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The Student News Site of Lafayette High School

The Lafayette Times

The Student News Site of Lafayette High School

The Lafayette Times

The Dark Side of Disney

Logan Gwynn
Logan Gwynn and his Dad posing in front of the Hollywood Tower of Terror at DIsney World in Orlando, Florida in an edited photo.

Everyone knows Disney is a magical company… but is it? In this article, we will discuss myths, secrets, deaths, and other spooky things involving everything Disney. Nothing is safe from dark and mysterious happenings.

Deaths at Disney
Overall, 91 people have died at Disney in 88 separate incidents. At Disney World, 64 people died from 61 incidents, and at Disneyland, 27 people have died. Some of these deaths are murders, blunt force trauma, suicide, run over by the rides, decapitation, natural causes, etc.

One of the worst deaths happened on January 3, 1984, when a 48-year-old woman was decapitated at Disneyland on the Matterhorn Bobsleds ride. There was a seat belt malfunction, and she was thrown off the cart and then struck by an oncoming cart. Disney settled for an undisclosed amount.

You wouldn’t think there would be a murder at Disneyland, but there have been two incidents of murder. One occurred on March 7th, 1981, when a 28-year-old male fatally stabbed an 18-year-old male. This incident happened because the 28-year-old male thought the 18-year-old had pinched his girlfriend in Tomorrowland. His family sued the park for $60 million, but Disney settled for $600,000 for not getting outside medical help quickly. The second incident occurred on March 7th, 1987. A 15-year-old boy was shot to death in the Disneyland parking lot after a confrontation between gangs, which then escalated into a fight. An 18-year-old was found guilty of second-degree murder, however, the conviction was overturned by a state appellate court.

Dark Disney Movies
For years, Disney has made their magical spins on stories that have dark backstories. It’s shocking to realize your favorite Disney movie originated from a completely different and disturbingly dark story. One Disney movie that stuck out to us is Pinocchio, a classic Disney movie.

Disney’s version of Pinocchio, released in 1940, is about a puppet who gets brought to life, and his nose grows every time he lies. Carlo Collodi’s 1883 story inspired this Disney movie, The Adventures of Pinocchio. This story has a dark backstory that is disturbing. It was a part of Italy’s Giornale I Bambini magazine for children, even though the content was not for children. Collodi despised children, and his story was meant to serve as a lesson for misbehaving kids. His story was about this puppet, Pinocchio, who was kidnapped and executed for bad behavior. He wanted the children who read this story to feel like if they misbehaved, then that would also happen to them. Most children now find this movie scary because of its dark material and violence. Although it is listed as a family movie, it is recommended for kids eight and older with parental supervision.

Disney’s Myths and Secrets
Walt Disney, born December 5th, 1901, is one of the most well-known American animationists in the film industry. He made a significant impact on American television and people’s lives. Walt Disney died on December 15, 1966, but his legacy has and will continue to move on. Due to his fame, after his death, speculations and rumors arose surrounding it. One of the biggest ones is that his corpse is preserved by staying frozen. This is believed to be true, and it is thought that someday in the future, they will unfreeze Walt Disney to preserve him. Do you think this is true? Who knows if Walt Disney is freezing and will come back alive, and if he does, then what will he look like?

Who would think about spreading their loved one’s ashes at a family amusement park like Disney? It is illegal to spread human ashes at Disney because it is private property, and they have forbidden it, but that doesn’t stop people. It is so common it happens at least once every month. Ashes have been spread throughout the park, including on the lawns, outside by the gates, flower beds, on rides, during the firework displays, and everywhere you can think of. The Haunted Mansion Ride is one of the biggest places people dump ashes and want their ashes to be when they die. Even some of the eye-catching cobwebs in Haunted Mansion collect ashes. Maybe it will make you think twice before getting in line.

Scary Disney Rides and Attractions
There is one ride in Disney World’s history that will go down as one of the scariest attractions ever housed there. ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter opened in Magic Kingdom on June 20th, 1995. This attraction was located in Tomorrowland. Imagineers dreamed up this attraction to appeal to young adults and teens. They made this attraction based on the 1979 horror movie, Alien. It had a sinister storyline that left kids crying and people of all ages wanting to leave the theater. It was a ride based on meeting an alien from a safe distance, but things started going awry. It is a circle theater with seats containing an over-the-shoulder restraint. Parents complained so much that it forced Disney to close ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter for good. On October 12th, 2003, this attraction lost all light to the public, and the innocence of little children was saved for generations to come.

Snow White’s Scary Adventures was rated one of the scariest rides at Disney World. It opened in 1971 and was more terrifying than Disneyland’s ride version. Throughout the ride, the guests viewed while traveling through various scenes of Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The witch would often appear, trying to get the guest to take the poisoned apple or trying to kill them. The final scene was said to be the scariest part of the ride. The witch would attempt to overturn a giant jewel onto the guests. Then they turned on sound effects that sounded like the guests were killed before returning to the boarding area.

Disney is one of the most popular brands in the world and is loved by many, but still has their dark secrets. From deaths to strange myths, Disney has their mysteries but will still go down in history as one of the most influential and popular brands ever made.

More to Discover
About the Contributors
Alyssa Lucas
Alyssa Lucas, Staff Writer
Alyssa Lucas continues her era with the Lafayette Times as a Sophomore. She enjoys writing for the Times with her friends and spreading news to the school. Her writing interests are news, features, and opinions. Besides writing for the newspaper, she enjoys reading, baking, hanging out with friends, and listening to music.
Logan Gwynn
Logan Gwynn, Staff Writer
Logan Gwynn reprises his role at the Lafayette Times as a Sophomore. He enjoys spreading important news and information to his fellow peers. Logan enjoys being involved in Theatre and Choir. His hobbies include cooking, traveling, listening to music, and hanging out with his friends. He hopes his articles are enjoyable, informational, and entertaining this 2023-24 school year.