Orlando, Florida, has been subject to a string of gruesome events. First, Christina Grimmie, a contestant from NBC’s The Voice, was shot to death. Her killer was a crazed fan who was infatuated with her. Next, came mass-shootings in a nightclub. Omar Masteen, who pledged his allegiance to ISIS, killed 49 defenseless people and wounded many others. Then, tragedy struck again in the unlikeliest of places: Disney World.
Disney fans and people the world over cried when a two year old boy was killed by an alligator. The gator seemed to come out of nowhere, and snatched the toddler who was wading in lagoon water. It happened at one of the most luxurious Disney World hotels, just one monorail stop away from the park.
Disney says it’s the "Happiest Place on Earth," but that’s far from the truth. Disney is downright dangerous. The unfortunate incident with the alligator was not a rarity. Disney has many hidden dangers, from their rides to their weather. But no one knows. It’s a secret. Disney is such a giant that they are adept at portraying the image they want you to see – they deal in the business of smoke and mirrors, after all. Read on to see the hidden dangers of Disney. It’s scary, and it’ll make you think twice about your next vacation. Here are 15 reasons why Disney World is the most dangerous place on Earth.
15 The Treacherous Rides
Every Disney theme park has had unhappy incidents with their rides, whether it’s Disney World in Florida or the Disneyland Tokyo. Remember how you loved to go on the It's a Small World ride? You had the time of your life looking at the characters in the exhibit, and couldn’t stop humming the song. Well, did you know that people have been injured on it? In 1994, a child fell out of the ride’s boat and into the water. She was then hit by an oncoming boat. She sustained a broken hip, broken arm and collapsed lung. But at least that girl survived.
In the early 2000s, a man was killed due to a malfunctioning ride known as the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, at Disneyland in California, which is a rollercoaster. Apparently, part of the mechanics came off of one of the cars, which caused it to crash. One man died, and ten others were injured. An investigation followed and it concluded that the coaster was not properly maintained. It took two years for the family of the victim and Disney to reach a settlement.
14 The Extreme Heat
If Florida is known for one thing, it’s the heat. It gets H-O-T down there. Tourists obviously don’t care, as one of the most popular times to vacation at Disney World is in August. The average temperature is 92 degrees, and that isn’t even taking into consideration the humidity. Good luck finding a tree for shade when you’re in the park. There aren’t many of those hanging around, as they would take up valuable real estate for Disney. A tree doesn’t generate them any money, so why would they bother with them?
There are numerous health scares associated with high temperatures. You can get sunburned or dehydrated – if you’re lucky. The unlucky people will get heatstroke. That’s when your core temperature gets up to around 104 degrees. It can quickly damage your brain, kidneys and lungs. Heat exhaustion is the number one problem that people experience while at Disney, according to USA Today. So how do you guard yourself from being hospitalized on your vacation? Experts advise wearing loose clothing, drinking plenty of water, and spending the hottest part of the day in the pool.
13 Spread Of Disease
Disney might be called the happiest place on Earth, but it’s not known for being the cleanest. There are internet rumors that there was bacteria in the water at Disney’s Fort Wilderness and that a young child died due to complications caused by the infection. But it’s a fact that Disneyland in California had an outbreak of measles in 2015. 142 cases of measles in the United States as of March 2015, were found to be linked to an outbreak at Disney. The cause was blamed on parents who failed to vaccinate their children against the deadly disease.
Measles is highly contagious, and children are the perfect breeding ground. It is mostly known for the fact that it causes a rash, but in reality it is a dangerous viral disease. Contracting it can lead to pneumonia, inflammation of the brain and seizures. There isn’t exactly a treatment for measles, as the infection never really goes away.
12 Crowded Pools
When you’re not standing in line at Disney, on a ride, or spending your hard-earned dollars on Disney-themed merchandise, you’re in the pool. Funny thing is, the pools at Disney seem to be just as dangerous as the rides. At least two children at Disney World in Orlando drowned in the pools. One was reported to have gotten separated from his parents. In another case, the parents blamed Disney and claimed that it did not provide adequate supervision from lifeguards when the pool was crowded.
The wave pool seems to be a hot bed for misadventure as well. A girl fell ill after being in the wave pool at a Disney park. She ended up passing out and received CPR. Sadly, she was pronounced dead at the hospital. The cause of death was believed to be a congenital heart condition. Sex-offenders have been known to frequent the watering holes, as well. In 2009, a teenage girl alleged that a man fondled himself in front of her. He fled the scene, but was apprehended by cops. He denied the claim, stating that his European style bathing suit was simply too tight.
11 Cruise Nightmares
The Disney Cruise Line is like a theme park on the sea. It has garnered a lot of complaints over the years. Most of these are typical of cruise lines. For example, people complain about the quality of the food, that attractions are too crowded, and that rooms by the engine are so noisy they can’t sleep. But some serious stuff has gone down.
In 2011, a crew member by the name of Rebecca Coriam, seemed to have just disappeared. She was a “childminder”, and her last known whereabouts were on the ship. She was videotaped talking on her cell phone. Something obviously happened to her, as an exhaustive search of the ship did not locate her. It is believed that she fell overboard, and was lost forever at sea. Some people have theorized that she was murdered. Coriam was a Brit, and her family wished for a British investigation. However, the hands of officials in Britain were tied, as the ship was registered in the Bahamas.
10 Incredible Expenses
Disney can be dangerous – for your wallet! The Huffington Post sought to find out just how much a vacation at Disney cost, and what they found was staggering. On average, it costs a family four $150-$200 a day per person. That adds up to $3,500 for a five day trip. Depending on travel expenses, the cost can be even greater. The Huffington Post also found that it’s nearly impossible to calculate the amount you can expect to spend at Disney, because there are so many packages available. Visiting specialty parks is particularly draining for your bank account as visiting the Magic Kingdom can cost up to $1,000 per person per day. Perhaps what is most startling is how much Disney makes on the sly. Your total spending can be jacked up by purchasing souvenirs, food and incidentals.
And how much does it cost for a Disney wedding that your princess wants? According to The Knot, it can run as low as $3,000. However, we don’t believe that for a New York minute. The average wedding now runs over $26,000. Everything is more expensive at Disney, so the sky’s the limit. If you go big there, you’d better hope your guests at least cover the cost.
9 Awfully Long Lines
Disney is uneasy with releasing wait-times for rides, but that hasn’t stopped people from posting their own observations. One critic reported that the average wait-time for one of the most popular rides, Space Mountain, is an average of 45 minutes. The ride itself only takes three minutes. Hearing numbers like that fills you with a mix of hate and admiration for Disney’s business structure. Other rides that have notoriously long wait times include Splash Mountain, Rock ‘n’ Rollercoaster Starring Aerosmith and the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. The teacups and the Dumbo ride mustn’t be that popular after all.
So, what is a tourist to do? Some bloggers advocate skipping the popular rides – but who wants to do that?! There are other sneaky ways. One is to get in line for rides during the parades. When everyone else is watching Mickey walk down the street, you can be living it up on Peter Pan’s Flight. Another tip is to use apps on your cell phone that give live wait times. Finally, a popular move has been attending the park with a person that is disabled. If you’re in their party, you don’t have to wait on line either. There have been reports of people with disabilities selling their “services” to tourists, who pay top dollar for that extra edge.
8 Traffic Congestion
If you stay at an official Disney hotel, you get to enter the park an hour early. But what if you choose a cheaper option and stay off-grounds? You’ll encounter a ton of traffic, that’s what! Traffic to and from Disney World in Orlando is notoriously hairy – as in worse than driving in Manhattan during rush hour. According to USA Today, it can literally take hours to make your way to the park from surrounding areas. As if the lines to get onto the rides weren’t long enough! Aside from congestion, construction is often blamed on making the commute intolerable. It’s bumper-to-bumper. Unfortunately, that is when a lot of accidents happen. People’s minds start to wander or they get distracted by the kids asking “Are we there yet?”, and they end up in fender-benders. Or, they drive aggressively in an effort to make good time. The only way around this is to get to the park super duper early or visit during the off-season.
7 Restrictive Costumes
You go to Disney to ride the rides and eat the eats. But you also go to see your favorite characters like Cinderella and Prince Charming, the Seven Dwarves, and Aladdin. It is just as exciting for adults as it is for children. A little known fact, though, is that the costumes the actors wear are dangerous. In 2005, Disney reported 282 costume-related injuries to OSHA. This accounted for a third of the injuries of Disney employees. The costumes are very heavy, and have caused injuries to the head, neck and shoulders. This isn’t a new problem for Disney. Back when Disney World first opened, it apparently didn’t think it needed to wash the costumes that were shared by a multitude of people. Let’s just say that some employees were left scratching furiously. Guests have also been injured by the costumes, as they are large and can accidentally hit or push bystanders.
6 Creepy Characters
Ever wonder who is underneath the full costumes at Disney? Characters like Goofy, Chip and Dale and Daisy Duck are a total mystery. So, it’s no surprise that the people who dress up as characters have been known to take certain liberties. Winnie the Pooh has been accused of slapping a child. The White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland has been accused of being racist. Goofy alleged shoved a couple of people. And it’s been said that Minnie Mouse and Tigger have busy hands. To be fair, violence has also been reported against costumed characters, too. People who have been in this field have told stories of being taunted, pushed, kicked – and worse.
We have to wonder what Walt Disney would say about all of this. Would he call for better manners, and urge men to be gallant like Prince Charming instead of acting like a bully like Gaston from Beauty and the Beast? Would he say that women should be seen and not heard, like when Ariel lost her voice in The Little Mermaid? Or would he just shrug his shoulders and count his money?
5 Unpredictable Guests
Guests misbehave all the time at Disney parks. Maybe it’s because they forgot their manners at home. Maybe it’s because they are distracted by all the action going on. Maybe the heat gets to them. Or, more likely, they’re just jerks. Whatever the reason, there has been plenty of guest altercations. In 1981, a man fatally stabbed another man outside the Tomorrowland exhibit because he thought the victim was flirting with his girlfriend. In 1987, a teenager was fatally shot in the parking lot of Disneyland which was attributed to gang-on-gang violence. In 2007, a woman was battered by a man while on line for the Mad Tea Party. Also in the 2000s, there were three separate instances where people were charged with lewd and lascivious acts against teens.
4 Natural Disasters
The Tokyo Disney Resort in Japan had a major incident happen back in 2011. There was an offshore earthquake which left thousands stranded. The public transportation system had to shut down, and about 20,000 guests had to spend the night inside the resort’s theme parks. Disney’s parking areas were flooded, and as a result the resort was closed for over a week for inspections and maintenance. Amazingly, no one was injured. We don’t hear a lot about Tokyo Disneyland, probably because it seems to be a more stable destination. Could it be because the Japanese are known for being more polite than ugly Americans? We’ll keep our opinions to ourselves.
Meanwhile, Shanghai Disneyland has just opened – amid rain. The park costs $5.5 billion dollars, and its opening was filled with pomp and circumstance. It seems like everyone showed up, from Mickey Mouse, to fans, to Chinese dignitaries. This is the first Disney park to open on mainland China. The move is being called historic, and it is said to be a boon for Chinese-American relations. It remains to be seen how Communist China will react. Stay tuned.
3 Multiple Euro Disney Disasters
This list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning something sensational about Disneyland Paris, aka Euro Disney. It made headlines when it first opened because, frankly, the French weren’t much into the whole Disney thing. Maybe they shunned it like they shun so many things American. Maybe they shunned it because it cost too many francs. Maybe they shunned it because they didn’t serve enough wine. You never can tell. But Euro Disney persevered and is still in operation. Just like every other Disney park, Euro Disney has had its dangerous moments.
In 1996, a lodge at Euro Disney caught fire in the middle of the night. Nine people were treated for smoke inhalation, including two pregnant women. It is also at this Disney location that employees have been killed. A cast member for the Phantom Manor attraction died during a lighting accident, believed to be due to electrocution. A cast member associated with the It’s a Small World attraction also died. He got trapped under a boat when it was being cleaned, as the ride was inadvertently turned on.
2 Predatory Animals
Sometimes people forget that Disney World was built upon a tropical Florida swamp, where every type of flora and fauna had thrived for centuries. Alligators aren’t the only animals that tourists need to be wary of in Disney. In 2014 at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, a snake fell out of a tree and bit a little boy. But that isn’t even the scary part. Apparently the shock of it all caused his grandmother to go into cardiac arrest, resulting in her death. All the little boy needed was a Band-Aid. The family claims that the snake escaped from its enclosure, while Disney insists that the facts have been misconstrued.
1 Inadequate Security
After Mateen's attack, many in the Orlando area have been scared that Disney World could be a target for terrorism. The rumor mill has been running nonstop that Mateen considered making an attack at the world famous park. Whether or not this is true, it brought up an unfortunate reality that Disney needs to have their security beefed up. Inside Edition reported that a shopping center at Disney World does not make guests go through security. But even in areas where guests do have to go through security, some are saying the measures are too lax.
In 2013, at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, a guest found a discarded loaded gun on the Dinosaur ride. She reported it to an attendant, and Disney located its owner. The man claimed he didn’t know that Disney does not allow its patron to carry firearms on its premises.
It was only in December 2015 that Disneyland started to conduct random screenings before guests could enter the park. Also, Disney security personnel are not permitted to carry guns. Guests have also been quoted as saying that they do not feel Disney has enough security in its hotels. So what is Disney doing about all of this? Reports are conflicting. Some say that Disney won’t comment. Other reports have claimed that Disney is hiring additional security guards and installing more cameras.