Kristin is a former employee of Disneyland and loves to report on the strange, possibly supernatural events that happen there.
Where Happy Haunts Go To Rest
Disneyland, in Anaheim, California, is the original Disney theme park. It has been around since July 17, 1955. Since then, over 600 million people have walked through the gates. But legend has it that some visitors never left. You see, Disneyland is said to be haunted. It is probably one of the most haunted properties in California.
Guests and "cast members" (Disneyland employees) alike have come forward with stories of the supernatural inside the berm of the Happiest Place on Earth. I worked at Disneyland as an Attractions Hostess, or ride operator, in Fantasyland for six years in the early 1990s. And yes, I did experience some pretty creepy moments to go along with m ymany happy memories of "The Park." Here I will introduce you to some of Disneyland's most famous ghosts and the scary things they do.
Creepy Disneyland Stories
Just to get you in the mood, here's a video chronicling some of the deaths that have happened at The Happiest Place on Earth.
Main Street Fire Station
When you enter Disneyland, you walk under the train tracks. Just after this, on the left side of the street, next to the City Hall restrooms, is the Firehouse. When Walt Disney was alive, he had an apartment on the second floor of this building. He used it as a home base of sorts while the Park was being built and stayed there often after Disneyland opened. He also hosted celebrities and VIPs in his apartment. Whenever Walt was in the Park, he would light a lamp in the Fire Station window to let people know he was there.
Apparently, Walt never left. According to Disney legend, soon after Uncle Walt's death, a woman from the maintenance crew was cleaning the apartment and noticed that the lamp was lit. She turned it off and left, only to see it lit in the window when she got outside. She then did what anyone would do in that situation: she went back into the apartment and turned the lamp back off. When she went back outside, the lamp had been relit. She went back again and turned it off, only this time she didn't leave the apartment. The lamp turned itself back on - right in front of her! Nobody has tried to turn the lamp off since. It is left burning to symbolize Walt Disney's presence in his beloved Disneyland. To this day, cast members report footsteps and knocking coming from the Fire Station apartment, especially at night.
Shops Throughout the Park
Many of the stores are supposedly haunted. The 4th floor stockroom of the Star Trader (at the exit of Star Tours in Tomorrowland) supposedly has cold spots and a really creepy feeling to it. There are also stories of the merchandise being rearranged on the shelves after the shop is locked up for the night when nobody is around.
I also heard that the Hatmosphere (the hat booth between America Sings and the Tomorrowland Autopia) is haunted. Supposedly, the sewing machine they use to embroider names on hats never gets warm, even after being used all day long. And once someone saw a face in it. That's what I heard anyway.
One of the ice cream carts is also supposedly haunted. People have reported hearing a woman's voice even though there is no woman around.
On Main Street, there have been sightings of a "Lady in White." She appears in and around the stores on Main Street and is dressed in clothing from the turn of the 20th century. Legend says that she died on the property in the early 1900s but never moved on.
In 1966, a 19-year-old boy tried to sneak into Disneyland for a Grad Night. (Every June, Disneyland is open overnight for high school graduates.) Thomas Cleveland snuck over a perimeter fence and onto the Monorail track. A security guard saw him and tried to warn him to get down, as this was a very dangerous place to be. Poor Thomas didn't listen; he just ran away so he wouldn't get in trouble. He should have listened, because just then he was hit by a monorail train and dragged 30-40 feet before the train stopped.
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When I worked at Disneyland, I heard rumors that sometimes, late at night, cast members driving the Monorail would see a young man running along the Monorail tracks at the back of the Park, in the spot where Thomas died. One minute the figure was there and the next he was gone. I heard it was very creepy.
Guests and cast members have reported seeing Disco Debbie. Debbie is a glowing green ghost inside the ride, who is reported to be a cast member who died of an aneurysm behind the Space Mountain building.
People have also reported seeing a man with reddish hair and a red face. He usually gets into a seat next to a single rider. By the time the ride ends, the man has disappeared. Supposedly, this is the ghost of a man who died on the ride in the 1970s. They call him "Mr. One Way" and he is also sometimes seen in the cast member locker rooms in the Space Mountain building.
This is the big, round, rotating building at the east end of Tomorrowland. Originally it was the Carousel of Progress, showcasing predictions of products for the near and not-so-near future. It closed in the early 1970s and reopened in the summer of 1974 as America Sings, a show highlighting the musical history of the first 200 years of the United States. (In 1998, it changed again to be the Innoventions building.)
Two weeks after the new attraction opened, a new ride operator, 18-year-old Deborah Stone, was killed when she was crushed between the wall of the moving audience section of the building and the stationary stage. Ever since, cast members working the ride have reported hearing a voice tell them to "be careful."
The America Sings building is also said to be haunted by the ghost of a teenage boy who died in the Speed Tunnel section of the People Mover, which is on the outer edge of the building. The boy died while trying to jump from one car to another and was dragged along the track before the ride came to a stop.
In 1984, Dolly Young was riding on the Matterhorn, on the Tomorrowland side (there are two tracks that go through the ride, one near Tomorrowland and one near Fantasyland). Dolly was alone in the back seat and a child was alone in the front seat. In the middle of the ride, Dolly unbuckled herself, supposedly to assist the child in the seat in front of her. She stood up just before the dip where the other track crosses over the track she was riding on. She hit her head on the bridge and fell onto the track. When the next sled came along, Dolly got run over. The story is that they had to dismantle the track to dislodge her body.
Dolly now haunts the Matterhorn. Some people say they have seen Dolly. I worked on that ride for several years, and I never saw her. But I sure did feel her. After the ride closes for the day, two people have to "walk the track," one on each side of the mountain: you walk the ride, starting at the bottom and working your way to the top. It is done to look for lost-and-found items. Every time I was (un)lucky enough to get a track-walking shift, I had an uneasy feeling, like someone was watching me. I was always convinced that it was Dolly, and so I would often say "hi" to her. The feeling was always the worst in the big cavern in the middle of the ride, and at Dolly's Dip (the spot where she died). In fact, the work lights in the tunnel near Dolly's Dip always seemed to be burned out. In six years, I don't think I ever saw those lights working. I hated running the track at the end of my shift and I usually tried to get someone else to do it for me.
It's A Small World
The story is that several cast members who worked on It's A Small World loved the ride so much that they came back to reside there after they died. The legend is that lights will turn on and off and that the dolls will keep on dancing and singing after hours when the electricity has been turned off.
I worked on that ride for six years (it was the very first ride I learned way back in 1989). I remember having fun on my breaks walking through the ride. I walked behind the sets, under the sets, and even through the wall in the middle of the attraction. Yep, there's a door that goes from the Antarctic region at the beginning of the ride to the finale scene at the end. It was a bit creepy in the darker portions, but not bad.
There are several ghosts that haunt the Haunted Mansion. The first ghost story happened when the Mansion was still being built back in the 1960s. One of the sound designers was in the Séance Room and heard music coming from behind a wall. He thought it was a radio, but there was never any talking or commercials, just music. He kept hearing the music for days. Finally, he decided to just put a speaker near the spot the music was coming from to mask it.
When I worked at Disneyland, I heard a rumor that the spell book in Séance Circle was a real spell book and that Madame Leota was reciting a spell from that book. Rumor had it that each morning when cast members would arrive at the attraction to open the ride, they would find the book in a different place than it was the previous night.
There is also a story about a woman who came to the Haunted Mansion to sprinkle her young son's ashes in the ride since his dying wish was to be one of the Haunted Mansion ghosts. She was told she couldn't spread the ashes there, but apparently she snuck back and scattered her son's ashes anyway. After that, people reported seeing the ghost of a small boy crying near the exit. I guess he didn't want to be a Haunted Mansion ghost after all.
Haunted Disney Website
A whole site dedicated to the Haunted Mansion. It has a whole page of ghost stories.
Pirates of the Caribbean
Supposedly, there is a boy ghost who is seen in the video monitors. He can be seen in the Control Tower, caught on surveillance cameras. He always seems to be happy and enjoying himself. But when the boat comes back into the station, it's always empty.
It has also been said that Walt Disney's ghost and a couple of other ghosts sometimes haunt the Disney Gallery above Pirates. The Gallery was originally designed to be Walt's personal apartment, as the one above the Main Street Fire Station was kind of small.