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Nightmare Fuel / Disney Theme Parks

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"What chilling words?
Like shriek or killer,
Can spark the mind to start a thriller?
Add some more sparks like dagger, blood, and gory,
And then, a mystery story."
Dreamfinder playing an Ominous Pipe Organ (which is actually a huge typewriter/computer) in the Tales of Terror portion of the original Journey into Imagination.

Though Disney theme parks are perceived as places of dreams come true, a little imagination can also expand your greatest fears into an overwhelming nightmare.

All spoilers are unmarked.

Rides with their own pages:

Other examples:

  • This entire page can be neatly summarized as follows: every person that has ever been caught in a ride malfunction has a horror story. It's taken Up to Eleven if you get stuck in the Haunted Mansion when there's a malfunction. It's happened where It's A Small World malfunctioned and had the music go off. All those usually-adorable dolls dancing and "singing" in complete silence is really unsettling. Especially with the newer Audio-Animatronics, where the eyes are basically computer screens, especially the blinking.
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  • Storybook Land Canal Boats were a quintessentially Walt idea to have children float in boats past miniature sets while a young hostess retold condensed versions of the stories like the most gentle mother you never had. Behind the Railroad, it's the oldest concept for Disneyland. Except that the ride begins with the boat floating through the Cave Mouth of Monstro the whale. His eyes blink and light up with doom at night and on the ride all you see is just this giant mouth and then what looks like a Womb Level inside for a few feet before you wind up in daylight. The big problem is that Monstro has some serious teeth, making it like floating straight into the jaws a Slasher Smile.
  • Disneyland Paris' Storybook Land Canal Boats replaces Monstro with the Cave of Wonders from Aladdin. Whether it is less scary or more scary depends on the person.
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  • On the Jungle Cruise: the part where the hungry crocodiles bob up and down before your boat enters the temple that has the tiger with glowing orange eyes. And the elephants that go into the animal equivalent of the Uncanny Valley.
  • Disney World in Florida had a Hell Hotel on property for a while, and we're not talking about the Hollywood Tower Hotel. Namely, the unfinished half of the Pop Century Resort. Come take a visit. It was like this for a little over a decade, thanks to the post-9/11 tourism slowdown and then the Great Recession. Visitors who stayed within the boundaries could only see some buildings from the finished half, and cross a bridge and stare at it through an Insurmountable Fence. Anyone who went there found the place had an atmosphere somewhere between an Abandoned Playground and the Chernobyl village. But there was a happy ending — the buildings were retooled and completed in 2012 to become Disney's Art of Animation Resort.
  • There's also the eerily abandoned River Country and Discovery Island at WDW's Fort Wilderness area (Which are still abandoned to this day, yet in plain sight to most people). And despite being abandoned, the lights and background music there still continued to rununtil it was finally demolished in 2019.
    • An urban explorer snuck onto Discovery Island late one night and what he found likely made it even more unsettling. In addition to the lights still working (likely to keep it from becoming an eyesore,) when he got to the island, he found odd things left behind in some of the old decrepit buildings, like a nest with two very aggressive baby vultures, boxes of old employee photos, and most strangely, a bunch of small snakes preserved in old soda bottles and pickle jars.
  • The various 3D movies have quite the reputation for sometimes surprisingly scary moments, especially once The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You came into play.
    • Magic Journeys, the original Epcot 3D show, was intended as gentle and upbeat but the rather slow pace, lack of plot, trippy '70s theme song, and a spooky segment featuring scary faces make the whole thing creepier than intended.
    • Captain EO was probably the first theme park show to have sonic-boom volume levels. That's fine when it comes to the music, but then there's all the explosions, not to mention the appearance of the Supreme Leader — Anjelica Huston in an H. R. Giger sort of getup with long claws really invading a viewer's personal space.
    • Muppet*Vision 3D is really pretty tame in comparison, but the character Waldo C. Graphic, a herky-jerky creation out of the early CGI Uncanny Valley, has freaked out his share of viewers.
    • Honey, I Shrunk the Audience: Another one with a lot of Stuff Blowing Up, followed by a blackout during which 999 mice invade the theater and seem to crawl up your legs. The holographic cat used to scare them off gets out of control and morphs into a lion. And once you're shrunk, there's the hungry python Gigabyte looking to make a meal of you and your seatmates!
      • The Gigabyte scene was actually, and wittily, lampshaded by the Pal Mickey interactive toy the parks offered at the Turn of the Millennium. If the user took the toy with them into this show, after leaving the theater Mickey Mouse would tell them how frightened he was! Gigabyte also appeared as an antagonist in one of the Kingdom Keepers novels.
    • It's Tough to be a Bug! No kidding! For one thing, it's loud, and for another you don't really need to be told to be afraid of things like a giant termite who spits poison at you, giant black widows, hornets that sting you, or a gigantic can of pesticide. One guidebook includes this classic one-line review: "Finally this generation gets its 'Snow White's Scary Adventures.'"
  • Speaking of which, "Snow White's Scary Adventures" was a ride that strung all the most horrifying scenes from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs into the space of a few minutes. They periodically tried to change it so that it wasn't as intense. (As a matter of fact, it was originally simply named "Snow White's Adventures". They changed the name for the purposes of truth-in-advertising when the area was remodeled in the early 1980s.) The original Disney World ride didn't even have Snow White in were Snow White, and you were experiencing it from her point of view:
    • The original Disney World ride has the witch constantly popping up out of nowhere cackling like crazy and ends with her dropping a huge diamond on you, cackling "Good-bye, dearie! EEE-HEE-HEE!"
    • The spooky forest sequence also counts, especially the logs - alligators who swim up to your cart snapping at you.
    • The original WDW tree sequence ran circles around the Disneyland version. The trees that you passed weren’t cartoony-looking. They were horrifying looking with huge gaping mouths and eyes that stared through your soul. All the while the Witch’s cackle followed you, as if she was chasing you.
    • WDW’s original boat scene definitely counts. You a riding through an already creepy setting until, without warning, the Witch lunges at you at break-neck speed. You wouldn’t be blamed for thinking that the prop would outright crash into your vehicle. Thankfully, later iterations would have to boat be stationary or move much slower.
    • Also, if you look closely at one of the models of the Witch, she has glowing orange eyes.
    • The forest animals in the Dwarves' cottage are all bug-eyed and appear to be staring right at you.
    • There's even a creepy bit you don't have to go inside to enjoy. At Disneyland, watch the window over the ride. Every so often, the curtains will part and the queen will glower down at you. This can be really disconcerting if you don't know about it, as she only appears for a few seconds. At Disney World, where the ride was closed and replaced in 2012, that particular gag was at the end of the outdoor section, overlooking Snow White at the wishing well. If you caught it there, it was foreshadowing about what was ahead.
    • Thought those dark scenes were scary? If you’ve ever been on the ride when it’s broken down and had to be escorted off, all those dark scenes are even scarier with the lights on, as the figures are painted with bright, fluorescent (glow-in-the-dark) colors in which they become Uncanny Valley when they’re no longer in the dark.
    • Then there is the Tokyo version. Ironically, the ride's title lacks "Scary" in it, and the ride itself is memorable to say the least. The haunted forest is a lot longer with the Queen giving eerie moans and screams during the scene. Then there you go through the dwarfs' cottage and it looks like a moment of calm. Then guess who is waiting to Jump Scare you right outside the backdoor? At least it didn't have the cartoon strobe lights at the end.
    • The Disneyland ride's 2021 update into "Snow White's Enchanted Wish" removed the spooky forest in favor of Snow White achieving her wish for the one she loves to find her, but subjects riders to a few unique scares along the way thanks to some new-and-improved lighting and projection. When the Witch poisons the "Magic Wishing Apple", a skull flashes on the apple in sync with her Evil Laugh. The Magic Mirror provides a look at Snow White biting the apple, then shatters as she succumbs to the Sleeping Death.
  • "Mr. Toad's Wild Ride", as much as some of us might like to forget it. After a series of dreadful near-misses in frantic scenes inspired by the "Wind in the Willows" part of The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad, the ride ends with your car going into a tunnel, colliding with a train, and passing through Hell. There was a serious uproar when it was replaced by a Winnie the Pooh-themed ride at Walt Disney World, but maybe this is why. (Or WDW just doesn't expect today's kids to be familiar with Mr. Toad.)
    • Granted, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh still has the trippy "Heffalumps and Woozles" sequence.
    • Did you know that Mr. Toad's Wild Ride was originally conceived as a epilepsy test?
    • And throughout the entire Hell sequence, the "Merrily on Our Way" theme continues playing the whole time. Somehow the bright and cheery music juxtaposed with the demons surrounding you makes the whole thing even more disturbing.
    • Also just the idea that everyone, everyone who rides, even innocent kids, goes directly to Hell. No Heaven, no Purgatory, just straight to Hell.
    • Sometimes, in the Disney World version, the vehicle can stop in the Hell scene while waiting for cars ahead to unload guests. Passing through it is bad enough, but being stuck there is even worse!
  • Disneyland's Splash Mountain? At night? Much scarier than the Haunted Mansion or the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. There's just something about those jerky, smiling animatronic animals. (For a mostly indoor-ride, most of the ride is dependent on outside lighting, turning things much scarier in the dark. That Briar Patch at the end goes from clearly showing the tunnel if you look down, to not showing it whatsoever, making it look all too much like you are going to crash fatally.)
    • At first there is cheerful, happy singing, and much carrying on about finding a Laughing Place and happiness, and it gradually grows darker, with far less light and worried small animals humming as you begin to ascend, followed immediately by a silhouette of Br'er Fox and two gleeful, mocking, cackling vultures in undertaker uniforms perched overhead saying: "So you're looking for a laughing place, eh? We'll show you a laughing place!" Then you pop out and descend the big drop. There is some Nightmare Retardant, though: the vultures sound like Emperor Ken Ichioji from Digimon Adventure 02.
      • Even worse? There's a medley of Splash Mountain in one of the park soundtrack CDs that includes happy Laughing Place music, and then suddenly the music goes terrifying and the Vultures have their lines. "If you've found your laughing place, why aren't you laughing?"
    • The context of the scene alone is frightening: a rabbit being held hostage by a fox and a bear, accompanied by the bubbling sound of a unseen cauldron. Then the two cackling vultures comment on the scene afterwards.
    • What about the ride vehicles for Splash Mountain at Disneyland? At Disney World in Florida, the logs have adequate row seating and lapbars. At the one in California, the seating consists of straddling one beam going from the front to the back of the log, and only two measly handlebars on each side keep you from feeling like you'll fly out into the air on each drop.
    • Disney World only got lapbars in 2011 — they were added because of too many people getting scared and jumping out right before the final drop.
  • Tom Sawyer Island (the WDW version in this context) is completely unsupervised and very old (It practically hasn't changed since it opened with the park in '71) so most of the Audio Animatronics present in the Fort are these stiff corpse-like figurines (with a severe case of Uncanny Valley) that only make the slightest movements of their limbs if any at all.
    • Even if you don't encounter the figurines, the whole atmosphere can be eerie, with how empty it often is, and a big fort all stocked with provisions but no soldiers or anyone there, the only notable sound being the occasional gunshot. It's such an unnerving contrast to the rest of the park.
    • Also, somebody died on Tom Sawyer Island, which in terms makes it even worse.
  • The Enchanted Tiki Room was fun and tame for the most part, with cheerful singing birds and flowers. However, many a youngster was frightened by when the show briefly took a sinister turn, with the grotesque face carvings of tiki gods on the wall suddenly uttering sinister chants (depending on where you're sitting, sometimes right next to you), as more and more join the chorus. The sudden thunderstorm right after this scene didn't quite help things. The gentle rain and dialogue that follows the thunderstorm is often punctuated by the crying of at least one child.
  • It's gone now, but the ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter is often considered the scariest ride in Walt Disney World's history. The best part of this ride was shortly after the "maintenance" person got eaten, and the monster was walking around the station. You could hear its footsteps, its breath...eventually it came by your seat and you could feel its breath and hear it right next to you. If you sat back in your seat, a little "alien tongue" probed the back of your neck. Note that this was an attraction where you were held down in your seat by hydraulic shoulder harnesses.
    • How about the nice gem of when you feel some hot liquid drop on you after it mauls the maintenance worker? Due to the darkness, you couldn't tell if you just got splashed with hot drool or warm blood.
    • If one needs an idea of how terrifying it was, the original plan was for the monster to be the Alien. Yes, that one. When they couldn't use that due to management forbidding R-rated movie material, they came up with an expy that was just as frightening.
    • The pre-show. S.I.R., the Unnecessarily Creepy Robot, demonstrates the X-S teleportation system by transporting Skippy around the room, accidentally burning him in the process (which S.I.R passes off as a "healthy glow", and then suspends him indefinitely while teleporting him back, and possibly kills him. Not to mention he "absolutely loves" that feature. Also, he has an orgasm when he activates. Though there is some Nightmare Retardant if you think of him as a drunken C-3PO.
    • It was eventually changed to a Lilo & Stitch ride because the original version freaked so many people out so badly, especially because Disney never found a way to properly warn people what it was. Stitch's Great Escape! actually uses much of the same technology and special effects as a prequel to the movie, but in a more lighthearted way — or so they thought. Travel guides confirm many poor tots whose parents probably never would have taken them to the old show have apparently been scared out of their wits thanks to the darkness and high volume level. Worse, due to the harness you have placed over you (largely for sound effects), the Unofficial Guide still has to warn parents "You will not be able to leave your seat to comfort your child if the need arises." Thankfully, the pre-show has been changed into something more light-hearted.
    • The Stitch ride may not be operating anymore either, but less than a year after its final operating day, a photo popped up on the Internet showing a dismantled Stitch Audio-Animatronic. The photo went viral with many people viewing it as extremely creepy-looking and giving them nightmares.
  • Submarine Voyage, which would take riders in a cramped and rather claustrophobic sub through a small man-made lake. While one of the most enjoyable rides at the park, the lagoon mainly consisted of fake and somewhat creepy-looking plastic sea creatures, including a definitely creepy-looking giant squid that attacks your sub and is driven off with electric shocks. All the claustrophobic fun of the original is available in the much tamer Finding Nemo version (at Disneyland; the WDW version was completely dismantled). Luckily, the cute story takes your attention off how horribly cramped the small submarine is, and the fact that if the thing took on water, it would be a bunch of bodies scrambling desperately towards the steep, narrow staircase. And Tokyo DisneySea's ride made the subs into tiny pods, easing congestion and making the inside more spacious.
    • Even the Finding Nemo version is not devoid of scares. From "colliding" with an undersea mine (complete with an explosive boom, a sudden gush of bubbles and the submarine rocking from the impact while alarm bells and warning lights go on) to the eerie darkness right before a huge angler fish looms right in front of the riders' porthole, all teeth and lifeless glowing eyes, in a Shout-Out to the giant squid of WDW, the ride definitely has its moments of terror.
    • The WDW version, called 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, was in fact closed in 1994, to the sadness of thousands of people. However, the lagoon wasn't drained and demolished until 2004. For ten years, the giant squid was alone, motionless, down there in the dark murky water.
      • On one of the last few rides in 1994 before it was closed, due to lack of maintenance, everything was covered in strings of algae, moving in the currents... the squid was even worse. It never moved much, but the stringy bits waving was just disgusting.
    • If you thought the angler fish was terrifying, the fact that the squid was holding a tiny sister Nautilus in its tentacles shows how big it was in the viewer's perspective. And seeing how squids don't often attack submarines, or ships in general...why is it so determined to destroy the Nautilus?
    • It is said that one of the Nautilus ride vehicles from the Florida attraction is located on the sea floor far out in the snorkeling area of Castaway Key (one of the Disney Cruise destinations). It’s a little eerie to think that exists, especially if a snorkeler were to find it the hard way. Not to mention, who knows what other creepy and possibly dangerous life may lurk out there!
  • The Country Bears Jamboree has this close to the end. Big Al comes out and sings "Blood on the Saddle," a song about a cowboy whose head gets bashed open by his horse, all played on an out-of-tune guitar to add to the creep factor. "There was blood on the saddle/There was blood all around/And a great big puddle/Of blood on the ground" Then, just when you think that awful song was mercifully over with, and the bears are (mostly) all singing "Ole Slew Foot" for the finale, Big Al comes back and does a reprise of "Blood on the Saddle!" Henry yells at him to knock it off, but Al ignores him and just keeps going on about blood all over everything — until the curtain covers him and suddenly he's heard to gasp and grunt and there's a terrible metallic crash behind the curtain.
  • The Norway section of EPCOT's World Showcase featured Maelstrom, a boat ride with at one point a three-headed troll who yelled "DISAPPEAR, DISAPPEAR!" and sent your boat rocketing backwards through an Arctic landscape with a polar bear growling at you. The boat started approaching a waterfall so that you think you're about to go over it backwards. Thankfully, the ride didn't quite go that far. Still, people thought that tree stump was staring at them. And some people could get scared when the ride went outside over the crowd briefly. It was replaced with Frozen Ever After in 2016.
  • "Crush's Coaster" at the Studio's section in Disneyland Paris. At first it's fairly nice (even though you're mostly in the dark), going through some of the movie. Then, you get to the part with Bruce and the sharks. What's worse is that if you've seen the movie, then you know exactly what's coming when you see the rusty ship pipes, and the shadows of the sharks on the wall whilst they chant "Fish are friends! Not food!". Suddenly you're propelled upwards with Bruce 'chasing' you, and a sudden flash lights up this model of Bruce sticking out through the ship, and then you're plunged into the pitch black section of the ride, spinning every way known to man.
  • EPCOT's iconic Spaceship Earth is responsible for a fair amount of Nightmare Fuel. For those who have never been, you ride a neverending chain of vehicles (Haunted Mansion style) through the giant geosphere. At the top, the vehicles make a 180 rotation to descend to ground level at an angle that would be too steep facing forwards without restraints. For many years, this happened in a nearly empty planetarium dome with nothing but some tear-jerkingly epic music. Some people would become afraid that the ride would become a roller coaster (although the vehicles do look like one) and drop them off a cliff backwards without restraint. That would be impossible, though, with the ride vehicles being chained together through the entire track. Nevertheless, frightened riders would abandon their vehicle and stumble out into the black void of the dome. Spaceship Earth was also notoriously prone to breakdowns in the first year of EPCOT. If you knew that, it was even harder to stay calm.
  • Space Mountain's creepy enough since it happens in the dark, meaning you can't anticipate what's around the next curve. "Ghost Galaxy", the Halloween version of the Disneyland ride, in Hong Kong and California (with Warhammer 40,000 and all).
    • This article explains quite a bit, but the ride concept is still terrifying in itself. Not only is this particular ghost capable enough to launch an assault on the space station, but it's also made up of stars and galaxies, looks like a skeleton and is sentient. And there is nothing to show why it targeted us in the first place, or what it really is. But there is some Nightmare Retardant - it looks like Swayzak to some people.
  • Ghost Galaxy doesn't exist in Florida, but the Peoplemover still tours you through Space Mountain dome (as it used to in Disneyland.) There's a sort of dissonance as the soundtrack tells you about the ride's high-speed thrills and then gives you a solid 45 seconds of sitting in the inky darkness, unable to see anything and wondering what's happening.
    • Disneyland's Peoplemover also used to have a TRON segment, where they projected grids and early CGI on the walls and loud abrasive sound effects played. And fans blew air on you to make the cars seem to be going faster than they actually were. Also, your gentle narrator was hijacked for this segment with the MCP, and if you didn't see the film, that voice was startling.
    MCP: You have escaped TRON's Game Grid for now, Users. But take heed, next time you may not fare so well.
  • The line for the Jungle Cruise. It is set up to resemble a trophy room/curio shop with various pieces of jungle memorabilia. One of the gimmicks is a small cage holding a "Goliath Bird-Eating Spider". Anyone who gets close to look inside is scared out of their minds when the cage jumps at them.
  • Many rides, mostly older dark rides, rely on By the Lights of Their Eyes for a cheap scare. This can really frighten small children. Even the Disneyland Railroad in California had little red eyes light up in the darkness at the level with your ankles when it passed into a tunnel behind the Haunted Mansion. By the time Splash Mountain opened with a window into the end of the ride, the train narrator began promoting Splash Mountain from the start and the red eyes were completely left unmentioned, making it eerier. This space is now brightly lit with a fake branch sticking out of the rock.
  • Cinderella Castle Mystery Tour at Tokyo Disneyland. That ride was all about Disney Villains, and it actually closed in 2006. And do you know why? The last villain encountered is the Horned King (as seen in the page image). A member of the audience would actually be chosen to defeat him, though.
  • Roger Rabbit's Car Toon Spin. You were in this car that was spinning around like crazy, with no actual control over the vehicle itself even though you had a steering wheel. And then anthropomorphic fire hydrants and stuff would pop up in a blaze of neon light. Somehow, Disney managed to make a big, happy, anthropomorphic inanimate object the most terrifying thing in the world. And then when you spun around randomly at what felt like about 20mph and you saw this giant stack of boxes labeled "TNT" in front of you.
  • Some of the costumes can be unintentionally scary:
  • The windows of Disneyland's Emporium store contain figures of characters from animated movies. Some of the older figures, which disappeared after 2015 updates gave each window a new scene based on one movie, might appear creepy due to their Off-Model, static faces.
  • It's A Small World:
  • On Expedition Everest, the Yeti no longer functions. This hasn't been fixed because it has been discovered that every time the Yeti figure swings its arm, it causes damage to the ride's overall structure. In other words, the Yeti was actually trying to kill the riders. So now it just has a flashing light over it, which makes the thing even more horrifying...until you hear it's been nicknamed the Disco Yeti.
    • When you are on the chain lift it just keeps going, and then you realize just how high up you are.
    • The queue is pretty interesting...until you get to the Lost Expedition bit. Apparently, the entire expedition was slaughtered in 1982. If you want to have a good idea of what killed them, check out the pictures by zooming in on the black-framed photos here.
  • The Dinosaur ride at Animal Kingdom. You're in the dark, the dinosaurs are randomly lit up, and then the Carnotaurus appears. Also? It's loud.
    • The original version of the ride was even worse. Between the multiple times the outright demonic-looking Carnotaurus charges the ride, there is a scene of near total blackout as the car tries to speed away to safety. All while you hear the beast's terrifying roars and running footsteps, showing it's right behind you. Even in the toned down final version, the ride is still unique amongst the park attractions for the experience of being chased by a relentless predator through a dark forest.
    • On that note, the final scene where you see a immobile sculpture of the Carnotaurus is actually quite horrifying because you see it only for a split-second and it doesn't even do anything.
    • The Alioramus seen near the ride's beginning, eating a large lizard.
  • Sleeping Beauty ended with no indication that Maleficent survived her Disney Villain Death. However, the walkthrough at Disneyland's Sleeping Beauty Castle originally ended with her shadow emerging from behind a corner, accompanied by her evil laugh. The shadow scared so many guests, the Imagineers removed the scene. The attraction then ended with Phillip awakening Aurora with True Love's Kiss. The current version has Maleficent's shadow restored, but tries to lessen the scare factor by placing it in between two lighter-toned scenes: the aforementioned kiss, and Flora and Merryweather arguing over what color to make Aurora's dress.
    • There were other scenes in the ride that are just as nightmarish. For example, when Maleficent first appears and curses Aurora, she has her back to us, outlined in black and red, cackling madly.
    • Looking through the keyholes in two certain doors once revealed two of Maleficent's minions gazing back at you and an entire sea of eyes staring at you, respectively. Guests who stared through these keyholes for too long built up traffic behind them, so now these doors just have the goons pull off quick jump scares.
    • As guests go through the castle, the interior becomes darker and more foreboding after they pass Aurora lying unconscious in her bedchamber. Through the next window, they can see Maleficent overrun Sleeping Beauty Castle in thorns, while a cloud of demons soars over from Forbidden Mountain.
    • During the "Maleficent's Celebration" scene, the guests look out the window to a top-down view of Maleficent as she stands atop a platform, while her minions appear out of a green bonfire below.
    • "The Dance Of The Spinning Wheels" is a room filled with living spinning wheels moving around on their own. The dark background, the neon colors of the spinning wheels, and the fire that appears at the bottom of the window doesn't help. The 2008 renovation moved this one scene earlier, replacing a chamber holding a "bottomless" pit, and added distant, echoing cries of the Good Fairies warning, "Don't touch anything!"
    • When Prince Phillip finally arrives to lift Aurora's curse in the current walkthrough, Maleficent stands atop a tower, and transforms into a fire-breathing dragon, intimidating both Phillip and Samson.
    • Guests unable to climb the stairs inside Sleeping Beauty Castle can watch a CGI recreation of the original walkthrough, complete with the sea of eyes, the bottomless pit, and Maleficent's shadow, in a room on the ground floor.note 
  • Star Tours: The Adventures Continue has a cameo of REX from the ride's first incarnation, occasionally spouting lines from said first incarnation. Thing is, they are rather glitchy and context-free, causing a rather eerie effect in the same room as another more light-hearted event.
    REX: Uh-oh—*starts spazzing out*
  • Rock N' Roller Coaster at Hollywood Studios is usually a bit too loud and goes by too quickly to be scary. However, when the music stops and the lights turn on and you're frozen at the highest point in the ride, the effect that is created is a bit unnerving. Especially when you look to your right and you see a rickety metal platform and a seemingly-endless flight of stairs acting as the only thing that can bring you back down to ground level. Then you look to your left and see nothing. That's right, there's not even a gate put up to protect you from leaning over the side and falling over. Not to mention that once the lights are on, you realize just how cramped the building is. In this state, the coaster is just a bunch of steel tracks tied in a knot in a very faulty-looking warehouse. Now imagine being stuck here, held down by shoulder restraints, for half an hour before having to climb back down, holding onto the stairs for dear life.
  • The Pirates of the Caribbean ride:
    • Before it was refurbished for the film, the ride was less busy and quieter, especially at the beginning, which made the earlier "rooms" quite freaky, as you were going through in the dark, with only the sounds of wind, rushing water and "dead men tell no tales" echoing around, looking at skeletons. While it's not as ominous now, there's still some unsettling elements; after a small refurbishment of the ride in 2011, the skeleton room now has the haunting lyrics of "My Jolly Sailor Bold" echoing in the background. Oh, and some of the skeletons are actually real.
    • There’s that one dark part of the ride, where you hear pirates telling the stories of a cursed treasure that kills anyone who touches it! They say “Dead men tell no tales”...or do they???
  • After riding through the lovely scenery of Ornament Valley in Radiator Springs Racers, you suddenly hear a loud truck horn as you almost crash into Mack.
  • The Spectromen from Walt Disney World's Spectromagic nighttime parade. Seriously, these guys were some of the creepiest Disney characters. Their faces glow and change colors from purple, blue, and red with messy hair. Thankfully, the Spectromen became face characters later on. They have quite an interesting history: first they were face characters, and their voices sounded more like robots, but sometime in the mid 90s those costumes were updated. When Spectromagic came back in 2001, the Spectromen got a redesign. Then in the latest version of the parade, the Spectromen are now face characters and no longer change color. But they still are very creepy, especially to little kids. They also speak gibberish, which can be heard in this video at the 4:10 mark.
  • The Big Grizzly Mountain Runaway Mine Cars is a ride unique to Hong Kong Disneyland and has a very shocking moment where on a lift hill you can hear the tracks groaning and see some rope before a cable "snaps", sending the train into the backwards section of the ride. Of course, this is intentional, controlled and you are not actually in danger, but it is quite frightening, as it's so unexpected.
  • In Mystic Manor in Hong Kong Disneyland, there's a bit of a jump scare in the Greek Room - as a Shout-Out to The Haunted Mansion, a painting morphs into a gorgon that comes with an angry face and flashing red eyes. Some other scary moments include a Mongolian suit of armor—affably nicknamed "Trader Sam"—with several helmets on his spear, which may indicate he killed some suits of armor and took what was technically their heads, and the giant Venus flytrap in the Solarium that turns to face the guests, roars, tries to eat them—and then lightning flashes and the lights go out. There's also the scarabs swarming the sarcophagus and dropping on the guests and the samurai trying to execute Albert.
  • The Tokyo Disney ride Monsters, Inc. Ride and Go Seek has a cute concept, executed with lavish detail: Drive around Monstropolis and use a flashlight to find hidden monsters, who meanwhile use flashlights of their own to play hide and seek with Boo. A subplot during the ride has Randall try to stalk and kidnap Boo. Fortunately, Mike drops Randall down the garbage chute before he can capture her. Unfortunately, this "treats" riders to a realistic sequence in which Randall lands on a conveyer belt, gets crushed twice, flattened by a roller, and finally shaped into a cube.
  • The Great Movie Ride. On this ride you get an up and close encounter with the Xenomorph from Alien and the Wicked Witch of the West, plus there's a part where a gangster or cowboy hijacks your vehicle...only to get roasted into a skeleton in the Raiders of the Lost Ark scene.
    • To go into more detail, you enter the Alien scene right after the gangster/cowboy bandit has hijacked your vehicle and kicked out your guide. The only context as to what is happening comes from an ominous voice-over. You go through the derelict spaceship Nostromo, full of pipes blasting steam and alarms going off and a computer voice telling you the ship is about to self-destruct. You see Ripley cowering in a corner, jumping at every noise. The hijacker driving your vehicle has no idea what's going on because they're from a Gangster/Western film so they're as freaked out as you are. Then the Xenomorph lunges at you. The hijacker will usually offer some Nightmare Retardant in the form of silly quips, but it's still pretty terrifying.
  • The "Horrors of the Amazon" show at Hong Kong Disneyland is pretty scary for a 20-minute show, and the beginning shows that something's definitely not right. First, the terrified native helpers are seen approaching something covered by a red curtain, in absolute fear. Then, a projected image turns a hellish lava red, then burns out completely for no reason whatsoever. A negative, rather creepy looking image of the protagonist's explorer uncle's Missing poster shows up next. When Jonas Brisbane, the protagonist, shows off the decapitated head of a zombie, it suddenly disappears for no reason-then the lights go out, a storm comes out of nowhere and a negative image of the head flashes on the screen behind Jonas, with a Scare Chord. Things only get worse when Jonas reveals how he got the main exhibit—the mask of an Amazonian goddess known as the Undead Queen-by destroying her ancient temple. Then the mask comes to life, possessed by the very angry Queen, who proceeds to corrode Jonas's body from the inside out while yelling words in the Voice of the Legion. As Jonas lies dying on the floor, the tribesmen warn the audience that the Queen must be respected—and another negative Missing poster shows up, only with Jonas's face on it. And finally, the ghost of the Queen herself shows up, laughing and telling the audience that if anyone goes looking for Jonas, she will make them suffer.
  • The Nightmare Experiment is a Hong Kong Disneyland exclusive Haunted House which is Disney's answer to Universal's Halloween Haunted House, only watered down. The maze features twisted and creepy depictions of various Disney and Pixar films. The 2017 version gets special mention since there is one scene where you see a miserable Pinocchio forced to dance while locked in chains and is seen begging guests to help him, to only get interrupted by a clown who is working for Stromboli.
  • During a tropical storm in 2013, the Carousel of Progress was only partially operating. As a result, the father was silent and limp save for the hand on the chair. Now factor in that there is no music or audio, and it's the scene where all of the new appliances go wild and blow a fuse, blacking out the entire neighborhood.note 
  • The Matterhorn Bobsleds at Disneyland, after its refurbishment, have a new Yeti animatronic that moves very realistically and screams VERY loudly, and has managed to freak out even adult riders. Even the original abominable snowman used from 1978 to 2014 was scary enough. After the lift, riders are in total darkness and encounter glowing red eyes accompanied by a growl that could give you a heart attack! Riders also encounter him twice on the ride (on both tracks); his roar used to be extremely loud, but the volume was eventually turned down to be more tolerable for guests with sensitive ears.
  • Disneyland's original Alice in Wonderland ride featured a large figure of the Cheshire Cat that laughed manically at riders as they rode by.
    • Also when the ride was new, right near the end when the doors opened to let you back outside on the elevated track, the riders' ears were unexpectedly blasted with a loud, harsh scream: "HAAAA!!" This yell has since been replaced with a softer and sillier-sounding yodel.
    • The angry face of the Queen of Hearts could be frightening to very young children, especially those who scare easily.
  • Pinocchio's Daring Journey at Disneyland has its share of scary moments:
    • In Pleasure Island, there is a moment where we encounter a giant freaky-looking jack-in-the-box that makes a very sinister-sounding laugh.
    • Probably the scariest part of the ride is when Monstro leaps up and lunges towards the ride vehicle. (He also apparently had swallowed a thunder cloud.)
  • In Disneyland's original Mine Train ride, the music that played in Rainbow Caverns gave some people chills.
  • While it is extinct now, the “Adventure Thru Inner Space” ride was scary on a metaphysical level. The idea of being shrunk down to the size of an atom amidst an infinite black void, really unnerved riders young and old.
    • The conditions of the ride also made it rather uncomfortable, with smaller ride vehicles that would often cramp riders, little to no lighting, and so on.
    • A lot of guests were especially terrified of the giant scientist's eye at the end of the ride.
  • Walt Disney Studios Park used to have a special effects attraction based on the movie Armageddon which depicted the destruction of the Russian Space Station in the movie. It could be rather scary for younger children.