As jack-o-lanterns light up the night, and spooks come out to shriek and fright, Walt Disney World ushers in the Halloween season with all sorts of creepy celebrations and haunted happenings. This is the time when candlelights flicker and the air is deathly still — the time when ghosts are present, practicing their terror with ghoulish delight! And so, it is with this spirit that we celebrate those scary attractions scenes that send chills up and down our spine, and make us scream in sheer (but magical) terror. Join us as we take a terrifying tour of our Five Favorite Scary Attraction Scenes.
5. The Jungle Cruise
We’ll begin our journey with a tour on the famed Jungle Cruise. Yes, most of this boat ride is filled with lots of jokes and humorous sights (who can ever forget the famous Schweitzer Falls and the backside of water), but eventually you’ll come to the crumbling ruins of an ancient temple. As your boat drifts into the eerie darkness of this long-forgotten shrine, you’ll hear the distant strains of etherial music echoing through the caverns. Ominous statues line the walls, and instead of merry elephants and playful hippos, here you’ll find menacing tigers with gleaming eyes, frightening cobras ready to strike, and mischievous monkeys staking their claim to the long-abandoned treasures found within. This part of the cruise is especially creepy at night, when the whole Jungle Cruise becomes that much more spooky. Even when you’re cruising down the Amazon and Nile, you’ll truly feel like you’ve ventured into the deepest, darkest part of the jungle, miles away from civilization. The temple is even more foreboding at night, and your way is illuminated by the single lantern in the front of your boat, swinging back and forth as you wind your way deeper and deeper into the temple. Creepy indeed!
4. Haunted Mansion
Yes, the Haunted Mansion is filled with 999 happy haunts with eerie eyes, but for the most part, the Mansion is more fun than scary. But that doesn’t mean you won’t encounter lots of spooky moments. Madame Leota’s spell incantation is certainly ominous, and the sight of the skeleton trying to make his way out of his coffin (under the watchful eye of an inky black raven) is plenty creepy. But the scariest scene is definitely the attic. The waltz version of “Grim Grinning Ghosts” heard in the ballroom quickly fades into the distance, only to be replaced by a thumping heartbeat and the chilling wedding vows being recited by Constance Hatchaway, the bride who haunts the attic. Cobwebs cover the walls, and old mementos of a life gone by are scattered throughout. Keep an eye out for the wedding portraits of Constance and each of her five, dearly departed husbands. In particular, notice how she acquires a new necklace with each successive marriage. And notice too how the images of Constance’s husbands disappear from their portraits (signifying their unfortunate demise), leading you to the axe wielding bride herself, who wickedly recites her wedding vows…with a curious emphasis on the “till death do us part” section.
3. Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
This attraction is frightening from start to finish, beginning with your journey through the decaying remains of the lobby, left in the state that it was in when lightning struck the tower in 1939. But surely the most frightening part of your journey into the unknown is that uneasy moment before your elevator takes its initial faster-than-gravity plunge down the elevator shaft. Even more terrifying (for those with sensitive stomachs) is the rapid ascent back to the top. To make things worse, you’ll drop again…and again…and…well, you’ll never know quite how many times you’ll drop or when your journey to the Twilight Zone will end due to the random nature of the drops. Just hang on tight (and be sure to scream when the elevator doors open at the top so the whole park can hear you).
We’ll take a departure from attractions that have a spooky backstory and visit one that makes the list on sure terror alone. Most of the dinosaur encounters you have at Walt Disney World aren’t especially frightening…yes I’m talking to you Chester and Hester. And who can ever forget the dinos from Ellen’s Energy Adventure in Epcot (where the only thing you really had to worry about was getting sneezed on). But here at the Dino Institute, things definitely take a turn for the terrifying. Your journey back in time to find an Iguanodon is treacherous enough, but it’s that final encounter with the fearsome Carnotaurus that will leave you screaming…if you can hear yourself, that is. The ear-splitting roar of this fearsome prehistoric predator will leave even the bravest Guests cowering in their Time Rovers, but thankfully you’ll escape just in time to avoid becoming his dinner. (And yes, there’s that whole “get out of there before the asteroid” hits race against time, but once you hear that ear-splitting roar, somehow that asteroid doesn’t seem so bad!) But lest you thought you were brave enough for it not to bother you; you’ll see evidence to the contrary as you disembark the ride to find the souvenir photo taken of you just as the Carnotaurus roared. Yep, that’s you cowering in your seat, hands tightly covering your ears. And we’re not sure but…yep, we can definitely see you screaming. Brave indeed.
1. Pirates of the Caribbean
What could be more frightening than a raging thunderstorm? How about a raging thunderstorm out at sea with a skeleton or two thrown in for good measure? This is exactly what you’ll find in Pirates of the Caribbean. Yes, the Haunted Mansion is filled with creepy creeps, and the Tower of Terror is, well, terrifying. But our vote for the Scariest Attraction Scene in Walt Disney World goes to the opening scenes in Pirates, where you’ll pass an underground beach strewn with the skeletons of the less-fortunate pirates who tried to make off with the treasure ages ago. Not frightening enough? Well, it’s the next scene that will really send a chill up and down your spine. Immediately after you pass the skeletons, this scene appears on your right and is filled with thunderous explosions of lightning and a torrential downpour. At the helm is the skeletal remains of a notorious pirate, and the scene is so convincing that you’ll swear you’re getting drenched by the raging storm. Though you actually don’t get wet here, don’t fret…you just might get your wish on the drop through the darkness looming ahead. Yo ho indeed.
Honorable Mention: Snow White’s Scary Adventures
We’ll finish up our list with a trip down memory lane. This classic dark ride in the heart of Fantasyland took you on a (mostly) whimsical journey that recreated the story of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Even though the ride itself was tame (and similar in style to Peter Pan’s Flight and The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh), it did include some frightening moments. (They weren’t kidding when they said “Scary Adventures”!) The scene were the Evil Queen quickly turned around to reveal herself as the witch, poison apple in hand, was particularly terrifying, especially for little ones. Where’s Happy when you need him the most?
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