Most of us love Disney from our childhood, growing up watching the movies and experiencing the magic. It’s fun to look back at all of the old memories and think about our favorites, but what I have found most interesting growing up is all of the things we never realized as kids about our favorite movies, parks and characters. Here are some of the unbelievable Disney facts that I think actually make Disney even more epic:
1. Disney was Sued for the Defamation of Hyenas
After the release of the movie The Lion King, portrayal of hyenas led to several researchers, whose work was with hyenas, to boycott the movie. One of these researchers actually sued Disney for the defamation of hyenas. The fear of the researchers was that in casting the hyenas in the role of evil (and stupid) minions of Scar, their efforts to preserve the lives and populations of hyenas might be compromised.
2. Hidden Courts in a Mountain
The Matterhorn roller-coaster at Disneyland has a secret basketball court inside it for Disneyland staff to use. It was most popular during the construction of the mountain, but is still in use today.
3. Seriously Haunted Mansion
Each year, several families ask to scatter a loved one’s ashes into the Haunted Mansion ride at Disneyland. The answer is always no, but a family has been caught in the act before.
4. The King of the what?
The original title of The Lion King was “King of the Jungle” — which was scrapped when the Disney team remembered that lions don’t live in the jungle.
5. Quiet Characters
Of all Disney characters, Dumbo speaks the least — having no actual lines of dialogue during the film. Coming in a close second is Aurora of Sleeping Beauty. Who had only 18 whole lines and 18 minutes of screen time during her own movie.
6. How many Fairies does it take?
Speaking of Sleeping Beauty, There were originally seven fairies instead of three, and at one point, the fairies were all supposed to look alike, which would have been incredibly confusing.
7. Princess and the Frog Focus Groups
Princess and the Frog was originally supposed to be called The Frog Princess,” and Tiana was named Maddy, however, a number of changes had to be made to the film, at the request of black focus groups.
8. Redfeather the Turkey
Pocahontas was originally supposed to have a talking turkey side-kick named Redfeather, played by John Candy; however they decided they no longer wished to have a speaking animal, and the character was dropped.
9. Mushu’s Real Size
Mulan’s story was conceived by Robert D. San Souci, retold from an earlier true story, who imagined the character’s companion as a giant dragon. However, the studio was reluctant to portray what could be a very freighting sidekick, and San Souci informed them that Chinese myth allowed for smaller dragons. So they shrunk Mushu down. Mushu alludes to this in the movie, saying, “I’m travel size for your convenience! If I was my real size your cow here would die of fright.”
10. Hercules: The Gospel Truth
Actually Hercules was based off the Greek myth of a hero charged with performing ten “labors” to atone for killing his children, after he was driven to insanity by his stepmother (who was also Zeus’ sister). All of this is obviously left out in the movie, as is Hercules’ real name. It’s “Heracles,” inspired by his stepmother-aunt mother Hera. This was later Romanized as “Hercules,” which became the more well-known version of his name. This also makes Hercules the only character in this movie to have a Roman name instead of a Greek name.
She was actually only eleven when the English arrived in Virginia, while John Smith was twenty-eight. Apparently she did save him from execution, but they never fell in love. Pocahontas kept in contact with the settlers and aided them in times of need, such as providing food for the winter. One summer, Pocahontas arrived at the colony asking for Smith and was told he died; however, he had just been sent back to England from a leg wound. She later met a man named John Rolfe, and they eloped to England. Pocahontas’s died as a foreign princess living among the richest and most powerful people in Europe. Sadly when she was 21 she died of disease, never having returned to America.
12. Beastly Birthday
So, according to the movie the Beast’s rose dies on his 21st birthday; as that time is approaching Belle comes into his life and during the song, “Be Our Guest,” Lumier mentions that they have been in object form for 10 years now. That means that Adam (the beast) was turned into a beast when he was 11, and he remained that way for almost half his life.