On June 26, 2021, user @mycinema135 posted a TikTok video that claimed to capture a "ghost" on Disneyland's Sleeping Beauty Castle during the park's fireworks show. Although the video was posted in 2021, it was not new then.
"If you scare easily, keep scrolling," @mycinema135 said. "But if you're still here, I want to show you something creepy. Disney guests saw a ghost during the fireworks show. Did you miss it? I'm going to show you one more time. Deep behind the castle wall, they noticed this figure. What do you think?":
The mysterious figure might appear one of two ways depending on who's looking at the video. In one way, the "ghost" at Disneyland's fireworks could appeat to be a giant standing in the background of the Disneyland fireworks show. As one commenter said, "If that's a real ghost ... it must be enormous."
To another pair of eyes, the "ghost" might appear to simply be a normally-sized person standing on top of Sleeping Beauty Castle. The latter turned out to be true.
We were able to find a copy of the purported Disneyland fireworks "ghost" video from more than a decade earlier. It was published to YouTube on Sept. 18, 2009:
In the video, the purported "ghost" can be seen on top of Disneyland's castle at both the 0:13 and 0:30 marks in the clip.
'Maybe It's Walt'
Users on TikTok and YouTube attempted to explain the purported "ghost" visible during the fireworks show at Disneyland. "If this were a real ghost, I hope it's Walt's," one commenter said.
One YouTube user believed to have the explanation for the "ghost," saying: "Yeah, sorry I know it feels awesome to think you caught a real ghost but as others said, it's a conductor with a suit meant to blend with the night sky, but the firework lighting made it visible."
A different explanation claimed that "This person is a Disney cast member that is wearing a camo costume to blend in with the night sky. He is there for safety and also to make sure none of the shells from the fireworks go into parts of Fantasyland."
We also found claims on a Disney message board that it was simply the result of "double exposure" and that someone had been "superimposed."
The Likeliest Explanation
It's unclear if the person ("ghost") standing on top of Disneyland's Sleeping Beauty Castle in the fireworks video was simply a "conductor," Disney cast member, or some sort of special technical staff member.
However, the likeliest explanation was that it was a person who oversees the fireworks show.
One commenter asked on YouTube: "If it's a person, how come he vanishes into thin air?" referring to the end of the YouTube video. The explanation for this is simple: the light shining on the person was turned off to transition into a quieter part of the show.
Fireworks at Disneyland Park
Disneyland Park offers a variety of fireworks shows throughout the year.
Disneyland invites park guests to "behold spectacular fireworks, timeless music, and surprise appearances by some classic Disney characters."
Fireworks were put on hold for more than a year at Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, Disneyland's fireworks were set to return on July 4, 2021. Disney World's fireworks shows were also set to come back a few days before, on July 1.
In sum, a "ghost" seen atop Disneyland's Sleeping Beauty Castle appeared to be nothing more than someone on Disney's payroll who was making sure the fireworks show went off without a hitch. We reached out to Disney Parks to see if they could pinpoint what kind of person might be standing on top of the castle all those years ago.