The goal of this blog series is to factually prove or disprove rumors, myths and misconceptions in the Disney-verse. Tonight thanks to yesterdays chaos creating AP price hike, a major storm, and an injury, I wanted to cover some quick but fun myths as I didn’t want to re-share an older Mythbusters.
While searching around on the internet I came across an interesting Disney myth that states there is a weather dome around Walt Disney World. The only reason I even read into the myth was because my husband and I like to joke about “the Disney Weather Machine” being broken when we are in the park and it rains,or worse yet it is cold. The idea behind this myth seems to vary. Some seem to think that when it rains Disney can activate a dome and keep the parks dry. Others think there is a dome built around the parks that allows Disney to keep the park warm, dry and tourist-ey safe.
Sadly though as all of us who have been cold, or rained on at Disney know, this myth is in fact busted. Why, well first there is no dome installed around Disney. Second, weather dome technology for an entire city, or area as large as Walt Disney World, doesn’t exist yet. In August 2014 Dubai announced it would be building such a dome, but it doesn’t seem that they have even started, more or less finished, this project.
This weekend Pocahontas was on Disney Junior. I want to preface this section of this article with I love this movie, really I do. The fact I can say an actual “Disney Princesses” is from my home region is pretty cool. But….. Some of the major “creative liberties” in the movie’s approach at the history of the Key characters and even geography have always bothered and sadly many people have come to believe that the Disney retelling is actually historically correct which leads to the reason it is in TMSM Mythbusters. As we mentioned, part of Mythbusters isn’t just to bust myths, but also mythconceptions, which we are about to do.
Let us start with the fact that Disney portrays Pocahontas as being around 18 years old when the English colonists came to Jamestown. In reality historians feel she was 10 to 13 years old. In historic papers the Jamestown Museum has information that explains that “several years after their first meeting, Smith described her: “a child of tenne yeares old, which not only for feature, countenance, and proportion much exceedeth any of the rest of his [Powhatan’s] people, but for wit, and spirit, the only Nonpariel of his Country.””
While this sounds a bit picky, the fact the Disney had a historian from the Powhatan tribe that they consulted with while writing and making the movie, does lead one to believe that they really weren’t concerned with accurately portraying history.
Next let’s discuss the liberties Disney took with the geography of the region, or more importantly that glorious glorious waterfall show in the movie that Pocahontas goes diving down during “Just Around The Riverbend.”
It is an an awesome waterfall, yet if you look at the stills problem is Disney shows a waterfall that a 5 to 6 foot tall princess could fall down and a full-size canoe. Most of Jamestown is just above sea level, maybe 3 feet high in most places, and that highest point is away from the James River. We just don’t have the elevation in Hampton Roads that would support a say roughly 100 foot plus high drop. In reality the majority of waterfalls in Virginia are in the Blue Ridge Mountains. These waterfalls are usually found in what is now State and Federal Park land. For those unfamiliar with Virginia geography, the Blue Ridge Mountains are at 2 1/2 hours west of the area, by a car traveling at 60mph. This would mean Pocahontas was either singing for a very long time while running through woods to get to the mountains the whole way across the state of Virginia or Disney once again took some serious liberties with the environment of the region by slapping a gorgeous waterfall near the Jamestown region.
Finally let us touch on the love story of Smith and Pocahontas which honestly is what creates the biggest confusion.Between the two movies Pocahontas falls for John Smith, he gets hurt and returns to England and she end up meeting John Rolfe, going to England with him and marrying him. All of this is true, except for Pocahontas falling for John Smith and vice versa. While she did save his life, the two were never romantically involved, because as we mentioned earlier she was about 10-13 years old when they met. What is sad is that many children (and adults) believe that this relationship did occur because of Disney’s take on history.
So once again, while I love this Disney movie, the music, the art, the colors, and the idea that we all need to work in harmony with each other and nature, the mythconceptions that Disney portrays in this movie based on actual historical events are not only busted, but it also seems to confuse Americans about their own country’s history.
If you have missed any of our other TMSM Mythbuster articles and would like to catch up on what Disney Urban Myths are Busted, Plausible and Confirmed feel free to catch up by visiting our MythBuster’s archive.
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