Everyone knows Disneyland as the happiest place on Earth (and Tae would agree because she absolutely LOVES it) but not every day at Disney is a chipper one. One the second episode of The Dark Side of Disney, The Lady Dicks dick-tect stories about the ghosts at the American Disney Parks: Disneyland and Walt Disney World.
This three-episode mini-series will cover Disneyland Deaths, Ghosts at Disney and, for our Patreon-Only crowd, incidents at Disney International and conspiracy theories.
Listen to the Episode
Join The Lady Dicks as they dick-tect the ghosts at Disneyland and Disney World. You can listen to this episode on your favourite podcast player or you can stream it below. If you want MORE of The Lady Dicks, join us on Patreon for bonus episodes (including the Disney episode dropping this May).
While Disneyland isn’t currently open, we’re sure it will be soon. So, it’s time to start planning your 2021 trip (we know Tae ? is).
If you’re headed to Disneyland, Tae says that you have to put the following rides on your list or you’re really going to miss out:
- Pirates of the Caribbean
- Indiana Jones Adventure
- Matterhorn Bobsleds
- Splash Mountain
- Mark Twain Riverboat
We also fully believe that you should ? get a park hopper pass (preferably multi-day) so that you can also check out California Adventure Park. Tae’s favourites there include:
- Grizzly River Run
- Soarin’ Around The World
- Guardians Of The Galaxy — Mission: BREAKOUT! (though admittedly it was better as the Tower of Terror)
And while you’re there, don’t forget to go see whatever’s at the live theatre there.
For a cheap hotel that’s within walking distance, Tae stayed at the Kings Inn Anaheim. While it’s a motel, it’s affordable, clean and has a pool. Plus it’s about a 10-15 minute walk right to the Disney gate.
Ready to book your flight to Anaheim?
Please note that the following is derived from The Lady Dicks “Dark Side of Disney: Disneyland Deaths” script and is not 100% accurate to the episode transcript.
Pirates of the Caribbean Ride—Walt Disney World
In 1970, during the construction of the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disney World which took place prior to the park’s opening on October 1, 1971, a young worker named George was killed. While no one appears to know what exactly happened, there are two common rumours that float around. The first is that George fell to his death while working on the “burning city” scene inside the ride, and the second is that during construction a heavy beam fell on him. Regardless of what exactly happened, George died inside the ride in 1970.
Since then, it’s rumoured that cast members have to say good morning and good night to George—though we also saw a post where a cast member confirmed that they only had to say “goodnight” to him—otherwise, George’s ghost is known to be a bit mischievous. It’s reported that he will make phone calls from an empty control room, show up on the ride monitors and even, at times, shut down the ride.
Guests who ride the Pirates of the Caribbean have reported feeling a “mysterious chill” in the burning city section of the ride. While cast members report having to repeatedly close a door near the “key-holding dog scene near the exit” this door is said to be referred to as George’s Door. Besides that, cast members have mentioned seeing George in the monitors, and some have “actually felt tapping or tugging on their costumes, but found there was no one or nothing ever there.”
While this ghost has often been associated with both Disney World and Disneyland online, if George was to have died in 1970 during the construction of the ride, it would have had to been at Disney World considering the ride opened in Disneyland on March 18, 1967. If you want to see George, it’s said he hangs out beside the bridge by the pigs.
Another Pirates of the Caribbean ride story says that during the first drop on the ride “women” (note we don’t know who they are or how many there were) fell out of the car “due to a breakdown” and died. Since then, it is apparently reported that said ladies haunt the ride, perhaps by screaming—note that this is a story we found a total ride and we could find no record of such accident.
The Haunted Mansion—Walt Disney World / Disneyland
It’s unclear which park exactly this rumour comes from because we’ve seen it both associated with Disneyland and Disney World, but there are many who wish to lay to rest their loved ones within the Disney parks. One such person was the woman who spread her son’s ashes without the park’s permission (which, by-the-way, is not something the park would give as it’s expressly forbidden for the obvious reasons). Over the years, a ghost of a little boy has been reported throughout the ride and is seen crying. In the Disneyland version of this story, it’s said that he also haunts the Pirates of the Caribbean ride.
During the construction of The Haunted Mansion Disneyland ride which began in 1963, apparently one of the test riders was so scared that she died of a heartattack in the middle of the ride. This supposedly lead to the closing of the ride’s construction until 1969… presumably to make it less scary.
Sometime in the 1940s, a small plane crashed in Anaheim, it’s said that one of the plane’s occupants “the man with the cane” is seen hanging in and around the Haunted Mansion.” One cast member reported seeing him at the loading dock where the guests board “doombuggies.”
In the Florida version of The Haunted Mansion ride, one guest is said to have taken a photo of a ghost:
In his post he wrote: “As you’ll see in the photo after clicking the link, it appears as though a child is peeking his head out of the doombuggy and looking directly at me,” the forum member wrote. “Not only was he not there when I took the pic, there wasn’t a child of this age within 20 people in front of me in line, and as you can see, he’s only a few doombuggies in front of me. Not only that, what’s he doing looking at me? There is NO flash, and NO visible light coming from me. It’s all infrared, and invisible to the naked eye.”
Disneyland Fire Department Building—Disneyland
Apparently Walt Disney himself is a Disney ghost. He haunts Disneyland via his private apartment that was built over the Disneyland Fire Department. The light in the window of the apartment is always on, which is said to be a tribute to Disney himself, but this tradition apparently stems from a former cast member trying to turn the light out for the night before leaving. When she left the room, the light was apparently turned on again when she returned. She flicked it off and left, only to see it from the window when she turned back to look at the building. So she went back up to turn it out once again only to be met by a disembodied voice that said “I am still here.” Since then, cast members have been leaving the light on at night.
Haunts from Our Deadly Disney Stories Last Week
Last week we talked about a few Disneyland death stories, but we didn’t get into the possible hauntings associated with them. So here are those rides and former Disneyland guests who might or might not have left the park:
- Thomas Guy Cleveland who tried to gain unauthorized access to Disneyland via the Monorail is said to still be in the park. Guests have seen him running alongside the monorail train.
- Dolly, who died on the Matterhorn Bobsleds ride has yet to vacate the park and is often heard by cast members who walk the tracks after the ride has shut down, specifically around the section of the track known as “Dolly’s Dip” where she died.
- Bogden who died trying to swim across the Rivers of America with his brother on his back is apparently still in the park. Disneyland cast members have reported seeing “a ghost rippling the water.”
- And Ricky Lee Yama who died on the People Mover is reported to hang around the Tomorrowland area grabbing the hair of blonde tourists.
We also missed an incident at America Sing’s from our last episode.
On July 8, 1974, nine days after the attraction opened, an 18-year-old high school senior and hostess named Deborah Gail Stone, nicknamed Debby, was accidentally crushed to death between two walls of the building between 10:35 p.m. and 10:40 p.m. A narrow channel between a stationary wall and a rotating wall was open and Stone either fell, stepped backwards, or tried to jump from one stage to the other as the rotating wall began to move (it moved every 2 to 4 minutes which was how long each act was). Her death was pronounced at 11:00 p.m., when the carousel was being reset for a new cycle. One of the audience members heard Stone’s screams and notified park staff. By the time the audience member and the staff got to her, it was already too late. Stone had died from her injuries. Stone’s parents sued Disneyland for the death of their daughter, which resulted in a small settlement.
Following Stone’s death, the attraction was abruptly closed down, remaining closed while safety lights were installed and the area where the incident occurred cleaned. Later, the walls in the theater were remodeled so that they would break away in case a similar accident happened. The attraction reopened three days after the incident on July 11. Stone is buried in Fairhaven Memorial Park in her hometown of Santa Ana.
Deborah who died at the America Sing’s attraction was apparently known to hang around and warn cast members to “be careful” if they got too close to the walls until the ride closed in 1988.
Other Disney Haunts
- A ghost known as “Mr One Way” is said to live on Space Mountain in Disneyland. Apparently he sits in a seat next to single riders and disappears before the end of the ride. He’s also occasionally spotted in the cast member locker room. A second ghost known as “Disco Debbie” also hangs out on Space Mountain, apparently she glows in the dark.
- A young, small girl with long blonde hair hangs out in Disney World’s Epcot. She is said to be seen riding in a car with a boy running in front of her. They vanish at the same time.
- A particularly helpful ghost known as the “woman in white” is reported hanging out on Main Street after dark in Disneyland. According to the stories, she helps lost children find the Disneyland Baby Care Center where they can be reunited with their parents.
- At Disney World’s Tower of Terror, cast members have reported a ghost wandering around after hours. He’s said to walk the wrong way through the queue line where he doesn’t respond to calls and disappears.
- It is said that a “tan figure” walks around the Sleeping Beauty’s castle area at night in Disney World.
The Lady Dicks did not just magically come up with the information for The Dark Side of Disney: Disneyland Deaths themselves, they, in fact, did research beyond Wikipedia (thanks jerky iTunes reviewer for your one-star comment), and here are those sources:
- 10 scary, legendary ghost tales of Disneyland haunts, The Orange County Register.
- Which Walt Disney World ride might actually be haunted? | Paranormal Corner, NJ.com.
- The Ghosts of Disney World, Mady and Kelsi.
- Ghosts at Disney World, TripAdvisor.
- The Most Horrifying Accidents and Deaths in Disney Theme Park History, Showbiz Cheatsheet.
- Disneyland Deaths, Snopes.com.
- Disneyland’s Most Famous Deaths, Wander Wisdom.
The Lady Dicks Podcast was created by Tae Haahr. The Lady Dicks are Andrea Campion, Nikki Kipping and Tae Haahr. “The Dark Side of Disney: Ghosts at the Park” was research, written, edited and produced by Tae Haahr. The Lady Dicks theme music, A Pink Panther, is licenced through AudioJungle.
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