You’re familiar with the term dark ride. At Disney theme parks, you may believe that the phrase is a bit silly. Disney’s never dark, right? Au contraire! Animators oftentimes have twisted senses of humor. They love shocking strangers with uncomfortable jokes. Even on your favorite rides, some malevolent forces are at play. Here are some of the darkest moments on Disney theme park attractions.

Expedition Everest - Journey into Darkness

Image: DisneyExpedition Everest is like a cruel psychological experiment that Imagineers perform on theme park tourists. You ride this impressive train through the Himalayan Mountain range, your destination Mount Everest. You’re almost 20 stories high with an inspiring view of Animal Kingdom. Everything seems lovely right up until you reach the cruelest part of the ride.

Up ahead, you notice that the tracks are broken, almost as if some gigantic monster had ripped them asunder. There’s a cruel pause at this moment, long enough to allow you to piece together what’s happened and what it means to your immediate future. Then, the ride slams into reverse, thrusting you into darkness as your train engineer attempts to save you from the lone inhabitant of the Forbidden Mountain.

Eventually, you come face to face with the Yeti, the territorial creature who claims dominion over this piece of land. You are an unwelcome visitor here, and it takes a swipe at you in hopes of ending your existence.

Image: DisneyLet me summarize. On Expedition Everest, Disney quenches your light by redirecting your train into the blackness of a mysterious mountain. Then, an enormous and not-at-all fictional monster tries to kill you. It doesn’t seem very Disney, does it?

Haunted Mansion – the widow in the attic and the Stretching Room reveal

Image: Disney

Haunted Mansion is kind of a ringer. Its purpose is to scare, and many of its happy haunts demonstrate devilish behavior. Two of the most frightening ghouls take center stage in the ride's scariest moments. Somehow, the LESS demented sequence happens in the Stretching Room. While you watch pictures extend in height, revealing unpleasant outcomes for the subjects of each painting, an even more disturbing affair is revealed above you. The Ghost Host suggests that you take his way out…and he’s hanging from the ceiling. Gulp.

Somehow, the attic is that much creepier. We meet a widow with an on-the-nose name, Constance Hatchaway. This bride is a bit of a gold digger. Thanks to a few Imagineering tricks, we quickly learn that she’s unmarried by choice, and said choice wasn’t made by any of her late husbands. Apparently, Constance isn’t afraid to slash with an axe to receive an inheritance. Ladies and gentlemen, heed my advice. Do NOT marry this woman.


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