2020 Round-Up: Parks Closing, Boats Sinking, “Unparked” Cars, & More!

in Disneyland Resort, Walt Disney World

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2020 — a year of a widespread pandemic, quarantining, and several unexpected events. It’s safe to say that everyone is waiting until the end of the year so we can all wave goodbye to what was a wild year for all of us.

However, it wasn’t just the coronavirus that made 2020 an unprecedented year. In fact, over at the Disney theme parks, there were several different unexpected occasions that occurred which no Disney fan will ever forget. With 2020 coming to an end, let’s look back at every “crazy” event that has happened at the Disney Parks this year.

disney parks

PeopleMover Evacuated After Smoke Was Reported

In early January, The Reedy Creek Fire Department was on the scene to help control the unexpected smoke coming from the PeopleMover.

Armed Man Arrested After Attempting to Enter Disney Springs

An armed man showed up to one of the parking garages at Disney Springs at Walt Disney World on New Year’s Eve, but he was arrested before he could enter the shopping, dining, and entertainment district.

Guests Evacuated from Millennium Falcon Ride

Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run at Disney’s Hollywood Studios had a fire alarm go off at the beginning of the year, which caused the forced evacuation of the ride and queue.

Denied Service at Ronto Roasters on Batuu

On January 16 at Disneyland, Chewbacca wanted was some delicious roasted ronto for an early lunch, but a cashier and the rest of the staff apparently refused to fill his order!

Rise of the Resistance Breaks Down on Opening Day at Disneyland

Two hours into its big opening day, Disneyland’s Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance broke down.

Animatronic’s Hand Falls Off Mid-Show at Carousel of Progress at Disney World

On February 5, Carousel of Progress had a technical issue — John (the animatronic who leads the show) had his hand fall off mid-show.

carousel of progress
Credit: Reddit

Fire Erupts at Disneyland, Leads to Partial Power Outage

A fire unexpectedly broke out on February 6 at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California, which led to an apparent power outage and evacuation from a couple of areas of the theme park.

Large Police Presence Spotted At Disney’s Beach Club

On February 27, a large police presence was spotted at Disney’s Beach Club Resort after someone suspected a man had a gun under his jacket, but deputies determined there was no threat.

A Jungle Cruise Boat Filled With Water While Guests Were on Board

Back in February, a boat on the Jungle Cruise attraction in Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort sank and managed to fill a bit with water while Guests were on board.

Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover Trains Colliding

Also in late February, the PeopleMover trains collided while people were on board.

Cinderella Castle Makeover

Back in February, Disney announced that in honor of this year’s 70th anniversary of the Walt Disney animated film Cinderella, the castle in Magic Kingdom will be repainted with a gorgeous pink painting and gold detailing. The makeover has been complete and Cinderella Castle is now shining in beautiful rose gold paint.

cinderella castle 2020
Credit: ITM Rebekah Barton

Ring-Shaped UFO Spotted Over Disneyland

On March 8, a mysterious Unidentified Flying Object (UFO) was spotted over the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California.


Semi-Truck Almost Tears Up Entrance at Old Key West Resort

A semi-truck driver drove into the wrong entrance at Disney’s Old Key West Resort, almost tearing up the roofing.

All 6 Disney Parks Were Temporary Closed

Due to the ongoing pandemic, all six of the Disney Parks had to shut their gates, temporarily. Some have reopened since the shutdown, others had to re-shut down after opening the gates back up, while one park has yet to reopen since March.

Cast Members Walked Out Mid-Shift

Following the news of Walt Disney World being forced to close due to the pandemic, Cast Members began walking out of EPCOT mid-shift after receiving news regarding their programs and how they will be affected by park closures.

epcot festival of the holidays
Credit: Disney

Man Arrested for Breaking Into Disney Parks Amid Temporary Closure

In April, an 18-year-old man was arrested after jumping the gates and breaking into a closed Disney California Adventure. He was seen near a construction site by Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission BREAKOUT!

Man Caught Camping on Deserted Disney Property

In May, a 42-year-old man was spotted camping out on the old, abandoned Discovery Island in the middle of Bay Lake at Disney World. Orange County deputies had to search for the man, not only on foot but also by helicopter and boat before finally catching and arresting him.

Anaheim Police Gather in Disneyland Parking Lot

On June 1, Anaheim Police assembled in an employee parking lot at the Disneyland Resort to prepare for what they expected to be another night of protests and civil unrest.

Disney Announced Splash Mountain to Be Rethemed to Princess and the Frog

Both Splash Mountain at Disneyland and Magic Kingdom will be officially rethemed to Princess and the Frog. No set date has been announced yet and currently, Splash Mountain is still operating at Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World (Disneyland still remains closed, so no attractions are currently operating at this time.)

Splash Mountain Concept Art
Credit: Disney

Merida’s Horse Gets Spooked During Cavalcade on Reopening Day

During the cavalcade at Magic Kingdom on reopening day, Merida’s horse was spooked by a balloon a child was holding and accidentally let go of, which then got wrapped up in the horse’s feet, and was then walked off of backstage by Cast Members.

Guest Makes a ‘Splash,’ Reportedly Falls in Splash Mountain

On July 21, one TikTok user shared a 12-second video with the caption “CEO of falling into the water on Splash Mountain.”


this would only happen to me… SO embarrassing. #disney #magickingdom #disneyworld #LetsFaceIt #splashmountain #MoreHappyDenimDance

♬ original sound – parkerdugger

Animatronic Falls Down in Gran Fiesta Tour

Also on July 21, several Guests spotted the Jose audio-animatronic face-down mid-ride aboard the Gran Fiesta Tour in EPCOT.

Tom Sawyer Island Altercation Heard Across Magic Kingdom

A loud, expletive-filled argument reportedly took place on Tom Sawyer Island at Magic Kingdom on the afternoon of July 25. Guests reported hearing the altercation from several locations in the theme park.

Splash Mountain’s Log Sank, With Passengers on Board

In early August, Guests had to evacuate Splash Mountain after their ride vehicle became submerged with water.

A Car Found Its Own Parking Spot at Wilderness Lodge

Also in August, a car leaving Wilderness Lodge at Walt Disney World Resort accidentally turned and drove down a flight of stairs.

Pirates of Caribbean Animatronic Reportedly Toppled Over

In August, one animatronic on the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction was was at about a 75-degree angle falling forwards. When the Guest asked a Cast Member if the ride was shut down due to the animatronic, they joked and said “yes, it looks like he had a bit too much rum.”

Rhinos Fight At Kilimanjaro Safaris, Bump Into Ride Vehicle

In late August, a rhino fight broke out right in front of the ride vehicle on Kilimanjaro Safaris at Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park. The rider was able to capture the entire altercation on video.

Nationwide Internet Outage Affects ROTR, My Disney Experience, and More

Due to a nationwide internet outage, the Walt Disney World parks and everyone’s favorite Star Wars-themed attraction Rise of the Resistance faced some serious technical difficulties.

Elsa Animatronic Malfunctions in Frozen Ever After

As the boats make their way through to Elsa’s ice palace on the Frozen Ever After attraction, Guests are supposed to be greeted by Elsa as she belts out “Let it Go” from a balcony before their boat is sent backward. However, on this day in September, Elsa was not singing.

Heavy Downpour Causes Flooding in Tomorrowland

Walt Disney World Resort was hit with torrential rain in early September, which caused instances of flooding throughout the park, especially in Tomorrowland.

rain florida
Credit: @LSThrasher04 on Twitter (left); Alex Nalven (right)

Disney’s Contemporary Resort Evacuates

In September, Disney’s Contemporary Resort had to evacuate after a possible false fire alarm went off in the middle of the night.

Disneyland Moving to Texas?

A rumor regarding Disneyland moving to Texas surfaced on the internet, saying that Disneyland Resort “had enough of California’s restrictions and decided to pack up and relocate to Texas.” However, this was never the case, and Disneyland is staying in California.

Disney Security Removes ‘A Bug’s Life’ Disruptive, Maskless Man from Park

One Guest did not abide by the face mask rules and was escorted out of Disney’s Hollywood Studios, shouting to anybody who would listen to take off their masks with him. He even incorrectly quoted Disney-Pixar’s A Bug’s Life to prove his point.

hollywood studios
Credit: @yourWDWguy on Twitter

Goofy Falls During Magic Kingdom Cavalcade

Also in September, the cavalcade at Magic Kingdom came to an unexpected stop at the bridge by Sleepy Hollow in-between Liberty Square and Main Street, U.S.A., where Goofy lost his balance and fell down.

Disney Lays Off 28,000+ Cast Members

Due to the parks being temporarily closed, Disney had to make the difficult decision to layoff 28,000+ Cast Members.

If you are looking to help those Cast Members in need, visit our article here.

Loud Altercation Reported Between Guests at Little Mermaid Ride

An altercation between two families reportedly occurred in the queue for Under the Sea – Journey of The Little Mermaid at Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World. One Reddit user took to the platform to see if anyone else heard or witnessed the altercation. The user explained that while they were waiting for the rest of their party to be finished riding the attraction, they heard yelling and witnessed several people running out of the queue.

Olaf Animatronic Malfunctions On Frozen Ever After

In early October, the Olaf animatronic was malfunctioning, causing him to look possessed on the attraction.

Splash Mountain Animatronic Topples Over

In October, a Goose animatronic toppled over while riders were aboard Splash Mountain at Magic Kingdom.

Disney World Entrance to Get a Magical New Pixie Dusted Paint Job

Disney Parks Blog announced that Walt Disney World Resort’s famous entry arch is getting a complete makeover, which has already been underway.

disney world sign
Credit: Disney

Confused Guest Pushes the WRONG Buttons on Rise of the Resistance

A Guest visiting Disney’s Hollywood Studios in November was taking a video of the Rise of the Resistance attraction and started pushing buttons as he was fully immersed in the experience. However, he then found out that he pushed real buttons that actually help operate parts of the attraction.

Guests Stuck Mid-Air on Disney Skyliner

The Disney Skyliner had some technical difficulties, causing some Guests to be stuck mid-air.

Guests Evacuate Disney World’s Newest Resort

On December 14, Guests staying at Walt Disney World Resort’s newest hotel, Disney’s Riviera Resort, were evacuated after the fire alarms were set off for reasons that were unknown.

What do you think was the craziest thing that happened at Disney Parks this year? Let us know in the comments below.

in Disneyland Resort, Walt Disney World

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