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Disney Deaths: Do They Happened and 5 Grim True Facts

One of the great fictional stories people tell about Disney parks is that no one ever dies in the parks. I can tell you with 99% certainty that this is not true. I can’t give you 100% certainty because I have personally never seen someone be pronounced dead at a Disney park in front of me, but I was pretty close. 

The rumour comes from the idea that Disney wants its parks to be happy places, and death is not a happy subject (unless you’re in the Haunted Mansion). I’m not sure exactly where it came from, since Disney would likely never make a claim like that without the worry of getting sued. There is a certain truth to it, in that I imagine that if someone is either injured or sick at Disney, they do everything in their power to get that person to hospital where they can get the proper treatment. So the truth is probably that Disney does everything in their power to keep people from dying in their parks, but the reality is things happen.

Back to why I’m 99% sure that this isn’t true. I was visiting Walt Disney World, and we had scheduled a tour. It was the Day of Thrills tour that sets you up in a small group, travelling to each park to experience every thrill ride. It’s one of those tours where you get a guide that takes you behind the scenes, gets you past the lines, and has loads of information about each and every ride.

We met at the Magic Kingdom, along with many other groups getting ready for their special tours. The morning went off without a hitch, everything was lots of fun and our guide was in great spirits. At around lunch time we noticed that a few of the organizers who oversee the tours were hovering around and whispering. I should note that our group consisted of only 4 of us (we were lucky as the group could have been as many as 10), and all of us were adults. At lunch our guide’s demeanor changed a great deal, she was still happy, but she appeared a little more somber too.

We asked her what was up, and after a little coaxing, we found out that one of the people in the other tour groups had passed away suddenly. From what I could make out it happened instantly during the tour in front of the other guests (including that person’s family). The guides pride themselves on making sure that no one has a bad day at the parks, but when something like this happens it can only bring a little sadness no matter what.

I appreciate her for being honest, and we actually spent the rest of the tour cheering each other up (both us and the guide). It turned from a tour into a bonding moment where all we wanted to do is make each other laugh and have a good time. The organizers apparently dropped many of the rules for the tours that day and said that the goal had turned to just making sure everyone was happy. It was still a little sad, and I can’t imagine what it was like for those who actually witnessed the incident, but for us it was a bonding moment.

That’s why I’m 99% sure people die at Disney.

  • Walt Disney is not frozen and not buried under Disneyland.
  • Natural death (or unknown causes) is the leading cause of death at Disney parks.
  • There are not haunted mansions in Hong Kong or Shanghai due to the cultural views about ghosts and death..
  • It’s not uncommon for people to attempt to spread ashes of loved ones in the parks, popular places are the Haunted Mansion, on Dumbo or just in the flower beds around the parks. It’s not allowed, it will get you kicked out, and they will remove the ashes once you’ve left.
  • Many of the grave stones at the Haunted Mansion use real people’s names. Most often it’s people who have worked on the ride.

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