Disneyland: The Happiest Haunted Place on Earth

Thousands of people visit Disneyland every year. It’s a place where adults can be kids again and kids can let their imaginations run wild. You can walk down Main Street and run into one of your favorite Disney characters, or ride to adventures through small worlds, down Splash Mountains, attacked by pirates, or abominable snowman on the Matterhorn Mountain, run through Tom Sawyer’s Island, and are totally scared by ghosts in the Haunted Mansion. You can spend a day or two forgetting your troubles and just have fun, lots of fun!

Disneyland is located in Anaheim, California and is known as an American theme park. It is owned and operated by The Walt Disney Company and opened it’s doors on July 18, 1955. The park has seen more than 515 million guests walk through its gates since it opened. With all the fun that Disneyland provides, no wonder it is called, “The happiest place on Earth.” Is this place, which has seen its share of royalty, presidents and other heads of state visit its adventures and rides, haunted as well? According to the many reports of sightings of ghosts and other paranormal activity, it would be a resounding “yes”. The following is some of the stories I found during my research:

The Haunted Mansion:There are many urban legends of deaths that have occurred in the Haunted Mansion. The Imagineers have done a great job of creating a spooky environment for all to enjoy and have a scary adventure through an old New Orleans style house. Some of the stories of “real” ghost haunting the place have been circulating for some time but are they all true. One of the stories is that an elderly man died of a heart attack because the ride was supposedly too scary. This happened before the ride was officially opened. They re-designed the ride and it was finally opened in 1969. His ghost has been seen by some wandering around the place. Another urban legend is of a 1940’s man who died in a park nearby where Disneyland would later be constructed. He was piloting a small plane and crashed in a lake. Some of the employees have seen his spirit late at night and refer to him as “the man with a cane”. Also in the area where the passengers disembark, a man in a tuxedo has been seen. One day an employee working in that area kept seeing a shadow in a mirror she uses to see the rides coming up. Every time she turned around, no one was there. The figure appeared to be wearing a tuxedo. She then experienced a chill and an unseen hand on her shoulder. Shortly afterwards, she ran out of there and quit her job. Another story is about a woman who wanted to scatter her son’s ashes inside the Haunted Mansion but was not allowed. She snuck in and scattered them anyway. Shortly afterwards some people have seen the apparition of a small boy crying and sitting near the exit. And still there is another story of a teenage boy, who stepped out of the Doombuggy to get a better look at the “Séance Circle”, fell to his through a gap in the walkway and died by breaking his neck. That area has seen its share of strange phenomenon like ghosts and strange music with no explainable source to where it was coming from. The next time you are riding around in the “Doombuggy” of the Haunted Mansion, the ghost sharing the ride just might be “real”. Muhahahaha!

The Haunted Mansion is not the only place that has had reports of unseen happenings; there are many other rides and buildings that are haunted as well.
The Fire Station on Main Street has reports of strange footsteps and lights turning themselves on, and a voice telling an employee, “Don’t forget, I am still here”, all on the second floor.
The storeroom behind the magic shop on Main Street had reports of cold spots and a creepy feeling while in the room.
The Disney Gallery above the Pirates of the Caribbean ride is said to be haunted by Walt Disney, his wife and another woman named Mary. Walt’s ghost has been seen in many places around the park.
Pirates of the Caribbean ride has also had story of the mother who wanted to scattered her son’s ashes on the ride. Basically it’s the same deal, she snuck in and scattered them anyway. Sometimes at night the ride operators have seen a lone boy riding in one of the boats on the video monitors. After checking it out, they found no one there. Is this boy at the Haunted Mansion or riding a boat on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride? I suppose it depends on who is telling the story.
Matterhorn Mountain is said to be haunted by the ghost of a woman named Dolly. The story is told that she unhooked her belt to check on her children riding behind her. The ride hit a steep incline, she fell out and was hit and killed by the sled behind her.
Space Mountain has a ghost of a man who died on the ride in the 1970’s. Witnesses have described him as a large man with reddish hair and a red face. His apparition has been seen getting in a car of a lone rider but disappearing before the end of the ride.
It’s a Small World can be a Pupaphobic’s worst nightmare at night. Lights have been reported turning themselves on and off, while the figures were reported moving on their own after the power has been shut down.
Tom Sawyers Island is being haunted by a couple of ghosts that might be the grad students that drowned in the Rivers of America. Also, many employees have reported seeing children running around the island. After boating over to the island to check it out, they never found them.
Tomorrow Land has had reports of a menacing spirit along with cold spots where the spirit has been seen. The People Mover Ride, which used to run through Tomorrow Land, has the ghost of a teenager who apparently jump from the car as it moved along the tracks, and was dragged to his death. They say the he reached up grabbing desperately to his girlfriend’s long blonde hair but couldn’t hang on. He will usually manifest himself to girls with long blonde hair and will tug on it.

Disneyland is truly the “Happiest haunted place on Earth” especially for those of us who love all the ghost stories. Wouldn’t it be great if we could get locked inside for the night and see for ourselves if the place is really haunted?



  1. Wow--great coverage! When we lived in Redondo Beach, I can't tell you how many family members visited just to go to DL and we had to go there about eight or 10 times a year! One time, hubby's company rented out the entire park for a company party (Hughes) and there were zero lines at the rides--it was amazing. I always said if I could have a last request, it'd be to get my best buddies together and party with the pirates--go in the ride and drink and have fun with the features and then sleep in the haunted mansion. I'm such a big kid! Thanks for covering this place--it's expensive and exhausting and still we can't get enough.

  2. Geez, thanks again for creeping me out! Now I'll definitely have to think twice before going to any theme park, but especially this one.

  3. What a fascinating article! I had never heard of Disneyland being haunted so that is completely new to me-best to you and Mike as always!!

  4. Wow! What a great post. I had no idea it was haunted. We're planning a visit there next summer and now we absolutely have to check it out!

  5. Mike actually gave me the idea. He wanted to write about it but his story is occupying his thoughts at the moment. I knew of one possible haunting but I was not aware that there were so many other places around the park that have had paranormal activity.
    Autumn, that is so cool that your hubby's company had the whole park to themselves. Those long lines are a pain.
    Stephen, don't let those ghosts scare you from having fun at Disneyland, lol. The more hauntings I found in the park, the more creeped out I got.
    Devin, I knew of the Pirates ride being haunted but the others were a nice surprise.
    MoxieMamaKC, yep, apparently it is haunted. Have fun when you go.

  6. Great article Julie! Glad I gave you the idea!

    Disneyland is easily my favorite place in the world to go to! I love it! You can go on vacation to some beautiful local...but I would chose to go to DL everytime! It's the one place that makes you feel like a kid again.

    I heard about all the spooks via the Internet so of course you never know how valid the stories are, but for now I believe them. Disneyland has been full of rumored deaths. Or more so...urban legends.

    The Splash Mountain guy who lost his head just at the drop when their used to be a spike there and he decided to stand up before the drop. Maybe he's roaming the streets of Frontier Land.

    There was the guy who decided to open up the door on the bucket ride (the ride that went across the whole park on those wires) and he fell out to his death hundreds of feet below.

    To go along with the death Julie reported on from Space Mountain, there is the urban legend of a very tall man who lifted his hands way up on the space ride and they were chopped right off. They say the tracks are pretty close to each other and because of his height...his hands cut clean off.

    Even very recently, and I don't recall if anyone died, I want to say one did. But the Thunder Mountain train fell off the tracks at one of the turns and injured almost everyone and like I said...maybe killed one person.

    Even with all the grim tales...I still love that place!


  7. Thanks Mike for adding more stories. I still love to go there too!

  8. Who woulda thunk it? GREAT! I'll be sure to add it to my site. THANKS so much for such a wonderfully informative and entertaining story!

  9. If anything, I have to say these stories make me want to vistit Disneyland even more now! I'll have to plan a trip...


  10. Hi... just happen to cross your site...

    Im planning to go to Tokyo or Hong Kong Disney this Christmas. Hoho and I found some stuffs from Hong Kong Disneyland here as well:

    I will definitely take tones of photos there!!!

  11. I'm a resident of Anaheim as well as a local folklorist, and based on my own research there are five confirmed ghosts haunting Disneyland. (this assumes that you believe in ghosts, of course) I categorize 'confirmed' ghosts as those having repeated manifestations or multiple sightings. These ghosts are:

    #1: The Matterhorn Spook: This is the ghost of the woman killed on the Matterhorn Bobsleds. She most often appears after the park has closed, and has been spotted by security guards and maintenance staff. She never speaks, but just wanders around as though in a trance.
    #2: The Tomorrowland Poltergeist: The ghost of the employee killed on America Sings in 1975, she is a poltergeist who haunts most of Tomorrowland. This ghost is never seen, but loves to play pranks on park employees. Among her tricks are rearranging the merchandise at Star Trader after the store is locked for the night, slamming doors when no one is there, and switching lights on and off.
    #3: The Monorail Ghost: This is believed to be the ghost of a local teenager killed by the monorail train in 1970 after an unsuccessful attempt to sneak into the park one night--by walking on the monorail track! His ghost manifests as a shadowy figure walking along the track between the park and the Disneyland Hotel.
    #4: The White Lady of Main Street: As one expects from her name, this feminine spirit haunts Main Street although there have been recent sightings of her in California Adventure. She often triggers the motion sensors in the shops along Main Street after closing, and she also materializes in the hours before dawn. Those encountering her have described the ghost as a rather attractive young woman in white clothing from around 1900 who will smile at them and walk around a corner--only to vanish into thin air. Curiously enough, small children see her during the daylight hours and there are several stories of the White Lady taking children who have been separated from their parents to the Lost Children Center.
    #5: The 1,000th Ghost: The most recent ghost at Disneyland, this is believed to be the spirit of the child whose mother scattered his ashes at the Haunted Mansion, as his dying wish was to be one of the ghosts there. I should mention that I have confirmed this part of the story through news sources.
    This took place around 1995; since that time, his sad ghost has been spotted inside the attraction late at night.

  12. wow. i go here all the time, but never have experienced any paranormal stuff. you should look into the story about the lady's wheel chair in hunted mansion at the ballroom part... i get the chills even thinking about it just about every time.

  13. O greatnow I am going to have to watch myself in my favorite area of the park. Tomorrow land since I got long blonde hair

  14. Wow! Talk about freaking me out! I never even knew that there was ghost there! My husband just bought our family season passes and we go every chance we get.... Now Im going to keep my eyes open! my husband loves this type of stuff! I bet he will just want to sit at the haunted mansion till he sees something!! Awesome job Julie!

  15. Not the biggest ghost story however...

    My wife and I brought our daughter to Disney World to have the 'Princess Storybook Dining' at the Akershus Royal Banquet Hall at Epcot.

    Before dining, there was a space designated where Belle from Beauty and the Beast would do a meet and great / photo op with the children. One on one.

    I took photos with an SLR camera. My wife took photos with a point and shoot camera. Disney took a picture or two with what I would assume was a high end SLR camera. In the photos right behind Belle who, had to stoop down to our two years olds level, were a lot of orbs. I would have chalked it up to simply dust on the camera lens had it been in the image of just one camera.

    Not only were the orbs present in ALL photos of three different cameras BUT, the orbs in all the photos were all in the same location, just behind and to the right of Belle herself.

    As a matter of fact, the orbs in the print that Disney gave us were so pronounced, it's really rather distracting.

    I often wondered if the 'Royal Banquet Hall' at Epcot has any activity during after hours?

    This post is NOT to discourage anyone from booking a 'Princess Storybook' meal at Akershus. I highly recommend it. It was a highlight of the day.

  16. At the exit of the haunted mansion I've seen the little boy crying for his mom but I thought it was because the ride scared him

  17. At the exit of the haunted mansion I have seen the little boy crying also. Im not 100% sure it was the boy who haunts this ride, but it was pretty strange. I was there with my aunt and i said to her,' I think he lost his mom... Should we ask him if he needs any help? ' She said sure and we looked back at him and he was gone..

  18. Next time I go(probably grad night in a few years) I'm gonna ask employees about these hauntings. I'm only in 7th grade so I'm gonna see of I can go soonish

  19. I worked in Star Trader more often than not. I can tell you for a fact because I saw him there is a young boy (9-12 years old) on the 4th floor stockroom. He is a white kid with brown eyes and a bowl cut light brown hair. There is also an angry hurried male presence that rushes past you on the stairs going from the 4th to 3rd floor. The only other experience I had was in the women's locker room on the back side of space mountain. Always hear a man talking and feel like you are being watched.


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