Ah…Disney…owners of the happiest places on Earth. Even just thinking about what Disneyland or Disney World looks like conjures up crowds of happy, smiling children, and visually stunning costume characters. No other theme parks have as many visitors, nor does any park have a staff as highly trained to handle situations like Disney does.
In fact, Disney’s staff members are trained to be part of the attraction…and as a result are called “cast members” because of the act they are expected to put on. Because of the park’s squeaky clean image and insanely happy veneer, it’s just so easy to think that it’s a place where everything will result in a “happily ever after.” Needless to say, that training probably is pretty in-depth, since you’re bound to see some crazy things happening at Disney.
But, what about the people who don’t make it out of the parks alive? After all, statistics suggest that at least one or two people would have had to have died in the vicinity since the parks were opened back in the 1950s. Believe it or not, Disney does have a certain amount of lore dedicated to some of the more tragic things that have happened at their parks. (In fact, there are some records that guarantee that people have died there – even if Disney doesn’t like to admit it.)
Though the company typically denies any deaths happening at the park officially, there’s ample reason to believe that there have been quite a few people who have passed on at Disney throughout its history. Some of these folks definitely seem to have decided to stay at Disney, even after they have died. Here are some of the Disney locations that are supposedly haunted….and the tales of those who reportedly haunt them.
15. The Haunted Mansion
The Haunted Mansion isn’t just haunted by animatronic dancers and holographic ghosts. The famously spooky ride has had a slew of paranormal happenings that have been reported by both cast members and park goers alike.
The first ghostly event actually happened during its creation, when builders noticed that there was mysterious music that echoed throughout the “séance room” while they were putting finishing touches on the ride. The only problem is that there were no speakers where the music could have been coming from, so in order to just keep fears at bay, one of the engineers decided to mask the issue by putting a speaker near the walls.
As for actual visual ghostly sightings, there are many. One of them, a man with a cane, is supposedly the ghost of a pilot who had a plane crash where the park’s ride was built before Disney purchased the land. His shadowy form is often seen by staff after closing hours.
Another one is reportedly the ghost of a little boy whose grieving mother decided to scatter his ashes around the park ride. (Side note: This is actually a fairly common but illegal practice that goes on at the Haunted Mansion.) Many visitors have claimed to see a crying boy sit next to them in an empty seat…only to see him disappear before the ride is over. Scarily, at least one park goer has gotten a photo of the boy while on the ride.
Legend has it that there have been a couple of people who have died on the ride, including an early visitor who literally died of fright as well as a reckless teenager who jumped off the ride and accidentally broke his neck. Could they be hanging around the Haunted Mansion, as its newest tenants?
14. The Monorail
There was a point in time when people believed that monorails would be part of everyday modern transportation. It was deemed “the way of the future” in the 1950s, and that’s actually part of the reason why Disney wanted a monorail so badly in his theme park. So, in 1959, Disney’s now-loved monorail attraction was born. (Fun fact: Disney’s monorail was the first one to run in the Western Hemisphere.)
The design was supposed to be insanely safe, but, as one teenager by the name of Thomas Cleveland would find out, nothing is foolproof. The 19-year-old allegedly tried to sneak into Disneyland for an event called Grad Night in 1966. After jumping the fence, he clambered up on the monorail track, where he was promptly hit by the monorail and killed.
Witnesses in the park have seen a man’s shadow walking along the monorail’s line, only to vanish when the train comes by. He’s also been known to run along with the trains, only to vanish after a while.
13. Space Mountain
Futuristic Space Mountain is supposedly haunted by two different ghosts – a red haired, burly man nicknamed Mr. One Way and a glowing green female ghost called “Disco Debbie.”
Mr. One Way got his name because visitors have claimed to see a man get on the ride with them, looking totally normal and alive. Then, at some point during the middle of the ride, he vanishes right in front of the person’s eyes. Cast members say that they know when someone’s seen Mr. One Way because the visitor looks pale and shaken when they get off the ride.
Disco Debbie, on the other hand, is a bit stranger. She’s supposedly a former cast member of the Disney staff who suddenly died of a brain aneurysm while on the clock. She’s been known to ride on the Space Mountain track, and to just be spotted wandering around the building behind the scenes. The biggest tip-off that you’ve seen Disco Debbie is her eerie, otherworldly green glow.
12. The Dinosaur Ride
Sure, it may be pretty unnerving to see a totally normal-looking person vanish, or hear disembodied music emanating from a hallway, but that’s not as unnerving as the ghost that was allegedly seen on the Dinosaur Ride in the Animal Kingdom. No, this ghost is one that could easily find its way into horror movie scripts in an instant.
People who have rode on the Dinosaur Ride have seen an old, nondescript looking man sit next to them. No matter what the say or do, the man seems to pretend the person doesn’t exist. In fact, he doesn’t react to anything at all. He doesn’t laugh, scream, smile, or even seem to look around.
As part of the Dinosaur ride, cameras snap a photo of you in the ride. People have said that the man who was sitting next to them doesn’t appear on film. Or, if you really are unlucky, you might see that the camera did snap a photo of him. When he shows up on camera, everything will appear on film…except for the fact that he has no eyes.
11. The Star Trader
This little shop is part of Tomorrowland’s Star Tours ride, and in many ways, it’s a really bland little store. However, there are a couple of issues that both cast members and visitors have noted over the years that suggest that the store has become home to at least one ghost.
The most well-known issue that the Star Trader has had is the way that it gives off a very creepy vibe. Cast members have claimed that the store, particularly the stock room, tends to have a very heavy atmosphere and that you often will feel watched by unseen eyes while in there. Moreover, cold spots are regularly reported.
These might be able to be explained away, but there’s one other issue that only cast members can know. The store’s cast members regularly sees the items that were stocked on shelves get rearranged overnight, when the store is locked up and no one could possibly be able to go inside the store.
10. America Sings
America Sings is a ride you probably haven’t heard about, primarily because it was closed down decades ago and has since been replaced with a version of an Epcot attraction called Innovations. The ride, which opened up in 1974 as part of the American Bicentennial celebration, featured animatronic puppets singing about America’s history in a cute, patriotic, and fun way. The ride consisted of a series of stages that rotated around the core of the seating, which in turn allowed visitors to watch each song in sequence without having to get up and move.
But, the ill-fated project had tragedy strike almost immediately. Two weeks after the ride opened up, a teenage cast member by the name of Deborah Stone was crushed to death between the wall of a moving theatre section and a stationary audience wall. The blood curdling scream, which was caught on camera, was assumed to be part of the show. It was only after the show ended that people discovered what happened.
Despite the gruesome death, the ride remained open for about 10 years. However, there was something that remained long after the ride had closed. Ever since Stone’s death, cast members have heard a female voice begging them to “be careful” when in the building.
9. Pirates Of The Caribbean
Sometimes, tragedy strikes before the ride even opens. One legend says that a construction worker known only as “George” died during the making of the ride that inspired the famous movie series by the same name. For the most part, George is an alright ghost. But, there’s one small issue that cast members have to abide by in order to keep him okay.
If you believe the former employees, cast members are told to tell George “good morning” and “good night” every single day. If they don’t, George tends to get temperamental – and that means he’ll stop rides, cause phantom phone calls, or even show up on ride monitors. If he really wants attention, he might even tap you or tug on your shirt!
Guests themselves have claimed that they’ve felt odd cold spots near the “burning city” scene, and one door in particular near the key-holding dog scene often opens by itself. The jail door’s become such a nuisance among cast members that it’s become known as “George’s Door.”
8. The Matterhorn
Tomorrowland has a lot of issues when it comes to ghosts and deaths, if you haven’t noticed. The Matterhorn, one of the most infamous rides in the park, also happens to be home to one of the most notorious ghosts in the park.
This tragic tale started in 1984, when a girl by the name of Dolly Young had decided to ride the Matterhorn with her friends. Being a daredevil that she was, Dolly had decided to unbuckle her seatbelt…and that proved to be a fatal mistake. Almost immediately after she did that, the bobsled she was riding made a sharp dip that threw her out of the ride and caused her to smash her head on another track. To this day, that dip in the tracks is called “Dolly’s Dip” by cast mates.
Alive but totally knocked out, Dolly could have been saved if it wasn’t for her bad luck. Unfortunately, another bobsled was coming down on the other track at the time, and that final blow ended up killing her. Rumor has it that she was so ground up that cast members had to dislodge the track in order to get her body out of it.
Ever since then, Dolly haunts the Matterhorn. People have claimed they’ve seen her, but most of the time, the only way she makes her presence known is by a spooky, chilling feeling near the area where she died.
7. The It’s A Small World Ride
Out of all the ghost stories out there, the story behind the Small World ride might actually be one of the most heartwarming. According to the rumor, nobody actually died at the Small World ride at all. The reason why it’s haunted is because some cast members loved it so much that they decided to spend the afterlife hanging out there. That really isn’t so bad, is it?
Well, it isn’t so bad until you hear how the ghosts manifest themselves. Taking a page from the game Five Nights At Freddy’s, the ghosts supposedly possess some of the animatronic singing dolls. Cast members have sworn they’ve seen dolls continue to dance and sing, even after the electricity that powers them shuts off.
Some also claim that the dolls switch places after the park closes – something that would be downright impossible to do via an elaborate prank when you think about how tight security is. One cast member even said she’s seen a doll disappear!
6. Main Street USA
Sometimes, it’s not even rides that are haunted – it’s just the general area. Main Street USA is home to one woman who is known as the Lady In White. The Lady is easily spotted, as she’s always seen wearing a long white Victorian-style dress, and she’s actually very friendly. She’s most frequently known to guide lost kids to the Disneyland Baby Care Center so that they can find their parents.
No one knows for sure who this ghostly woman is, but the cast members believe that she’s a woman who had died on the theme park’s premises long before Disney broke ground there. Since she can’t quite move on in her afterlife, it seems like the phantasmal female has decided to do something productive and help out some kids.
5. The Main Street Fire Station
Most diehard Disneyphiles can tell you that Walt Disney actually kept a private apartment for himself in Disneyland when he was alive. It was tucked away atop the Disneyland Fire Station, and after his death in 1966, it remained virtually untouched. The papers he was working on are still on the desk, and everything is literally just as he left it.
However, there is one tradition among workers that requires them to go in there. The tradition is that they need to leave the light on constantly in the window of his room, and that means that the light bulb needs to be turned on every single night.
The story is that a lady had gone up to light the lamp shortly after Walt died, only to find it was lit when she got in there. She turned it off so that she could just clean it, but the lamp turned itself on, right again, in front of her own eyes. Then, she heard Disney’s voice saying, “I am still here.”
Other Disney employees have said that the lamp will turn off at a moment’s notice, and that disembodied footsteps can be heard in Disney’s old apartment. Could it be that Walt Disney didn’t want to leave his park behind?
4. The Tower Of Terror (Hollywood Location)
Oh, with a name like this, something spooky was bound to happen! When you’re going to the Tower of Terror, one of the first things you’ll notice is that the cast members are all dressed as bellhops and are expected to guide you into the ride. Diehard Disney fans and cast members might also be able to tell you that there are four platforms in which people can get loaded onto – Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, and Delta. More casually, they’re platforms A, B, C and D.
One night, a bellhop was loading guests onto platform D, and he suddenly dropped dead. No one knows why he died, but, as legend goes, he did. At the Hollywood Tower of Terror, cast member have to do one last ride on each platform before they close the park to ensure there aren’t stowaways. Each member will do platforms A through C solo, but they insist on riding D together.
Why? Because the bellhop haunts it, and occasionally can be seen riding alongside you if you’re alone. The attraction is also known to suddenly shut down, freeze, or have lights flicker after guests go home. He’s not a dangerous ghost, but he’s freaky and has been caught on film before.
4. River Country
River Country was Disney World’s first water park, and it was one of the Disney’s most popular attractions ever since it opened up in 1976. Modeled after the books of Tom Sawyer, it had a very good run until it was mysteriously and abruptly shut down in 2001 following the September 11 attacks. Disney officials cited low interest and low visiting rates as the biggest issue, however Disney diehards aren’t so sure this is the real case.
Rumors began to swirl about what was going on with the park. Did something deadly sneak in through the water from the bay? Did a child drown without lifeguards being able to see them? Records show that the park had one amoeba-related death in 1980, as well as two drownings in the 1970s and 80s. Those deaths might explain why some people have seen shadows of a boy looking out at the water, despite the park itself being abandoned.
2. The PeopleMover
Older folks might remember that PeopleMover ride of Disney’s Anaheim, California location. The PeopleMover, which was basically a more elegant form of monorail, offered guests great views and open air seating while they zipped around in the “transportation of the future” while touring Tomorrowland.
As one might expect, the PeopleMover’s open air design made it just a bit too tempting for some daredevils. At one point, cast members would actually call the ride “The People Remover” because so many teenagers had died from it. Both visitors and cast members have seen ghostly apparitions of a young man running along the PeopleMover’s tracks right before he vanishes into thin air.
Another ghost on the PeopleMover ride seems to have an unusual habit. According to both staff members and guests alike, the ghost’s invisible hands can be felt yanking on people’s hair. However, he’s a bit quirky about this. The ghost supposedly will only grab hair of people who are blonde.
Back before the PeopleMover was moved to Disney World, Disneyland visitors claimed that the best way to spot the ghosts was to wait until dusk. Rumor has it that the PeopleMover’s ghosts really seemed to like coming out at night.
1. Tom Sawyer’s Island
Tom Sawyer’s Island is part of the Magic Kingdom, and it’s considered to be one of the oldest parts of the park. Only accessible via a raft, Tom Sawyer’s Island has plenty of attractions that are focused on swimming, country themes, and of course, the books of Mark Twain.
In 1973, tragedy struck this park when two high school seniors had accidentally stayed out past the park’s closing hours. The duo, who were brothers celebrating their graduation night, realized they had to get off the Island. Since the Island is only accessible by rafts, they decided to swim across the Rivers of America to get home. The older brother drowned, and his body wasn’t found for a day. Since the drowning happened, cast members have seen the reflection of an older boy looking up at them from the ripples of the water.
Another more interesting story involves children haunting the Island. Multiple witnesses have both seen and heard the shouts of young children as they run around on the Island after the park itself has been closed. Who could these kids be? And, how did they come to haunt the island? No one knows.