Archive for Disneyland

Creepy Disney Conspiracy Theories

Posted in Horror Attractions with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 4, 2017 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

For the majority of us, Disney is one of the earliest forms of media we are exposed to. From the dynamic and colourful films to a range of spectacular theme parks all around the world, Disney is universal and has tapped into our subconscious from an early age. A subject that completely fascinates me is the notion that Disney has a dark side. There’s a creepy aspect to a medium that on the surface is associated with happiness and positivity but possesses a sinister underbelly and speculated subliminal messages. Unclear of where these myths and urban legends began, they have certainly grown in interest due to the power of the internet and the frequency of the creation of YouTube videos, Buzzfeed Articles etc. that explore these chilling tales from the Land of the Mouse and bring them to the forefront.

Mickey Mouse

In this article, I am going to discuss what I consider some of the weirdest, creepiest Disney conspiracy theories that have resonated with me. These include both Disney movies and spooky occurrences from the parks themselves. Please bear in mind that these theories may or may not be true or are somewhat based in truth.

Creepy Disney Princesses

**Disclaimer Warning** There will be discussion of unsettling subjects such as death and suicide so please do not continue reading if this is triggering in any way. This article is created to shed light on these fascinating conspiracies and to share opinions on them.

As always I would love to hear your thoughts. In the comments below tell me which Disney conspiracy theories have gotten under your skin to an unsettling effect.

So… Let’s get down to it, wish upon a star and discover why Disney really is the place where nightmares come true!

The Small World Supposed ‘Suicide’

‘It’s a Small World’ is Disney’s most infectious ride. Built originally in its Californian theme park back in the 1960’s, the ride consists of a gazillion audio-animatronic dolls representing nationalities from all over the world while the rider is directed through the scenery in a small boat. The ride is situated in Fantasyland and exhibits a positive and uniting message of the whole world standing together as one.

small world

The supposed urban legend allegedly occurred back in 1999. A guest at the park was riding the ‘Small World’, when suddenly the ride had to be evacuated under unknown circumstances. As the guest was vacating the ride she decided to use up the last of the film on her camera and unintentionally captured a very disturbing image.

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Allegedly, a small child can be seen hanging from the ceiling as passengers make their way to the exit. The image itself is fairly blurred however there does appear to be a human-like figure dangling from the ceiling. Disney of course never confirmed the incident; hopefully it is just a misunderstanding and a trick of the camera. This mysterious myth is deeply chilling as well as shudder-inducing and is not a pleasant thought to associate with the wonderful world of Disney! On a less serious note but creepy in a whole other light, cast members have claimed that late at night, the pesky dolls come alive on their own accord and switch places with each other, this myth is totally horror movie plot worthy!

The Tragic Death of Debbie Stone

This next Disneyland ‘myth’ is deeply disturbing and tragically true. That said the second part of this legend, which involves a ‘ghost story’, is disrespectful to the family and the memory of the deceased as it is based purely in the fantastical. The unfortunate fact is that this incident quickly became fodder for elaborate urban legends and remains one of Disney’s most infamous tragedies.

America-Sings

In 1974, a high school graduate, named Debbie Stone bagged her dream job at Disneyland for the summer in order to save up for college that same year. She was assigned to work on a brand new, musical extravaganza attraction called ‘America Sings’. The attraction involved rotating stages that showcased a selection of sequences depicting the evolution of American musical history. ‘America Sings’ featured expertly, uncanny animated audio-animatronic animals throughout the show.

Debbie’s role was the ‘hostess’, she was to stand at the side of the stage while the attraction was in progress and greet guests at the beginning and wave them goodbye once the show had finished. It was like any normal shift for Debbie when the most tragic and unfortunate accident occurred.

According to an article on Buzzle.com, “The only glitch was that in the previous ride ‘Carousel of Progress’, the theaters moved around the nucleus in a clockwise direction. This meant that the walls on the left-hand side of the stage moved away from each other. But in ‘America Sings’, the rotation was reversed, which meant that the walls moved towards each other on the left-hand side of the stage and closed in place to separate each theater from the other.”

Disturbing fake footage has been created ‘depicting’ Debbie’s shocking death and is available on YouTube. The audience members were said to have heard a blood-curdling scream which has been chillingly re-created in this video that I wouldn’t recommend watching. What happened to Debbie is exceptionally frightening.

debbie stone

The poor young woman had been crushed between the revolving walls and the worst aspect is no one fully knows how it could even have happened. It would be in poor taste to speculate when the matter of fact is that a young woman with her whole life ahead of her was tragically killed in a freak accident that no one could foresee happening. Unnervingly, ‘America Sings’ closed for a mere two days and then re-opened to the public with new staff safety measures in place until it’s closure in 1988. Returning to the ‘ghost story’ rumor, cast members have alleged that the voice of Debbie Stone can be heard near the site, heeding the warning of ‘be careful’ to those who approach the area.

The story of Debbie Stone is one of the most haunting and grim incidents to come out of ‘the happiest place on earth’ and what is most terrifying is the unexplained nature of her death.

Subliminal Messages in Disney Films

Subliminal Messages in Disney films has been a hot topic of discussion for eons. Are Disney really adding in sexual symbolism into their movies as part of a sinister plot by the Illuminati? or are animators just joking around? Could we as an audience be reading too much into it and believing what we want to believe?

Aladdin Subliminal

In an article conducted by the Huffington Post, former Disney animator Tom Sito debunked the myths, from the priest in The Little Mermaid’s supposed ‘erection’ to the word ‘SEX’ on full display in the sky during ‘The Lion King’. What is noticeable is when comparing the remastered Disney DVD’s to the original VHS versions, the subliminal messages have been removed.

After being made aware of the ‘inappropriate proposition” Aladdin makes in the 1992 film when he is seen sneaking up to Princess Jasmine’s balcony on the magic carpet, I dug out my original VHS tape out of curiosity to see if there was any truth to the rumor. As Aladdin is confronted by Raja the tiger he is heard uttering the dialogue “good children, take off your clothes”. The suggestive language could be heard plain as day on the UK 90’s VHS tape I owned. Both myself and my best friend heard the same thing yet when I eventually bought the film on DVD in the 2000’s, the weird whispers were no longer included during the scene.

Disney clearly encompasses an awareness of the conspiracies that have been drawn from their films so instead of simply debunking them and leaving the ‘faux-messages’ in they have edited them out as if they’re naughty school children who have been caught out being up to no good! It’s no secret that Disney is conscious about it’s family friendly image and will go to any lengths to ensure that remains intact. The thought of the company deliberately trying to sexualize children through subliminal messaging is creepy as hell but it’s more curious as to why they would make it look as if it never happened by erasing the bizarre messages from the remastered versions of their classic films.

Suicide Mouse

Mickey Mouse Hell

‘suicidemouse.avi’ is a creepypasta, the internet phenomenon that is the modern day equivalent of  traditional ‘campfire tales’. Evidently, this urban legend is just exactly that, an eerie story created for the internet generation in order to freak out it’s conspiracy hungry readers. This one centers on a ‘lost cartoon’ from the 1930’s featuring Mickey Mouse. Created in black and white, the cartoon begins as standard fare, it shows Mickey walking through the city streets on a loop. He appears distressed which is where this story takes a dark turn. Allegedly the cartoon was very short and nothing much was thought of it. Then a Disney employee named Leonard Maltin accidentally stumbled across the cartoon and discovered a longer version. Mickey Mouse was depicted in hell and sinister events followed, including Mickey’s eyeballs falling out of his face, unsettling piano music, distorted sounds and colour schemes that wouldn’t have been made available to the technology of it’s time. The terrifying tale ends with Maltin uttering the words “real suffering is not known” before taking his own life. This creepypasta is an example of an effective urban legend, subverting something familiar into something grotesque and nightmarish. The full CreepyPasta can be read here: http://creepypasta.wikia.com/wiki/Suicide_mouse

Haunted Disneyland

Disney Haunting

There is a rumor circulating the internet that Disneyland guests have sneakily scattered their loved ones ashes throughout the park namely on Disney’s flagship rides, The Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean.  These acts of grief have caused rumors of ghostly sightings and eerie incidents at Disneyland. At the end of The Haunted Mansion ride, cries of a little boy can be heard, the same little boy is said to also haunt Pirates after his mother scattered his ashes on the site without Disney’s permission. There’s a mystery passenger known as ‘Mr One Way‘ who rides Space Mountain then vanishes into thin air. Mr One Way always joins the ride next to a passenger who is in a vehicle, alone. An unexplained entity was caught on CCTV late at night at the park, drifting through main street and a former worker named George is said to haunt Pirates of the Carribbean and if employees don’t wish him a good morning or good night then the ride will malfunction throughout the day. It’s fair to say that imaginations can run wild and while these stories are goosebumps-inducing and heart stoppingly scary, there’s no real evidence to back them up. Disney however sure could capitalize on it. Taking the portrayal of some of their villains into account and bold, audacious 80’s movies such as Return to Oz and The Watcher in the Woods, Disney can do scary and do it well. A film focusing on a haunted theme park with a family friendly twist could be a promising idea.

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Hayley Alice Roberts

Hayley’s Horror Reviews

The Dark Side of Disney.

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 20, 2013 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

Some of the first films we are introduced to in our lives come from the wonderful world of Walt Disney. Whereas many associate Disney with princesses and happy endings, Disney is also noted for its darker elements and has brought us some of the most unsettling moments in cinema history. Who still doesn’t shudder at the transformation sequence in Snow White or the Donkey scene in Pinocchio?

jason

Since Disney films are adaptations of well-known classic fairy-tales its no surprise that the popular company still capitalized on the more sinister side of things and its fair to say Disney has presented issues we must all deal with such as death and neglect and given us an early understanding. As adults, we have also been able to search deeper into these childhood films and interpret them in various ways, from strange subliminal messages to rumors of Walt Disney himself being a racist. All these ideas and whether they are reflected in the films makes for some interesting stuff. Seeing these eerie images at such a young age has shaped me into the genre fan I am today. So, let’s look back at some scary animated moments that are more than worthy to have a place within Horror. Guaranteed Nightmare Fuel!

darkdisney

**I would just like to add that the films and scenes discussed in this review are my own views and don’t reflect any other analysis of a similar vein.**

**In No Particular Order**

Fantasia (1940): Night on Bald Mountain.

As a child I gained so much enjoyment out of watching Fantasia. It’s such a magical film that flawlessly combines animated images to classical scores. Mickey Mouse in the Sorcerer’s Apprentice is so much fun as well as the dancing mushrooms and ballerina hippos. For Disney it came as an experimental film but its closing segment makes that all the more interesting. After viewing Night on Bald Mountain for the first time I recall being so unsettled that I would skip the sequence completely on future viewings of Fantasia on my VHS copy. Night on Bald Mountain features a terrifying Chernabog, an incarnation of Satan himself who raises the dead and subsequently invades the village near Bald Mountain, including spirits of demon-like creatures and animals. Its pure unnerving stuff, however while watching it as an adult its difficult not to be stunned by how detailed and outstanding the animation really is. The imagery used evokes notions of death, hell and fear.

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The Chernabog itself, displays very frightening qualities with menacing glowing eyes, sharp claws and huge bat wings, admittedly, this has to be one of the most nightmarish creations I have ever seen in a film aimed at children. Oh and that grin he displays is enough to make you shudder as he transforms fiery succubus type creatures into vile demons then throws them into a fiery pit and continues to do this; showing that he’s in control! What’s with those demonic faces and skulls flying at the screen, and boobs, there are boobs in a Disney movie, complete with nipples!! It’s grand and incredibly Gothic, accompanied by a haunting score composed by Modest Mussorsky that really heightens the tension throughout the segment. Disney certainly did a fantastic job with this one! Night on Bald Mountain, I welcome you as an integral part of the Horror genre without a doubt!

Dumbo (1941): Song of the Roustabouts

For some reason Dumbo has always been a difficult film to watch. The scene where Dumbo is separated from his mother is traumatizing enough as well as the trippy alcohol induced, infamous “Pink Elephants on Parade” sequence which was originally intended for Fantasia which explains certain visual similarities with the previously discussed Night on Bald Mountain. While Pink Elephants is considered one of the most disturbing scenes to grace children’s films, there’s another aspect to Dumbo that particularly unnerves me and that’s how by today’s standards it is racially insensitive. Now, I’m not going into whether Walt Disney was a Nazi or a racist and whether it is still reflected within the company today in terms of how white supremacy is portrayed as that’s another discussion for another time. However there’s a scene from Dumbo that I overlooked as a child and not until a recent viewing did this scene in question provide me with some discomfort.

roustabouts

“The Song of the Roustabouts” falls into the trope of “Unfortunate Implications” (Source: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/YMMV/Dumbo). The scene depicts faceless, African-Americans putting up a circus tent, singing about being unskilled, unable to read or write but happy regardless. The setting of the scene itself makes it extra dark as the workers are seen putting up the tent in terrible weather conditions, its raining and stormy and the elephants are seen struggling and appear overworked. It’s hardly child friendly, depicting the harshness and exploitation of laborers and animals in the 1940’s.

Pinocchio (1940): Pleasure Island and Donkey Transformation.

Pinocchio remains one of Disney’s great moral tales, teaching children that if they misbehave terrible things will happen to them. What kid can’t say that they never got told “don’t tell lies or your nose will grow”, I know its one that stuck with me. One of the film’s most distressing scenes in particular comes in the shape of the infamous donkey transformation. The lead up to what is considered one of Disney’s most terrifying moments has some disturbing implications by today’s standards, an evil coachman enlists the help of a fox and a cat known as Honest John and Gideon to lure wayward young boys to a theme park named Pleasure Island. His plan is to turn the boys into donkey’s in order to sell them and is also physically and verbally abusive towards them. Its difficult not to allude to the idea of trafficking with this dark sub-plot in the film as it transports the audience into a sense of unease.

donkey

Pleasure Island entices the boys into complete anarchy as they experiment with smoking, drinking and gambling unaware of the severe consequences about to come their way. This suggests that there are no redeeming features for misbehaved children and they will suffer the ultimate punishment, an extremely negative message. The shadowy-like monsters that the coachman enlists to close the gates of the theme park trapping the boys inside is also shudder-worthy. Jiminy Cricket discovers the island’s terrible curse after walking away from Pinocchio in objection to his new found friendship with a young delinquent named Lampwick. In the horrifying scene Lampwick is drinking beer and before he knows it he is turning into a four-legged creature! The unnerving part of the scene is how it focuses on the boys hands transforming into hooves and his shadow on the wall as he cries for his mother in a haunting manner. All sorts of dark implications can be drawn from this sequence and its one that really makes me wonder if Disney went too far? Especially since the Coachman’s horrid behavior is toned down in this version in comparison to the original book.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarves (1937): The Wicked Queen’s Transformation.

Disney’s first feature length animated film has traumatized children for generations. The film balances its dark and light elements exceptionally well and leaves viewers with a handful of frightening scenes to choose from. Snow White’s encounter in the forest is up there as one of the most trauma-worthy however The Evil Queen easily steals the show as she plots to murder Snow White in order to become the Fairest of them All! The Wicked monarch is prepared to trade her youthful looks for an old disguise which is a very bold move. She creates a potion with a concoction of ingredients in order to achieve her goal. When she places the ingredient to whiten her hair a nerve-shredding shriek is heard with a distorted face on a white cloud emerging. The camera pans around creating a sense of disorientation as the Wicked Queen clutches her throat as she bids farewell to her youth.

queen

Again, like Pinocchio there is a focus on the hands which turn withered as the Queen attempts to grasp what is happening to her. Once she reveals her transformation she cackles in delight, her eyes bulge and her nose is crooked. Even the crow is afraid of her and hides in a skull! Intense is the perfect way to describe this iconic scene, it pulls the audience into a nightmarish sequence demonstrating what lengths she will go to. The Queen is set out to murder a young, innocent girl, certainly not the things dreams are made of! Disney knew they had a creeptastic villainess on their hands and capitalized on it further with the Disneyland ride “Snow White’s Scary Adventures”. Not for the fainthearted, I had no idea what I let myself in for as an impressionable seven year old visiting the theme park for the first time. It’s definitely the Evil Queen’s adventure as she pops out when you least expect it. It goes to show that the villain characters have far more interesting aspects to them.

Sleeping Beauty (1959): Aurora’s Trance

Sleeping Beauty is one of Disney’s most darkly beautiful films. It carries a sinister tone throughout and that’s down to the strong screen presence of its iconic villainess Maleficent. Arguably one of the best Disney Villains ever created, Maleficent is powerful and downright evil. Many would say the sequence where she transforms into a fire breathing dragon is Sleeping Beauty’s most darkest scene, however the moment that gave me the creep factor and still does to this day is where she hypnotizes Aurora into pricking her finger on the spinning wheel.

Sleeping Beauty Disney Spinning Wheel

There is something incredibly atmospheric about the scene from the music to the imagery. The scene opens with Maleficent’s glowing eyes staring directly at the viewers, it brings about a sense of intimidation. Aurora along with the audience is in a trance like state as she follows a glowing light up the staircase with no control over her own movement. The fairies do their best to rescue her from her doomed fate as they follow her, calling her name out in echoes, the glowing green light transforms into the spinning wheel and their too late, Maleficent reveals Aurora’s body sprawled out on the floor. Disney certainly accomplished one of its most creepiest moments with this scene, its effective, suspenseful and will be sure to bring about nightmares to children for years to come! There is also a similar moment in Cinderella (1950) where we are subjected to Lady Tremaine’s evil glare before we see her face. Coincidentally, Eleanor Audley was the voice actress for both Maleficent and Lady Tremaine and certainly had the villainess character down perfectly.

Thanks for reading. Please comment what you consider to be your scariest Disney moments. Look out in the New Year for part two!

Happy Christmas

From

Hayley’s Horror Reviews

Hayley Alice Roberts.