USC Digital Folklore Archives / Posts Tagged ‘Disneyland’
Legends
Myths

The Girl in the Pink Dress

Context:

While talking with my friend (who will be called D), about general folklore. We began talking about Disney stories and ghost stories came up. D then told me about a familiar story to cast members who work in California Adventure. D is in her early 20’s and works at the Disneyland Resort, specifically within the Hollywood backlot attractions and previously worked the attractions in Bug’s Land until construction began for Marvel Land. Her story take’s place in the Animation building which was next door to Bug’s land until recently.

Main Piece:

Back in the 1970’s when DCA was still the parking lot for Disneyland, there was an accident where a tram ran over a little girl in a pink dress. She haunted Bugs Land but since it’s been demolished for Marvel Land she has moved to the Hollywood area. I heard this story from multiple CM’s who have experienced her presence where she is seen as a shadow walking through the theater alone or calling from the Flik’s phone or Heimlich phone from the now demolished Bug’s Land. I had a personal experience with her as well. It was a Saturday when half of the books in the Beast’s Library broke and they were frozen. We kept capacity down and waited for Maintenance to fix it but they had to call someone from WDI so we waited till the next day. On Sunday morning they tried to reset it and all the books had a blue screen. We blocked off the room and now we had to stand guard to make sure guests didn’t go down there while maintenance and WDI were working. I was with another cast member A, at the time and we were watching a family of four (mom, dad and two little girls with brown hair and shorts) when suddenly A turns and asks me if I saw someone go down to the beast’s library. I said no but I said I would check. When I went down there it was dead silent with blue screens all around in the dark. I came back and told her I didn’t see anyone and asked her to describe what she saw. She said she saw a little blonde girl in a pink dress run down there. I told her there were only these four guests and I was watching them the whole time and neither girls had a dress and they had brown hair. We got scared but nothing else happened.

Background:

There is a lot of terminology used in this piece as the experience happened between coworkers at the Disneyland Resort. DCA is an abbreviation for Disney California Adventure. CM is for Cast Member which is what employees are called at the resort. WDI is an abbreviation for Walt Disney Imagineering which is the company that handles the mechanics of the attractions within the resort. The locations mentioned are Flik’s Flyers, Heimlich’s ChooChoo and Tough to be a Bug theatre which is said to be the haunted attraction within that land. Within the Animation building is the Sorcerer’s Workshop where the Beast’s Library is. The library consists of mechanical books much like computer screens, that guests can interact with.

Notes:

As a cast member who works within the Animation building, I am not a stranger to the stories told by fellow cast members about the little girl with the pink dress. She has been known to jump around the attractions within the area that she was said to have passed away. There was a story recently told to me about a cast member receiving a phone call in the Animation building main office from an attraction in bugs land. This was after everything was demolished in the area. There is nothing left but a flat land of dirt. The description of the little girl never changes and cast members aren’t the only ones who have seen her. Guests have described seeing the little girl as well. These sightings and stories coming from different people and different locations adds to the credibility of the ghost existing.

 

Legends

Two Boys near Pirates of the Caribbean

Context:

The informant is a young woman of 28 years old currently working at the Disneyland Resort. She will be referred to as DG. While DG was working at her former location in a restaurant within Disneyland, she was talking with her friend, who we’ll call KE. He described an odd situation that happened to him during a marathon held within Disneyland before the land was opened to guests.

Main Piece:

I was at work at the Galactic Grill working with one of my friends, KE. We were cleaning at the time and I asked him how his marathon went. He’s a runner and a track coach and did one of the longer Disneyland Marathons. KE told me that he was running out front ahead of everyone so there was no one around when he was running through New Orleans Square. As he passed the Pirates attraction, he heard children laughing and giggling in the distance like they were playing so he ran faster. Later he found out that the attraction was undergoing maintenance, so there was no one around or inside it. Maintenance workers were not scheduled to work on the attraction during the hours of the marathon. The voices sounded like two young boys playing.

Notes:

Disneyland has a fair number of stories shared by cast members about phantom voices and ghosts. One of the stories is of two young boys near the Rivers of America which is located directly across from the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction. In 1973, two boys decided to hide somewhere in Tom Sawyer’s Island which is in the middle of the Rivers of America. After park closing, they thought they would swim onto the main land to play in the park. While attempting to swim across, one of the boys struggled and when the other attempted to help, they both drowned. This event is the origin of the stories shared by cast members and guests who have heard the boys’ voices and have seen movement in the river near Tom Sawyer’s Island.

 

Customs

Family Reunions at Disneyland

“Going to Disneyland every year is a Funk family tradition. It started when we were kids because Aunt Ce lived in Anaheim, so ostensibly we all went to see Aunt Ce but we were really just all going to Disneyland. And we saw Aunt Ce. So we usually met the Gritch kids, and sometimes Aunt Sonia, Uncle Ray, and Susie once a year and then we all went to Disneyland. But it was mainly the Gritch kids, and that’s why doing this girl’s weekend—we did this as kids, we would meet at Aunt Ce’s house and go to Disneyland. This girl’s weekend is re-establishing the tradition. We did it almost every year, certainly my family went up at least once a year but most years the Gritches came down and we all met. And when you guys were little, we met with Georgina and Rob once a year. It’s a family thing to do to meet at Aunt Ce’s and go to Disneyland, and then of course our family goes every year. We still meet with Aunt Lynne, or Georgina, Tina, and Polly so it’s still very much a Funk family thing.”

This is one of the traditions of family reunions in the family on the side of my informant’s mother. Though they also met in the summer at a lake in Minnesota every year, the Disneyland tradition was more intimate and only included the closer cousins, rather than the whole extended family. Disneyland wasn’t necessarily a central location, but it was a fun place that all ages of the family could enjoy, and all of the children of her generation have continued the tradition with their own children as much as possible. Indeed, the tradition is to see a rebirth in the form of a female family Disney trip, reinforcing the notion that Disneyland is associated with family. This would engender a good feeling in the family, because everyone would be enjoying themselves thanks to the locale, and thus would also be happy about those whey were with.

general
Legends

Don’t Feed the Cats!

My informant used to work at Disneyland as their landscape designer. So, there were always many urban legends about the Disneyland grounds when they worked at night. Since Disneyland is open every day, all the engineers and workers come in after Disney closes at night to work on rides and the plants. One of the funniest sayings they would have at Disneyland was, “Don’t feed the cats.” This saying actual caught on and now has become an urban legend associated with Disneyland.

Supposedly, when Disneyland first opened, a lot of feral cats would start roaming around the park. The cast members would feel bad for them and feed them cans of tuna. So then, more cats started coming to Disneyland and would just live there. However, when the cast members fed the cats tuna, the leftover tuna and smell would attract yellow jackets. So, at one point, there were just tons of yellow jackets at the Disneyland park and since people were always wearing bright colors and eating food that would attract the yellow jackets, there would be tons of people getting stun and complaining about the yellow jackets. However, for the longest time no one knew why there were so many yellow jackets around. Since then, they have tried to get rid of the feral cats and yellow jackets, but to this day, people will say, “Don’t feed the cats at Disneyland!”

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