In 1955 Disneyland opened its gates. Since then over 600 million people have visited the most magical place on earth. So, at a place so dense with hoards of humanity, it’s no wonder many legends have spawned concerning the amusement park. Both employees and visitors have told many strange tales about how haunted Disneyland is. Some claim sinister energies engulf the theme park. But, is it really possible there’s something supernatural going on? Whether one believes in ghosts or not, one thing is definitely clear, there have been many horrific deaths at Disneyland.
Behind all the glamour and wonder is a very different place. Like the sprawling labyrinth of tunnels just underneath the surface where countless people walk on a daily basis, there are lots of things that go on behind the scenes, out of sight from the public. With much swept under the rug. There have been lots of fatalities at the park. Though only ten which have been verified. Not only that, but the remains of dead people have been spread all over Disneyland. It has actually been going on for years now. Disneyland has become an incredibly popular place to leave the ashes of deceased loved ones. It mainly occurs on the Pirates of the Caribbean and the Haunted Mansion. Though remains have been discarded all over. Sometimes the remains aren’t even ashes. Like real human bones discovered in the Haunted Mansion, and actual skeletons used as props at many attractions in the past.
People claim the violent deaths at Disneyland and the remains throughout the theme park have tainted the area in dark energy. Customers claim to see hundreds of ghost sightings every year, and employees report strange phenomena often. So, there indeed might just be something weird going on at Disneyland. Animatronics move on their own. Even with the electricity turned off. Which if you’ve ever played the game Five Nights At Freddy’s can seem pretty creepy. But all that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
At nighttime operators of the Pirates of the Caribbean sometimes see the apparition of a man in video monitors. Whenever someone goes to check it out though, no one’s there. On Space Mountain, both the ride and employee area are said to be haunted by an apparition named Mr. One Way. A man who died on the ride way back in the 70s. Mr. One Way only gets in carts that have a single occupant, then always vanishes before the ride’s over.
Disneyland is Mr. Walt Disney’s dream come true. He’s the father of Mickey Mouse and the current Disney empire. It enchants countless people from all over the world and has an almost cult-like following of dedicated fans. I guess some people like it so much, they never left. Here are fatalities that occurred at the park.
In 2003 twenty-two-year-old Marcelo Torres bled to death while riding Thunder Mountain. When he went into the tunnel his train car separated from the track. There was nothing that could be done for him after his chest was crushed. In 1964 Mark Maples died on the Matterhorn at the age of fifteen. He ignored safety instructions by taking off his seat belt and tried to stand at the peak of the ride. Instead, he fell. The impact on the track below caved in his skull. But, there’s more than one death attributed to the Matterhorn. In 1984 forty-eight-year-old Dolly Young was killed on the ride as well. She fell from her cart too and landed right in front of an oncoming bobsled. Which was pretty messy as you can imagine. They dis-assembled the track in order to clean out the flattened and grotesque remains.
In 1973 two brothers, one eighteen years old, the other ten, were on Tom Sawyer’s Island. They remained past the dusk closing time and somehow went unnoticed by the staff. By staying too late they failed to get on the last boat back to the main part of the theme park. They made the horrible decision to swim back. Most likely to avoid getting in trouble. But, they had to get across the man-made river, the only thing is, this river was never intended for people to swim in it. The younger boy survived, but the eighteen-year-old drowned. Artificial tube waterways sucked him up. The Disneyland employees, local police, and firefighters spent eight hours trying to find the body.
The People mover is a retired ride that functioned from 1967- 1995. It was an elevated cart ride that circled the park very slowly. The People mover would normally seem like a pretty tame ride, especially since it moved so ridiculously slow. The ride was more an attraction for older people or those who aren’t fans of roller coasters. But, even though it seemed tame, in 1967 Ricky Lee Yama died riding it at the young age of seventeen. The ride was pretty high up, and obviously not something to screw around on. But teens will be teens. There was a game young people would play on the ride. They’d hop from one cart to another, defying any warnings employees may yell at them.
However, the ride was deceptive. It didn’t use an engine to move. The track itself moved the carts. So, if someone fell onto the track, then they’d slowly be crushed to death by a ride that moves 2mph. Which is brutal, and not a very pleasant sight. In 1980 another teen named Geraldo Gonzalez died on the People mover at the age of eighteen. The only difference is the ride got an upgrade to go much faster at the time. So he wasn’t crushed to death at a snail’s pace but dragged along the track at high speed for hundreds of feet, leaving a red mess in his wake.
In 1966 Thomas Cleveland snuck into the park at the age of eighteen. He hopped the fence onto the Monorail track thinking he could walk along it to an off-ramp and enter Disneyland proper. Two security guards spotted him which foiled his plans. He ran down the track as fast as he could to avoid them. The two security guards screamed warnings at him, but he thought they were just trying to convince him to stop and get him in trouble. Too late he noticed the incredibly fast oncoming train, and there was nothing he could do. The impact tore his body apart, the remnants of him dragged down the track in a red stain.
In 1974 Disneyland released the attraction America Sings. It was a creepy singing animatronic show, with various mechanical animals controlled by an intricate system of gears and a rotating platform. The theatre rotated like a carousel, revealing six different stages throughout the presentation. Each of the stages would rotate after their three-minute act, and as it did so the lights in the theatre would go dark.
On July 8th, 1974, two weeks after its grand opening, guests were startled during one of the shows. As the room went dark between presentations, a girl’s blood-curdling scream echoed throughout the theatre. Everyone assumed it was part of the show. They assumed wrong. Deborah Stone, age eighteen, was a hostess of the attraction. But, just two weeks into her new job, she was at the wrong place at the wrong time. In the darkness, she stood too close to the revolving stage and the non-moving wall. The machine was powerful enough to move a hundred people. Deborah was crushed into the wall. Hours went by before anyone noticed. The splattered and dismembered body was everywhere in the stage’s inner mechanical workings.
So, yea. Those are some pretty disturbing and brutal deaths at Disneyland. Apparently, it’s not always the happiest place on Earth. Allegedly many more deaths took place here. Though I only went into detail concerning the verified fatalities. If I tried to cover every single legend this article would go on forever. There’s a dark underbelly behind the facade of Disneyland, and a legacy of hauntings.
The Hauntings of Disneyland
When Walt Disney was alive he had a personal apartment above the Main Street Fire Station. He also hosted VIP and celebrities there. Legend has it he liked the apartment so much, he’s still there. In life whenever Walt stayed at the apartment he would light a lamp at the front window, easily visible from the street below. This was to let both employees and guests of the park know that the creator of Disneyland himself, was there.
After his death, the light mysteriously turns on, even after employees turn it off and no one is around. This still occurs to this day. Many employees have tales of turning the light off and leaving for the night, only to see it turned back on from the street below. One time a cleaning lady turned off the light, but it just turned right back on all on its own right in front of her. Which really freaked her out and she refused to ever clean the apartment again. Employees till this day say phantom footsteps can be heard in Walt’s apartment. As well as knocking and other unnerving random noises.
Most of the paranormal activity at Disneyland takes place throughout the shops. Like the Star Trader in Tomorrowland for example. When not busy with guests, the employees of the park say the area gives off a creepy vibe. There are lots of cold spots everywhere. And when closed up, stuff moves around on its own inside, with things being consistently not where the staff left them the next day.
The Hatmosphere is haunted too. Which is a hat shop between Tomorrowland and America Sings. Near one of the ice cream carts in this area, you can allegedly hear a woman’s phantom voice if you pay attention. Near Main Street, the full-fledged specter of a woman dressed in old-timey clothing named the Woman in White. Her apparition is a common sight. According to legend, she died in the area back in the early 1900s when her farm was located on the spot Disneyland now resides.
Thomas Cleveland, who died trying to sneak into the park by the Monorail also haunts the area. Late at night, the drivers of the Monorail see him on the track, basically in the spot he perished. For a couple of seconds he’s running away from the high-speed train, then vanishes into nothing. It creeps the drivers out immensely when this occurs, yet the ghostly sighting is common.
America Sings is haunted by Deborah Young, the girl crushed to death by the rotating animatronic stage. Ever since the tragedy employees have reported hearing a ghostly whisper that says “be careful.” The ghost not wanting others to share her fate, though freaking people out in the process. The area’s also haunted by Geraldo Gonzalez, who died agonizingly on the People Mover.
Dolly Young, the woman who died by falling from the Matterhorn also haunts the ride that claimed her life. Employees say they feel her ghostly presence around the attraction when business is slow. When closing up employees have to walk the track and claim it always feels like someone is watching them. The lights around the spot Dolly died always burn out prematurely, and flicker erratically. Though many claim to have seen her apparition, Dolly’s haunting is mostly an unnerving creepy ambiance with electrical malfunctions.
The animatronic show It’s A Small World is also a hotspot for paranormal activity. The creepy doll show is well known to turn on all by itself, even if the electricity has been turned off. The lights at the attraction will also turn on and off on their own, and the whole attraction is overall erratic after the parks closing.
The Haunted Mansion is above all the most frequent place where the unexplained occurs. Supposedly there are a whole plethora of ghosts that haunt the attraction. The stories go all the way back to the Haunted Mansion’s very construction. One of the workers heard music coming from behind the seance room. He looked for the source, but no matter how much he searched he couldn’t find where the music was coming from. The book in the seance room appears in a different location every time an employee opens the attraction. Other forms of ghostly activity are incredibly frequent. Such as whispers, phantom touches, to full-blown apparitions. For years the Haunted Mansion has been an incredibly popular place where people dump the ashes of deceased loved ones (illegally). To many, this explains the truly haunted nature of the attraction.
A little boy is the most famous apparition of the Haunted Mansion. He’s even allegedly been captured on film a handful of times. The little boy runs around the ballroom section of the ride, but also makes appearances throughout the attraction, often seen laughing. Most of the time guests mistake him for part of the fun. That is until he reacts to their actions. The little boy’s identity is unknown, but he is wearing 50s style clothing. The ghost is playful and non-threatening, yet none the less creepy as hell.
If you look on Youtube there are tons of alleged videos of Disneyland ghosts caught on film. One, in particular, looks pretty legit and is supposed to be the ghost of Walt Disney himself making his rounds of the park at night when it’s closed. Even the celebrity Adam Sandler has talked about seeing a ghost at Disneyland. There are also many more dark secrets concerning the happiest place on Earth I’ll cover in later articles. The conspiracies and urban legends surrounding Disney are very interesting, and the company hides many dark secrets for a corporation attempting to appear so squeaky clean.