The Ghosts of Walt Disney World: Disney’s Haunted Mansion
Why not start things off with two of my favorite things? Ghost stories AND Disney! Wow a great two for one deal right here. Now not many of you may know that the happiest place on earth is home to a few extra happy haunts aside from the well known ones within the Haunted Mansion. I’m sure many of you are wondering how on earth these lost souls got here in the first place, but trust me guys these stories are insane. Although obviously some may be legend, and some I can confirm to be true, all come with some chilling experiences that guests have witnessed. So lets get started.
I’m currently sitting at work on the night shift and the hotel’s only at about half capacity right now, so what better thing to do than to freak myself out a bit. So lets dive into a little bit of history first (Brief history really). Walt Disney World opened on October 1st in 1971. That’s almost 50 years worth of history behind a place that millions of tourists visit each year. With that (and every amusement park really) comes some unfortunate tragedies. Property expansion or new attractions can lead to accidents. Some stories come from what the land was prior to Disney’s domination. Lastly, some stories are just downright unbelievable, but those just so happen to be the ones that are 100% true.
We’ll start with the most unbelievable to set the tone for this post. Lets talk about the Haunted Mansion.
Located in Magic Kingdom’s Liberty Square, the old mansion is home to 999 happy haunts, but there may be a few in there that are unaccounted for. The original Haunted Mansion is located over in California in Disneyland, it was one of Walt Disney’s original ride ideas. His inspiration (for those of my fellow haunted places lovers) came from the well-known extremely haunted Winchester Mystery House. Basically long story short, the heiress to the Winchester Rifle built a giant mansion that made no sense (staircases led to walls, doors to no where, rooms with no access) all to appease the supposed spirits of those killed by the rifles. The idea of a strange yet gorgeously built house intrigued Walt. Originally it was going to be a sort of Museum of Weird restaurant, showcasing strange rarities of oddities of the time. But when Walt passed, the idea changed drastically. They even considered the story line connecting to the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction before letting the attraction run its own course and tell its own story. Thus the Haunted Mansion was born and the one in Disney World was adapted based off the original.
Now here’s that part I told you all would be unbelievable: the site is actually home to some unfortunate spirits. How you might ask? Well lets say some ‘true’ Disney or specifically Haunted Mansion fans wish to become the 1,000th happy haunt of the house. This means Haunted Mansion Cast Members get to experience the joy of cleaning up guests’ loved ones ashes usually a couple times a month.
I’m not joking guys it happens.
People somehow think that by sneaking their loved ones ashes into the park and dumping them throughout the ride is something Disney will just allow. Trust me it literally happens so often they even have a code for it. But what people don’t understand is one: THIS IS ILLEGAL (guys please no ashes on private property, do it somewhere the spirit of your love one can actually rest), and two: do you really Disney’s just going to let the ashes chill on the ground? Let me answer that for you: no. In fact its a MAJOR sanitary issue. Nope, instead your family member will spend the rest of their life in a vacuum because as soon as the sensors are tripped the entire ride with come to a halt, shut down, and will not reopen until a team has come in and fully cleaned the ‘contaminated’ area.
But all of these factors can still lead to some ‘spiritual unrest.’ I mean come on how would you like to know your ashes got dumped on some ride then vacuumed up. I wouldn’t be too happy. This has led to some spooky interactions that weren’t just from the attraction itself.
Many Cast Members who work at the attraction feel auras of unease at certain points or areas throughout the ride, especially when left alone. When I went on a backstage tour of the area, our guide informed us that sometimes they would feel tugging on their sleeves as if a small child wanted to ask a question and when they would turn to look no one would be there.
Other instances involve disembodied voices or certain ride pieces suddenly not working for no reason.
One story in particular is that of a man with a cane. I am going to preface this story with one of my own. SO THERE I WAS *cue intense overly dramatic music* one normal day at the Magic Kingdom during my first College Program with my roommate McKenzie. We always had these days where we would walk around the park, eat at Pecos Bill, walk around Momento Mori, Ride Haunted Mansion, then head home. So since we were nearing the end of our day, we headed into the Haunted Mansion queue line.
As we entered the room where you load your Doom Buggie, I noticed something strange out of the corner of my eye, a man with a cane in one of the Doom Buggies that was entering the room. Now this was odd because when you first see a Doom Buggie enter the room, it’s normally empty because guests are about to be loaded onto it. The only reason why it wouldn’t be, is if a guest with a disability was loaded onto the ride prior to the loading dock to make it easier for them to get into the moving vehicle.
When I remembered the handicap lane entered before the main boarding area, my mind didn’t really seem to make note of it. That was until I turned to fully look at the cart containing the man to realize it was suddenly empty. This is where my stomach dropped a little because how would I have randomly imagined a man with a cane just chilling in one of the ride seats? Anyways, right before we went on the ride we read a few park ghost stories to freak us out, so honestly I brushed it off as me just freaking myself out.
It wasn’t until this past fall, during my second College Program that my mind was really blown. As I was walking through the parks and decided to google some Disney ghost stories before I went on the Haunted Mansion, the first article that popped freaked me OUT. The title was “The Man With The Cane.” I was shook. Then I read on, and was even more shaken up. It talked about how sometimes a Man with a Cane can be seen riding alone in a doom buggie (often times seen in the loading dock) at night or during the last ride of the evening.
I think my jaw about hit the floor.
One year later and I had no idea about this supposed ghost until ONE YEAR after I thought I had seen a man in the ride. How can someone call that a coincidence!? I read on further that many believed he was a pilot of sorts whose plane crashed in the area before Disney World even existed. Not sure about that part, if anything I would believe him more to be a spirit that isn’t at rest cause his ashes probably got dumped on the ride. Overall I still can’t help but think about him every time I go on the ride now. Talk about eerie.
Many others associate spirits with children in the ride. Many times people claim that whatever they experience or hear sounds like that of a child. But I am not going to go into too much detail with that mainly because Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion (their ghost stories are always mixed up) seems to have A LOT more children spirits lurking around. If this is something that would interest anyone, feel free to comment and I will happily make a post about the Disneyland Haunted Mansion spirits!
Overall I’m hoping this can be the first article in a series of ghost stories surrounding Disney and soon other places as well!
I hope everyone enjoyed!