Everybody loves a little Dirty Disney. Whether you like to believe Walt’s head is frozen under the Pirates of the Caribbean ride (it’s not) or the brownish pavement that runs throughout Liberty Square is based on the sewage-filled roads of colonial times (it is), there’s just something about it that’s totally sensational. In the time I worked at Walt Disney World and developed a preposterously-intricate knowledge of the parks, people were always asking me for inside stories. My favorite? That time Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler made an obscene gesture on one of the rides – and continued to do so every day for more than 15 years.
In 1999, Disney-MGM Studios (now Disney’s Hollywood Studios) welcomed their newest attraction, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith. The exhilarating enclosed steel roller coaster is still one of the fastest in all of the Disney resorts, accelerating from 0 to 57 miles per hour in just 2.8 seconds and hitting the riders with 4.5 Gs in the very first inversion. At the same time, Aerosmith music blasts right through your seat, and the ride is designed to look like you’re zipping through Los Angeles freeways to catch their big show. With Tower of Terror a close second, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster is the coolest ride at Disney World. Come at me.
One of the greatest things about this roller coaster is that it is a total experience from start to finish, as you first find yourself inside the offices of the fictional label, G-Force Records. As you enjoy the real rock memorabilia and vintage posters on the walls, you are led right into the studio with a 3D-projected Aerosmith. Cue the adorable intro. The band wants to invite you to their show, but they need to get you there fast, plot plot plot. Then, if you’re sharp (or dirty), you’ll notice something funny.
Right at the part where Steven Tyler says “Wait a minute, I love that idea,” he makes a weirdly-deliberate gesture by his forehead, positioning his fingers into what you may remember from bad middle school jokes as “the shocker.” If you’re not sure what that means, I’ll just tell you that it’s something crude and leave the rest to Urban Dictionary.
Now, the rest of my information comes from a string of current and former Disney cast members, a source that is about as reliable as a decade-long game of telephone. But as legend has it, Tyler snuck the dirty gesture into the segment as a joke, and by the time Disney’s Imagineers realized what it meant, it was too late and too expensive to reshoot the projected segment.
Additionally, it is rumored that guests who try to flash the shocker when the roller coaster snaps your picture will not get away with it. When they look for their souvenir photograph at the end of the ride, it will have mysteriously been “lost,” and they will be unable to purchase it. Even more shocking (tehe) is the theory that there are specific Disney cast members whose sole job it is to make sure none of the pictures go through with a shocker in the shot. I hate to admit that I tried it, but part of growing up in Orlando is being a dumb teenager in Orlando.
I know you’re wondering, so I’ll tell you. My picture never appeared.