Fact Check

The Disneyland Space Mountain Prank Story Is Fake

A story about a Space Mountain prank involving missing children misused a photograph of small children without the parents' permission.

Published Jul 12, 2021

 (Robynne Blume/Flickr)
Image Via Robynne Blume/Flickr
A boy and girl hopped off of Space Mountain while the ride was in motion and pretended that one of them died on the track, all as a prank on Disneyland cast members.

Since at least 2020, a false and misleading story has circulated online that described a Disneyland prank involving the popular thrill ride known as Space Mountain. For example, the organization behind this @travelerdoor tweet from July 8 paid Twitter an unknown sum of money to promote it as an ad on the social network:

A Space Mountain Disneyland prank involving a girl and a boy who didn't meet the height requirements for the ride and resulted in one of them pretending to be dead and missing was all fake.
We blurred the child's face after the photograph was used improperly by @travelerdoor.

The ad claimed that "Plenty of Disney employees were happy to give out the juiciest bits of crazy that happened to them or that they have ever seen in the House of Mouse."

The Fake Story

Once we clicked the ad we were led to a lengthy slideshow article. The last page of the article described the Space Mountain prank that purportedly took place at Disneyland:

Thought The Kids Were Goners!

Some kids are just jerks. According to one ride attendant who used to work the Space Mountain before [at Disneyland], he and his co-attendants let a kid who didn't meet the height limit onto the ride because his big sister vowed she'd hold on to him. Unfortunately for them, the kids were planning something messed up.

When the ride got back, the two kids were missing. Naturally, everyone lost it. After all, they could lose their job and go to prison. So they quickly shut down the ride and start climbing up and down the ride to look for the kids. When they finally found them, it seems that they're too late. The boy is lying facedown on the tracks, and his sister looks like she's traumatized and grieving. At that point, the attendants started crying, until the girl bursts out laughing, soon followed by the apparently not dead boy. The worst part is that the attendants couldn't report it because they'd lose their job for letting the boy ride in the first place.

However, none of this was true. There is no evidence that this ever happened, and the idea presented in the story was quite absurd. It claimed that small children at Disneyland were unaccompanied by parents in a line for a ride, and although one of them didn't meet Space Mountain's height requirement, cast members allowed both of them on the ride anyway. Then the children somehow safely hopped off of the ride in the dark, without injury, and were undetected despite the cameras covering every inch of the track. This does not jive with reality.

Misuse of Child Photos

In the middle of the Traveler Door article, a photograph showed three young children sitting in front of Disneyland's Sleeping Beauty Castle and was credited to DisneylandWithKids.info. We have chosen to not repost the image here.

We reached out to DisneylandWithKids.info and they told us that the three children in the picture belonged to one of the four co-owners of their website, and that they did not authorize its use on the Traveler Door website. One of the site's co-owners spent a decade as an intellectual property attorney and intended to take the necessary steps to have the picture removed.

We provided information on where we found the photograph so that they could begin the process of having it taken down. We also advised them about the specific email address to report abuse to the domain name's registrar, which was Namecheap.com.

Space Mountain

As for Disneyland's Space Mountain, it debuted two days after "Star Wars" premiered, on May 27, 1977:

A Space Mountain Disneyland prank involving a boy and girl who didn't meet the height requirements for the ride and resulted in one of them pretending to be dead and missing was all fake.
The queue inside Space Mountain. (Courtesy: Peter Lee/Flickr)

Space Mountain is described by Disneyland as a "Race through the cosmos in the dark to the edge of the galaxy and back on a thrilling roller-coaster ride."

All Systems Go

Navigate through a vast futuristic space station as you make your way to Mission Control. Board a sleek flight vehicle and prepare yourself for a high-flying adventure to the furthest reaches of space.

Ascend slowly through a swirling solar field as your rocket powers up. Plunge through a spectacular spiral nebula and then, when the countdown ends—hang on tight!

As you hurtle forward into infinite darkness, your rocket darts and twists in the void, speeding faster and faster. Feel the g-force as you careen into the unknown!

Immersive sound effects and evocative music add to the intense sensory experience.

Brave the most epic journey of your Earthbound life and accept your mission—to conquer [Disneyland's] Space Mountain.

In sum, there's no evidence from books, Disney blogs, newspapers, or any other source of information confirming the outlandish Disneyland Space Mountain prank story. Further, if past Disney cast members were to actually give out details about bizarre moments from the park, they probably wouldn't be giving them to a simple and clumsy arbitrage website.

Snopes debunks a wide range of content, and online advertisements are no exception. Misleading ads often lead to obscure websites that host lengthy slideshow articles with lots of pages. It's called advertising "arbitrage." The advertiser's goal is to make more money on ads displayed on the slideshow's pages than it cost to show the initial ad that lured them to it. Feel free to submit ads to us, and be sure to include a screenshot of the ad and the link to where the ad leads.

Jordan Liles is a Senior Reporter who has been with Snopes since 2016.

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