As Disneyland’s famous Rivers of America received its routine clean-up recently, park maintenance teams were met with a rather gruesome discovery: amidst twelve tons of trash pulled from the water, they uncovered decaying flesh and numerous other bizarre items. This astonishing cleanup operation sparked a deeper conversation about pollution issues in one of America’s most beloved theme parks.

Back in the summer of 1956, Walt Disney himself had a quaint vision of stocking the Rivers of America with fish as an enchanting activity for guests. They were invited to catch fish as part of their Disneyland experience, adding yet another layer of magic to their visit. But as idyllic as it seemed, the practice was short-lived. Guests often neglected their catches, leaving fish to rot in storage lockers or strewn about the park, leading to some truly ghastly findings.

A retired Disney cast member, who served from 1959 to 2018, shared on Reddit the grim realities of those early years, recalling countless times when decaying fish had to be removed from Main Street’s lockers. With a rich and vibrant ecosystem still existing within the park’s waters, today’s Disneyland strictly prohibits fishing.

Imagineers and park maintenance teams face ongoing challenges with the large fish populations during refurbishments and expansions like Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. The last significant clean-up back in 2010 unearthed not just mundane trash but items like electric scooters, prosthetic legs, and even computer towers, indicating some mischievous or disgruntled activity behind the scenes.

Thankfully, updates during that refurbishment included a state-of-the-art pump and filtration system, reducing the need for such extensive clean-ups to just once every 20 years. Yet, maintenance crews remain vigilant, with monthly dives to monitor and remove debris.

What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever seen or heard about at Disneyland? Dive into the conversation and share your unique stories and thoughts with us in the comments below. Have a piece of Disney magic to share? Let’s keep the community buzzing!

*Sources and credit: Adapted from the original reporting by Inside the Magic. Original article by Jess Colopy.*