What Is The Details Of Walt Disney’s Frozen Body?

What Is The Details Of Walt Disney’s Frozen Body?

Written by Mark Williams, In Celeb, Published On
February 22, 2024

In Shorts: 

  • Walt Disney, the famed animator and businessman, developed the Disney franchise.
  • Disney went to the doctor for leg and neck aches. Unfortunately, x-rays and procedures revealed a metastatic lung malignancy. Although the disease was treated quickly, the beloved icon died weeks later on December 15, 1966.
  • These are genuine aspects of Disney’s death, but what occurs next is mysterious. Popular rumours about Walt Disney’s death include his body being frozen.

Rumours have swirled for decades that Walt Disney, the beloved creator of Mickey Mouse and founder of Disneyland, was cryogenically preserved after he died in 1966. Further, there are persistent rumours that his frozen body is secreted away deep beneath Disneyland itself. But are any of these tales true? Let’s investigate.

The Origins of the Frozen Disney Legend

No one knows precisely where rumours about Disney’s alleged frozen corpse and fabled hiding place originated. In 1964, Robert Ettinger published the book The Prospect of Immortality, which generated buzz about cryonic preservation – so when Disney died just two years later, the idea of him freezing his body seemed plausibly cutting-edge. However, the rumours and myths continued swirling long after his actual death.

In 1986, twenty years after Disney’s passing, author Leonard Mosley published the biography Disney’s World, which claimed Disney was fascinated with cryonics as his health failed. It asserted Disney had his lung removed and frozen just in case future tech could revive him. However, Mosley’s many claims were heavily disputed. Disney passed mere weeks after his cancer diagnosis, leaving little time to research cryonics. Moreover, doctors only preserved small samples of his lung tissue for research, not the entire organ.

Though Mosley cited Disney colleagues and advisors as sources, his assertions have been largely discredited. Another possible genesis of the mythos is Marc Elliot’s 1993 biography Walt Disney: Hollywood’s Dark Prince, which doubled down on the narrative of Disney’s desire to freeze his body. It also characterized Disney as morbidly obsessed with death and preserving his body “at all costs.” However, Elliot cited no sources, and Disney’s relatives denied ever discussing cryonics with Walt.

The Legend of Walt Disney’s Frozen Body

Walt Disney, the legendary animator and business magnate who created the Disney empire, is, of course, well-known across the world. Disney visited his doctor after experiencing leg and neck pain in late 1966. Tragically, x-rays and subsequent surgeries uncovered an aggressive lung cancer that had metastasized throughout his body. Though the tumour was treated urgently, the beloved icon passed away mere weeks later, on December 15, 1966, at the age of 65. While those details of Disney’s death are factual, what happened afterwards becomes quite mysterious, shrouded in secrecy and speculation. One of the most enduring urban legends surrounding Walt Disney’s death is that he had his body cryogenically frozen after he died.

Cryonic preservation is preserving a body by freezing it in a liquid nitrogen vapour chamber. The body is then stored indefinitely, though scientists affirm the technology to revive a frozen body successfully does not currently exist and may never exist. Those who opt for cryonic preservation often have a “nothing to lose” attitude yet hold out optimism that someday science may advance enough to make reviving a frozen body possible.

Cryonics remains controversial, as many believe it is pure science fiction. More outrageous versions of the legend claim Walt Disney’s frozen body is covertly stored deep under Disneyland grounds in Anaheim, California – beneath Cinderella’s Castle or under Pirates of the Caribbean. As dearly as Disney fans might wish to see their beloved animator resurrect, the rumours are not true. Walt Disney was not frozen when he died.

The first documented case of human cryonic preservation did not occur until a month after Disney’s death, when Dr. James Bedford, a psychologist, was frozen in early 1967. His body remains preserved today under the care of the Alcor Life Extension Foundation, a non-profit focused on advancing cryonics. How did these fantastical rumours ever begin if cryonic technology did not even exist when Disney died?

When did Walt Disney die?

When did Walt Disney die?

The world lost a visionary when Walt Disney died on Dec. 15, 1966. Innovative and creative, Disney pioneered animated films and grew his small animation studio into an empire known worldwide. But was Walt Disney’s body frozen after his death?

Why are rumours of Walt Disney’s frozen body spread?

Rumours of Walt Disney’s frozen body emerged in early 1967, shortly after Disney died. Then, PBS reported that a reporter for The National Spotlite tabloid claimed that they snuck into St. Joseph’s Hospital after Disney’s death and saw Disney’s body in a cryogenic cylinder.

Two years later, in 1969, the French magazine Ici Paris and the U.S. paper The National Tattler predicted that Disney would be thawed and reanimated as soon as 1975. Other claims surfaced that Disney’s body was stored in a freezer beneath the “Pirates of the Caribbean” ride at Disneyland.

Walt Disney’s interest in the future?

Given Disney’s purported fascination with science fiction and the future, these rumours were plausible for some. For example, the original concept for EPCOT was effectively Walt Disney’s vision for a utopian society. Disney’s brother Roy was responsible for what EPCOT ultimately became: a miniature world fair of sorts.

Was Walt Disney’s Body Frozen?

Claims that Walt Disney’s body was frozen are false. There is no evidence to suggest that Disney was aware of or interested in cryonics, and speculation about his body occurred posthumously. Much of the speculation comes from two largely debunked biographies of Disney: the 1986 biography by Leonard Mosley, Disney’s World, and the 1993 biography by Marc Eliot, Walt Disney — Hollywood’s Dark Prince.

Evidence against the rumours

Some claim that news of Disney’s death was delayed to prepare a cryogenic chamber, but it simply took time to notify his family before the public. Others point out that Disney didn’t have a funeral, but Disney had never wanted one. A decade before he died, he allegedly said: “When I’m dead, I don’t want a funeral. I want people to remember me alive.'”

Indeed, Disney’s death certificate shows he was cremated two days after his death and that the Disney estate paid $40,000 to Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, where Disney’s plot can be found to this day.

The Truth: Walt Disney Was Cremated

Walt Disney’s family confirms he wished to be cremated when he died. His death certificate shows he was cremated just two days after passing, only 34 days after his cancer diagnosis. Walt Disney’s ashes were then interred at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California, where his marked burial plot remains today, located in a private garden to the left of the Freedom Mausoleum entrance. While the urban legends make for fun discussion, attempts to claim Disney’s body was cryonically preserved have been wholly debunked over the years. Perhaps Disney’s famous distaste for funerals and desire to keep his illness private helped fuel morbid speculations after his death. But in reality, the details of his final wishes and cremation were kept purposefully quiet by a man beloved around the world. Still, the myths do get one thinking about planning their final arrangements!


Was Walt Disney interested in cryogenics?

There is no evidence that Walt Disney had any real interest in cryogenics or freezing his body after death. The rumors emerged after his passing.

Where is Walt Disney buried?

Walt Disney was cremated after his death. His ashes are interred at the Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California.

Did Walt Disney want to be frozen?

No credible evidence exists that Walt Disney planned to be cryogenically frozen. The urban legend emerged from tabloid reports after his death.

When did rumours about Disney being frozen start?

Rumors about Disney’s body being cryogenically frozen surfaced in 1967, just weeks after his death, from tabloid reports with no evidence.

Is Walt Disney’s body frozen somewhere?

No, Walt Disney’s body is not frozen. He was cremated after his death, and his ashes are interred at a cemetery in California. The frozen rumor is an urban legend.

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