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Disney hack elicits sacks of e-mail

On April 1, 'Net surfers around the world were treated to the "news" on MIT's home page (now archived in the MIT Hacks web site) that the Institute had been acquired by Walt Disney Co. An unsuspecting News Office staff member was listed as press contact.

The ensuing wave of e-mail (mostly complimentary) assumed that the News Office had something to do with the April Fool's Day hack of MIT's home page. Alas, we can't take the credit, but we can share the feedback (the source of each message is italicized).

Well done! How did you ever learn of our plan?? :)--Walt Disney R&D; also an alumnus

Your article was adorable about Disney acquiring MIT. As a Disney stockholder and the fact that the stock had done particularly well lately, I at first almost believed it! Darn--thought my ship had come in. Thanks again for the neat April Fool's! --University of Texas

Subject: Three Little Pigs Center for Real Estate
Using increased funding expected from the sale of MIT, we announce the planned construction of a state-of-the art brick facility to house the 3-LP Center on its new Florida campus. In addition to a classroom equipped with a wide screen and surround sound, the facility will have the latest security system designed particularly to combat marauding animals (ex. Canis lupus) and high winds characteristic of the area. For further information on these threats and security system design, see Little Golden Books.

Nice April Fool's gag. At WPI, we're doing one too, but it's restricted to users on campus [now archived at]. --Worcester Polytechnic Institute webmaster

God, I love hackers. --Prof. Samuel Jay Keyser

When do I start packing?

Good to see you folks have a sense of humor. Congratulations on being acquired by Disney. I want to know how Harvard can get in on this deal!

Reading this delightful offering makes me wish I still worked at MIT, and not Harvard!

Very good fun. A friend, who is coming to MIT for an interview was doing his "research" about the university. He e-mailed and sent the link. Such a riot. You are having fun, I can tell.

Don't you just hate it when your new employer gets bought out and decides to move out of state? At least the weather is nice, and everyone is always smiling. (Not to mention the omnipresent, soothing background music and "natural" bird sounds.) Bet you couldn't get that at Tufts!

Thanks for making my staid existence at UCLA even more painful. Disney to acquire MIT, indeed! Y'all rock.

I am so proud to be an alum of a school with such a sense of humor! Thanks! It really makes my day wonderfully cheerful! You'll be surprised how often we alumni/ae check our alma mater's home page. --alumna at Visto Corp.

I want to make sure you have my current address so I can receive the tuition reimbursement.--alumnus at

Distinctly inventive! Loved the home/welcome page. Congratulations. --Univ. of East Anglia

Glad to hear you guys are coming aboard. Maybe you guys can get our air conditioning/heating system to work properly.

I'm surprised at all the attention that this deal has received. Disney's been purchasing MIT grads for years (both directly from the Institute and through various distributors and resellers). The announcement just solidifies an existing vendor/client relationship.

Very mice spoof.

I thought the Disney hack was perfect, just as the Oscar hack was well done��������������������������� a reminder that I work at one of the finest institutions in the world, [where] people are clever as well as smart!

Help! I've fallen down laughing and I can't get up! But the more I think about, The Disney Institute of Technology soundsreally cool. Maybe I hurt my head falling down. Thanks for the great April Fool's joke.

Oh what a tangled web you weave
On April first when you deceive
Your 'cross-the-Charley-River neighbor
Who will "stay put" to teach and labor.
Suggest we do that MIT
(If it's all that it's cracked to be)
Instead, with Mickey flag unfurled,
ITSELF acquire the Disneyworld
And move it HERE, then spread the word:
How Disney was gobbled by King of Nerd!

Good show! As a parent, I am especially pleased about the tuition refund! What a great way to start April! --outside MIT

I think that I will never see
A Mickey Mouse at MIT,
But what will doubtless cheaper be:
A teleported MIT.
--outside MIT

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on April 15, 1998.

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