Here’s a conspiracy theory that might blow your brain into a thousand different pieces: The movie Frozen was made to keep people from finding out the truth about Walt Disney freezing himself.
OK, this is going to take some explaining, so bear with me as I rock n’ roll your face off. It all starts with the man himself: Walt Disney. Walter Elias Disney was born on December 5, 1901. He was a shy man whose public persona differed from his true personality. He was quiet and somewhat self-deprecating. Despite rumors of racism and anti-semitism, those close to him say otherwise.
But this isn’t a lesson on race or gender or any of the baggage that follows the massive Disney corporation—this is a story about the man himself, and a rumor that just won’t die.
Let’s get right to the good stuff: There’s this rumor that’s been circulating since before Disney’s death, way before the invention of the internet. Supposedly, Walt Disney grew so obsessed with the idea of cryogenic freezing that he requested his body be frozen after his death. Awesome! But that’s only half the story. The second half comes courtesy of (where else?) Reddit, which posits that the movie Frozen was released purely to detract the public from looking up information on the cryogenic rumor. Because what do you get when you Google “Disney frozen?” Pages upon pages of information on the movie Frozen.
To get to the bottom of the mystery, we sought out answers from a search engine expert and ex-Disney employee.
“I can tell you, as a tour guide, that was one of the most frequent questions,” says Mikey Jacobs, a 26-year veteran Disney employee, when we asked him if he’d heard the rumor about Walt being frozen. “That, and if we got Coca-Cola for free as long as we used Disney cups.” (They don’t.)
The rumor was started in part by a massively popular book, The Prospect of Immortality, which was published shortly before Disney’s death. Author Robert C.W. Ettinger theorized that humans could be frozen in “suspended animation,” and be brought back to life years later.
Ettinger wrote: “We already have made our arrangements for cryostasis after clinical death–signed our contracts with existing organizations and allocated the money. We will have our chance, and with a little bit of luck will ‘taste the wine of centuries unborn’.”
Unfortunately, the whole story is false.
“Disney was cremated and his ashes were spread in Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California,” says Jacobs, “But yeah, it was a very common question.”
During his nearly three decades at Disney World, Jacobs learned the secrets of the park, including the little things the Disney overlords don’t want you to see; the phallic symbols across the park (affectionately known as dickies), the spot Playboy named the best place to get laid, and the section of Epcot that’s 100 percent acoustically perfect.
No truth to the Disney rumor, however.
A Marketing Strategy?
The idea of Disney releasing Frozen as a red herring to deter cryogenic freezing rumors is brilliant. Just how brilliant, you ask? We had a chat with Minneapolis-based digital marketing agency Snap to get the scoop on whether or not the bizarre strategy could actually work.
“In a sense, yes,” says Director of Search Abby Herman, “This type of strategy would have a strong impact on short tail keywords, like ‘Walt Disney frozen.’ Short tail keywords are characterized by their high search volume, and are one to three words long. Much of SEO, however, is built around long tail keywords. These have much lower search volume and are about four words long. They’re more detailed, which makes them easier to rank for, and typically have a higher conversion rate.” Herman and the president of Snap, Spenser Baldwin, agree that the tactic of releasing Frozen to deter fans would have been brilliant, and incredibly lucrative.
“Not only would Disney have found a way to push a pesky conspiracy theory out of search results,” Baldwin says, “They found a way to make $1.276 billion at the box office as well, and that’s not accounting for any merchandise or additional sales.”
If you don’t believe the pair, try searching for “Walt Disney frozen” on Google, and keep track of how long it takes to get to a page about cryogenics. Regardless of whether or not Disney pays any attention to this highly entertaining Frozen rumor, it’s fun to think that there’s more to seemingly innocuous movies than meets the eye.
With the public infatuation of Walt Disney’s dark side propelling rumors into the limelight time and time again, it’s not totally crazy to think the red herring Frozen theory is that far from the truth.
Did Disney pay Snopes to label these rumors false? Is Walt Disney actually D.B. Cooper? Is Hitler’s brain hidden inside Splash Mountain? Who knows?!
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