It’s a myth as old as Walt Disney himself: the famous creator of Mickey Mouse had his corpse frozen and hidden in his theme park.
Fans of Walt Disney have long maintained that the famous man not only had himself cryogenically frozen, but secured his frosty body beneath Pirates of the Caribbean. Can you believe it? Well, you shouldn’t! Here’s the truth behind this silly, but long-lived, myth.
The Rationale Behind the Myth
As with most myths, this bizarre and complicated story springs out of one small truth: Walt Disney was indeed obsessed with death, particularly his own. His estate didn’t help matters by holding his funeral behind closed doors (perhaps at the request of Disney himself) and never publicly announcing the cause of his death.
The Myth’s History
Biographers, fans, and conspiracy buffs have long reveled in the idea that Walt Disney had his body frozen. Part of the myth comes from the sci-fi craze of the fifties and sixties, when cryogenic freezing fascinated the general population. Walt Disney may well have heard of the concept, but there is absolutely no proof that he had any interest in the subject, or even knew anything about it.
The Truth Behind It
Walt Disney’s death certificate — and yes, he did have one — indicates that he died of lung cancer in December of 1966. In accordance with his wishes, Disney was cremated two days later and buried in a marked plot. There is plenty of documentation to support these assertions.
There is also written documentation showing that Disney specifically requested not to have a funeral which explains why his memorial service — if any — happened away from the prying eyes of fans and reporters.
Cryogenic Freezing Today
If Walt Disney lived today, would he have any more luck with the concept of cryogenic freezing? Rumor has it that eleven people exist today in cryogenic suspension. It is actually completely possible to freeze a human body to prevent its death. Unfortunately, reviving the person is not nearly as simple a proposition.
The human body is not meant to be frozen, and the process usually kills a number of essential cells. Furthermore, as soon as the body thaws, more cells begin to perish. Still, some people have such a pervasive fear of the unknown that they’d prefer the uncertainties of cryogenic freezing to a natural death.
Regardless, Walt Disney wasn’t one of them. You can rest easy next time you visit the Pirates of the Caribbean: Walt Disney isn’t lying underneath!