We love Disney. An entire world devoted to the stuff of fantasy is something that grabbed ahold of us when we were kids and has never let us go. Now that we’re grown, we may know in our heads that it’s really some college student playing Mickey Mouse at Disneyland, or that Space Mountain is neither in space nor a mountain.
But still, we maintain a little bit of that sense of make-believe, where a small corner of our brain — the part that still knows the words to “Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo” or cries at “Bambi” — holds on to the fantasy and refuses to let it go. To us, Disney represents a whole new world, and we darned sure don’t want to see it in a new realistic point of view.
So why, then, do we love hearing about all of Disney’s dirty laundry? Admit it, it’s so cool hearing about the shenanigans of the actors playing Disney characters. Or the details of how the various Disney rides work. We all love secrets, and Disney’s real-life secrets are almost as enticing as its fantasy world.
“It’s like why people are so curious about how a magician does his tricks; it’s so enchanting and captivating, you have to know what the secret is,” says David Koenig, author of five books about Disney’s famous theme parks, including “Mouse Tales: A Behind-The-Ears Look at Disneyland,” “Realityland: True-Life Adventures at Walt Disney World” and his most recent book, “The People v. Disneyland: How Lawsuits & Lawyers Transformed the Magic.”
Disney’s fantasy world is so pristine, it’s kinda fun to look for the seams. “Disney puts on such a great show and it’s so secretive about its inner workings and dirty laundry,” Koenig tells Yahoo Travel. “Everything is so perfect on stage in their show. Real life is not that way. You know there has to be more.”
There is — much more. Life at Disney can get messy and slightly disturbing. So Yahoo Travel talked to Koenig and some other Disneyland insiders to get some secrets Disney does not want you to know.
3It ain’t always the happiest place on Earth
Stressed out by misbehaving and/or frightened kids, the expense of the average day at a Disney park, the pressure of the trip that got them there, the sheer crowds, and those constant repeats of that infernal song, “It’s a Small World,” visitors sometimes just lose it. Disney staffers can tell you: Disney can be ground zero for family disputes.
“You’re talking about a long day, especially if it’s been a really busy day,” says Ken Pellman, a former longtime member of the Disneyland custodial staff. “Sometimes you would witness things, people getting really upset with each other. Domestic situations. And you kind of keep an eye out and maybe call security to make sure that nothing bad happened to anybody.”