Here's How Many People Have Died At Disneyland

Disneyland, "the happiest place on Earth," has been a thing since 1955. In the seven decades since, tens of millions of people have come through its gates, as well as those of nearby Disney California Adventure and the Anaheim property's hotels and other themed areas.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the destination has been the scene of several deaths over the decades. Unfortunately, it's difficult to pin down an exact number of such deaths for a variety of reasons. One Disney urban legend states that no one can be officially declared dead at a Disney park, yet myth-debunking site Snopes claimed that's not true. Nonetheless, it can be difficult to say exactly where someone was when they died, particularly if they're not seen by a medical examiner until hours after their death. Further, there's no one clearinghouse for information about incidents at theme parks, and instead periodic, incomplete, and infrequently updated lists will appear, but those lists generally only point to newsworthy events.

Looking at all the available data, however, it seems that the number of deaths at Disneyland is surprisingly small.

A dozen or so people have died at Disneyland

In 2019, InTouch Weekly compiled a list of people who had died at Disneyland as of that date, and the publication put the number at 13. However, two things bear noting. First, it's unclear if that list was meant to be exhaustive or only include noteworthy incidents, and second, it does not appear to have been updated since then.

Nevertheless, if the list is accurate, then Disneyland's number of deaths is a fraction of that of its Florida cousin, Walt Disney World, which has had several dozen deaths over the decades.

In California, the first park fatality occurred 10 years after opening, in 1964, when a guest disregarded safety instructions and died of injuries sustained on the Matterhorn Bobsleds attraction. Other guests have died from failure to abide by safety rules as well, and also from suicide, drowning, and even murder. Two recent fatalities at the Southern California attraction involved guests dying after riding attractions, but they had underlying medical problems.