That's just it. I've always heard those things as well, but they seem to be folklore
When I was getting ready for my first GC trip I tried to track down a lot of that and came up empty. I heard all of the superlatives about Lava at the orientation but could never find any primary sources to back it up either. So in the absence of hard data on your questions I thought you might find something interesting in the link I posted for you. It seems authoritative.
There's a lot of BS that they tell you at the orientation, like the fact that a helicopter evacuation is very expensive. Well, we had to evacuate one of our boaters with a broken arm and he was prepared to pay a lot for it. It turns out that the chopper ride is free, courtesy of the US taxpayers! Make of that what you will but I'm rather skeptical of a lot of the stuff you get at orientation.