven Dwarves but his mother died in a fire that was caused by a fault in the furnace of the house. The fire occurred only one month after Walt bought the house and it was due to this that he lived with deep guilt.
Conspiracy theorists argue that Disney has a darker agenda and instead is attempting to reinforce anti-family values.
Almost every Disney Pixar movie that has been created since the amalgamation of these two animation partners contains a secret code ‘A113’.
Sometimes tucked away in single frames and sometimes out in plain sight, A113 can be seen in everything from the number plate on Andy’s mother’s car in Toy Story to the class number in Monster’s University to the model number on the camera in Finding Nemo. Officials describe this hidden Easter egg as being attributed to the room at the California Institute of Arts where many of the Disney and Pixar animators were taught, but a darker explanation could be responsible as conspiracy theorists claim that it represents a secret Illuminati code.
A lot of Disney fans haven’t seen the 1946 musical film Song of the South, but most would be familiar with its famous song ‘Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah’ and the Disney ride inspired by the film – splash mountain. While the film is no longer widely viewed, its reputation has lived on…particularly amongst those who feel that the film is insulting to American minorities. The film features a large amount of racial stereotypes and attempts to handle slavery and race-relations in the South of the U.S. as a light-hearted sport. The NAACP even suggested that the film “helps to perpetuate a dangerously glorified picture of slavery.” For this reason the film has never been released on video.
Another concerning display of racism can be found in the original cut of Fantasia where a centaur named ‘Little Sunshine’ once appeared. Sunshine’s character was a half-donkey, half black girl whose sole purpose was to polish the hooves and brush the tails of the other, white centaurettes. Sunshine has not appeared on any release of the film since the 1960s and her existence was even denied until someone posted the footage on the internet recently.
As if Stephen King’s The Shining wasn’t creepy enough, it now invades children’s movies such as Disney Pixar’s Toy Story film series.
Toy Story features several eerie references to this creepy film. The first appears in Toy Story when the carpet in Sid’s house matches that of the Overlook hotel. In Toy Story 3 this same pattern can be seen on a small box on the desk of the surveillance monkey beside the microphone used in The Shining.
The most prominent reference to The Shining is the presence of the number 237 throughout the films, which was the number of the most haunted room at the Overlook Hotel. honorable mentions include number plate of Sid’s garbage truck which read ‘RM237’, the label on the video camera which says ‘Overlook R237’ and the username of Trixie’s online chat friends: velociraptor237.
While the references in Toy Story 3 can be attributed to the director’s passion for The Shining, Disney fans everywhere are baffled as to how the one in Toy Story made the cut…
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