In 1928, Mickey Mouse appeared in his first cartoon. His road to glory, though, was far from glorious. The character's trail to stardom was littered with madness, suffering, and all that which defies decency. I did the research and found the true story behind Mickey's coming to be... a story which some of you may have heard.
Remember the machine that was used to materialize Mickey? To make Disney's dream come true?
I have it.
It was sent to me in an unmarked, brown box. My address was messily scribbled on in black marker. Upon searching, I found no return address of any kind.
Besides the address, the only thing on the outside of the box was a Disney postage stamp.
I grabbed a kitchen knife and made my way through the duct tape. Clearing the package protection out of the way, I saw that it was a metal box that was two feet tall and about three feet wide. When I lifted it, I was surprised; it had to weigh at least 35 pounds. I cautiously lifted it out of the box and placed it on my kitchen table.
Four steel cables protruded from each of the apparatus' sides. Clamps were attached to the end of each one, indicating that they were used at one time to hook up to someone... or something. Switches, buttons and knobs covered the box and a single lightbulb stood on top. I turned a box over to find a circular hole in the bottom of it. Inside the hole, a canister of some sort was inserted. I knew this because of its hollow bottom; the indention wasn't just put there. I searched the outside of the mysterious box for anything pointing to the use or functionality of the small tank. Finally, I found a switch with this label:
CYCLON D CANISTER
I flipped the switch, and out came the container. The name sparked something within me. A horrible realization came alive as I found the logo of biohazard Mickey, staring at me with its soulless smile. I remembered what Cyclon D was.
I remembered what it did to me.
When I was eight years old, my mom and dad decided to take me and my sister to Disney World for a vacation. We were practically jumping in excitement, while our parents were trying to get to the park as quickly as possible. It was a twelve hour drive, and my father had started the night before so we could reach our hotel the next morning. Once we checked in and took our things inside, off to Disney World we went.
Our arrival was preceded by squeals of anticipation and our parents' attempts to appease the antics which most young children experience. My sister was only five at the time, making her the rowdier one of the bunch. After we were both calmed down to an extent, my mother and father took us inside of the park to begin a day of family fun.
As children, we were amazed by the diversity of the park's attractions; the vibrance of EPCOT, the exotic flavor of the Aladdin attractions, and the many princes and princesses that roamed around the park. I got a photo with Alice and Cinderella, and my sister met Prince Charming. In all, my family spent a full five hours before preparing to go home. While we made our way to the gate, a Disney employee approached us. She was a young woman with blonde hair and blue eyes. With a bright smile, she introduced herself and gave my parents an offer.
"Hi! I work with Disney's marketing division. We're testing a new ad campaign for one of our newer attractions. Would you like to come with me and give your opinions? We will pay you a whole $25 for your time and perspective."
My dad was the first to say yes, but my mom initially objected. We were all rather tired from the day's activities, but my dad made a good point: $25 for a few minutes wasn't a bad deal. Reluctantly, my mom agreed to go with and take us wherever we needed to go. I was excited for this new experience, as was my sister.
We came to an elevator which led to a series of underground offices. I never knew the Disney parks went this far down, and neither did my parents. The woman led us to a room that was labeled TESTING. The walls were painted white as was the only bench that sat in the middle of the space. In the corner, a T.V. was set up. A one-way mirror sat in front of us, making my mom nervous as to who was on the other side. After a few moments in silence, the employee's cheerful voice came over a set of speakers:
"Thank you for participating in today's trial. Your service is appreciated!"
The television turned on. On the screen was a black bio-hazard logo that was flipped upside down. One of the circles was the face of Mickey Mouse, smiling back with cold, empty eyes. The screen alternated between this and a message in black, all capital letters:
DISNEY: HAPPIEST PLACE ON EARTH!
A slowed piano rendition of "It's a Small World" played over the speakers as a yellow mist began to fill the room. I quickly stuffed my shirt over my face and covered my sister's mouth to prevent her from inhaling the mysterious gas.
Unfortunately, it was too late for my parents.
They were doubled over, coughing from the effects of the poisoned air. Taking off his shirt and wrapping it around his fist, my father punched the mirror with all his might until it broke. As the glass shattered, I saw the employee that led us here standing beside three men in lab coats. They were all wearing Mickey Mouse gas masks and stood idly by while my parents took their last breaths. Upon their discovery, they ran out of the room and into a connecting corridor. I stepped over the shards and into the room where the employees had conducted the tests, helping my sister up over the barrier.
Still holding my breath, I grabbed two masks and put one on. I helped my sister with hers as she breathed a sigh of relief. A single vanilla folder laid on a table emblazoned the same logo we saw on the television, which I dubbed the "Bio Mickey." Opening it up, I read the documents it held inside.
What my parents had succumbed to was a deadly gas called Cyclon D. It took over the central nervous system and effectively crippled it. Side effects were death, change in blood consistency, and extreme delirium.
Death and extreme delirium? Something was wrong.
It was then I noticed that my parents began to rise from the floor. Their pupils were now black and oval-like in shape, their smile contorting to fit unnatural angles. My father cocked his head and smiled at me.
"Why don't you come with me, son?"
I was shaking in fear.
"T-to where, dad?"
He jerked and tore at his head until it came out. Hunks of sickeningly yellow fluid poured out of his neck as he responded from the floor.
"The happiest place on earth, of course! Disney World!"
Grabbing a Mickey Mouse head from a box marked FOR USE BY EMPLOYEES ONLY, my sister grabbed my hand and ran with me to safety. Our mom was getting closer with each step, and we needed to leave as soon as possible. When we got in the elevator, my sister took off her gas mask and donned the Mickey head. I tried to get it off of her, but something latched it in place. I looked at the back of the helmet in horror.
Marked in black was the Bio Mickey, signifying my sister's demise. I helplessly watched as she collapsed to the floor, the yellow substance pouring out of her neck. Rays of light shone in as I reached above ground. Terrified, I ran for my life out of the park.
I never did take off that gas mask. Not until my aunt and uncle came to get me.
Recently, a friend of mine was looking through his Disney photo albums with me. I was shocked.
I was in the background, wearing a Mickey Mouse mask.
Credited to Dubiousdugong