And just so we are clear at the outset, this thread is not referencing the tragic actual deaths of any sort in the Park's history...just to avoid confusion.
Instead, what I find fascinating, is the kind of offhand references to death, in particularly nasty ways often, to be found in many signature park attractions It may sound obvious, but I find it interesting to think of the many instances of rather gruesome hints of the demise of humans in a kingdom devoted to fantasy and families having a good time together. Now, humor me....just think for a minute of the large chamber just after the snake attack room, in Indiana Jones Adventure. What comes to mind? Massive piles of human skulls. Let me repeat: Massive. Piles. Of. Human. Skulls.
As a visual shorthand, I totally understand it..this temple is dangerous! Mara destroys unwary visitors! But looking at it objectively...that's a lot of skulls. Did the adherents to Mara's cult kill all those people? It may be morbid to think of, certainly...but Disneyland/the ride designers consciously included that detailing. And yes, it is fantasy...but in a master planned theme park attraction such as Disney makes, every detail is viewed and planned for, presumably.
Also in Adventureland, the Jungle Cruise is brimming with little grisly in-jokes, notably the canoe full of skulls (my old crew!), and Trader Sam's wares of shrunken heads, but nothing out of character for the old adventure/jungle films that inspired the attraction.
Another example, now gone on to Yesterland....the old caverns on Tom Sawyer Island, where one could read of the grisly fate of Injun Joe, supposedly falling down a deep crevice and dying, his restless spirit roaming the dark caverns and the wind seeming to mimic his ghostly cries. Brrrrrrrr! Pretty intense thing even to hint at for a family based theme park, even though Joe's fate is certainly present in the original Mark Twain novel.
Of course, the Haunted Mansion would be nowhere without the shades of the departed, but a few grisly little details stand out, particularly the fate of our narrator, the Ghost Host. Presumably, in his "corruptible mortal state", he was locked into the same extending, haunted room we enter, and having no way out, as he says...took "my way", which was seemingly suicide. You can't see it clearly from below, but his swaying corpse is dangling from above the ceiling in a noose. Further on in the Corridor of Doors area, a portrait depicts him in a rather more fleshy, albeit decaying state, clutching a axe, the cut noose about his neck, grinning rather sinisterly. A new addition of course to the Mansion is Constance, the attic bride, with her seeming penchant for beheading her new husbands. All gore is implied, of course, only, but still adds in to the more "serious" death count in the Mansion which is primarily filled with happy haunts.
As for Pirates, the skeletons there are rather more tame than in Mansion, with a few exceptions....the beach vignette seems to warn of the perils of piracy and betrayal, followed by the eerie lightning-lit cove where the remanents of a ship's captain steers his wrecked vessel endlessly, perhaps doomed to do so. Apart from that idea, though, the skeletons from there on out seem to be having a good time and are a little more lively.
All these mentioned examples are, you will note, from the West side of the park, where things are slghtly rougher...exotic jungles, haunted waterfront cities, and the rougher nature of the old west. There is one notable exception, and it's one of my favorites in the park for it's placement smack dab in the middle of Fantasyland.
In the dungeon sequence of Snow White, there's a very twisted little visual gag of a decayed set of bones reaching from behind a iron grate towards a carved, hoglike beast head fountain that is dripping a greenish liquid (via fiber optics) into a pool at the base. It works very well in the attraction and certainly fits the overall visual scheme of that area, and is rather easily seen and then promptly forgotten...but how many stop to think of the implications? The evil witch, seen previously as very determined to get at Snow White, literally chained up a prisoner scant inches from water and let them stay there till they literally presumably died of starvation/dehydration. Have fun kids, it's Disneyland!
Now, do I think these details all add up to some morbid bent on the part of the Imagineers or Walt Disney Co.? Not at all. I just find it personally interesting how much rather seemingly simple material (skulls look cool, let's add more!) has darker and more gruesome implications underneath, that most people overlook. But then, that's how my mind works...and kids aren't going to read into these things the way I, or others might...the park is for children of all ages, after all.