Son of Longtime Cast Member Identified in Disneyland Suicide

December 4, 2022, 4:43 PM · Many in the Disneyland community are reeling today after the son of a beloved cast member took his own life at the resort last night.

The Orange County Register is reporting that the man who fell to his death from the Mickey & Friends parking structure around 9pm Saturday was Chris Christensen, 51. Christensen was the principal at Newland Elementary School in Huntington Beach and the son of the late Jim Christensen, a longtime music director for the Disney theme parks. [See Honoring the Late Conductor of Disney World's College Orchestra for our tribute to Jim.]

Chris was an accomplished educator and musician in Southern California. The Register's story quotes one of his musical colleagues who paid tribute to his work, while also providing additional detail about his career.

The incident last night obviously troubled many cast members in the area, including those who witnessed the aftermath. Tram service to the parking structures was suspended last night while local authorities responded to the scene.

Last night was the annual Candlelight Ceremony at Disneyland, which brings together hundreds of musicians from throughout Orange County and Southern California, as well as Disney corporate and local officials, including returning CEO Bob Iger.

The incident also happened at almost exactly the same time as my daughter and I were driving out of Mickey and Friends last night. (I did not see anything.) Laurie played in the Walt Disney World orchestra under Chris' father years ago, so we feel additionally connected to the family.

We extend our condolences to the Christensen family, Chris' colleagues and students, and to all the Disneyland cast members involved last night. Please dial 988 in the United States if you ever need immediate mental health counseling and have no other health care resource available to help.

Replies (7)

December 4, 2022 at 5:40 PM

Horribly tragic…

My guess is that Disney will take a cue from Las Vegas and install safety barriers on the open areas of garage overlooks…It’s a common, though rarely reported on, occurrence in Las Vegas…

December 4, 2022 at 8:57 PM

Awful to hear. I hope his family and friends can find peace.

December 5, 2022 at 12:10 AM

@Sneakertinker

How much more barriers can they place? Mickey and Friends and the adjacent Pixar Pals already have safety barriers installed. what more can Disney do? Tear down the parking structure and just keep it a flat lot like the Toy Story and Downtown Disney lots?

December 5, 2022 at 6:53 AM

If you’ve ever been to Vegas then you’d know exactly what I mean by safety barriers…We’re not talking about waist high railings…It’s literal fencing in some garages that makes it impossible to fit anything bigger than your hand through…There’s no way you could get over or through the openings to try and do harm to yourself or someone else…

Unfortunately when things like this happen, and get reported on, then others who aren’t in a very good mental space start to get ideas about doing the same exact thing…

December 5, 2022 at 9:03 AM

Disney may choose to do this, but they may not. Vegas is a place where fortunes can be lost daily, whereas it is much less commonplace at a Disney resort.

December 5, 2022 at 12:47 PM

@Sneakertinker

And if you been to Mickey and Friends you would know that it has those safety barriers you described(You can even see it on the released photo of where the incident took place). Plus this isn’t the first time it has happened at that parking structure, there’s been reports of various suicides happening since it first opened over 2 decades ago. They have put barriers, made the rails over 5 feet tall and widened them as the years gone by. Disney can only do so much. Sadly, if one is willing take their own life, they’ll always find a way no matter how many obstacles they have to overcome.

December 6, 2022 at 2:41 AM

Your not understanding what I’m meaning and maybe I’m not explaining it thoroughly enough…The openings on the Mickey and Friends garage are open enough that a person can easily climb over…I park there Just about every other month or so when we visit to make use of our Magic Keys…I wish there was a way I could post pictures on this site…The barriers I’m talking about leave no opening at all, save for some small ornamental openings big enough that you could maybe fit your hand through if you tried…

It’s a minimal cost to upgrade, at least it was for the property I work at, and it essentially ensures that horrible incidents like this are physically impossible…Sadly where there’s a Will there’s a way as the saying goes…But if a person can’t physically fit their body through an opening, then the ability for them to throw themselves from the structure is impossible…

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