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The CRAZIEST Things That Have Ever Happened at the Magic Kingdom!

Disney Magic Kingdom
Credit: Disney Dining

Here you leave today and enter the world of yesterday, tomorrow and fantasy.

If you are a Disney fan, then you probably know that those immortal words are on a plaque over the tunnel entrance to the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort. And Disney Imagineers have worked to keep that magic alive by creating new and exciting rides and attractions, in addition to putting small and meaningful details all over the theme park.

The entrance to the Magic Kingdom

Credit: Brett Kiger, Flickr

The Magic Kingdom consists of six distinct lands: Main Street, U.S.A., Tomorrowland, Fantasyland, Adventureland, Frontierland, and Liberty Square. Cinderella Castle looms large in its gorgeous central hub. The seven lands are full of exciting rides and attractions, delicious dining options, and fun merchandise spots.

While the Magic Kingdom is typically, well… magical, sometimes things happen there that are beyond belief.

Here are some of the craziest things that we have seen happen at the Magic Kingdom.

cinderella castle magic kingdom

Credit: Greg Park, Unsplash

A Bear on Tom Sawyer Island

Back in September 2023, Disney fans were shocked when it was reported that a bear had been seen on the loose in the Magic Kingdom. And we aren’t talking about the Country Bears — we are talking about a real, live black bear!

On September 18, reports started pouring in that multiple lands and attractions were shut down because a black bear had been spotted roaming around Tom Sawyer Island, in the Frontierland area. Because of Tom Sawyer Island’s location, attractions in Frontierland, Adventureland, and Liberty Square were closed, including Jungle Cruise, Pirates of the Caribbean, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, the Haunted Mansion, Liberty Square Riverboat, and Country Bear Jamboree.

Tom Sawyer Island

Credit: Disney

Related: The Best Magic Kingdom Attraction You’ve Probably Never Done!

Disney quickly called in the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), and crews came to the park and went to work. The FWC confirmed that a bear had indeed made its way into the theme park, and it was first spotted in a tree.

Thankfully, the bear was captured within a few hours, and the FWC used a tranquilizer dart to catch the female bear and safely transport her out of the park to a safe place. The bear was transported out of the Magic Kingdom on a white tarp and taken to her new home — Ocala National Park, located about 80 miles away.

Two aerial photos showing rescue workers carrying a person on a stretcher through dense foliage. They are wearing safety gear, including helmets and high-visibility vests, as they navigate the terrain. The scene is surrounded by green vegetation, unfolding one of those crazy stories in nature's Magic Kingdom.

Credit: Screenshots, WESH2 News

We know that some singing country bears are incredibly popular at Walt Disney World, but seeing a huge black bear roaming around was truly a sight to behold!

Maleficent on Fire During the Festival of Fantasy Parade

One of the really great things about visiting Walt Disney World is seeing all the amazing nighttime spectaculars that are offered, from Fantasmic! at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Luminous at EPCOT, and Happily Ever After at the Magic Kingdom. And we can’t forget about the parades either! They are fun and get guests up and dancing as they wait to see some of their favorite Disney characters.

At the Magic Kingdom, guests absolutely love the Festival of Fantasy Parade. Festival of Fantasy honors one of the Magic Kingdom’s most popular and iconic lands — Fantasyland! The parade is full of vibrant music, colorful costumes, and more Disney characters than you can shake a stick at. There is even a Maleficent dragon that breathes fire!

Maleficent Dragon

Credit: Disney

Related: The BEST Snack at Disney World (And It’s Not the DOLE Whip)

And it is that Maleficent dragon that earns a spot on our list of craziest things that have happened in the Magic Kingdom.

Back in May 2018, guests watching the parade were shocked when there was a malfunction with the dragon’s fire effect. Instead of blowing fire out, the effect malfunctioned, and Maleficent’s head was quickly engulfed in flames. Thankfully, no guests or cast members were hurt, but the float was removed, so repairs could be made.

Maleficent Dragon head fire Festival of Fantasy parade

Photo Credit: Jacob Easley

The fire during the Festival of Fantasy is now a weird foreshadowing moment, showing just how quickly a fire could destroy Maleficent. And, in April 2023, guests on visiting Disneyland on the West Coast were forced to flee the area along the Rivers of America when the Maleficent dragon in Fantasmic! became fully engulfed in flames.

Like the malfunction during Festival of Fantasy, Maleficent’s head is what caught fire first. Unfortunately, the fire quickly spread, and the entire dragon was destroyed. Fantasmic! was gone for more than a year, and when it returned in late May 2024, it was without the terrifying dragon.

Disneyland Fantasmic! fire dragon before and after

Credit: Disney Dining

Related: VIDEO: Massive Disney Fire Seen From Top of Splash Mountain!

Thankfully, mishaps like this are rare, and Maleficent’s dragon continues to be the highlight of the Festival of Fantasy parade.

Bloody Brawl Over a Photo Spot

Guest behavior seems to be at an all-time low, and many think it has gotten worse since the COVID-19 pandemic. More often than not, people are filmed screaming at other guests, causing issues and annoying others while they film videos for their social media, cutting lines at popular attractions, and even getting violent.

Fight at Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World Resort

Credit: @ParisDivi on TikTok

While we have sadly gotten a little bit used to hearing about fights that break out in the theme parks, there was one fight at the Magic Kingdom that was so bad, it shocked nearly everyone. It was so bad that cast members were left cleaning blood off the pavement so young children could not see any evidence of what happened.

Back in May 2023, social media and Disney fans were shocked when a video began circulating, showing a knock-down, drag-out fight at the entrance to the Magic Kingdom. The guests had made it through the security checkpoints and were in front of the train station, where many people pose for photos before entering Main Street, U.S.A.

Three separate scenes show a group of people involved in a physical altercation in an outdoor setting during daytime. In these crazy stories, several individuals are on the ground while others are standing, seemingly attempting to break up the fight, as bystanders watch from a distance.

Credit: Gracey Bros X

According to those who were there, two families wanted to take a photo in the same spot. One family asked the other family to move so they could also take photos. One member of the family who was asked to move became irate and began throwing punches. From there, it devolved into an all-out brawl as children stood off to the side and watched in terror.

One woman who was doing the attacking was even holding a small toddler while she tried to throw punches and kicks.

A group of people are engaged in what appears to be a physical altercation in front of a building labeled

Credit: Gracey Bros TikTok

Disney has a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to violence, and the parks and the cast members quickly called the police. Officers from the Orange County Sheriff’s Department responded, and arrests were made. Later, two people from the family who began the attack were issued trespass notices and permanently banned from all Disney-owned properties.

A Birthday Cake Castle

Okay, so those were some pretty intense things that happened at the Magic Kingdom, so let’s take a fun turn. Let’s talk about something really fun that Disney did to celebrate an anniversary.

Happily Ever After at Magic Kingdom

Credit: Disney

In 1996, the Magic Kingdom celebrated its 25th anniversary, and when it came to going big or going home, Disney decided to go big — really, really big. And they did so by transforming Cinderella Castle into a giant birthday cake! It might not have been edible, but it was definitely memorable.

The base of the “cake” decorations was bright pink frosting that covered the castle. The spires were outlined with blue and white frosting and topped with candles. A giant 25 was put over the entrance to the castle, and there were also giant Lifesaver-like candy decorations all over.

A colorful, candy-themed castle adorned with swirls, gumdrops, and lollipops against a pinkish sky. The magical scene seems straight out of Crazy Stories as the castle celebrates a 25th anniversary, indicated by a large

Credit: Disney

The move to change Cinderella Castle was a controversial one, but now, we look back on the change and smile. But if Disney wants to bring the cake castle back, they will need a ton of ingredients, including:

  • More than 400 gallons of pink paint which was decorated with multicolored sprinkles
  • 26 candles, ranging in height from 20 to 40 feet tall
  • 16 two-foot-long candy stars
  • 16 five-foot-tall candy bears
  • 12 five-foot gumdrops
  • 4 six-foot stacks of Life Savers
  • 30 three-foot-tall lollipops
  • 50 two-foot gumballs
  • More than 1,000 feet of pink and blue inflatable “icing”
cinderella castle magic kingdom

Credit: Disney

Magic Kingdom Ferry Boat Crashes

One of the really cool things about Walt Disney World Resort is all the modes of transportation that are offered to guests. Guests staying at any Disney World hotel can take free buses to the four theme parks, the two water parks, and Disney Springs. There is also the Skyliner, which can take guests from Caribbean Beach, Art of Animation, and Disney’s Riviera Resort to EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Then, there are the boats and ferries. Guests can take a boat from Hollywood Studios and EPCOT to the Swan and Dolphin Hotels, as well as the Yacht and Beach Club and the BoardWalk area. Ferries can take guests from the Magic Kingdom to Polynesian Village and Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa.

A scenic view of a bright, shiny yellow cable car gliding above a large tranquil lake, surrounded by lush greenery, colorful buildings with turquoise roofs, and a towering hotel in the background. The sky is clear with a few scattered clouds during daylight, resembling the serene disney world skyliner experience.

Credit: Disney

Related: Fun Facts About the Walt Disney World Skyliner

And we can’t forget the iconic monorail! Which goes from the Magic Kingdom and EPCOT to the Ticket and Transportation Center. Guests can also take the monorail from the Magic Kingdom to the Contemporary Resort, Disney’s Polynesian Village, and the Grand Floridian.

While Disney works incredibly hard to make its transportation offerings as smooth as possible, sometimes things can go wrong. And that is exactly what happened during more than one ferry ride in 2023.

Epcot Monorail

Credit: Disney

Related: Video of Fight on Magic Kingdom Ferry Goes Viral

In April 2023, Justin Tripp said that he was riding the Richard F. Irvine ferry to the Magic Kingdom. He claimed that the ferry did not slow down as it approached the dock, and cast members gave no warning about the upcoming collision. When the ferry crashed, multiple guests were thrown to the ground. One was even knocked unconscious when he hit his head and neck on a steel pillar.

Ferry Boat Mishap at Disney World Sends Guest Flying From Scooter

Credit: Disney

Tripp ended up suing Disney for $50,000.

Then, in October 2023, a guest claimed that they were riding the ferry to the Ticket and Transportation Center. As the ferry approached the dock, the Reddit user noticed that the boat was not lined up properly with the dock and was not slowing down. They warned their daughter to brace for impact. The boat crashed into the dock, and multiple people fell to the ground, including one woman who was allegedly thrown from her scooter.

ferry-boat-disney

Credit: Disney Dining

Fire trucks Down Main Street, U.S.A.

Now, there is a lot to experience when walking down Main Street, U.S.A. You can see the treats inside the Main Street Confectionery, check out the fun inscriptions on the windows, find characters meeting guests, and even see a horse-drawn carriage, an omnibus, and a jitney taking guests to Cinderella Castle.

What you might not expect to see are actual firetrucks and ambulances, and that is why this instance has made our list.

Main street confectionery exterior

Credit: Disney

Just before Christmas in 2021, guests were shocked when a firetruck and ambulance slowly and safely made their way down Main Street, U.S.A. Cast members made sure that guests stayed out of the way so first responders could get to Cinderella Castle, where a small fire had suddenly broken out.

According to Jon Shirey — the President of the Reedy Creek Firefighters Association — firefighters were called when cast members reported a small fire that started from a junction box near the castle. He said that, typically, they would avoid driving down Main Street, U.S.A., because of the crowds, but due to where the fire was, they did not have a choice.

firetruck at main street u.s.a.

Credit: Twitter/@CameronYeager

The fire was quickly extinguished, but not before going viral. The area surrounding the castle remained clear until it was deemed safe for Disney park guests to return.

Thankfully, no guests or cast members were injured. One Disney security guard did receive treatment for some chemical burns he received while using a fire extinguisher.

Guests Strip to Ride Splash

As we spoke about above, in recent years, there has been no shortage of bad guest behavior while visiting many different Disney parks. And, thanks to the prominence of social media, those guests can quickly go viral and be called out for their bad behavior. For example, social media was not kind to a man who sprayed canned cheese on Big Thunder Mountain or the woman who jumped over a barrier so she could take a picture on Space Mountain.

Space Mountain

Credit: embleier TikTok

When Disney announced that it was permanently closing Splash Mountain at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World, guests flocked to the attraction to get in one last ride. Wait times for the flume ride were frequently over an hour. So, you can imagine how upset guests waiting were when some unruly teenagers caused the ride to shut down after they decided to take off their clothes and get in the water.

In late April 2023, Tracy Flaum was one of the guests waiting in line to ride Splash Mountain. She knew the wait would be long when she got in line, but she did not expect what happened next.

Splash Mountain Magic Kingdom Disney World woke

Credit: Disney

According to Tracy, a group of young men took off their shirts, jumped out of their log, and decided to swim in Splash Moutain’s water. That is not only incredibly dangerous but also extremely disgusting.

Because of their actions, cast members were forced to shut the ride down, telling guests it would be down for at least an hour. That was on top of the 80 minutes Tracy had already waited to ride the popular Disney park attraction.

A uniformed man wearing a white hat, white shirt, and blue trousers speaks to four young men standing together on a paved path in the Magic Kingdom. The men are dressed casually in shorts and T-shirts, with some holding bags. Green foliage and a wooden fence are visible in the background.

Credit: Tracy Flaum Facebook

Speaking of Splash Mountain….

The Closure of Splash Mountain

This might not be one of the craziest things that has happened at the Magic Kingdom, but it is definitely one of the most controversial, and Disney is still dealing with the backlash.

In June 2020, while the theme parks were closed because of the pandemic, Disney shocked everyone when they announced that they would be closing Splash Mountain, not just for a refurbishment but completely ending the ride as we know it. The iconic Frontierland attraction would be completely reimagined, receiving a new Princess and the Frog (2009) theme.

splash mountain

Credit: Mike Buchawiecki, Flickr

Splash Mountain would not only be closing at the Magic Kingdom, but it would receive the same retheme in Disneyland Park. However, at Disneyland, the change made a little more sense. At The Happiest Place on Earth, Splash Mountain is located in Critter Country, which is right next to New Orleans Square. The Princess and the Frog, as we know, takes place in New Orleans.

The outrage was instant, with fans flooding social media to complain about the closure. Many blamed Disney’s “wokeness” for closing one of its most iconic attractions. The original attraction was based on the controversial 1946 film, Song of the South, which is considered full of negative racial stereotypes.

disney's song of the south

Credit: Disney

Related: Splash Mountain Lives On Thanks To a Hilariously Bad Disney Promotional Video

Despite what guests were saying, Disney recently said that the controversy surrounding Song of the South had nothing to do with Splash Mountain’s closure.

Recently, Ted Robledo, a Disney Imagineer and the executive creative director of Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, said that his team avoided “identity politics.” Their only concern was creating the best ride possible and one heck of a new story for Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, the name of the new attraction.

A whimsical theme park ride, Tiana's Bayou Adventure, features a waterway surrounded by lush, green trees and vegetation. A small waterfall flows from a rocky hill topped with a tree and a tower in the background. Log boats float on the water, as visitors enjoy delectable bayou-themed food under partly cloudy skies.

Credit: Disney

Related: Guests Riding Tiana’s Bayou Adventure Have Once in a Lifetime Experience!

Tiana’s Bayou Adventure officially opens in the Magic Kingdom on June 28. The ride does not have an opening date at Disneyland, but Disney has said that it will open later this year.

And there you have it! Some of the craziest things that have happened at the Magic Kingdom! Now, of course, these are not the only wild things to happen at the Disney Park. If we wanted to write about every insane thing we have heard and read about, we could publish an entire novel.

What is the craziest thing you have seen while visiting the Magic Kingdom? Let us know in the comments!

About Krysten Swensen

A born and bred New England girl living the Disney life in Southern California. I love to read, to watch The Golden Girls, and love everything to do with Disney and Universal. I also love to share daily doses of Disney on my Disney Instagram @BrazzleDazzleDisney!

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