Everyone is familiar with hitchhiking ghosts at Disney's Haunted Mansion. There are many urban myths about horrible deaths at this theme park, and in truth there have been employees and visitors who really have at died at the park. It's these events that have caused stories of "real ghosts" at Disney to circulate over the years. Some of them have little or no truth to them, but there is a handful which most definitely will have you watching over your shoulder the next time you visit Mickey.
George & The Pirates of the Caribbean
At the Magic Kingdom, cast members working on Pirates of the Caribbean warn newcomers about the ghost of George, which supposedly haunts the attraction. George is said to have been killed during the construction of the ride, either by electrocution or by a falling beam. Cast Members claim to have seen a figure roaming around the attraction on security cameras, but that there is nobody there when they go to check. They even say "good morning" and "good night" to George, who is said to have a mischievous streak that causes him to shut down the ride or play other tricks when he is not shown sufficient respect. The reality is that there was no George, and that nobody died during the construction of Pirates of the Caribbean. There is speculation that he is probably an amalgamation of two workers who actually died in the years following the attraction's opening, elsewhere at Walt Disney World (one was killed during the construction of an aluminium boat for the Seven Seas Lagoon, while another was electrocuted while working in a tunnel).
Ghost Dolls of It's A Small World
There are a number of legends around It's a Small World, including that former employees who loved the ride during life have decided to come back and haunt the attraction after their death. In a myth that's sure to creep out anybody who finds those little dolls just a little scary, they are said to come to life all by themselves at night, despite the ride being shut down. Perhaps that what inspired the unsettling Chinese knock-off of the zombie-like dolls of Suzhou Amusement Land.
Tom Sawyer Island Haunted by Ghost Children
We all know about the feral cats that come out at night at Disneyland to hunt down rodents. But less well known are the ghostly children that supposedly join them on Tom Sawyer Island. Employees claim to have seen kids running around on the island long after the park closes - but when they go to look for them, they are nowhere to be found. Could they simply be mistaking the cats for children, or being hoodwinked by real kids who have hidden themselves away on the island? Or are the spirits of departed Disney-loving children really making themselves at home?
The Mansion That's Really Haunted
It's inevitable that stories about real ghosts occupying that Haunted Mansion have gained traction among Disney fanatics. And it is actually true that some guests have tried (and possibly succeeded) to spread the ashes of departed family members while riding the various versions of the attraction around the globe. One visitor claims to have seen the ghost of a young boy in the Magic Kingdom's Haunted Mansion, perhaps as a result one of these ashes-spreading incidents. The boy showed up riding a dune buggy, despite having never boarded the ride.
Ghost Boy of Pirates of the Caribbean
Walt Disney World's version of Pirates of the Caribbean is not alone in having a resident spirit. According to legend, the Disneyland original has its own ghostly occupant, too. In this case, it's the ghost of a young boy who (just like the boy in the Magic Kingdom's Haunted Mansion) resides in the ride as a result of his mother scattering his ashes in the ride's waters. The boy is said to come out to play when the attraction is closed for the night, with employees claiming to have heard laughter when there is nobody else around. This is a rare case of a ghost who is said to move from attraction to attraction - the boy is also claimed to have been spotted towards the end of the Haunted Mansion.
There are plenty of urban legends about Walt Disney - the most well-known being that after his death, his body was cryogenically frozen and stored underneath Pirates of the Caribbean attraction. That ties in nicely with another legend...that Walt still "lives" in his apartment above the Firehouse on Main Street USA, waiting for the day his body can be revived. Walt is said to have been seen in the window of the apartment, as well as in a storage area above the Emporium and in the old Disney Gallery above Pirates of the Caribbean.
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