From Sarah, With Joy

Writer querying two novels and some other word babies. I tend to effervesce.

New post every Monday

Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Hidden Skeletons in Disneyland's Closet; or I See Dead Pirates

My family has been to Disneyland enough times that it has become somewhat of a multi-day Easter egg hunt. We own the book about all the "Hidden Mickeys." We've found the hidden Eeyore in the Indiana Jones ride. (He's in the room with the projector where Sallah is telling you all about the eyes of the idol and how to wear seat-belts. Look up behind the projector--a Cast Member can show you). We've learned that a pineapple float from the Dole Whip stand by the Tikki Room is maybe the best food ever made, and that the Haunted Mansion doesn't actually give out Death Certificates. (We tried. Several times.)

We learned something new this last trip. Something that is perhaps my favorite Disneyland tidbit yet.


In typical Walt "Make It Perfect" Disney fashion, when the Pirates of the Caribbean ride was originally constructed, they used actual skeletons. Actual. Skeletons. Of course in subsequent remodeling these actual dead pirates bodies were replaced with fake ones.

Except not all of them.

There is a remaining actual pirate skull. It's the one in the headboard in the captains quarters. And maybe it's just me but I think you can tell.

I know this probably says a little too much about my morbid side, but I think that's pretty awesome. And it's unfortunate that "Remains of a Loved One" is among the top items on the list of things not allowed in Disney parks, which makes me wonder how many people tried to spread the ashes of their loved one in the Rivers of America before Disney decided they had to make it against the rules, but I also have to acknowledge that the sentiment makes sense to me because if I was going to pick one place to be laid to rest it would be in the creepy banjo players cabin across from the Blue Bayou restaurant. (Can you imagine any better place to haunt? Sliding into the back of the boat of unsuspecting visitors, clamping your bony fingers over their terrified shoulders at just the right moment...*sigh* good times). 

But again, against the rules. But I imagine that Disneyland would be one of those strict but very kind parents. Like, say, hypothetically, if your brother in law accidentally brought a big old Swiss army knife in his backpack and then lost the backpack and had to go check at the lost and found and then had to choose whether to leave and take the knife home or let the Cast Member dispose of it, he would be escorted by security all the way off Disney property so he could take the knife back to the hotel and then given fast passes for everyone in the group. All hypothetical of course.

But it could mean, hypothetically, that there's a box somewhere with a bunch of confiscated knives and stink bombs and hand-cuffs and zip-ties (all things on the Not Allowed In the Parks list).

Because even this place's hidden skeletons are totally awesome.

Write on!

Sarah Allen

P.S. So this is a new thing we're going to try every Thursday. This will be our weekly Story-time, where we chat about interesting things, look at cool pictures, and mostly just tell funny stories. The Monday writing advice posts will remain exactly the same, and then we'll go a little more casual with these story-time posts every Thursday. Hopefully these provide fun reads as you gear up for the weekend :)

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21 comments:

  1. Didn't know there was still one real skull at Disneyland.

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    1. Isn't it cool? I thought it was cool :)

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  2. That's pretty cool stuff about Disneyland. I wonder if they do that stuff in Disneyworld (been twice).

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    1. Good question...you'll have to pay close attention to the pirate captain's headboard next time you go...

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  3. Our daughter is a huge Disneyland fan so I forwarded your post to her. V. Interesting. Never knew about the skeletons. Did you know that some students at Chapman U visit Disneyland regularly as part of their course of study?

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    1. No way!?!? Really?? I want that degree :) I thought the skeletons were a fun tidbit, hope your daughter enjoys :D (There may be quite a bit of Disneyland on these Story Time Thursdays, to be honest :)

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  4. Since I'm in charge of how unclaimed bodies are distributed to medical schools for research and teaching in NC (I know it sounds like an icky job, but it's important), I am truly surprised that they used real skeletons but the push lately to make sure that all human remains are documented and used for serious purposes is probably behind the change. Perhaps they have documentation for the remaining skull. I understand that Pirates of the Caribbean had a makeover recently? Interesting post!

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    1. Whoa, that job sounds very interesting! You could totally write about that. And I guess it depends on what you mean by recently. From my understanding, which could be wrong, the change from real to fake bodies happened several decades ago. The more recent remodeling, which I'm sure about since I saw the change myself, came on the heels of the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie. So about ten years ago. They did a quick remodeling and added an animatronic Captain Jack Sparrow in several places, and changed some of the sound recordings to fit. I remember being nostalgic about the old version when they first made the change, but its been so long I don't even remember how it was before.

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    2. I tired to incorporate some things about bodies - actually transplantation using unregulated donor tissue - in my first book, Death in a Red Canvas Chair. I taught human anatomy for 40 years, so I'm sort of Bodies Are Us or Me.

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  5. I had no idea there was a real skull in that ride.

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  6. Wow - who knew? I think that's pretty cool too!

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    1. Isn't it?? I thought it was fun, so I had to share :)

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  7. That's something I will definitely have to share with friends and family the next time I go on the ride. =D

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    1. Awesome :) Yeah, we had fun searching for it :)

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  8. Hi Sarah
    It's so gross that they had and still do have a real skeleton. I live in Colorado, half way between both Disney Land and Disney World. We've been to Disney World once. I'd love to take my grandchildren but this writer is poor, so until I hit writers lottery I guess it's mac and cheese along with T.V.

    Nice to meet you.
    Nancy

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    1. Yes, totally gross...and awesome :) My family's done both and we much prefer Disneyland. It's simply easier to manage. And yeah, I'm in the same boat...one day I'll be able to visit as often as I'd like to :)

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  9. I did an internship at WDW many years ago, and can attest to the true weirdness of the Disney brand. Reading this brought back fond (and creepy) memories. And for that, I thank you! Found you via Stephanie Faris's blog.
    Your newest follower,
    Jessica @ tinybabyg.blogspot.com

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    1. Oh wow, you must have some great stories! Thank you for stopping by and commenting :) Hope to see you around again in the future!

      Sarah Allen
      (Writing Blog)

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