Haunted Disney: Take a Ride on The People Remover

"Let's take a ride on the PEOPLE REMOVER..."

Since it's Halloween time, Da-da's gonna mix fun and spooky into... fooky? spun? Something like that. Not sure anything that's based on kids dying can be fun, though. Anyway, way back when Da-da used to play at Disneyland as a musician (glockenspiel, steam-powered), several "cast members" (what Disney calls, "expendable robot slaves" "employees") used to group together on breaks and tell stories about what REAALLY transpires at The Happiest Place on Earth... especially when it comes to deaths in the park, a subject tres verboten by The Maus.

It should be noted that Disneyland works hard to make things as safe as possible, and they are MANIACS about stubble (they made Da-da shave between shifts until he started wearing bandages), but since people pretty much check their brains at the gate and assume that physical laws do not apply within Disneyland (aka, "the park"), accidents happen. Da-da won't recount them here, as they're quite grisly, but if you must know, check out, "Mouse Tales" by David Koenig. While all park deaths are tragic, some tragedies are apparently being replayed on Disney's stage.

Those of you familiar with the old Anaheim Disneyland may have forgotten about The Peoplemover...

Taken out of Disneyland years ago (it's now at DisneyWorld), it was the go-to ride for cooling down after running around all over the park, when all the other lines were too long and you needed a welcome respite on a hot day -- or a haven if it was raining, as the cars were covered. It was one of Da-da's favorites as the ride offered awesome people-watching opportunities... and now we pause for an untenable segue.

It should be noted that teenagers are occasionally quite dumb (a shock, Da-da knows); having been a teen once, Da-da can say this with great confidence. For the most part, teens think they know everything and can do anything, and this goes double at Disneyland. Unfortunately, they also think they're immortal, and when coupled with that empty-headed brain-removal-at-the-gate phenomena, it sometimes resulted in teens thinking they could outrun computer-controlled robot trains.

Yes, "The Peoplemover" was unofficially referred to -- quite ungently -- by Disney cast members as, "The Peopleremover," it having killed more teens than Jason. These unfortunate teens (actually, some were in their 20s) foolishly thought they could climb up on the elevated concrete track and somehow dodge robot trains moving at 45 mph (alas, similar events occasionally dogged the monorail). Da-da's finds that lack-of-common-sense mindset bizarre, but bizarrer still is that some of those kids are apparently still running the tracks today.

Da-da had heard these stories before, but two 2nd generation cast members (now married and making little 3rd-gen cast members) recently told Da-da (separately) of a teen they each personally saw and admonished while they themselves were on duty. The ghost teen was dressed like an extra in, "The Brady Bunch," and was seen running and laughing along the now defunct concrete tracks, before suddenly vanishing when cast members yelled up at him. The fact that ghost teens don't listen isn't half as surprising as the fact that Disneyland keeps a lid on this kind of information (note that there are other alleged haunted parts of the park, not the least of which is The Haunted Mansion).

Best ghostwatching time for this defunct ride is apparently just after dusk in late January/early February, as well as during full moons, for whatever reason; Da-da's own haunted house and its tortured denizens, living and dead, seem to fairly vibrate on full moons. Another friend of Da-da's, a Disney security guy, said he once saw a blank, white-faced boy walking along the elevated track one fall night during the harvest moon. The guard shouted a warning as he swung his flashlight up at the boy... only to have his flashlight beam, "dematerialize" the boy. Da-da could use a light like that.

Walt originally proposed using Giant Rotarians to scare people in Tomorrowland,
just as their counterparts do today.
Da-da never personally saw any of these things, but cast members past and present have informed Da-da that ghost teens do indeed haunt The Peoplemover tracks; it seemed common knowledge amongst the faithful when Da-da was in the park. What isn't common knowledge is that the "liability tail" and hauntings are allegedly the prime reasons Disneyland closed the ride and abandoned its tracks in the first place (that and the fact that the Giant Rotarians Walt wanted to use along the ride never seemed to work right... or left). The structure's still there, and apparently serves as a sort of walkway for the dead, those poor teen spirits the Peoplemover removed endlessly repeating their final Darwin-Award moments, reluctant to leave The Happiest Place on Earth.With ticket prices the way they are these days, Da-da can't say he blames them.

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