5 Disney Park Easter Eggs (That Are Hiding In Plain Sight)
Over the years, we've carved out a niche in pointing out the bizarre secrets that Mickey Mouse's employers don't want you to know: their scandals, their screw-ups, their habit of making cast members share underwear -- we've heard it all. Or almost all. There are still some secrets lurking in Disney parks that few have ever noticed. Which makes sense, because it's not as if these are some of the most visited places on the planet or anything. Here are some WTF tidbits that will make you the most interesting member of your Disney tour group and/or get you banned from the parks for life.
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad Will Make You HURL Kidney Stones
The whole point of roller coasters is to make your body feel things it doesn't normally feel; your heart racing out of your chest, your palms exploding into clammy sweatiness, your buttocks closing with the intensity of two iron warships colliding. But if you're a guy, there's one feeling you don't want your coaster to kick-start: a kidney stone being shot out of your pee hole.
Unfortunately, that's exactly what you might wind up experiencing if you ever decide to ride Disney World's Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. Hear the screams in the video below? Chances are at least some of those are due to extreme penile pain.
Following reports from patients that riding BTMR caused them to pass kidney stones (one guy rode it three times and produced a dick rock each time), a team of urologists decided to delve into this subject with the no-nonsense rigor and seriousness we expect from science ... and a 3D-printed kidney. As in, they printed a replica kidney, filled it full of some of that urine they keep handy just for these occasions, sprinkled in a few kidney stones, and set it loose on BTMR.
The results? It's all location, location, location if you do/don't want your body to learn a painful new trick. When the fake kidney was placed at the front of the ride, it only passed the stones 16.67 percent of the time -- compared to a 63 percent success rate at the back. Just to make sure that this wasn't an effect of general roller-coastering, the urologists also strapped their creation into several other rides at the park, to no avail. They then took the kidney for ice cream and bought it a $10 Mickey-shaped pen.
So there you have it, folks. If you want a surefire way of dislodging a troublesome kidney stone, or if you're just into groin pain, get yourself a vacation to Disney World. We don't know why they don't put this on their marketing materials, to be honest.
Cages Of Chickens Are Hidden Throughout Disney World In Order To Stop Disease
Disney likes to play fast and loose with safety rules involving certain wild animals, but they don't screw around with mosquitoes. Disney World has a team specially dedicated to researching, trapping, and fighting off the flying disease-ridden hordes, although we guess that's the least they could do, considering they're the ones who decided to place a major vacation spot in the middle of the bayou.
This team -- known as the Mosquito Surveillance Program -- has an array of techniques, ranging from insecticide to trapping the little bastards in liquid nitrogen and dissecting their bodies for science. But their most effective weapon is ... chicken?
Throughout Disney World, the MSP operates dozens of coops containing chickens whose sole job is to take one for the team, so to speak. They get bitten by mosquitoes, at which point the team analyzes their blood for traces of West Nile. It sounds like a death sentence, but these chickens are immune to all manner of winged-dickhead-related diseases, which is why they get the baddest-assest job title imaginable: "sentinel chickens."
OK, baddest job title imaginable for a chicken, but you get our point.
Main Street Is Covered With Secret Homages To The People Who Built The Parks
Making Disneyland and Disney World was a massive effort on the part of thousands of designers, engineers, costumers, set dressers, and disaffected janitors -- and we bet top dollar that you can't name a single one of them except for Walt Disney, whose image is plastered around the parks as if he singlehandedly built them both over a long weekend.
That's not to say that the parks don't pay tribute to the many men and women who spilled blood, sweat, and tears for your vacation. If you need a distraction from the screaming children and sweaty adults populating Main Street, look up at the windows of each building. You'll find that they're all advertising fictional businesses that reference real people -- like Roland Crump, who not only helped to design the layout of Disney World, but also played a major role in designing spooktastic rides like the Haunted Mansion and the Enchanted Tiki Room. For that, he was aptly honored as the owner of a palm-reading outfit called the, um, "Palm Parlor."
Also in Disney World, there's a shout-out to Donn Tatum, who spearheaded the development of the park -- and it also pays reference to the shell companies that Disney (with help from the CIA) used to buy the swampland that forms the park. No window for J. Edgar Hoover, though, for some reason.
All told, there are nearly two dozen of these windows dotted around the parks, and as you can imagine, the standards for receiving one are astronomically out there. We guess what we're saying is that the next time you visit the parks and see a worker cleaning up vomit or getting kicked in the junk by an overexcited five-year-old, give them a hug. Statistically speaking, it's one of the few honors they'll ever receive.
Cosplaying Is Banned In The Parks ... But Some Visitors Cleverly Get Around It
Disney has a longstanding policy on visitors over tween age visiting their parks dressed in costume, which makes sense. They're responsible for training kids of all ages to rabidly cuddle anything dressed in a fursuit. Hopefully you can see how that could go very, very wrong for all involved. "Multiple lawsuits and ruined childhoods/adulthoods" wrong.
This hasn't stopped megafans from cosplaying on the down low, a practice known as "Disneybounding." Instead of going full regalia, bounders(?) dress in outfits that mimic the overall appearance of characters, like when Walmart's store-brand products try to evoke the color scheme of the thing you actually wanted to buy. It could be a yellow blouse to represent Belle, a turquoise dress and jewels for Jasmine, or a red T-shirt and no pants for Winnie the Pooh, we guess.
That's the great thing about bounding: It allows people to live out their passions, join an insider's club of nods and winks, and stick it to Big Disney -- at least until the company buys out the concept of colors in 2021.
Cast Members Point With Two Fingers To Disguise Walt Disney's Smoking Habit
As we've made pretty clear by now, there's a shitload of skeletons hiding in Disney's closet -- and not the fancy dancing ones from Fantasia, either. We're talking hardcore skeletons like racism and death and thievery and, worst of all, smoking. Or at least, that's the impression we get from how over the last few years, the Disney corporation has revisited their archives and airbrushed out every cigarette that Walt Disney was ever photographed with. Which is no small feat, considering that the guy sucked up cancer sticks with the careless abandon of, well, someone who was alive in the first half of the 20th century.
A side effect of this bizarre censorship is that every now-cigarette-less picture of Walt has him walking around with two fingers jutting out like he's primed to salute or jab someone in the eye.
In order to explain this to curious guests who don't know the history of the photos, Disney park cast members are trained to explain it away as Walt's own special way of pointing. Which means that they also have to be trained to point at stuff in the same way, just to keep up appearances. Good thing Walt wasn't in the habit of carrying a beer bottle everywhere, or Disney employees would have to walk around with one hand in a perpetual jerk-off pose.