Disneyland Folklore: Ghosts

Transcription: “There are so many ghost stories related to Disneyland. The Haunted Mansion is supposed to be actually haunted because people used to bring the cremated remains of their relatives to the ride. Every now and then, they have to call in a hazmat service to clean up the ashes…People have also done that on the Pirates of the Caribbean Ride too. A little boy died on Roger Rabbit ride in 2002 and his spirit is said to haunt the ride. A little girl died on the Matterhorn and they call the dip where she died, Dolly’s Dip. She is said to run on the tracks and the work lights never function where she died…Walt’s apartment is hella haunted. You can’t get pictures in there because the cameras won’t focus. One of the rafts on the Jungle Cruise, The Zambizi,  is haunted by an old man. Some people think it’s Walt Disney.”

Ironically, the “happiest place on earth” has several associations with death. Disneyland attracts millions of people a year. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that ghost legends have become attached to the amusement park. After speaking with my informant, it seems like each ride at the park comes with a ghost story.

The ashes brought to the Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean signify visitors acting on the ritual of spreading the ashes of their loved ones. The spreading of ashes is the final piece of a funeral ritual. By fulfilling the ritual, visitors indirectly contribute to the ghost legends.

Whenever a tragedy occurred at Disney, the ride at which the death took place is given the label of “haunted.” As in the case of the Matterhorn, the specific section of the ride has been given the name of the victim. The ghost stories act as a cautionary tale. Since most of the documented deaths occurred because children were not properly restrained by a seat belt or due to a lack of parent supervision, the ghost stories become a teaching method to reinforce safety on the rides.

Some people claim that Disneyland has several deaths because of the park’s address, 1313 Harbor Boulevard. The number thirteen is considered a cursed number since it is associated with unluckiness. I would argue that Disney’s address offers the superstitious support for their beliefs. Some may argue that the unlucky number acts like a beacon for tragedy.