A child drowned in the Magic Kingdom moat

On Aug. 11, 1977, a four-year-old boy fell into the moat surrounding Cinderella Castle at Disney’s Magic Kingdom, drowning in five feet of water and dying on-site. The boy’s mother went to court claiming the moat’s fence was too short, but the case was dismissed as the judge ruled that she had failed to control her child. In 1982, a 5th District Court of Appeals ruled that Goode’s mother could sue Walt Disney World. She filed a suit for $4 million and was awarded $1.5 million by a jury after they decided she was 50% at fault for the incident.

A woman fell into a coma and died after riding Space Mountain

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In 1975, Sherrill Ann Hoffman was forced to ride Disneyland’s Space Mountain twice in a row after a loading malfunction prevented her from exiting her seat. After her second ride, she returned to the unloading zone unconscious. Hoffman was taken to hospital and later fell into a coma, dying seven days later. Despite the fact that Hoffman’s death was listed as caused by “natural causes,” it was suspected that her ride on Space Mountain had dislodged a heart tumour which then entered her brain. Her husband attempted to sue Disney, but the case was dismissed.

A woman was decapitated on the Matterhorn bobsled ride

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In 1984, the Matterhorn bobsled ride at Disneyland claimed the life of Dolly Young, a 48-year-old Californian woman who was thrown from a bobsled and struck by the next oncoming car. Dolly was decapitated after being crushed between the car’s wheels and the steel track. Employees have claimed that after Dolly’s death, the area where she was struck on the Tomorrowland side of Space Mountain became known as “Dolly’s Dip,” and parkgoers and employees often report seeing her ghost. An investigation revealed that Young’s seat belt had not been fastened, but how that happened remains a mystery.

A cast member was crushed under Mickey’s Soundsational Parade

Guests aren’t the only people to suffer fatalities at Disney. Javier Cruz, a 38-year-old man playing Pluto, tripped and fell while participating in the daily Mickey’s Soundsational Parade outside the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World. His body was crushed by the Beauty and the Beast float as it made its way out of the backstage area toward the public viewing spots. Cruz’s co-workers had to enlist the help of a forklift in order to raise the float off of his body. The incident was not witnessed by any of the park’s visitors, but Disney was fined $6,500 for safety violations.

An employee died after falling from the Top of the World restaurant

On November 12, 1992, an off-duty cast member fell to his death from the ledge outside the Top of the World restaurant at Disney World’s Magic Kingdom. 24-year-old Brian Hribek was showing his roommate the view from an observation deck on the 15th floor of the hotel. While sitting on a 4-foot security barrier, he was attacked by a swarm of “giant wasps.” As he tried to swat them away, he fell over the edge onto a landing deck on the 4th floor of the monorail, killing him instantly. Disney officials said they do not know where the wasps came from.

A guest died after an equipment malfunction on The Sailing Ship Columbia

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In 1998, three people were struck by a heavy metal cleat that had come loose from the Sailing Ship Columbia in Disneyland. The cleat tore away from the ship because the hemp rope used to secure it had been replaced with a cheaper nylon version. The cleat struck a Disney employee and two guests – Luan Phi Dawson and his wife, and Dawson died two days later from his head injury. The death of Dawson was Disney’s first guest death for which the company took full responsibility. The victim’s family was awarded $25,000,000 in damages.

A teenager was killed by the Disney Monorail

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In the summer of 1966, 19-year-old Thomas Guy Cleveland tried to sneak into Disneyland by climbing over a 16-foot fence and onto the Monorail track. Security guards noticed him and were about to apprehend him when the monorail came barreling down the track at 25 mph. The guard yelled at Cleveland to watch out, and Cleveland jumped and landed on a fiberglass canopy beneath the track. Unfortunately, the canopy was too short, and the underside of the monorail car struck Cleveland’s head. He was dragged 40 feet down the track, dying as his body was torn to pieces.

A child was crushed by a falling menu board

In one of the park’s most bizarre deaths, a young girl from Florida died on April 6, 1982 at Walt Disney World after being crushed by a falling menu board. Reports say the girl was waiting in line with her family outside the Kona Cafe when she and her 12-year-old sister started playing with a rope tied to a large menu board. The girls pulled on the rope and freed the board from its fasteners, causing it to fall on top of the toddler and crush her.

A cast member was found dead in a burning car at Fantasia Gardens Mini Golf

A 2018 death at Disney’s Fantasia Gardens Miniature Golf Course shocked local residents. Cast member Brian Christ, 49, was found dead in a burning vehicle at 4:11 am on August 18th, but his death was not the result of an automobile accident. Deputies have not revealed the details surrounding Christ’s death, though they have stated that foul play is unlikely and that no suspects are being sought. To this day, Disney has remained tight-lipped regarding the incident, but investigators ruled it a suicide as Christ had posted ‘Goodbye Cruel World’ on his Facebook page earlier that day.

A guest drowned trying to swim the Rivers of America

Bodgen Delaurot was the first person to die on Tom Sawyer’s Island. In June 1973, 18-year-old Bodgen and his 10-year-old brother took a raft out to the attraction. As darkness fell on the park, the brothers hid in a patch of woods near the burning cabin. Later that night, after the rafts had stopped running, they decided to swim back to shore. Bogden, with his younger brother on his back, eventually grew exhausted and disappeared under the water. The younger brother doggy-paddled until a boat came to his rescue. Bogden’s lifeless body was found the next morning.

A child died of heart failure on Mission: SPACE

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A lawsuit was filed against Disney by the parents of a four-year-old boy who died on the Mission: SPACE ride in 2005. The Orange County Medical Examiner’s Office found that the boy died as a result of a pre-existing, previously undiagnosed idiopathic heart condition called myocardial hypertrophy. The family sued Disney, claiming that they should never have allowed a four-year-old on the ride. The lawsuit was dismissed with prejudice on January 11, 2007.

An employee was crushed cleaning It’s a Small World

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Despite its typical Disney-fairytale aesthetic, It’s A Small World has had its share of tragedy. In October 2010, one of the ride’s workers was killed during an early morning voyage around the world. A 53-year-old cleaner was killed when the ride was accidentally switched on. He was dragged beneath one of the boats and later died in hospital from the injuries sustained after being transferred from the park to hospital by paramedics.

A World Speedway instructor was killed in a 100 mph crash

On April 12, 2015, a fatal accident occurred at the Walt Disney World Speedway when a driver in the Exotic Driving Experience lost control during an off-road course. Officials determined that driving instructor Gary Terry was killed when driver Tavon Watson was driving a Lamborghini at 100 mph in the wrong direction on the track. Because the track was designed for counterclockwise traffic, Terry’s car would not have been exposed to the end of the guardrails if his car had been travelling in the correct direction. In 2015, Walt Disney World Speedway was demolished to make room for more parking spaces at the Magic Kingdom.

A child sustained fatal brain damage on Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin ride

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Tragic incidents involving children at Disney theme parks are not uncommon. In 2000, a four-year-old boy named Brandon Zucker fell out of his car on the Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin ride at Disneyland in Anaheim and became trapped beneath another vehicle; his body was folded in half. Zucker was left paralysed and severely brain damaged. After the accident, the Walt Disney Company offered to pay for Zucker’s medical care, but sadly he never made a full recovery and died aged 13. The accident sparked a public outcry for greater safety measures at theme parks.

An employee was crushed during the America Sings robot animal show

On July 8, 1974, an 18-year-old hostess was killed at the America Sings attraction. The seemingly harmless show featured a rotating stage with singing robot animals. Unbeknownst to park guests, there were two walls that moved toward each other during each rotation, and somehow Deborah Stone got stuck between them as the show rotated back to its starting position. When audience members heard Deborah scream, it was too late. She had already been crushed. The accident resulted in a small settlement between Disneyland and Deborah’s parents, who redesigned the walls of the to prevent further incidents. The attraction was shut down in 1988.

An employee died after falling off Primeval Whirl

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Karen Price was a cast member at Walt Disney World in Florida who, while working on the Primeval Whirl ride, fell and hit her head. She sustained serious head injuries, and died in hospital five days later. The Disney Company was fined $25,000 for committing five safety violations on account of the incident, one of which was for failure to install a handrail that had been previously reported missing. In 2008, Disney announced that it would add sensors to the ride that would prevent it from working if somebody was detected in an area deemed to be “off-limits,” thus preventing further incidents of this kind.

A woman suffered a brain haemorrhage on the Indiana Jones Adventure ride

The Indiana Jones Adventure ride at Disneyland is one of the most popular attractions on the park’s roster, but you might think twice about riding it after hearing this story. In June 2000, 23-year-old Cristina Moreno boarded the ride and returned to her hotel room with a headache. She collapsed and was taken to hospital where doctors discovered that she had suffered a brain haemorrhage. After being taken back to Spain via air ambulance, Moreno never woke up. In September of that year, she died. Her family sued Disney for wrongful death and believed the Indiana Jones Adventure ride was responsible for her death.

A Jack Sparrow actor died following an onstage accident

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Mark Priest, a cast member playing the role of Captain Jack Sparrow in the theme park, died in 2009. On 6th August 2009, he slipped on a puddle while onstage and hit his head against a wall. The 47-year-old actor sustained severe injuries, including head lacerations requiring 55 stitches, and a broken vertebra in his neck. Tragically, he died four days later from complications.

A crazed man shot himself at Epcot

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A man committed suicide at Disney’s Epcot theme park on Sept 12, 1992. Allan Ferris, who had recently broken up with his girlfriend, entered the park in search of her. When security guards refused to allow him to see her, he pulled out a sawed-off shotgun and shot three times. One security guard escaped, but two were captured. Ferris held the guards hostage in the Imagination Pavilion for about 10 minutes before he released them and walked out with his gun pointed at his own head. Moments later, he shot himself in the head. He was pronounced dead at Orlando Regional Medical Center.

A teenager was killed in a knife fight

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In 1981, 18-year-old Mel Yorba was fatally stabbed with a knife during a fight at Disneyland. His family sued the park for $60 million, saying that employees should have called for outside medical help during the assault. The jury did not award them the full amount; they received $600,000. Disney, obsessed with its public image, even in the face of death, sent the victim to a hospital not in an ambulance but in a Disneyland van with a park nurse.

An employee died after falling from the Skyway

One of the saddest deaths at Disney was that of part-time custodian Raymond Barlow, who was killed while cleaning the Fantasyland Skyway station on February 14, 1999. When staff turned on the ride while he was there, he tried to grab a passing seat in an attempt to save himself, but was struck by an oncoming Gondola. Tragically, he lost his grip and fell 40 feet, landing in a flower bed near the Dumbo ride. The Skyway ride was already scheduled to be closed before the accident occurred, and was permanently closed in November 1999.

A teenager was thrown from a bobsled

From 1955 to 1964, Disneyland was a safe amusement park. But in May of 1964, their record came to an end when a 15-year-old boy died while riding on the Matterhorn Bobsled. The teenager unbuckled his seatbelt just as the ride reached the top of a mountain. When the ride came rushing down, he stood up and lost his balance. He was thrown out of the car and landed on the track below. The accident broke his ribs, caused several internal injuries, and fractured his skull. The boy never regained consciousness; he died three days later.

A teenager was hit by a train

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Disneyland’s People Mover is a slow-moving attraction that gives riders a bird’s-eye view of the theme park. The ride’s maximum speed is 2 miles per hour, and though it is slow, the ride is not as harmless as it seems. On August 21st in 1967, 17-year-old Ricky Lee Yama decided to try to jump between two moving cars on the People Mover at Disneyland. He missed his mark and fell onto the tracks below where he was crushed under an oncoming train. The accident forced Disneyland to take apart the ride to remove Yama’s body.

A boy died in a parking lot shootout

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The second homicide in the park’s history occurred on March 7, 1987, when a 15-year-old boy was fatally shot after a shouting match escalated. The incident began as an early-morning shouting match between rival gang members; the fight escalated into a brawl that devolved into a shoot-out in the parking lot around 1AM. Two hours after the incident, Long Beach police arrested 13 Samoan youths as they drove along the San Diego Freeway in Long Beach. The shooter claimed that he thought the gun was a toy; however, that wasn’t enough to escape being convicted of second-degree murder.

A graduate drowned after a drunken celebration

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In 1983, a Grad Nite celebration at Disneyland turned tragic when Philip Straughan and his friend were walking through Frontierland. The two men hijacked a motorized rubber raft from an attended dock behind an “employees only” section of the park and sped down the Rivers of America. Their boat hit a rock, throwing Straughan into the water. Following a failed search for Straughan, his friend rushed off to find help. After an hour, park officials found his lifeless body in four feet of water. His blood alcohol content was .19, nearly twice the then-legal limit for adults.

A child was crushed by a tour bus

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Although a parking lot may seem like a safe place to walk, it is actually full of potential dangers. In 1985, 7-year-old Jennifer Reid was visiting the park with her uncle. Reid fell down whilst searching for their car, and was run over and crushed by a tour bus.

A toddler was eaten by an alligator

In 2016, a two-year-old boy from Nebraska was dragged into the water by an alligator at 9:15pm while playing on the shore of the Seven Seas Lagoon. In front of his parents’ eyes, he was pulled underwater and did not resurface again until the following afternoon when his body was found. In the aftermath of the attack, Disney added warning signs and rope barriers to waterways around its entire resort. References to alligators were also removed from The Jungle Cruise attraction and others, but these actions did little to thwart accusations of a cover-up.

A man jumped from the Disneyland Hotel

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In May 2008, a businessman jumped to his death from his 14th-floor balcony at the Disneyland Hotel’s Wonder Tower. He was later identified as John Newman, Jr., a dentist from Santa Cruz, California. Newman struggled with anxiety and depression, and was visiting Anaheim for a business convention. At least one cast member witnessed the jump.

A disabled woman died after sustaining an injury on a ride

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A 66-year-old disabled woman was told that the wheelchair-accessible boats for the Jungle Cruise were not available, but she was still able to enjoy the ride. After the ride ended, Joanne Aguilar fell backwards as she tried to exit the boat and sustained a compound fracture in her leg. Aguilar spent time in the hospital and in a rehabilitation centre before contracting an infection and passing away a few months later. Her family sued Disney, claiming that Aguilar’s injury at the park led to the infection that ultimately contributed to her death.

A man died after jumping from a parking structure

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On December 20, 2022, tragedy struck at Disneyland as a man jumped to his death from the Mickey and Friends parking structure. The incident occurred around 9:00 p.m., just as the Disneyland Candlelight Processional was taking place. It was meant to be a magical night at Disneyland with the debut of new shows, however, officials reported that “a man in his 50s jumped to his death from a parking structure at Disneyland on Saturday evening.”

A child fell unconscious after riding a rollercoaster

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In June 2006, a 12-year-old from Fort Campbell, Kentucky, was discovered unconscious in his seat after riding the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. He died before reaching the hospital. The ride was shut down for the investigation but reopened a day later after inspectors determined that it was operating normally. It was later determined that he died from an undiagnosed congenital heart defect.

A stuntman died

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A Disney’s Hollywood Studios stuntman died after suffering a head injury during rehearsals for the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular show. 30-year-old Anislav Varbanov was hurt whilst rehearsing a tumbling roll. He was taken to hospital but later died from his injuries.

An employee was electrocuted

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A worker employed by a Disney subsidiary was killed when he was electrocuted while working near an electrical transformer at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. 50-year-old Steven Snyder was working on a temporary outdoor platform and was shocked around 10am. He was pronounced dead shortly after arriving at Celebration Hospital.

A resort guest died after a fall

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In December 2020, Jessica Straub, a travel agent from Wisconsin, died after falling at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort. The medical examiner ruled that her death was caused by blunt head trauma from falling at a standing height. Her family filed a lawsuit against Disney World.

A man died from fentanyl poisoning

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Philip Weybourne, a British man vacationing in Florida with his family in May 2022, died after going to a bar at the Yacht Club hotel at Disneyworld. Tests showed that he his body contained fatal levels of fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid similar to morphine which requires only two milligrams to prove potentially fatal.

A child collapsed on a ride

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On May 16, 1995, four-year-old Linda Baker collapsed and died while riding Body Wars at Epcot Center. The ride was immediately stopped, and paramedics were called to the scene. An autopsy performed at the hospital revealed that she had died of heart complications. Some of her relatives say that she was known to have had a heart condition; however, authorities could not determine whether or not the ride aggravated it.

Two visitors died after riding Space Mountain in 2006

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Six-year-old Rame Masarwa died in 2006 after riding Space Mountain at Walt Disney World. Masarwa was diagnosed with cancer and was on a trip to the park through Give Kids the World, an organization that provides wishes for children with life-threatening illnesses. He fainted and died shortly after riding Space Mountain. The medical examiner’s report showed that the cause of death was natural due to a metastatic pulmonary blastoma tumour.

A monorail crash led to the death of an employee

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Disney was found liable for the death of a monorail driver in 2009. Austin Wuennenberg died after being struck by an oncoming monorail at the Walt Disney World Transportation and Ticket Center. Wuennenberg was badly injured in the collision and died as rescuers attempted to free him. Christine Wuennenberg, the mother of the victim, sued Disney over her son’s death, and the case was settled out of court. The cause of the accident, according to investigators, was “the shop panel operator’s failure to properly position switch-beam 9 and the failure of the monorail manager acting as the central coordinator.”

A child died whilst riding his bike

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On April 1, 2010, 11-year-old Chase Brubaker of St. Petersburg, Florida died after being hit by a bus at Disney’s Wilderness Resort. The incident occurred when Brubaker and a friend were riding bicycles on the sidewalk along a roadway and Brubaker biked off the sidewalk, striking the side of the bus and being pulled underneath it. The 11-year-old girl who was cycling with Brubaker and the 28 bus passengers were not hurt in the accident. Officials also said there was no evidence that the bus driver, David Russel Rich, 56 was impaired or driving recklessly.

10 people were injured after a ride wasn’t fixed properly

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On September 5, 2003, a car derailed on the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad ride, killing 22-year-old Marcelo Torres and injuring 10 other riders. Park staff had noted unusual sounds coming from the train but did not perform any maintenance before allowing it to continue operating. An investigation revealed that a mechanic—who had been improperly trained—hadn’t tightened a couple of bolts or attached a safety wire to the wheel assembly, which allowed the train to separate from the track. In a confidential settlement with the Torres family, Disney was forced to admit responsibility for the incident.