We’re breaking the rules this week! It isn’t a restaurant or hotel… it’s the vacation capital of the world (and where I am happily enjoying myself at the moment) so we’re looking at the spooks of the Happiest Place on Earth.
The History: Walt Disney World opened its gates in 1971 and since then, it has become the #1 vacation spot on the planet. It’s estimated that 52 million people visit the four theme parks in Florida per year, that means a hell of a lot of people have been riding the Haunted Mansion, Space Mountain, and Pirates of the Caribbean over the last 47 years. The Walt Disney World Resort includes four theme parks–Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom–as well as over thirty hotels, and even more restaurants. But with so many people visiting the park and working to make the magic run smoothly, it’s no surprise that the Magic Kingdom is supposedly home to a few ghosts.
The Haunting: From shadowy figures in the caves of Tom Sawyer Island to the ghost of Roy Disney standing on Main Street, watching the fireworks, it seems that the Magic Kingdom is the place to be in the afterlife. It should come as no surprise that one of the more haunted locations at the Magic Kingdom is none other than the Haunted Mansion. Home to 999 happy haunts, it seems a few of the spirits are a bit more real than others. According to claims made by cast members, there is an old man with a cane who is seen riding in one of the doom buggies. He never speaks with the cast members and whenever anyone approaches him, he disappears. It’s believed he is a pilot whose plane crashed in the 1940s in what is now Bay Lake. But the most famous ghost in the Haunted Mansion is the spirit of a little boy. He doesn’t seem sad or scared. In fact, there are photos of him riding in a doom buggy, smiling and enjoying the ride.
To learn more about the darker side of Walt Disney World, check out Death in the Tragic Kingdom for a deeper look at the haunted and fatal history of the parks.
Let’s be honest: Walt Disney World just isn’t that scary. Even if there is a phantom boy riding around on the Haunted Mansion and shadows lurking in the caves of Tom Sawyer Island, they do a great job at sprinkling enough pixie dust to make us not think about the darker side of the Disney Parks. That being said, cast members and guests who have had paranormal encounters are eager to talk about their experiences.
There is something for everyone at the Disney Parks when it comes to food. If you’re a big spender and ready to drop a pretty penny for an unbelievable meal, you have Narcoossee’s or Victoria & Albert’s at the Grand Floridian. If you’re on a budget there are plenty of quick service locations and snack carts offering burgers, pizza, and salads all throughout the parks. My personal favorite restaurant is Cape May Cafe at the Yacht and Beach Club which is an all you can eat buffet featuring crab legs and clams. Alcohol is also becoming more prominent in the parks (might I recommend the Dole whip with coconut rum?) and it seems there is a culinary experience for everyone.
Type of Experience: Resort, Hotel, Restaurant, Amusement Park
Dining Style: Casual to Dress Casual
Cuisine: Everything (no seriously, there’s a restaurant for every cuisine out there)
Price Range: $2.99 at a snack cart–$125 at Victoria & Albert’s
Customer service: 1 (407) 939-5277
Dining Reservations: 1 (407) 939-1936
If you own a haunted bar, cafe, hotel, or restaurant and you’d like us to check it out, reach out to us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. If you have a favorite haunted hot spot with great food and atmosphere and you’d like to share it with us, hit us up on social media or leave a comment below! We’d love to hear from you… Thanks for joining us, and Happy Haunting!