5 Disney Rides With Sad Endings

Disney Adventurer

CDA Scene Monsters Inc Mike and Sulley To The Rescue Disney California Adventure Disneyland

Disney is known as the embodiment of happily ever after, a place where dreams come true. But not every ride at the Disney Parks has a good ending, and some end in tragedy and sadness.

So today we are paying tribute to five Disney Parks rides that have a sad or tragic ending.

1. Mr. Toad's Wild Ride

Mr. Toad's Wild Ride is probably one of the most famous Disney rides with a sad ending. It famously ends with you and Mr. Toad dying by being hit by a train and then going to hell. Toad is even shown to have been eaten by some hell creature. This scene has been kept with every version of the ride, despite not being featured in the book or film the ride was based on. How much worse can a ride get than literally going to hell.

2. Rock N Roller Coaster

Rock N Roller Coaster Entrance Arch Sunset Boulevard Disney's Hollywood Studios

This might not be what you are thinking of when you think of sad Disney rides, but make no mistake, this ride does not end happily. The entire storyline of this ride is trying to make it to an AEROSMITH concert on time, and yet you don't make it on time. The story of the ride suggests either you arrive after the concert has finished or near the end, never getting to see the band perform.

3. Pirates of the Caribbean

Pirates of the Caribbean Cave Skeleton Bedroom Scene Disneyland

The Disneyland version of the Pirates of the Caribbean recently confirmed a longstanding fan theory about the storyline of the ride, including its tragic ending. It tells the story of the last day in the lives of a group of pirates backwards. First, it shows the deceased pirates long since dead in the caves, before going to their final raid. It shows them invading, pillaging, and then eventually causing their own demise by blowing themselves up while drunk.

Skeleton Transforms Into Pirate Disneyland Pirates of the Caribbean

Disney leaned into this fan theory in the recent refurbishment of the Disneyland version with the addition of a pirate who transforms from dead to alive, proving the time travel nature of the attraction, and its tragic, for the pirates at least, ending.

4. Dinosaur

Aladar Statue Dinosaur Ride Disney's Animal Kingdom Walt Disney World

Disney's Animal Kingdom's Dinosaur attraction features you saving an Iguanadon from the extinction of the dinosaurs. But this is not just any Iguanadon, it is Aladar from the Disney film that shares the same name as the attraction. This is where the sad ending comes in.

You may save Aladar, but you fail to save any of his family. If you have ever seen Dinosaur the film, the entire story of the film is about Aladar saving as many other dinosaurs as he can from threats including a desert and predators and his first appearance in the ride is even saving the ride vehicle from a falling tree. At the end of the film, he is even shown with a wife and kids after successfully saving a pack of dinos. But in the ride which takes place after the events of the film, he survives and his family is assumed to be left to face extinction.

5. Mike and Sulley To The Rescue

Roz Animatronic Monsters Inc Mike and Sulley To The Rescue Disney California Adventure

Anyone who has seen Monsters Inc knows how it ends, with Sulley being reunited with Boo in an emotional finale. But that is not how the Disney California Adventure ride based on the film ends. Instead, it ends with Mike and Boo being separated, not including the emotional finale of the movie. 

At least if you have seen the film you know this separation isn't final, and Roz provides some comic relief at the end of the ride to offset the bittersweet finale.