Disney and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

Walt Disney's love of American history lies throughout the parks, and in Liberty Square at Halloween time ghosts and ghouls frolic amongst park guest on special nights. Though the most obvious of Walt Disney World's spooky sensations is the Haunted Mansion, with its 18th Century Pennsylvania Dutch facade looming high on it's hilltop, Disney also keeps a strong connection to the Legend of Sleepy Hollow. The Headless Horseman is not just a novelty added to Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party but a reoccurring nod to American literary classics, the legends and fables of early America.

The Headless Horseman Rides AgainThe Headless Horseman Rides Again
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In 1949 Walt Disney and RKO pictures created one of the first movie versions of "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow." Bing Crosby's smooth voice crooned songs like "The Headless Horseman", "Katrina", and "Ichabod Crane" as he narrated this tall tale. It was the retelling of Washington Irving's classic about a tiny New England town, the new schoolmaster, a local beauty, and the town Bully. In Disney's version the exciting final ride was extended, and stressed the visually impressive headless horseman as an impressive ghost rather than the town bully playing a prank.

Walt Disney World also pays homage to the legacy that Washington Irving left us in its architecture. Sleepy Hollow Refreshments is located in Liberty Square and is designed after the author's home in Tarrytown, New York. Mr. Irving spent many years working on his home in the hopes of making it a happy place full of guests and merrymaking, not unlike Mr. VanTassel of the story. The spooky tale of lust, greed is replaced for us in the park with the sweet smell of cookies wafting through the air and delicious treats inside.

In honor of Halloween and the I invite you to enjoy this video of Disney's 1949 animated short "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow."

Do you have a favorite historic ghost story? This is my favorite Halloween time tale, because my husband comes from the family which inspired the story. Our daughter even bears the anglicized version of the heroine's name. Leave me a comment letting me know what your favorite Halloween spooks are!

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