It’s the spooky season, so it’s a great time to look at the spooky history of the happiest place on Earth. Even at Halloween, Disneyland isn't exactly the scariest theme park. Still, for a place that’s been around for more than 65 years, it has many interesting stories to tell, and that includes ghost stories.
Over the decades, a number of mysterious events have taken place within the gates of Disneyland. If reports are to be believed, a number of locations are actually haunted by spirits. Here are five of the most interesting Disneyland ghost stories.
The Haunted Mansion Is Actually Haunted
It’s probably not that surprising that there are a number of ghost stories surrounding Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion. It’s the place where you would expect ghosts to be, after all. Among the most prevalent tales is one of a mother who spread her son’s ashes (as many try to do) outside the building. The boy can now sometimes be seen outside the building, apparently crying.
Whether that ghost or another is stealing gingerbread is unclear. Every year when the Haunted Mansion undergoes its Halloween to Christmas refurb, into the Nightmare Before Christmas-themed Haunted Mansion Holiday, a new gingerbread house is built. Apparently that house kept mysteriously losing roof shingles. It seems nobody knew who was taking them, and since this was the haunted Mansion, some hungry spirit was suspected. Now, each year, the designers leave an extra gingerbread shingle on a separate plate so that the ghost can still have gingerbread without messing with the house. Reportedly the piece of gingerbread on the plate has continued to disappear, but the house has remained untouched.
They say that ghosts can be created by tragic events, and so it’s little surprise that many of the ghost stories found at Disneyland are related to actual deaths that have occurred inside the park. It’s an oft-repeated myth that nobody has died at Disneyland, and that sometimes the park even goes to terribly extreme lengths to prevent people from expiring on property, but it’s simply not true. A few people have died at the park.
One of the earliest people to die at Disneyland was a 19-year-old man who, in 1966, tried to sneak into the park during one of the Disneyland’s annual high school Grad Night events, where the park is closed early so graduating seniors can have the run of the place. He reportedly scaled a fence and then climbed onto the Monorail track, with plans to walk across it until he found a place to get down.
While security saw him, he did not heed their warnings, and was not able to get off the track before being struck and killed by an oncoming train. There have been reports from other monorail drivers over the years that they have seen the spirit of the boy still on the tracks. It happens at night, but the vision vanishes before the train gets too close.
The Woman in White
This one is perhaps a little strange because this is a ghost story that, while it comes from Disneyland, doesn’t appear to actually be connected to the park. The Woman in White has apparently been seen on Main Street U.S.A after dark, dressed in a 19th century gown.
The dress fits with the aesthetic of Main Street, but it’s unclear exactly why this woman is wearing that outfit. It doesn’t appear she’s related to a cast member that used to walk the park in costume. Some believe she may have died on the site of Disneyland years before the park was built, and simply never left the spot.
While that may be the case, it seems the woman does know where she is. It’s said she’ll help lost children find their way to the Disneyland Baby Care Center, though I haven’t found any stories from anybody who claims to have been helped by her. So it's far from clear exactly where this story comes from. Still, it's a nice thought.
The Disneyland Monorail isn’t the only place you’ll allegedly find the ghost of someone who was lost inside the park. Two people have died on the Matterhorn Bobsleds over the decades, and one of them reportedly still haunts the tracks near the spot where she died, a place now called Dolly’s Dip in her honor.
The woman, Dolly, was thrown from her Matterhorn Bobsled and hit by another oncoming train a couple days after New Year’s Day in 1984. At least one former cast member who used to work the attraction claims to have frequently had an uneasy feeling while walking the attraction at night, specifically through the spot referred to as Dolly's Dip. Other cast members have even reported seen Dolly.
Walt Disney Haunts Disneyland
This last ghost story maybe isn’t that creepy. In its own way, it’s actually sort of sweet. It’s been said that the ghost of Walt Disney himself haunts Disneyland, the only park he was directly involved in building. His spirit seems to inhabit the apartment above the Main Street Firehouse, where Walt used to stay when he was sleeping overnight in the park.
There’s a lamp in the window of the firehouse apartment that Walt used to light whenever he was there as a way of letting other cast members know he was on site. As the story goes, one night after Walt’s death, a cast member was cleaning the apartment and turned off the light as she left. However, upon reaching street level, she saw that the light was on again. She returned and extinguished the light, but once again, it came back on. In some versions of the story, the lamp was even unplugged, but somehow still came back on.
Today, the lamp in the window is left burning all the time as a way to symbolize the fact that Walt Disney is always there in spirit. Or maybe it’s because they just can’t figure out how to turn it off.
Most people enjoy a good ghost story, and Disneyland Resort has certainly found itself with a few over the years. Some are tragic, some are romantic. For most, these are nothing more than stories, but what great stories they are.
CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.
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