Well, the title of the article is not actually correct… this is a tale of terror in the parking lot of the Magic Kingdom. If you like a good story that will give you a bit of chill… then imagining yourself in the midst of this terrifying situation might be just what you are looking for. There are a number of places that this story has been told, retold, and even written about. Most of those who tell it and repeat it will emphatically stand behind its reality. Perhaps you should decide for yourself.
The parking lot of Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom is a massive expanse of asphalt. Few guests have ever had the chance to see it empty, but if you have, and this usually happens late at night… then it is even larger than you realize. Late one night, a man is leaving the Magic Kingdom. He has put in a very full day taking in the wonders of the world Walt dreamed up. After the fireworks in the Magic Kingdom he had dinner reservations at the Contemporary Resort. Dinner was marvelous and has lasted late, late, late into the night. By the time he leaves the resort, all Disney transportation has quit running. He is forced to walk from the Contemporary, down the lonely roadway, cut back toward the Ticket and Transportation Center and then across the parking lot to where he had parked his car earlier in the day. Since the transportation is no longer running, that means the tram has stopped for the night and he has no choice but to walk across the now deserted Disney parking lot. As luck, or in this case bad luck would have it, he is parked as far away as he could possibly be parked from the Ticket and Transportation Center. But the day has been good, this is the Magic Kingdom, and the walk is not something the man dreaded, he took it all in stride without a worry in the world.
Halfway there, at the end of one of the long aisles where cars normally have filled the space, he spots two children standing alone in the distance. From where he stands and looks toward them in the darkness, they are older kids, perhaps even teenagers. They are dressed in black, both wearing a jacket that is zipped up with a hood pulled up over their heads. Seeing the children surprises and startles the man, as it would any of us. Immediately he grows concerned seeing them. He assumes that they are lost, abandoned, or in some kind of distress. As he takes his first step in their direction he abruptly stops. He see through the darkness that both of the kids have seen him and from their shapes in the inky night can tell they are looking his way. A cold shiver races up his spine and he decides instead not to go down the long empty row of parking spaces toward them.
He realigns his direction and keeps heading toward his car. Trying to be nonchalent he feels a growing sense of unease and glances back in the direction where the children had been standing. He notices that they are following him. Picking up his pace, he walks briskly with a growing sense of dread and again looks back. This time he sees nothing. He knows there is no where they could have disappeared in the massive parking area his heartbeat quickens again and he breaks into a run
toward his car. Panic and paranoia have gripped his ability to think, he uses the key fob to click open the locked doors of his car. Now in a full sprint he tears open the car door and throws himself inside, slamming the door shut and immediately locking it behind him.
Exhaling loudly, the man laughs at himself. He shakes his head at how after all these years he still has moments when he is afraid of the dark. Clicking his seatbelt into place and turning the key in the ignition the engine fires to life. Then he
jumps as there is a tapping on the passenger side window. He whirls about to see the same two children he had seen earlier silently staring back at him through the glass. He blinks, there is no way they could have caught up with him and gotten to his car so quickly. Their pale faces gaze at him with dark eyes from under the hood, the older of the two, a boy speaks.
“We need to use your phone.” His voice is monotone and emotionless.
The man reaches to turn on his phone and as he does he looks back toward the window. In the pale glow of illumination coming from the dashboard lights in the car he sees that the children’s eyes are not merely hidden in shadow, they are entirely black. The black-eyed children open their mouths to reveal fangs and desperately begin to claw at the window. The man is terrified and slams the car into gear. Flooring the accelerator his car screams gripping the pavement as he flies
through the parking lot leaving the horrifying sight of the two children in his rear view mirror.
Not your usual story of how to end a day in the Magic Kingdom to be sure. I suppose there are times when the moral of the story is – don’t stay too long and don’t be the last car out of the parking lot at night. As I wrote earlier, this is a story that has been repeated over the years and you can decide whether or not you think it is true. But it does have all the elements of things that can scare us if we are not careful.
It is all loaded in the paragraphs above- isolation, an error in judgment that puts you in a situation that you usually would avoid, it is dark and dreary, you come to face to face with an unexpected circumstance, your common sense tells you to get
away, you do and then discover that you really did have something to be afraid of. All in all – scary stuff! This is a story where everything that could go wrong did and the worst case scenario became reality.
However, you must understand that life doesn’t usually work that way. When you’re anxious about something – be it work, a relationship, or an unusual situation – it can help to think through what the worst end result could be. Even if a presentation, a call or a conversation goes horribly wrong, chances are that you and the world will survive. Sometimes the worst that can happen is a panic attack.
Researchers tell us – and the numbers vary here – but somewhere between 73-85% of the things we worry about and are fearful of never happen. Reread those statistics. Most of the stuff that consumes us with worry and fear just don’t happen.
So, when you start to feel stressed or afraid. Pause, slow down, and don’t let it win. Take a deep breath, take in your surroundings and try to determine if you really need to be frightened and see what is really happening. More often than not…
there is not anything to be afraid of. All of us have to make choices as to how to face life. As we face our fears, we discover that many of them aren’t so bad… and we shouldn’t let them rob us of the joy of living life to the fullest each day.
However, if you ever find yourself all alone… in the Magic Kingdom parking lot in the middle of the night when there is no one else around. Just keep walking, don’t slow down, and get in your car and go… then you can avoid the terror in the
parking lot of the Magic Kingdom.
Notes for this article came from a variety of sources but the one the author recommends the most is Death in the Tragic Kingdom by Keaton Moll.(Theme Park Press) Mr. Moll’s version of the story, although slightly different than the account above includes the best elements and more. It is the author’s favorite account of the legend.
Jeff Dixon is the author of a series of mystery thrillers set in Central Florida and in and around Walt Disney World. The Key to the Kingdom, Unlocking the Kingdom and the latest installment Storming the Kingdom is available from book sellers everywhere.