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10 Most Frightening Experiences at Walt Disney World

We all love to be scared.  And Walt Disney World is great at creating attractions that delight in terrifying us!  But there are also some unintentionally frightening experiences that you may encounter at WDW (ever lost a passport or MagicBand on site?).  Thankfully, even these frightening experiences are handled by always-capable cast members, and let’s be honest, even the scariest day at WDW is still better than a day off property!  Here are the most frightening experiences we’ve encountered at Walt Disney World.

1. The Line for Flight of Passage

We get it: Pandora – The World of Avatar is pretty amazing, and Avatar: Flight of Passage is one of the reasons why.  But the frequent wait of up to 4 or 5 hours for this attraction is downright terrifying (in our humble opinion, no ride is ever worth standing in line for half a day).  Luckily, even if you’re not able to snag a FastPass+ for Flight of Passage, there are certain times of day when lines tend to be significantly shorter – and therefore much less terrifying!

2. Unexpected Ride Closures

You probably booked your Walt Disney World vacation months ahead, to give you the best chance of scoring all the dining reservations and FastPasses+ you want.  So one of the most frightening moments at WDW is arriving in a park only to find that one of your favorite attractions is unexpectedly down for refurbishment, or experiencing technical difficulties and no one is sure when it will be up and running again.  Nooooo!!!!

3. Missing a Bus

You’ve painstakingly planned your day in the parks, but when you approach your resort’s bus stop, you realize the bus to the park you’re visiting is pulling away.  No amount of running will help you now!  While stewing over thoughts like “If we’d only been here 30 seconds sooner, we could be in the park now…”, keep in mind that there’s always another bus just around the corner at WDW!

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4. Carnotaurus Encounter

Dinosaurs: who doesn’t love ‘em?  Whether you’re 5 or 50, they hold a certain mysterious, vaguely scary appeal.  And there’s nowhere better in WDW to come face to face with these prehistoric terrors than on DINOSAUR at Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom.  You’ll be in the dark for your entire bumpy ride through the Cretaceous, which makes the encounter with the massive, toothy Carnotaurus, lurching towards your vehicle like something out of a nightmare, all the more terrifying.

5. Monorail Breakdowns

You have reservations at Victoria & Albert’s, or maybe at ‘Ohana, and you plan on hopping on a monorail after a fun day at Magic Kingdom to get the Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa, or to Disney’s Polynesian Villages Resort, for dinner.  But you walk up to the monorail platform only to see the doors of the monorail gaping open, and a cast member tells you there’s a problem, and no telling when the monorail will be in motion again.  We’ve felt this particular moment of fright a few times.  Do you wait it out, and hope the monorail will be moving again soon?  Or find alternate transportation, like the ferry, where the line is growing by the second??  Either way, you risk missing your reservation time…

6. Stretching Room

It’s only natural that the Haunted Mansion appear on a list about frightening experiences at WDW!  We love being scared at this fantastic attraction, and one of the most terrifying moments is during the pre-show.  Crammed into uncomfortable proximity in the dark with other guests, the room then begins to stretch above you, until you are treated to the view of a corpse hanging from the rafters (and a blood-curdling scream).  It’s a deliciously scary way to set the tone for the ride!

7. Missing a FastPass+ Reservation

Many Walt Disney World guests will be familiar with the horrible, gut-wrenching sensation of missing a FastPass+.  Maybe your lunch reservation took longer than you thought, or maybe you got held up on a different attraction.  But no matter how fast you race towards the entrance, you’re too late – your FastPass+ is no longer valid.  (Luckily, once you’ve redeemed (or missed) your three FastPasses+ for the day, you can make more selections depending on availability.)

8. Rain

Ok, rain is to be expected at some point in your Walt Disney World vacation, true, and it’s rarely a source of too much worry.  But there are certain instances when the presence of rain could definitely be anxiety-provoking and frightful.  If you’ve set aside a resort day for which you do not have park tickets, and that day proves full of downpours, your plans of relaxing poolside will be dashed.  Even more terrifying are possible cancellations or alterations due to rain – we missed out on Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade (and our Main Street snow) during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party due to inclement weather.

9. Expedition Everest

There are plenty of scary moments on this thrill ride in Disney’s Animal Kingdom.  But the most terrifying moment on Expedition Everest doesn’t even involve the rampaging Yeti.  We’re scared silly by coming face to face with the broken track ahead, and the horrifying lurch as the ride starts careening backwards in the dark.  Heart-stopping!

1o. Leaving

By far the most upsetting and terrifying moment of any Walt Disney World vacation is – leaving.  You can prepare for it, soak up every last moment of Disney awesomeness, and even plan your return, but there’s no getting away from that sad, scary moment of boarding Mickey’s Magical Express to leave the most magical place on earth.  Until next time, WDW!

About Stacy Milford

Stacy has lived in 4 countries on 3 continents, and travels whenever humanly possible. Passionate about music theatre, dessert, and adventure in the great wide somewhere, she visits Walt Disney World every year, usually during Halloween! Stacy currently divides her time between writing and teaching English as a second language to children in China, and is pretty sure growing up is over-rated.