Episode 15: 917.5924- Myths and Legends of Disney World

In this episode of The Reference Desk, Katie is bewitched by the myths and legends of Disney World. 

Known around the globe as “the happiest place on Earth,” Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida is a vacation destination like no other. This sprawling property is home to four unique theme parks, a host of themed accommodations, hundreds of restaurants, and a world of carefully-curated experiences. But are there secrets lurking beneath the surface? 

Was Walt Disney cryogenically frozen and kept in suspended animation beneath one of his most beloved attractions?

Is an uncontainable flesh-eating bacteria the real reason for the sudden, quiet closure of a wildly popular water park? And is it true that no one dies on Disney property? We explore these myths and more in this magical episode. 

Recommended books:

Manacled by SenLinYu

Disney War by James B. Stewart 

It’s Kind of a Cute Story by Rolly Crump and Jeff Heimbuch 

The Disney Story: Chroniciling the Man, the Mouse, and the Parks  by Aaron H. Goldberg

The Art of Disney Costuming: Heroes, Villains, and Spaces Between by Jeff Kurtti 

Maps of the Disney Parks: Charting 60 Years from California to Shanghaiby Kevin and Susan Neary

Cleaning the Kingdom: Insider Tales of Keeping Walt’s Dream Spotless by Ken Pellman and Lynn Barron

Ink and Paint: The Women of Walt Disney’s Animation by Mindy Johnson

Secret Stories of Walt Disney World series by Jim Korkis


“Abandoned: The Rise, Fall and Decay of Disney’s River Country.” Theme Park Tourist, 28 Feb. 2020, http://www.themeparktourist.com/features/20150323/30074/abandoned-rise-fall-and-decay-disney-s-river-country?page=3. 

Barkley, Brad, and Heather Hepler. Dream Factory. Speak, 2009. 

Blatty, David. “Is Walt Disney’s Body Frozen?” Biography.com, A&E Networks Television, 3 Mar. 2020, http://www.biography.com/news/walt-disney-frozen-after-death-myth. 

Crump, Rolly, and Jeff Heimbuch. It’s Kind of a Cute Story. Bamboo Forest Publishing, 2012. 

Doctorow, Cory. Down and out in the Magic Kingdom. Tor, 2018. 

Goldberg, Aaron H. The Disney Story: Chronicling the Man, the Mouse, and the Parks. Quaker Scribe Publishing, 2016. 

Johnson, Mindy. Ink & Paint the Women of Walt Disney’s Animation. Disney Editions, 2017. 

Korkis, Jim, and Sam Gennawey. Secret Stories of Walt Disney World: Things You Never Knew You Never Knew. Theme Park Press, 2015. 

Kurtti, Jeff. The Art of Disney Costuming Heroes, Villains, and Spaces Between. Disney Editions, 2019. 

“List of Incidents at Walt Disney World.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 28 Apr. 2021, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_incidents_at_Walt_Disney_World. 

Margaritoff, Marco. “The Inside Story Of Walt Disney’s Secret Tunnels Beneath The Magic Kingdom.” All That’s Interesting, All That’s Interesting, 16 Apr. 2021, allthatsinteresting.com/disney-underground-tunnels. 

Menyes, Carolyn. “Park Secrets Disney Doesn’t Want You to Know.” The Daily Meal, The Daily Meal, 5 July 2019, http://www.thedailymeal.com/travel/secrets-disney-parks-gallery. 

Mikkelson, David. “Fact Check: Does No One Ever Die at Disney Parks?” Snopes.com, 24 Dec. 2017, http://www.snopes.com/fact-check/declared-deaths/. 

Mikkelson, David. “Fact Check: Was Walt Disney Frozen?” Snopes.com, 14 Apr. 2021, http://www.snopes.com/fact-check/suspended-animation/. 

Neary, Kevin, et al. Maps of the Disney Parks: Charting 60 Years from California to Shanghai. Disney Editions, 2016. 

Pearson, Ridley. Kingdom Keepers. Disney/Hyperion Books, 2012. 

Pellman, Ken, and Lynn Barron. Cleaning the Kingdom: Insider Tales of Keeping Walt’s Dream Spotless. Synergy Books Publishing, 2015. 

Snook, Ann. “25 Secrets About Disney World The Execs Would Never Tell Us.” TheTravel, 15 Nov. 2019, http://www.thetravel.com/25-secrets-about-disney-world-the-execs-would-never-tell-us/. 

Stewart, James B. Disney War. Simon & Schuster, 2006. 

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: