Anaheim Mythbusters

Anaheim Mythbusters

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I love urban legends. The one about Coke and pop rocks? Heard it. Waking up in a tub full of ice and missing a kidney? That one's a classic. While some urban myths get so big that it feels like "everyone" has heard them, a few stay specific to their places of origin. Test your knowledge of these Anaheim mythbusters:

1. Katella Avenue

I've had people tell me they heard the name came from two girls, Kate and Ella, who used to live on the same street. I've also heard it said that Kate and Ella were Walt Disney's daughters, and he named the street in honor of them. Though all the stories about the origins of "Katella" vary somewhat, the common detail between them is the names of the two girls, Kate and Ella. But is even that part accurate?

TRUE. In 1896, John and Margaret Rea, and their daughters Kate and Ella, moved into a ranch in Anaheim. After brainstorming names for his ranch, John Rea decided to name the land "Katella" after he heard his wife calling their two girls down for dinner. The path that ran adjacent to the property became known as Katella Road (now Katella Avenue).

2. Sav-on's Unsuccessful Osco Renaming

Based in Anaheim, Sav-on Drugs was the leading drugstore in Southern California in the latter half of the 20th century. After being acquired by Chicago's Osco drugstore chain, Sav-on stores were redubbed as "Osco/Sav-on" and eventually just "Osco" to reflect the new ownership. Almost immediately, sales began to tank. Three years later, the store names were all changed back to "Sav-on Drugs". According to Anaheim urban myth, sales took a nosedive because "osco" sounds like "asco," which means "disgust" in Spanish. Southern California is home to a large Spanish-speaking population who found the new name unpalatable and un-shoppable. True or false?

FALSE. Probably. Though it is hard to prove the veracity of this story, it's pretty unlikely that the coincidental homophone bears all the responsibility for the significant loss in sales. The two words don't even share the same spelling. Most likely, consumers were deterred by the change, as they would be with any change, to the "Sav-on" name because "Sav-on Drugs" is the brand and name they know and trust.

Sav-On Drugs (acquired by CVS)
1660 W. Katella Avenue
Anaheim, CA, 92802
(714) 530-0500
Daily 7AM-10PM

3. Disneyland's Haunted Mansion Hearse

Stick around Disneyland long enough and you'll hear all sorts of tall tales about the Magic Kingdom. One of the more popular stories involves the old-fashioned hearse that sits in front of the Haunted Mansion. Anaheim urban legend maintains that Disney bought it because it's the same hearse that carried Mormon head honcho Brigham Young's casket in his 1877 funeral.

FALSE. This is just another story to be filed under "Anaheim Mythbusters." It's believed that Young didn't even have a hearse at his funeral. So where did it come from? All that is known about the purchase is that Disney bought the hearse from Malibu collector Dale Rickards. Ownership prior to Rickards is unknown since the manufacturer's plate is missing and the collector carried no documents about the hearse's origin. Though people may continue to speculate about the Disney Haunted Mansion hearse, to this date no one truly knows where the 19th-century vehicle came from.

Disneyland Park
1313 S. Disneyland Drive
Anaheim, CA, 92802
(714) 781-4565
Seasonal hours
Ages 3-9, $68; Ages 10 & up, $76

4. Disneyland's Haunted Mansion Singing Bust

I've heard this one told over and over: one of the singing busts in the Haunted Mansion ride is Walt Disney. I remember even paying extra attention when my pod passed the singing busts to try and see if I could recognize which image was Mr. Disney himself.

FALSE. Alas, I could never really tell, so it is somewhat reassuring to know that it wasn't my eyes that were faulty, but that the image was never there in the first place. Truth is, Walt passed away before the recordings were even made. The man whose image gets confused with Walt Disney's is actually Thurl Ravenscroft, who voiced many Disney characters and narrations around the park.

5. Disneyland's Pirates of the Caribbean Private Club

Another popular Anaheim urban legend involves the rumored existence of a highly secretive, highly exclusive club in Disneyland that serves alcohol and is located near the Pirates of the Caribbean ride.

TRUE. Sort of. There is only one ultra-exclusive venue in Disneyland that serves alcohol, Club 33, and it is located in Disneyland's New Orleans Square near the Pirates ride. However, it's not really a "club" – it's a members-only restaurant, and reservations are not available to the general public. Many longtime employees of Disneyland and other Walt Disney companies have never been invited to dine. Chalk this up to Anaheim mythbusters 101 on Disneyland.
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