Debunking an Urban Legend: Walt Disney Isn’t Frozen

Urban legends about Walt Disney have circulated since shortly after his death more than 50 years ago. The legend even sparked a recent quirky comedy film.

The truth is, Disney was not frozen. He had a California cremation and his ashes were interred at Forest Lawn in Glendale, California shortly after his death, Dec. 15, 1966.

Disney was a fan of science fiction and looked forward to advances in science, technology and medicine. And though some have speculated that he read Robert C.W. Ettinger’s 1964 book, “The Prospect of Immortality,” his daughter Diane wrote in 1972 that she doubted he’d ever heard of cryonics, let alone have been frozen.

The website Snopes has an extensive report debunking the frozen Disney urban legend.

Among their findings:

  • Disney family members have confirmed that cremation was Walt’s wish.
  • Disney’s death certificate shows he was cremated two days after his death.
  • A marked burial plot for Walt Disney can be found at the Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California with other family sites nearby.

The BBC explored the Walt Disney myth as did the Los Angeles Magazine, each detailing how the rumor began and spread.

In an interesting twist, the latest Disney movie “Soul” is about life and death and second chances and has received positive reviews.

Though the Disney’s family said in 2012 that the Walt Disney Family Museum was opened in San Francisco in part to combat the rumor, the urban legend seems to have a life of its own.

The lasting power of the myth is perhaps testament to our desire to want to believe in the promises of the future, just as Walt did.

Photo by Travis Gergen

Solace Cremation offers online arrangements for direct cremation services with one flat price and 24-7 customer service. Solace proudly serves the Portland and Seattle metro areas. Learn more.

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