Cooked duck tales
The “Fantasmic!” show on the Rivers of America is a huge hit at disney. “As part of the show, they basically set the river on fire,” says Koenig. “They have this giant, fire-breathing dragon from ‘Sleeping Beauty.’ It roars fire and it’s as if the river catches on fire.”
But when it first debuted at Disneyland in the early 1990s, it had a kid-unfriendly effect. “What they quickly discovered when they first had the show was that the ducks that liked to hang out on the river were being cooked.”
Disney made change to the show. “Now what they do is, not long before the fire shows up, they have this sort of bubbling water effect that makes the water really turbulent and it scares away all the ducks,” says Koenig. “People think it’s for the atmosphere — like the moment’s getting tense and something interesting is going to happen. But really, it’s to save the lives of the ducks.” So Donald can rest easy!
Characters not so nice
One case in the early 1980s, one performer playing Winnie-the-Pooh at Disneyland who was accused of slapping a young girl. During the trial decided to actually plead his part of his case in costume.
“After a recess, he came back out in the costume, skipping, doing a little dance, throwing kisses to everyone,” says Koenig. “As soon as the opposing attorney saw the costume skip out, he basically did a faceplant. Like, ‘Oh gosh, we’re cooked now.’”
The Winnie-the-Pooh testified his costume had stumps for arms and been unable to hit anyone in the head. He said that "when he noticed the girl behind him about to hit him, he quickly turned around and must have made contact with the costume’s ears".
If you have walked the Disneyland waterways like the Rivers of America, the Storybook Land canals or the Jungle Cruise river, you will noticed= the water is colored green. The water is dyed green intentionally.
“In the days of Walt Disney, he wanted you to believe you were on a 19th-century steamship or paddle wheeler,” explains Koenig, “that these were actual real free-floating boats. Not that they were riding on a track. By dyeing the water green, you can’t see the track.”
“Once every couple of years they’ll drain these rivers to do maintenance and clear out all the things that have been dropped in there,” Koenig says. “They’ve found some amazing things: wheelchairs, mechanized scooters, trash cans, hundreds of cameras, large strollers — anything you could imagine they would find at the bottom of these rivers.”
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