The goal of this blog series is to factually prove or disprove rumors and myths in the Disney-verse. Tonight on TMSM Mythbusters we are tackling some of the more “unique” myths and misconceptions we see frequently in Disney based forums. Yesterday we re-shared a blog about urban legends Main Streeters had mentioned and tonight we are going to delve into them!
I love the busts in the graveyard scene. One of my favorite myths mentioned last night was that one of the images on the singing busts in the Haunted Mansion graveyard scene is Walt Disney. I love this myth because quite honestly until I researched this one a few years ago I thought Walt was represented too!
Originally the plan had been to have 5 actors be the five singing ghosts, but it was decided instead to use each ghost’s original singer as it’s face to ensure the the emotions the singers had while recording were shown. The ghostly singers are Jay Meyer, Thurl Ravenscroft, Verne Rowe, Bob Ebright, and Chuck Schroeder.
The singer Thurl Ravenscroft is the bust people think is Walt. Thurl has an AMAZING list of Disney projects he was involved in listed on his IMDB profile, and also has his own “Ravencroft” organ in the new interactive Mansion queue in Walt Disney World. Here though is the info that even if people want to insist Walt is the bust, debunks those nay-Sayers. In April 1969 Disney started recording over 40 tracks of music for Disneyland’ Haunted Mansion which opened in August 1969. Sadly Walt had passed away three years prior to this and he never actually saw the completed Mansion.
Knowing that there is a three year gap between recording and Walt’s death, we can say this Disney Myth is in fact busted.
Another great (but morbid) Disney urban legend is that Disney’s Skyway to Tommorowland was permanently closed because someone fell out of it. The thing is there were TWO Disney Skyways in the United States, so lets discuss why both closed.
Disneyland’s Skyway opened as two attractions, Skyway to Tomorrowland and the Skyway to Fantasyland, in June 1956. The Skyway opened in Disneyland as two attractions: the Skyway to Tomorrowland and the Skyway to Fantasyland, riders could originally buy a ticket to ride one, or both ways, but eventually the ride would only go one-way.
In April 1994 a rider fell about 20 ft. from the Skyway but this was actually NOT the cause of the ride closing, nor did he die as the myth implies. The ride didn’t even close for the day the day of the incident. The fall was the “only accident in the ride’s 38-year history, Disneyland officials said”. In August 1994 Disneyland announced the Skyway was closing, not because of April’s events but because of “matter of popularity and work force needs.” Also stress cracks in the Matterhorn were starting to appear from the roller battery supports and the ride was not ADA complaint and would be hard to update to meet those standards. The employees for the Skyway were also needed for new attractions like Indiana Jones.
Walt Disney World’s Skyway opened on Friday October 1, 1971 as one of the parks original attractions. Like Disneyland’s Skyway, Disney World’s Skyway was in fact two attractions. Unfortunately, unlike Disneyland’s Skyway, WDW’s did in fact have a death occur. Part-time cast member Raymond Barlow was caught between cars the morning of February 16, 1999, and he ended up falling in the flower beds from the car he was hanging onto and passed away at a local hospital. Like Disneyland this was NOT the reason the Skyway closed. On November 11, 1999 it was officially announced the Skyway was closing as “part of Disney’s ongoing efforts to phase out some of the older attractions and introduce new things to keep our parks exciting for our new and repeat visitors.” The Skyway ride in Tokyo Disneyland was closed in 1998 for the same expansion reason, making way for Pooh’s Hunny Hunt and a new candy store. So sadly though a person was injured in Disneyland, and a Cast Member passed away in Walt Disney World, neither Skyway was closed for those reasons but so that the parks could continue to grow and develop. Making this Disney myth busted.
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