Here's How Many People Have Died At Disney World

Walt Disney World, the mega-resort Florida theme park destination that draws tens of millions of visitors per year, goes to great lengths to promote its image as "the most magical place on Earth." The parks are carefully designed and constructed to remove the guest, as much as possible, from the mundane realities of everyday life and instead place them in the fantasy world of the Imagineers' creation.

Unfortunately, sometimes the more unpleasant realities of daily life are impossible to avoid, and in its nearly 50-year history, people have gotten sick and/or injured at the parks, hotels, roadways, and other elements throughout the resort area. Supposedly, a number of people have died at Walt Disney World, although the specific number is open to interpretation. As Newsweek reported, there is a long-circulating rumor that the Walt Disney Company has a policy of removing a person from the premises before local authorities can declare them dead, muddling the picture further.

Nevertheless, the number of people who have died at the resort in its 50-year history is surprisingly small.

Several dozen people have supposedly died at Walt Disney World

As of June 2021, several dozen people have died at Walt Disney World, depending on how one defines "died" and "at Walt Disney World." For example, should a plane crash in which, as The New York Times reported, three people were killed while making an emergency landing at the Epcot parking lot in 1984 count on such a list? How about someone who came down with symptoms while at Walt Disney World, but then died in a hospital the next day? Further muddling the picture is the fact that lists of such incidents only include key events that are particularly noteworthy and aren't routinely updated. For example, one list from a Florida injury lawyer only mentions 10 deaths and hasn't been updated since 2011.

Over on discussion forum Quora, users pored over similar lists and came up with numbers ranging from 41 to 51 deaths of employees and visitors to Walt Disney World as of 2018. Those purported deaths at the theme park have been the result of incidents including workplace industrial accidents, failure of guests abiding by safety guidelines, underlying medical conditions contributing to deaths, a gruesome alligator attack that killed a young boy, and everything in between.