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Is Disneyland Haunted?

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It wasn’t that long ago that I was on the Happiest Haunts Tour at Disneyland. The Halloween-only walking tour, which was a three-hour experience that increasingly cost $ 80 more than a ticket to the park, promised to disclose the parks’ strangest legends. Awesome, I thought at the time, I’m going to hear some really good ghost stories.

Spoiler alert: I didn’t.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the tour. You get Halloween snacks, step into Haunted Mansion without waiting at all, get a really cool explainer on the Cars Land Halloween makeover, and learn about Walt’s fascination with the legend of Sleepy Hollow and why the Headless Horseman begins. the Halloween parade every night (back before the pandemic when Disney offered parades). At the end, you even get a photoshoot with the hitchhiking ghosts, who are part of the haunted mansion’s ‘999 happy lairs’, who get kicked out for the season by Oogie Boogie when the ride becomes the Nightmare before Christmastheme Haunted Mansion Vacation for fall.

But it all left me wondering… what are the real Disneyland ghost stories?

It turns out there are a lot of them.

Everyone from paranormal investigators to park patrons who aren’t even looking for a spooky experience have reported seeing and hearing strange things at Disneyland – and no, dad is joking that it’s a ghost town right now. does not count.

Haunted Vacation Home in Disneyland Park.

Haunted Vacation Home in Disneyland Park.

Julie tremaine

Ashley Marie Castro, a former cast member at Disneyland, says “a lot of weird things” happened to her while she was working at the park. One morning, when the park was closed, she experienced something that she could not explain: “I was alone in the store and I heard the store door open and close, but it wasn’t. ‘nobody was there,’ she says. “Then I heard a loud crash. One of the items in the warehouse broke on its own. There was no way it had fallen off the shelf. It was empty in the park and no one else was in the store with me. It really scared me.

Another former cast member, Darrold Wagner, has two ghost stories. The first, he says, is about Walt Disney’s love for trains and, in particular, the Disneyland Railroad that circles the park. “The train control center has a sign that shows where the trains are on the track,” he says. “Late at night, in the far corner, a train was appearing on the board and the whistle was blowing, even though there was no train there. The old folks said, “It’s Walt’s train.” “

His second, he says, has to do with Walt Disney’s famous smoking habit. “Lillian Disney [his wife] made sure Walt didn’t smoke in public areas around children, so he used to go out on the stairs behind his apartment to smoke, ”says Wagner. “After Walt died, my security supervisor used to smell cigarette smoke there almost every night. He used to hide to try and catch the smoker. He never did and never found cigarette butts, but he still smelled of fresh smoke. He finally concluded that it was Walt who was smoking one last time.

Haunted artists of downtown Disney.

Haunted artists of downtown Disney.

Julie tremaine

Amy Bruni, a paranormal investigator who co-hosts “Kindred Spirits” on The Travel Channel, says objects can “fly” all the time, due to how the HVAC system works and the powerful air, building mechanics shaking the shelves, or, especially in California, a little earthquake. Cigarette smoke is also explainable.

“The problem with smoke, especially cigarette smoke, is that it can penetrate wood,” says Bruni. “The smell can come out when it rains, or gets wet, or the temperature changes. Perhaps this is why the smell of smoke emerges at certain times of the day.

The Train, however, she finds more difficult to explain, having once encountered her own “ghost train” in an episode of Kindred Spirits. “We were on a track where no trains were running at this time of year, and all of a sudden, for no reason, the crossing signals went off as if there was one going. was approaching, ”says Bruni.

“We’ll never know without investigating this particular train at Disneyland,” she adds, noting that it’s very difficult to truly assess paranormal claims without witnessing them in person, “but it’s really interesting. .

Disneyland on Halloween.

Disneyland on Halloween.

Julie tremaine

Customers claim to see ghosts all the time, especially from Walt Disney himself. An amateur paranormal investigator, who asked to remain anonymous to avoid putting a cast member in trouble, said she was once in the park after hours when she saw something in Fantasyland. “We saw a man standing just outside the castle on the drawbridge. He smiled and waved, ”she said, recognizing him as Walt. “He stayed for about 20 seconds and then slowly disappeared. This was the second time that the cast friend [who had let her into the park after hours] had seen Walt at the park.


There are countless ghost stories about Disneyland, like that of a worker who died during the construction of Pirates of the Caribbean that still haunts him today. There is talk of real ghosts linked to people who deposit the ashes of loved ones at Haunted Mansion, and of Walt Disney watching out for the window of his old apartment above the fire station where there is always a lamp on. memory of him.

Anna Bees, who says she feels connected to spirits and has seen ghosts since childhood, believes she has seen Walt several times at Disneyland. “I saw Walt at the window with the lamp in his apartment,” she says, “but more often than not I see him leaning against a lamp post from Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, and he’s smoking.

Cars Land in Disney's California Adventure gets a makeover this fall.

Cars Land in Disney’s California Adventure gets a makeover this fall.

Julie tremaine

Adam Berry, the other paranormal researcher co-host of “Kindred Spirits,” believes ghosts have the ability to choose where they go when they stay on this plane. “Of course he would stay in his playpen if he could,” Berry said. “If ghosts can be where they want to be, why wouldn’t you be in the happiest place in the world, especially if you built it?”

Disney historian Jim Korkis has written 30 books on all things Disney, the latest of which is “Vault of Walt 9: Halloween Edition.“He says the unexplained things of many guests and cast members could be linked to deaths in the park.

“In 1984, a woman named Dolly Young who was riding the famous roller coaster at Disneyland Matterhorn was thrown from her bobsleigh and killed by an oncoming bobsleigh,” Korkis says. “The cast members who work on the ride say her ghost still lingers in a section where she died (which they call Dolly’s Dip) and can hear strange sounds at night.”

Young was not the only person who died at Disneyland.

A boy was struck and killed by the Monorail train that connects the park to the Disneyland hotel in 1966, while another boy drowned in 1973, when he and his brother attempted to swim off the Tom Sawyer Island after staying behind after the park closed. Korkis says the two are still seen in the water and by the train.

A mummy badge at Disneyland.

A mummy badge at Disneyland.

Julie tremaine

One of the most gruesome stories is that of Deborah Stone, a cast member who was crushed to death in 1974. She was caught within the walls of America Sings, the attraction that replaced Carousel of Progress, where the seats revolve around a stationary spectacle. Neither attraction is at Disneyland yet. Today, according to Korkis, she may still be there.

“Stone would have walked the area,” he said, “and while the attraction was still in operation, he sometimes gently warned the other cast members who got too close to the rotating walls.”

There’s also Mr. One Way, a Disneyland legend who would appear alongside single riders on Space Mountains. “He will appear in an empty seat in a transport vehicle,” Korkis says, “but will disappear before the last tunnel at the end of the ride.”

The statue of the Headless Horseman in Disney's California Adventure.

The statue of the Headless Horseman in Disney’s California Adventure.

Julie tremaine

Parkgoer Vanessa Purcella thinks she may have met Mr. One Way while on a trip to Disneyland. She felt a strong pull on her hair when there was no one behind her to have done it. (Bruni and Berry say tearing hair is common among entities trying to contact the living.)

If you’re inclined, you can ‘see’ Mr. One Way on the video below:

Of the five ghosts in this video, paranormal researcher Adam Berry says the first (at 0:14) is probably pareidolia, the phenomenon in which people see faces in inanimate objects, like when you see a potato and think she’s in the form of Abraham Lincoln. The second (at 1:13) is probably a real person standing on the castle, the third (at 2:00 p.m.) is probably just a shadow, and the fourth (at 2:45), which people think could be Mr. One Way, could be an eerie reflection of the camera of the person sitting next to the void.

The fifth, however, at 3:13, is more difficult to explain. It shows a shadow figure crossing the property on multiple cameras. People say it’s Walt Disney, and since he appears from so many different perspectives syncing between video streams, Berry thinks it may be possible.

“That one,” he said, “just got out of the haunted mansion.”

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