If you want to escape reality, Disney World is the place to be. But, looking past the fantasy illusions, you’ll find that Disney World is just as dangerous as it is fun. People have even died visiting the famous park. Many of these incidents have been kept secret to protect the franchise—until now. Sorry, we might be about to ruin your childhood as you discover some dark incidents that took place at Disney World.
These Are the Dark Incidents That Have Happened at Disney WorldPublished 2 months ago
Taking a look at Disney World, your jaw will drop. The amusement park is ginormous and filled with many fun adventures but to Walt Disney, it doesn’t even compare to his dreams. Walt Disney always had the plan to make “the happiest place on earth” which in his vision included a dome with the ability to even control the weather.
Disney managed to get an entire city to provide the best entertainment and create the utopia he envisioned. We call it a city because it even has a fire department and a hospital. The hospital is the most important part because if anyone dies at Disney World, their death stays at Disney World and no one ever knows about it.
We’re pretty certain Cinderella wouldn’t be happy with the news that little four-year-old Joel Goode drowned in the canal which surrounded her castle. This sadly happened at Disney World as the little boy climbed a two-foot fence, fell into the canal, and wasn’t able to swim.
The incident happened in Florida back in 1977 and the Goode family attempted to sue the “magical” theme park for their tragic loss. Imagine going for a fun family outing only to be leaving without your son.
The family tried to sue Disney World for the loss of their little Joel and at first, they succeeded. Later on, the family was found to also be partly at fault. The court decided that they allowed their son to climb over the two-foot fence which resulted in him falling into the canal.
The family was unaware of just how dangerous that climb would be. instead of the $4 million they initially were going to get, they received $1.5 million from Disney World, unfortunately, that money won’t bring back their little boy or heal their heartbreak.
Another incident occurred with a four-year-old boy at Disney World, this time back in the year 2000, when little Brandon Zucker fell out of Roger Rabbit's spinning ride. Disney is supposed to be the trip of a lifetime for any child, but it was a nightmare for Zucker and his family.
An investigation followed the incident which led to the discovery that Brandon's seat belt was faulty. This was the reason why Brandon was thrown out and was thrown under another car.
It was a miracle that little Brandon survived the incident, however, his life was never the same again. The young boy suffered major injuries and he has never been able to walk or speak as he once did before the accident.
Disney funded his medical bills after owning up to their negligence but their medical care wasn't enough. After struggling for many years, Brandon sadly passed away at only 13 years old as he never recovered from the tragedy. The theme park added new safety regulations only after the incident, a little too late for that Disney.
When 22-year-old Marcelo Torres visited Disney World for his holiday, he had no idea just how much damage his dreamland would cause. Getting injured on holiday is bad enough but at Disney World, it’s even more horrifying. Back in 2003, the big thunder mountain railroad ride broke off from the track.
Marcelo Torres was on the ride when the carriage went off the track it was supposed to be on. The crash resulted in Torres being badly injured.
Torres's body couldn’t handle the injuries after the collision and he was unable to fight his injuries, so sadly, he passed away. Disney was completely to blame for the incident and was found to be guilty of the incident.
The death of Torres was caused by technical issues on the ride as safety measures weren't properly followed. It was discovered that Disney didn’t have properly trained staff either. Torres had fractured ribs from the collision which caused severe blood loss in his lungs all because of a mistake that could’ve been avoided.
One of the most well-known and admired rides at Disney World is without a doubt the "it’s a small world" ride. It’s a calm ride that shows off the whole of Disney World with a catchy song to go with it. Who wouldn’t enjoy that right?
The ride may sound like a dream come true, but for one of the staff members at Disney World, it was a job they would regret taking. Believe it or not, this small-world ride caused a big-world incident.
It will be a shock to anyone who’s ever been on the ride to know that it’s the reason behind a cleaner's death at Disney in 2010. The 53-year-old employee was cleaning when the ride turned on by itself and he got dragged beneath the boat.
Unfortunately, people were unable to attend to his injuries as they were too bad by the time he got to the hospital. The janitor passed away as his injuries were too severe. We’re sure he didn’t see that coming when he signed up for his new job, no one expects to die while trying to make an honest living.
At Anaheim Disney World, one of the most popular attractions is the Indiana Jones adventure ride. Every fan of Indiana Jones has without a doubt had this adventure on their bucket list.
If you’ve been to the attraction before, we’re sorry for ruining your memory of possibly one of your favorite rides with the tragedy we're about to tell you. In 2000, 23-year old Cristina Moreno sadly had her last ride when attending Disney's Indiana Jones Adventure ride.
Cristina Moreno went on the ride all excited and everything seemed like it was going well. However, after the ride, Cristina started to complain about a painful headache which would soon lead to much worse.
The young Spanish woman fainted in her hotel room and ended up in the hospital. The hospital discovered that Cristina was suffering from a brain hemorrhage. She was transported back to Spain but unfortunately was unconscious until the day she passed away in September. Her family blamed Disney for her death.
At Disney World, they don’t have employees, they have cast members. Karen Price was one of Disney’s cast members when a tragic incident occurred. When Karen was attending the Primeval Whirl ride in Florida, the cast member was hit by another car while on the job and had a painful fall.
Karen hit her head on the fall down and ended up in the hospital so that her injuries could be attended to. Sadly, the doctors did all that they could but it wasn’t enough to save the Disney employee. Five days after the incident, Karen said her goodbyes to the world.
The injuries were the reason behind the passing of Karen after the whirl accident and Disney suffered a $25,000 fine which doesn’t compare to the cost of a life. Disney took responsibility for their negligence and planned to add more safety precautions.
Disney started by adding sensors to the whirl ride to prevent the incident which could have been avoided from ever happening again. The sensors however were not enough as another cast member suffered the same fate four years later. Shockingly, they’ve kept the ride up and running.
It seems that Disney hasn’t learned their lesson when it comes to being negligent and ensuring safety is a priority. Their lack of trained staff and safety measures has become the cause of another death.
This incident happened in 2009 and was very popular because of the $24 million it cost the adventure park. Another Disney cast member was killed due to a lack of care on Disney’s behalf. We can imagine by this point, no one wants to work at Disney World.
The monorail driver, Austin Wuennenberg, was killed in the process of a track change when he crashed into another driver. The incident was not Wuennenberg's fault as the pink and purple monorails collided head-to-head at the Epcot line. The 21-year-old Austin lost his life in the accident.
Wuennenberg was the only injured person in the crash and passed away while being cut out of the monorail carriage. Austin's distraught mother sued Disney for the incident and they discovered that there was a fault in the beam switch which was the cause of the tragedy.
At Disney World Florida, Space Mountain is one of the biggest tourist attractions but after this story, we doubt anyone will be rushing to have a turn on the ride. A lady named Sherrill Hoffman lost her life after she rode on Space Mountain when she ignored safety precautions.
In Disney's defense, there were safety warnings all over the place for visitors. Sherrill however had a strange death caused by the ride and miscommunication of the staff members working at the time.
Sherrill went on the ride just like everyone else and after the first time around she was already feeling a little bit unwell. Sherrill was unable to get off when she wanted to and ended up unintentionally going on the ride for another spin.
When Sherril finally came back around at the end of her second ride she was unconscious. After the incident, she spent seven days in a coma and sadly passed away. Her strange death was allegedly caused by a tumor brought on by the ride.
Is there any employee at Disney World who doesn’t die? At this point, we’re starting to lose count. A cast member who played the Disney character, Pluto, around the amusement park was killed during a parade of all things.
Pluto’s death is one of those unlucky fatalities as the staff member was only 38-years-old when he tripped and fell in front of a Beauty and the Beast float which ended up crushing the cast member.
The cast member's name was Javier Cruz, and not surprisingly his horrific death shocked many people in Florida. Because of the incident, Disney had no option but to lift the float off of Cruz’s lifeless body and discover that he was unsavable.
Disney was lucky enough that no visitors witnessed the incident as it happened before the float managed to make its way to the crowds. Disney was still fined $6,500 because of their lack of safety precautions again and the loss of their staff member Javier.
Another popular ride at Disney World is a replica of the first ship in America to sail the whole world. Visitors of the Anaheim Disney World park were able to sail around during their stay while being unaware of the horrific history the boat had.
One of the incidents which occurred on the ship was back in 1998 when a metal cleat came loose and hit a man and his wife. The incident was peculiar as the metal cleats are usually very secure on the ride.
It turns out that the adventure park had used a cheaper option when replacing the cleat before the incident. Disney attempted to take the cheap route which landed them in a lot of trouble. Their lack of care resulted in a passenger being hit in the head while he was just trying to have a good holiday.
The visitor who was hit sadly ended up passing away two days after the incident. Disney was also found at fault for not having trained medical staff at the park when the man needed medical attention and after the lawsuit, Disney had to pay the grieving family $25 million.
Music events are supposed to be an enjoyable way for fans to hear their favorite artists perform live. They have been a thing since 1672 when violinist John Banister charged admission for a show at his home. Unfortunately, many concerts have ended in disaster due to overcrowding, terrorism, fire, or severe weather. Here is a list of some of the deadliest concerts in history.
One of the biggest music festivals in Europe takes place in Roskilde, Denmark, every year. Roskilde Festival usually happens without a hitch. However, on June 30, 2000, multiple people lost their lives when the crowd surged forward while Pearl Jam was performing. As soon as the band realized what was happening, they stopped playing and told their fans to move backward. Unfortunately, it was too late.
Nine people had already suffocated to death. Ironically, the song that they were about to sing was “Alive”. The band members, who always prioritize the safety of their fans, were heartbroken. The Cure was ready to take the stage next, but they canceled their set. Pearl Jam reached out to the relatives of the victims, and two years later, they released the song “Love Boat Captain,” mentioning the tragedy, with the line: “Lost nine friends we’ll never know.”
On February 20, 2003, rock band Great White performed a concert at The Station nightclub in Rhode Island. The tour manager Daniel Biechele wanted to make it a night to remember. He decided to operate pyrotechnics, although he didn't have a permit. He did succeed in making the event unforgettable but for all the wrong reasons. At least 400 people were in the audience – 150 more than the building could safely hold.
The building had four exits, but two of them were blocked off. Once the fire started, it spread quickly due to the flammable materials used in the soundproofing. The crowd could not escape fast enough. Tragically, 100 people died. One of the casualties was the lead guitarist Ty Longley. Over 200 people were wounded, many of whose lives were changed irreparably. Daniel Biechele served four years in prison for involuntary manslaughter.
David Cassidy was an American actor, singer, and guitarist who rose to fame after his portrayal of Keith Partridge in the '70s sitcom The Patridge Family. In 1974, when Cassidy was 24 years old, he told his fans that he would be retiring from his solo singing career after his concert at the White City Stadium in London. On May 26, 1974, the arena was full of exhilarated fans eager to watch the pop star perform.
Those who were unable to get a ticket waited outside, hoping to be noticed by the icon. Concert-goers were so excited when Cassidy appeared on stage that it caused chaos in the stadium. Dozens of fans fainted and fell to the floor, and hundreds sustained injuries in a stampede. 14-year-old Bernadette Whelan was knocked unconscious. She never woke from the coma and died a week later in hospital.
In December 2018, an unforeseen tsunami tore through a concert at the Tanjung Lesung Beach Resort. Indonesian pop band Seventeen was performing when the sudden natural disaster occurred after the Anak Krakatoa volcano erupted. Video footage shows the massive wave crashing into the stage before heading toward the concert-goers. More than 200 people died, including the band’s bassist Muhammad Awal Purbani and their manager Oki Wijaya.
Hundreds of people were injured. In the aftermath of the tsunami, dozens of people were missing, as well as the guitarist, drummer, a member of the crew, and the wife of lead singer Riefian Fajarsyah. The singer posted a heart-wrenching video on Instagram. “We lost our bassist Bani, and our road manager Oki. Andi and Herman and Ujang have not been found,” Fajarsyah said in the video. They were later found alive.
Five days after violent winds resulted in seven deaths at the Indiana State Fair, five people died at another outdoor event. British rock band Skunk Anansie was performing on stage at the Pukkelpop Music Festival on August 18, 2011, when an “unprecedented” storm hit. According to Skin, the lead singer, the day started warm and sunny before unexpectedly turning into a “mini-hurricane.”
“(A) tower fell on to our truck, we had to run for our lives mid-set as hail hit the stage and the wind began to tear it to pieces,” she wrote on Facebook. “This was the scariest moment I have ever seen or felt in my 20 years of being an artist.” According to officials, weather forecasters had not predicted the severe storm. Chokri Mahassine, the festival organizer, said that it was the “blackest day that any Belgian festival has experienced.”
Omar Chabán was an Argentinian businessman who owned a nightclub called República Cromañón. Around 3,000 partygoers bought tickets to see Argentine rock back Callejeros play at the establishment on December 30, 2004. The building was one month overdue for a fire hazard inspection and had no sprinkler system installed. But Omar went ahead and hosted the event anyway. They were also way over the 1,500-person-capacity.
Four of the six exits were locked, reportedly to stop people from sneaking in without a ticket. The inferno started after someone set off a firecracker. Between the fire, the stampede, and the poisonous fumes, the building was a death trap. Rescue workers later discovered 194 bodies, which allegedly included children, who were in the nursery area. More than 600 people were wounded. Omar Chabán was arrested and sentenced to 20 years in prison.
On May 28, 1977, the Beverly Hills Supper Club in Southgate, Kentucky, drew a large crowd for their show, with Hollywood singer and actor John Davidson as the headline act. Although the Cabaret Room could safely hold 600 people, there were around 1,000 audience members crammed inside. The club also had several restaurants, and on that evening, there were roughly 3,000 people in the building.
A comedian was entertaining the crowd in the Cabaret Room when a waiter interrupted them to inform everyone about a fire in the building. A few people promptly exited the room, but many felt they would be safe there and continued watching the performance. When the fire spread to the Cabaret Room, the audience scrambled to the exits, causing a stampede. More than 165 people died, making this the third deadliest nightclub fire in America.
The Mawazine Festival is an annual nine-day-long music event held in Rabat, Morocco. Al Jazeera reported that the concert helps portray Morocco as a modern, open-minded country. In 2009, the performers included international stars Kylie Minogue, Khaled, Alicia Keyes Stevie Wonder. On May 23, 2009, 11 people died, and at least 30 were wounded while attempting to leave the festival.
According to witnesses, police had blocked off many of the exits, trapping 70,000 people in the Hay Nahda stadium. Police slowly directed the crowd out of the stadium, but many attendees refused to wait and attempted to jump over metal security fences. A fence collapsed, trapping people underneath. Authorities allegedly did little to save the four men, five women, and two children, who were crushed to death by the stampede that rushed over the fallen barrier.
On October 1, 2017, country music singer Jason Aldean was performing at the Route 91 Harvest music festival in Las Vegas when a gunman opened fire on the audience. The official report is that Stephen Paddock, a 64-year-old auditor and businessman with no criminal record, fired over 1,000 bullets from his Mandalay Bay Hotel window on the 32nd floor. He killed 60 concert-goers and wounded more than 400. An additional 867 people were injured in the chaos the gunfire created.
By the time police entered his room, Paddock was dead. His gunshot wound was determined to be self-inflicted. Investigations still do not know what his motive was. The shooting inspired multiple conspiracy theories, including Paddock being an ISIL “soldier”. Some people also claimed that there was a second gunman. President Donald Trump called Paddock “a demented man, [with] a lot of problems.”
On November 13, 2015, ISIL terrorists carried out a series of planned attacks in Paris, France. The terror began at 9:15 p.m. when three suicide bombers blew themselves up outside France’s national sports stadium during a football match between France and Germany. The attackers had tried to enter the busy stadium but were turned away because they did not have tickets.
Shortly afterward, more terrorists opened fire on busy cafés before inflicting damage at the Bataclan theatre. At the time, the American rock band Eagles of Death Metal was performing for around 1,500 spectators. Three gunmen entered the theatre and started shooting into the crowd. A gunman shouted, “This is because of all the harm done by Hollande to Muslims all over the world.” The attackers killed 130 people that night, wounding 416. Most of the casualties were concert-goers.
Love Parade, a free EDM (electronic dance music) festival, attracted over one million people on July 25, 2010. The concert was held in Duisburg, Germany after venues in Berlin and Bochum were ruled out for being ill-equipped to accommodate such a large crowd. The attendees poured in through tunnels leading to the concert grounds. They were packed like sardines, making it difficult for security to notice a dangerous situation arising.
The space was big enough for 200,000 people, yet more than six times as many people showed up. Trapped in a swarm of people, many attendees began to panic, causing a stampede. Some people fell off stairs into the crowd. The chaos ended in 21 deaths caused by asphyxiation and crushed ribs. More than 500 people were injured. After the tragedy, the Love Parade was permanently banned.
English rock band The Who was known for their energetic concerts during the 1960s and 1970s. The band originally consisted of lead vocalist Roger Daltrey, guitarist Pete Townshend, drummer Keith Moon, and bassist John Entwistle. When Keith Moon died from an accidental overdose of a prescription drug in 1979, his band members were devastated. Tragedy struck again on December 3, 1979, at Cincinnati Riverfront Coliseum.
Minutes before the start of the concert, the band tested their sound equipment. Around 7,000 concert-goers were still outside in the queue. Some people thought it was the opening act and forced their way forward, resulting in a stampede that injured dozens of people and killed 11. Unaware of what had happened, the band continued with the show. After hearing the tragic news, the lead vocalist wanted to cancel the other US shows, but Pete Townshend convinced them not to.
When two of the most famous rock bands announced that they would be co-headlining at the Olympic Stadium in Montreal, expectations were high. On August 8, 1992, over 50,000 fans poured into the stadium to watch Metallica and Guns n’ Roses perform. Unfortunately, everything went wrong. While Metallica was performing, a stage prop exploded, wounding their lead singer James Hetfield. The band left, leaving the stage to Guns n’ Roses. They started the next performance three hours later.
But frontman Axl Rose cut it short because he had a sore throat. The audience was disgruntled and frustrated, leading to a violent riot. They caused $500,000 in damages. Ten people sustained injuries, but miraculously, nobody died. A previous Guns n’ Roses concert also ended in a riot. Axl Rose found himself in handcuffs after inciting violence at a show in 1991.
In 1969, one of the most famous music concerts, Woodstock Music and Art Fair, took place on a dairy farm in Bethel, New York. “Just like the flyers said, this was a festival of love, peace and happiness,” recalled concert-goer Dr. Charles Jarret. In 1999, organizers held another festival to celebrate 30 years since the original Woodstock. Unfortunately, Woodstock ’99 was a complete failure, with the San Francisco Chronicle dubbing it “The Day the Music Died.”
Although the line-up included iconic bands like Metallica and Red Hot Chili Peppers, the organizers prioritized profits over the unifying musical experience. The 100-degree heat and exorbitant water prices contributed to the downfall of many concert-goers, who became violent. They gang-raped a woman, sexually assaulted others, looted, and destroyed property. More than 1,000 people were wounded. Thankfully, there were no deaths, except for the reputation of Woodstock.
Heavy metal band Pantera was one of the most successful bands of its genre, selling around 20 million records worldwide. The group consisted of the Abbott brothers (Vinnie Paul and Dimebag Darrell), Phil Anselmo, and Rex Brown. In 2003, tensions arose, and the band split up. Vinnie Paul and Dimebag Darrell started a new band called Damageplan. The band had only existed for a year when they played their final show on December 8, 2004, in Columbus, Ohio.
During the performance, 25-year-old Nathan Gale jumped onto the stage and shot Dimebag Darrell in the head. Nathan was reportedly mentally disturbed and believed that Pantera had stolen his lyrics. He then killed two employees who tried to disarm him and a 23-year-old Damageplan fan who attempted to resuscitate the victims. Police officer James Niggemeyer then shot and killed the shooter.
Rapper Travis Scott was criticized for his actions at the Astroworld music festival on November 5, 2021, in Houston, Texas. With 50,000 audience members, the show was sold out. Travis Scott is known for hyping up crowds, writing the lyrics, “It ain’t a mosh pit if ain’t no injuries,” in a 2018 song called “Stargazing”. At the 2021 Astroworld, chaos ensued as the crowd rushed forward, creating one big mosh pit.
People were packed together so tightly that they were slowly being crushed. Many could not breathe properly. Some concert-goers fainted and suffered heart attacks. Travis Scott noticed that one fan was in trouble, so he called medics to come in and assist. However, as they were taking away the unconscious victim, Travis Scott continued to sing. Dozens of people were injured, and ten people have died so far.
More than 40 people were injured after a barrier broke during a Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa concert on August 5, 2016. The railing was separating the audience from the stage. When it collapsed, several people fell about one story down onto the concrete floor. Some of the victims sued the rappers and the venue operators for not taking adequate precautions to ensure the safety of the concert-goers.
The Plaintiffs included three injured staff members and a victim who had suffered a fractured spine. “I can tell you there is no doubt there was a crowd surge based upon the setup of the lawn with no chairs and no aisles, lack of security ... and then the artists telling people to come forward,” attorney Robert J. Mongeluzzi said. “That's the setup, and that's the failure.”
The owner of Santika nightclub, an establishment in Thailand, obtained fraudulent papers to avoid a fire inspection. If it had gone through the legal channels, the business would not have met the requirements. The building only had one fire extinguisher, and there were no marked exits. The club was operating without a permit and only had a license to sell food.
Thai singers Joey Boy, DJ Poom, and DJ Petjah were booked to perform at Santika nightclub on December 31, 2009. Just after the count down to the New Year, the building burst into flames. According to Alex Wargacki, a Briton who attended the party, someone let off a firework into the audience. The deadly fire killed 67 people and wounded 222.
On August 13, 2011, the Indiana State Fair was affected by a severe storm. Moments before Sugarland were scheduled to take the stage at the outdoor concert, disaster struck. Violent gusts of wind reaching 70 miles per hour knocked down the 35-ton stage, trapping several audience members under scaffolding and stage equipment. Dozens of concert-goers were severely wounded. Five people died on the scene, and two others succumbed to their injuries in hospital.
Sugarland band members were physically unscathed but were “stunned and heartbroken” by the freak accident. Their lawyers claimed that the winds were unpredictable and blamed the victims for the deaths. However, the band issued a statement saying that their fans are the “most important thing” to them. Lead vocalist Jennifer Nettles added, “There are no words to process a moment of this magnitude and gravity.”
On December 2, 2016, a fire killed 36 people at an illegal underground party in Oakland, California. Several house music artists performed at the concert, which took place in a warehouse called Ghost Ship. Around 100 attendees were trapped in the building when an electrical fault reportedly caused a fire. With no smoke detectors or sprinklers, and only two fire extinguishers, the blaze spread quickly.
The venue also served as accommodation. One of the residents, Carmen Brito, was asleep when she smelled smoke. She grabbed her coat, put on her shoes, and ran toward the exit. Within seconds the whole place was in flames. Tenants Derick Almena and Max Harris were charged with involuntary manslaughter for organizing the event but were later acquitted after a mistrial. The Ghost Ship warehouse fire is the deadliest in the history of Oakland.
Immediately after Ariana Grande performed a concert at the Manchester Arena in the United Kingdom on March 22, 2017, a suicide bomber detonated an explosive device in the crowd. Out of the 14,200 attendees, 22 died, and over 1,000 were injured. Some of the victims were children. British Prime Minister Theresa May commented on the incident. “All acts of terrorism are cowardly attacks on innocent people," May said. "But this attack stands out for its appalling, sickening cowardice — deliberately targeting innocent, defenseless children and young people, who should have been enjoying one of the most memorable nights of their lives.”
After the incident, Ariana Grande tweeted, “From the bottom of my heart, I am so, so sorry. I don't have words.” The singer returned visited some of her wounded fans in hospital. The following year, she paid tribute to the victims in her music album Sweetener.
On December 6, 1969, more than 300,000 people flocked to Altamont Raceway Park in California to watch The Rolling Stones perform. It was the final concert of their 1969 American tour, and they had made it a free event after being criticized for their exorbitant ticket prices. To cut costs, they hired the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club for security and compensated them with $500 worth of beer.
Their thriftiness ended up costing more than they could imagine. An 18-year-old black man named Meredith Hunter had armed himself with a .22 Smith and Wesson pistol for protection. A member of Hells Angels saw the concert-goer with a weapon and stabbed him in the neck. The teenager died moments later. Some people have speculated that it was a racial attack. Three other concert-goers died that day: Two from a hit-and-run and one after drowning in an irrigation canal.