Slight of Link
Every April Fool’s day TMSM staff’s personal boxes and the main page’s inbox get flooded with messages from readers asking us to verify if Cinderella’s Castle is changing names, if Walt Disney World is getting a fifth park, if Pepsi is replacing Coke in the parks or if Disney has bought the rights to Anastasia from Fox animation studios to remake it as a live action movie. All of these things are in fact FALSE. I won’t lie to you, articles like that get comments and shares which generate hits to the original posters website, and since it is April Fool’s Day these articles are written for fun not to be malicious.
The issue though that we are tackling today is the “slight of hand” that many readers miss in these jovial articles that would clue them in to that “awww MAN they GOT me moment.” There are now two ways that writers clue you in to that “Ah Ha!” moment. The first is the easiest to figure out, but also the one we are always the most embarrassed to admit to getting fooled by. As we all know, and even I will admit to doing this on occasion, we don’t always READ an article completely. Perhaps we are in a rush to get some where, are just reading while we have a moment to relax etc. so we skim an article for the main facts but never really read the whole thing. Or worse yet we read the title and preview of the article and fly with that information as fact. The thing is the easiest way to avoid being “that guy” in a forum on April 1st is to be the guy (or gal) who completely reads the article before flying off to react or share the news. Why is this you ask? Well simply put because many writers still use the old “FYI check the calendar” approach near the end of an article to direct you to the articles date (4/1) or they will directly say “Ha Ha gotcha! This is an April Fools joke!”
The new way though to clue readers in to the joke is the “hyperlink in the sentence” method. The reason many miss this option is because we’ve all been taught “don’t click random links to avoid malware and viruses” or because we just don’t have time to see what other articles and information a website wants us to pay attention to or because we are on mobile and clicking those itty bitty links in a sentence on a small screen is a pain. The problem is when readers don’t click that “redirect” they completely miss the “haha gotcha” that takes them to. This then causes the reader to think that an article from a source they trust is in fact true. That “redirect to the truth” option is also why many of those joke articles resurface months later, readers thought what they were reading was real news on the day it was released as a joke so months later they will reference it in conversations and on social networking as fact, usually with the link to the article, or worse yet with just some of the information copy and pasted or screen shot into a conversation. The issue with those methods is that they lead to a whole new problem where others don’t even know the redirect existed or are unable to access them. The image below shows a very direct way of a writer using the “redirect” option. Other pages make the “redirect” less obvious which makes it harder for people to have that “OHH well they got me” moment. This hyperlink redirect also leads to April Fool’s articles popping up and being cited as fact later in the year when people don’t look at the publishing date.this can then create more confusion because people aren’t looking for a joke to be announced in a redirecting link in say August.
So while the castle isn’t being renamed, Hollywood Studios hasn’t made any announcements in the last few weeks about changes to the parks, Coke is still the soda of choice at Disney Resorts and Parks, and Anastasia still belongs to Fox, the slight of hand “April Fools” misconception has now hopefully been busted in a way that you can merely laugh at articles on 4/1/16!*
Disney’s Russian Princess
In November of 1997 a new animated musical was released. This amazing movie was full of wonderful art, catchy songs, a talking animal sidekick for the villain, and a princess. It grossed $140 million dollars worldwide, had a line of kid’s meal toys and music boxes that played it’s catchy tunes. This amazing 94 minute long movie about “the last surviving child of the Russian Royal Family joins two con men to reunite with her grandmother, the Dowager Empress” is still a classic to many of us. The misconception though, is that “Anastasia” is a Disney movie. Sadly though this is NOT the case, in fact in 1997 Disney Animation was busy releasing “Hercules”.
“Anastasia” is actually one of two animated movies released by Fox Animation. In the 90’s after seeing how amazing Disney had done in the box office with films like “The Little Mermaid”, “Beauty and the Beast” and more, Fox decided to open it’s own animation studio. Prior to this Fox had only distributed animated movies for other animation groups. With “Anastasia” as it’s first release in 1997, and Titan A.E. as it’s last theatrical animated movie release in 2000, many people didn’t even realize Fox was making animated movies, especially those of us who were only in elementary through high school when these movies were released.
With catchy songs like “Rumor in Saint Petersburg” and deep moving songs like “Once Upon a December“, easy to relate to characters, a Princess in disguise, a talking animal side kick for the villain that has a turn of heart in a very Iago-esque way and impressive animation, as well as a animation studio that many don’t remember existing it is easy to see why many people assume or even want to attribute “Anastasia” to Disney’s line up of animated classic. But sadly, this misconception is in fact a busted Disney myth.
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Anastasia Images from Fox Animation Courtesy of IMDB and Google Image Search.
*Below is a list of April Fool’s jokes that have gone around in 2014 and 2015 that were in fact only jokes just in case you weren’t 100% sure and wanted to know!
Disney announcing plans for Hollywood Studios that was Star Wars and Pixar/Cars Related
Goof Troops Powerline to play a secret show
Walt Disney to appear as a hologram at the 60th Anniversary of Disneyland
A movie with the Guardians of the Galaxy in the Star Wars Universe
Disney Bought Star Trek
The Castle in WDW being re-themed for Elsa
Olaf replacing Stitch in Stitch’s Great Escape
Pepsi Replacing Coke in the Disney Parks
A Judge banning all things Frozen from Disney Parks due to a lawsuit
An X-Wing Movie in the style of Cars and Planes
A Fifth Park in WDW