Sure, Disney World is magical and all, but it can sometimes be a little…scary.
We’re talkin’ creepy crown slide (that isn’t around anymore!) and towering Jack-in-the-box level scary. Plus, Disney’s full of hidden details — and that includes chilling ones! If you have kiddos (or if you’re just unsettled by creepy things yourself!), you might want to keep an eye out for the seriously CREEPY things in the parks.
Good ol’ Caesar. He’s the ventriloquist dummy from the Tower of Terror — and he MAY be even scarier than the drops themselves. You can catch a peek of him when you exit the elevator at the end of the ride!
If you’re a The Twilight Zone buff, you may remember him from an episode called “Caesar and Me,” where he’s possessed by an evil spirit. Fun, right?! Needless to say, if you don’t know he’s there, he may surprise ya at the end of the ride.
Now, Caesar is only one of the Easter eggs from The Twilight Zone sprinkled throughout the ride, and many of them aren’t as scary! Next time you ride, try to spot an elevator certificate dated October 31st, 1939 (the day of the tragedy). It’s also numbered 10259, which represents October 2nd, 1959, the day the first Twilight Zone episode aired!
2. Haunted Mansion
Buckle up, friends. We’re hopping over to Magic Kingdom and climbing aboard a Doom Buggy! As you may guess by the name, the Haunted Mansion has quite a few creepy elements, especially for little ones. We’ll kick things off in the Stretching Room, which is the ride’s pre-show! This one can give kiddos a fright because the lights go out and there’s quite a bit of screaming. (Not to mention a certain guest…um…hanging around!)
A seriously spooky component of this pre-show is the Cast Members. They don’t break character, directing you to the “dead center of the room” and popping up behind you when you least expect it. Keep your eyes on those Cast Members here — you never know where you might spot them waiting in the dark!
In that pre-show, you’ll meet your Ghost Host. He found his way into the Mansion via the end of a rope, which can be a scary element in itself. But on the ride, you’ll spot him in a portrait with a rope around his neck. He’s also holding an axe, since he cut himself down from his own rope! That’s kinda creepy imagery!
A little further into the ride, you’ll encounter the Haunted Mansion Bride (AKA Constance Hatchaway!). She stashes portraits and gifts from each of her weddings in the attic — and she has a lot of ‘em from her many husbands. The grooms in each picture disappear as you pass by and a new string of pearls appears on her neck. What a creepy memento of murdered husbands past!
Oh, and she’s also standing in the attic with a bloodied axe. Yikes.
3. The Carnotaurus
Over at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, we’re giving Dinosaur the award for the creepiest ride. Sure, it can be scary for little ones — but even adults may feel uncomfortable! It’s dark, there are loud noises, and giant dinos pop up out of nowhere. If you get frightened easily, we recommend staying away.
But the culmination of all those terrifying elements is the Carnotaurus, who appears right in front of you at the end of the ride. Conveniently, that’s also when Disney snaps your PhotoPass picture, and the bright light only adds to the scare. But don’t worry — you’ll have your horrified face captured on camera for generations! (We’ve ridden this ride 7000 times now and still get on edge before he shows up!)
4. Kylo Ren
Character meet and greets at Star Wars Launch Bay in Disney’s Hollywood Studios are currently unavailable, but trust us — we remember how unnerving this one can be! Kylo Ren may be the most off-putting meet and greet you’ll experience in Disney World.
To put it simply, Kylo Ren is in character. That means no handshakes, high fives, or selfies! And heads up: he’ll probably be unfriendly, too — or even a little rude. If you want a happier meet and greet, check out Chewbacca next door!
You can still casually meet Kylo when he shows up on stage throughout the day in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge but (spoiler alert) he’s just as creeptastic up on stage!
5. Disney Tracking You
In case you didn’t know: if you have the My Disney Experience app running on your phone, Disney knows where you are at all times! You may get pop-ups welcoming you to a park, suggesting a nearby restaurant, and more. And while that can be convenient (hey, we’ll take a message letting us know we have more time in the park!), it’s also just a liiiitle creepy.
Disney is funneling data about your meal choices, purchases, rides, and more so that they can keep up with guest patterns. There’s no way around linking Advanced Dining Reservations to your credit card. And all that Disney Genie, and Genie+ data? You can bet it’s keeping a close tab on you. Can you avoid this “big brother” vibe? For some, yes. But, for most of us, this is just the reality of your Disney World vacation.
You can opt not to connect a credit card to your MagicBand for purchases, though. This type of linking, which is only available for Disney hotel guests, is totally optional.
6. Pirate George
Pirates of the Caribbean is a classic Disney ride, but it almost didn’t exist! There were originally no plans to bring this Disneyland icon to Magic Kingdom — Disney figured Florida was too close to the REAL Caribbean to garner any interest in the attraction. But they were wrong, so Disney World installed its own version!
Now, this family-friendly ride has a pretty terrifying legend. Rumor has it that a welder named George died while working on the attraction. Cast Members say that his ghost haunts the ride and wreaks havoc, shutting it down if you don’t greet him every morning. Some Cast Members swear by this rule. From the sounds of it, George is a mischievous but harmless ghost. But take this with a grain of salt if you’re visiting — it is a rumor, after all!
7. Space Mountain Overlays
Space Mountain can be a little scary if you don’t like the dark, but that fear factor is upped even more with the seasonal and special event overlays! In Disneyland at Halloweentime and (for a while) at Hong Kong Disneyland, you could encounter the Ghost Galaxy Overlay. This one comes with a spooky soundtrack, ghosts, and more. While you may expect it to be funny and playful (it is Disney, right?) it’s actually pretty weird.
And during the Villains After Hours event, the Magic Kingdom Space Mountain gets an overlay, too. You’ll ride in the pitch black (nope, there aren’t even stars!) with the villains’ screams and evil laughter blasting on the ride. If you or your little ones are afraid of the dark or loud noises, we’d suggest skipping these unsettling experiences.
8. BoardWalk Nanny Chairs
If you’ve visited Disney’s BoardWalk Inn, chances are you’ve been caught off guard by an unnerving piece of furniture! These “nanny chairs” can be seriously creepy. They’re designed after chairs featured on 19th-century carousels — nannies would sit in them to take a break while the kids rode. These particular chairs are cast from the original versions and hand-painted by Imagineers, so a lot of work went into them! But that doesn’t make them any less scary.
Each of these haunting little chairs has its own name on the back: Todd, Paul, Alix, and Carrie. You never know who you’ll see in the lobby! There are usually 2 chairs in the lobby and 2 more somewhere else in the resort (That’s not scary at all, right?!). Cast Members are known to move the chairs around (so they can take in all the sights of the hotel, perhaps?).
You can’t exactly avoid these guys if you’re staying at or visiting Disney’s BoardWalk Inn. But hey, at least now you know to keep an eye out!
9. “It’s Tough to Be a Bug!”
While “It’s Tough to Be a Bug!” is a pretty lighthearted show in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, this is not the place to go if you have a fear of bugs! Spiders will drop down from above you, and you’ll get up close and personal with all sorts of creepy crawlies. And you guessed it: those 3D “bug eye” glasses make everything seem WAY more real.
But of course, Disney saves the best for last! At the very end of the show, you’ll feel pokes under your butt as “bugs” crawl underneath you to exit the theater. It’s a little unnerving! If you want to avoid this icky sensation, just lift your butt out of the seat a little while Flik tells you to wait for the bugs to exit. You won’t notice a thing!
10. Germany’s Clock Tower
All right, let’s head over to EPCOT for an unexpectedly creepy find. You may be walkin’ around the Germany Pavilion completely unaware that something is watching you. Or should we say we say someone?!
Yup, those dolls in the clock tower are straight-up STARING at you. And it’s oh-so-creepy. Why are they looking so intently?! Why does it feel like their eyes are following us? And if the clock tower gets stuck open, well, you’re in for a real treat.
Okay, this one may be a bit more “fun” creepy than the rest. But watch your back!
They’re always watching.
11. The Headless Horseman
If you’ve been to the Disney parks around Halloween, you’re probably familiar with the Headless Horseman. He opens the Boo-to-You Halloween Parade at Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party in Magic Kingdom, and he also makes an appearance at Disney California Adventue’s Oogie Boogie Bash!
Between his glowing eyes and pumpkin head, he can be menacing to little ones — not to mention how huge he looks when you’re sitting on the pavement staring up at him. Plus those telltale click clacks of his horse’s hooves are downright spooky at night. While the other parts of the Halloween parades are buckets of fun, your kiddos may want to turn the other way when he walks by.
12. Jungle Cruise
The Jungle Cruise is full of senseless puns and jokes about the backside of water, right?! Well, yes…but you’ll want to be aware of a few scenes that could scare kids. When you enter the Ancient Cambodian Temple, it’s pretty dark! Your only light is the boat’s headlight, which shines on spiders, snakes, and more creepy stuff. Not to mention, the jokes have stopped and you’re being ushered along by an eerie soundtrack.
There also used to be a scene just before the ride ended with Trader Sam. Being a shrunken head salesman, he displays his trade front and center with his special deal: 2 of his heads for just 1 of yours! There were plenty of darker jokes in this section, usually revolving around cannibalism. However, Disney recently removed this scene from the Magic Kingdom Jungle Cruise.
Disney hasn’t announced if Trader Sam will be back, or if he’s permanently gone as part of the ride’s reimagining. (now he’s running the much more upstanding lost and found of the jungle!) But for now, you don’t have to worry about this creepy (but classic) part of the attraction!
13. Being Alone in the Parks at Night
When you’re used to the parks being packed, it can be unnerving to be all alone in the dark! This is especially noticeable during the After Hours events (make it the Villains After Hours event and it’s EXTRA scary). Keep in mind that not all od these events are available at this time…but we’ve still gotta mention this weird and spooky sensation.
You’ll realize there isn’t a lot of extra light — and the parks are probably way bigger than you thought they were. We noticed this in particular when walking through the Flight of Passage line at an After Hours event all by ourselves. The queue was dark — not to mention it’s usually super packed, so something just felt off.
Being in the parks alone at night is surprisingly eerie! But with crowds the way they currently are, it seems like you won’t have this issue for a while.
If you’re heading into the Disney parks, we hope we’ve prepared ya! If anyone in your travel group is a little jumpy, keep an eye out for these creepy elements and steer clear. We’ll continue to bring you lots of Disney tips and news, so stay tuned to DFB!
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What’s the creepiest thing you’ve seen in Disney World? Let us know in the comments!