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Tokyo Disneyland is a magical place, what with all the joyous rides, concerts utilizing incredible animatronics and performers who seemingly never tire, mostly not-terrifying mascots available for photo ops, and children mysteriously vanishing from the park every year, never to be seen again.

Wait, what?

Okay, so the last one may or may not be an urban legend. Like any public place that gets massive amounts of traffic and a lot of media attention, Tokyo Disneyland attracts its fair share of urban legends. Some of these legends apply to Disneyland locations worldwide, while others are exclusive to TDL. Let’s take a look at some of the more interesting/frightening ones:

1. There is a secret underground tunnel network for staff

The story goes that, since Disneyland is so massive and congested, Uncle Walt took the time to ensure staff could appear in any part of the park like magic by constructing a complex series of underground tunnels exclusively for staff use.

Some Japanese urban legends go so far as to imply that some folks have become so hopelessly lost in the tunnel network that they couldn’t find their way out and, presumably either died or were converted into unwilling Goofy mascots.

It turns out there is at least some truth to this legend: newer parks in the Disneyland family really do have a network of tunnels, while older ones at the very least have underground break rooms for staff to relax and get away from all the sugar-addled ankle biters roaming above-ground.

2. A super-secret luxury casino exists somewhere on the premises

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Source: Wikimedia Commons

The Japanese urban legend states that, somewhere within Tokyo Disneyland, there’s a huge luxury casino open only to the rich and famous.

While the casino bit is, in fact, merely legend as far as we can tell, “Club 33,” the ultra-exclusive club Walt Disney himself built in order to entertain private guests and park sponsors – and which forms the basis of the Japanese casino myth – actually does exist. It’s supposedly the only place in the entire park where patrons can buy alcoholic beverages. So, if you happen to spot someone weaving drunkenly, tag along behind them for a few minutes and maybe you’ll find the trick bookcase to enter.

3. Couples who go on a date to Tokyo Disneyland are destined for heartbreak

This “myth” persists throughout Japan, with many people honestly terrified to take their significant other on a TDL date lest the Disney curse strike their relationship.

Most urban legends to this effect specify that it only applies to couples going to Disneyland for their first date ever, which might mean there’s a perfectly logical explanation for the legend: spend hours on end waiting in line with nothing else to do but talk to each other, and you might find that person you’ve only met a handful of times isn’t really who you thought they were.

4. But if you kiss your date inside the park, your relationship will last longer

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Source: Wikimedia Commons

You apparently have to do this in front of Cinderella’s castle during the nightly fireworks, but doing so on a first date is sure to irk Walt Disney’s ghost – who went through all the trouble of cursing new couples but totally forgot about this blatant loophole.

5. If you find Golden Mickey, you’ll get a prize

Legend has it there are three Golden Mickeys hidden throughout the park – at least one of them apparently located in an area inaccessible to the public – and if you find one and tell a nearby staff member, they’ll give you a prize and tell you to keep the idol’s location to yourself.

While it’s possible there are Golden Mickeys located in the park, we can’t imagine you’d actually get a prize for finding one. Staff – called “Cast Members” – number in the thousands (possibly tens of thousands), and like all conspiracies, it would be almost impossible to keep a lid on this one with that many people in the know.

6. The park uses radio waves to keep bugs and pests out

Ever noticed the weird lack of bugs, ravens and other pests inside Tokyo Disneyland? Even at night and in the summer?

Rumor has it the park is equipped with special devices that emit radio waves that pests are sensitive to, driving them away from the facilities.

We were unable to find any conclusive evidence of whether this is a real thing or not, but several myth-busting websites have at least confirmed that some Disneyland parks unleash feral cats after the park closes every night to chase away and/or munch on the inevitable rats that sneak in for leftover food scraps. Quite how they round them up every morning, however, is another matter entirely…

7. Kids have been abducted for organ harvesting

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Source: Wikimedia Commons

Not to appear insensitive, but in a crowded place with so many kids roaming around barely supervised, there’s bound to be a scare or two every once in a while. But Japanese urban legends have it that kids in TDL are abducted from time to time for organ harvesting.

Some of the legends even claim that park staff are in on the con, purposely misleading parents of lost children so the child can be safely dragged away…

8. One attraction apparently caused a plane crash

This urban legends says that, at a seemingly random time, a particular ride with several movie screens and lots of noises, abruptly stopped. Concerned patrons later researched and learned that the time the ride stopped was only minutes after a plane just overhead went into a nosedive and crashed. The legend alludes that the particular frequency of the ride’s sound effects interrupted crucial flight gear and caused the plane’s abrupt descent.

The legend is almost certainly inspired by a real-life 1984 incident in which a small plane crashed into the EPCOT parking lot in Florida, resulting in several deaths.

9. At least one ghost haunts the “Haunted Mansion” attraction

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Source: Wikimedia Commons

According to this legend, many guests at the Tokyo Disney Sea theme park report seeing different haunting “decorations” inside the ride which don’t actually exist.

One story goes that a man, when surveyed what he thought of the ride, said, “The woman standing unmoving at the end of the hallway was certainly the scariest.” The thing is, there is no woman at the end of the hallway.

10. At least one janitor has been fired for sexually assaulting one of the “It’s a Small World” robots

Um… we’re kind of afraid to actually research whether this is true or not.

11. There are hidden Buddhist memorials on “Space Mountain”

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Source: Wikimedia Commons

This distinctly Japanese urban legend states that several guests have died in one way or another on the sci-fi roller coaster ride “Space Mountain”, and that hidden in the pitch-black darkness of the ride’s interior are Buddhist memorials and ritual offerings for those that lost their lives on the ride, perhaps in the hopes of assuaging the spirits’ anger.

Want to make this ride even more thrilling than it already is? Next time you’re riding around in the complete darkness of “Space Mountain,” imagine some of those dead were decapitated somehow. You’re welcome!

12. Park builders unearthed human remains when building Toon Town

According to legend, builders accidentally unearthed at least one set of human remains when building “Chip and Dale’s Treehouse” in the Toon Town section of the park. We certainly hope they weren’t ancient Native American remains, because as cheesy Hollywood films have taught us, terrible things happen when you accidentally disturb a Native American burial ground.

Apart from these urban legends – which span the gamut from mostly true to completely ludicrous – there are at least a few creepy or interesting “happenings” to take place at Tokyo Disneyland that are verifiable fact:

At least one family was discovered to have illegally entered Japan just so they could visit the park, and members of the dangerous Ohm cult – infamous for the Sarin Gas Attack on the Tokyo subway in the mid 90s – actually visited the park on several occasions, even while technically still on the run from authorities.

We hope these urban legends don’t diminish your interest in going to one of Tokyo’s most popular attractions. The park really is one of the few places in Japan where you can legitimately feel like a five year-old again and, while crowded, the park is clean and ride malfunctions seem relatively rare. It’s also a great place to take a date – just so long as you remember to kiss during the fireworks.

Source: Naver Matome
Title image: Wikimedia Commons