Home » 5 Horrible “Deaths” at Disney Theme Parks (That Never Really Happened)

    5 Horrible “Deaths” at Disney Theme Parks (That Never Really Happened)

    Mickey Mouse

    Theme park rides are designed to be very, very safe, with multiple systems in place to ensure that no harm comes to the guests that experience them. These systems are extremely effective and reliable and, as a result, serious injuries or deaths caused by theme park rides are very rare indeed. Every now and then, somebody really does get hurt on a theme park attraction. There are examples of this occuring all over the world – even, in the past, at parks owned by market leader Disney. Much more common than actual deaths, though, are stories about mythical deaths at Disneyland and Walt Disney World that never actually happened. Some of these urban legends have been circulating for so long that many people simply take them as fact. Of course, telling somebody that a gruesome death occurred on a ride just before boarding it is just the sort of thing that teenagers loveto do… Here are five stories about gruesome deaths at Disney theme parks that are based on myths rather than reality…

    5. Mickey Mouse was electrocuted after being thrown into the Seven Seas Lagoon

    Mickey Mouse

    Image © Disney

    The story: During one of the raucous Grad Nites at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, Mickey Mouse was thrown into the Seven Seas Lagoon by a group of over-excited (and probably drunk) high school graduates. Mickey died after being electrocuted when an air-conditioning unit in his costume was submerged in the water. The truth:There is no evidence that Mickey was thrown into the lagoon. Nor is there any record of his costume having included equipment that could have caused his electrocution.

    4. The Magic Kingdom’s Pirates of the Caribbean is haunted by a dead welder named George

    Pirates of the Caribbean

    Image © Disney

    The story: At the Magic Kingdom, Cast Members working on Pirates of the Caribbean warn newcomers about the ghost of George, which supposedly haunts the attraction. George is said to have been killed during the construction of the ride, either by electrocution or by a falling beam. The truth: The reality is that there was no George, and that nobody died during the construction of Pirates of the Caribbean. In the excellent Realityland, author David Koenig speculates that he is probably an amalgamation of two workers who actually died in the years following the attraciton’s opening, elsewhere at Walt Disney World (one was killed during the construction of an aluminium boat for the Seven Seas Lagoon, while another was electrocuted while working in a tunnel).

    3. Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion was changed because it scared a guest to death

    Image: Disney


    The story: Shortly after Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion opened, a rider was so terrified that he died of a “fright-induced” heart attack. Disney closed the ride and re-tooled it to make it less scary. The truth: While the Haunted Mansion’s construction was horribly delayed (it began in 1962, but the ride didn’t opened to the public until 1969), no such wholesale changes to the ride have been made. The legend likely springs from the fact that the facade of the mansion was finished in 1963, leading guests to speculate about its contents – particularly after it was featured in a 1965 episode of Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color.

    2. The Magic Kingdom’s Space Mountain decapitated a rider

    Space Mountain

    Image © Disney

    The story: A panicked guest stood up while riding Space Mountain. He was struck by a low-hanging metal ridge, and he arrived back in the station with his head missing. The truth:This is an urban legend, most likely created by adults to discourage children from attempting to stand up on roller coasters. Standing up on Space Mountain would actually be a difficult thing to do. There are suggestions that this myth derives from Imagineering discovering a decapitated test dummy during the ride’s creation, but even those are unproven.

    1. Disneyland’s Skyway was closed because a rider fell to his death

    Image: Albaum, Wikipedia (license)

    The story: Disneyland’s Skyway was closed in 1994 because a guest fell out of one of its cable cars and died. The truth: A man did fall from the Skyway, in April 1994. He landed in a tree near the Alice in Wonderland ride, and was treated for minor injuries. He claimed that he had fallen out of the car and sued Disney, but later admitted that he had in fact climbed out of it. The Skyway was shut for economic reasons.