When you think of Disney theme parks, you likely conjure up images of family entertainment more wholesome than a slice of apple pie on a collectible Snow White plastic plate (only $79.99!). But it turns out Disney's Imagineers have dreamed up some certifiably insane attractions that don't exactly jive with your preconceived image of Disney, such as ...
Kilimanjaro Safaris at Disney's Animal Kingdom has you boarding a free-roaming Jeep and being driven through a real 110-acre wildlife sanctuary. It's a pretty straightforward ride -- you see a zebra, you see a giraffe, a lion hides from you in the shade, the driver tells a joke, you get off, and you get in line again because fuck you, lion, I will post you on Facebook. However, it wasn't always like that: This being Disney, when the ride originally opened to preview audiences in 1998, it included a plot. A horrible one.
The ride began just like it does today, with a driver pointing out different animals and offering up interesting tidbits about them. The difference came when a radio crackled to life throughout your voyage, informing you that a mother elephant, Big Red, and her calf, Little Red, were being pursued by poachers. Near the end of the ride, your driver was recruited to help by going off road and chasing down the villains.
And that's when you found Big Red, dead and bloody.
Now, to be fair, the ride's designers had good intentions: They wanted to teach guests about the horrors of poaching. But spending 10 minutes showing kids live animals and then springing a realistic, hacked-up elephant on their unprepared psyches maybe wasn't the greatest way to accomplish that. The ride went on to finish the story by presenting you with Little Red, who was rescued thanks to your efforts.
"Your efforts" amounting to "not falling out of the vehicle."
Guest Services was inundated with complaints, and just before the ride's public opening, Dead Momma Red was yoinked. According to Walt Disney World cast members, the prop even resulted in a local pilot reporting Disney for elephant cruelty when he spotted it from the sky. "Man," the pilot must've thought, "every time I fly over this place there's another mauled elephant. We all knew Walt made some dark deals to found his fortune, but this is too much!"
If you visited Disneyland on its opening day in 1955, you'd find a much different place. There were only five themed lands, the costumed characters were pants-shittingly terrifying, and rides you now think of as "classics," such as Space Mountain and the Haunted Mansion, were still decades away from existence. Perhaps the most striking difference, however, would be your ability to learn the entire history of women's panties at Hollywood-Maxwell's Intimate Apparel Shop.
That's right: when Disneyland first opened, it had its own intimate apparel shop -- sort of like Victoria's Secret, but for your grandma. In addition to offering modern (as of 1955) bras and panties for sale, the shop featured rows of 3D boxes that allowed guests to ogle women in historic attire and, with a quick turn of the head, watch said attire disappear to reveal the corsets and pantaloons worn beneath.
And just in case you got lost (on your way to find a place to wash up after looking in all those 3D boxes), there was a friendly animatronic tour guide named -- and we are absolutely not shitting you about this -- the Wonderful Wizard Of Bras.
Orange County Archives, via Yesterland.com
It makes sense because unclasping a bra does, in fact, require wizardry.
Sadly, Hollywood-Maxwell's closed in January of 1956, just six months after it opened. It was replaced by the China Closet, a shop featuring ceramic figures, porcelain dishes, and myriad other items that are significantly more difficult -- but not impossible! -- to masturbate to.
Between antique bloomers or a shell-bra Ariel snow globe, it's probably about even.
When Disneyland was under construction, Walt Disney decided that Tomorrowland would need to open later than the rest of the park for budgetary reasons. Then he changed his mind, because he was Walt friggin' Disney: Tomorrowland would open on schedule, but in order to make that happen its attractions would take on corporate sponsors to cover the extra costs. Some of said sponsors included Kaiser Aluminum, Dutch Boy Paint, and Monsanto (yes, that Monsanto).
And then there was the Crane Plumbing Company, with their Bathroom Of Tomorrow.
Disney, via Waltdisney.org
Though having three men operating valves isn't the level of privacy most of us look for
in a trip to the crapper.
On April 5, 1956, Walt Disney and two Crane executives introduced the world to the bathroom of the future. Walt's vision for Tomorrowland was a "factual and scientific exposition of things to come," and as such the Bathroom Of Tomorrow was a walk-through attraction where crowds could bump up against glass partitions and drool over what bathrooms might look like in the far-flung year of 1986.
And, perhaps prophetically, they envisioned the people of the '80s as some gaudy-ass motherfuckers. All the fixtures were bright yellow except for the bathtub and the bidet, which were plated in 24-carat gold.
"I understand the gold toilet, but what the hell are you supposed to do with those three seashells?"
For the kids, there was also a 20-foot display of guest-activated faucets to teach little Johnny "a dramatic story of valves." But as captivating as that undoubtedly was, the exhibit closed in August of 1960, because you simply cannot tantalize droves of people with a golden toilet and then tell them they can't shit in it.
Epcot's Future World has always been about convincing suckers to pay exorbitant fees to learn useless crap -- sort of like online colleges. In a single afternoon, children could learn a debatable amount about how the oceans thrive, how cars move, how humans learned to communicate, and how Daddy knocked up Mommy.
We're referring, of course, to The Making Of Me, an odd little educational film tucked away inside the now-defunct pavilion. The first sign that this attraction was a little ... different was the notice at the entrance:
Note that this was well before little Johnny had ready access to YouPorn.
The film begins innocently enough. Martin Short wonders what it was like to be born. He introduces us to his mother and father (also Short) as children and teens. Then he goes to a blackboard and explains the different "baby-making equipment" of males and females, complete with sufficiently vague chalk drawings.
Disney, via YouTube
Way to take all the fun out of chalkboard dicks, Martin.
After that we follow his parents to a dance where, in true Disney tradition, they fall in love at first sight. Soon enough the pair make the decision to bring a tiny Martin Short into the world. A decision they presumably come to regret.
Then, cartoon time!
Disney, via YouTube
There's no way her gynecologist could've OK'd that sign.
It's an animated sperm race through Martin Short's mom's hooha to an egg, who places a target symbol on her nether regions. Wait, you're telling us genitals have genitals?
Disney, via YouTube
This one does!
Then smash-cut to actual footage of a live birth. It's probably the most informative thing in Epcot, but you've got to wonder how a "birds and bees" attraction managed to get greenlit by Disney at all. Did they think the kids were gonna run out and buy a bunch of stuffed uteri from the gift shop afterward?
Based on the 1949 film The Adventures Of Ichabod And Mr. Toad, which was in turn half-based on the 1908 novel The Wind In The Willows, Mr. Toad's Wild Ride is one of the few attractions to have been operational at Disneyland and at Disney World's Magic Kingdom on both of their opening days, in 1955 and 1971, respectively. In the film, Mr. Toad becomes obsessed with driving a new motor car and gets falsely accused of stealing it. In the ride, Mr. Toad dies horribly and wakes up in Hell.
The Magic Kingdom version improved upon the original with an extra track, offering riders two different experiences. On the right track, you started in Toad Hall's library before running into a barn, driving down a tunnel the wrong way, going to court, going to jail, and getting into a shootout with police. On the left track, you started in Toad Hall's trophy room, then burst through a gypsy camp and a tavern before peeling ass across the countryside.
However, both tracks ended the same: You (as Mr. Toad) drove onto a railroad track, got transformed into a French entree by an oncoming train, and received a one-way ticket to Hell. And this wasn't some metaphoric, happy Disney Hell. No, we're talking brimstone, demons brandishing pitchforks, flames, a noticeably unhappy Beelzebub ...
Because what better topper for two minutes of cartoon animals than a visit from fucking Satan?
This scene didn't occur in either the novel or the film, leading us to conclude that the ride designers were clearly snorting pixie dust when they came up with this shit. The Magic Kingdom version of the ride closed in 1998 to make way for the mostly demon-free The Many Adventures Of Winnie The Pooh. However, if you feel compelled to see the crazy for yourself, you can still ride the single-tracked original at Disneyland. And then you can go straight to Hell.
We weren't saying that to be mean or anything. It's just how the ride ends.
Disney has a strange sense of how entertainment works. See what we mean in 22 Disturbing Facts Disney Doesn't Want You To Know and 6 Things Nobody Tells You About Working At Disney World.
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