Frightful Delights Await
Dearly depart into a foreboding estate, drag your body to the dead center of the Portrait Chamber and watch as the walls begin to stretch before your eyes. Climb into your waiting Doom Buggy and embark on a shivering journey into an unearthly realm.
The disembodied voice of the Ghost Host is your private guide through the cadaverous dwelling—home to grinning ghosts and other spectral surprises.
Glide past a rattling casket in the conservatory. Head off to Madame Leota's spirited séance room. Float by the Grand Ballroom and its waltzing apparitions. Take a spin through a cemetery where the spirited residents regale you with song.
Beware of lurking hitchhikers—these phantom pranksters may try to follow you home!
Creepy Fun for Little Ones
Play disney parks achievement available, disneyland app.
Haunted mansion holiday, want to take your day to the next level, earn the achievement, get the pin, safety, accessibility and guest policies, times for haunted mansion.
We are committed to providing an accessible user experience for all website visitors.
The contrast between foreground and background text will increase.
Remove the accessibilty icon while viewing the site.
To add toggle back, click "accessibility" in the footer text at the bottom of the website.
Save even more when you bundle Universal Orlando Resort Theme Park Tickets* + Hotel
*Savings based on a family of four. Excludes 1-day tickets.
- Theme Park Rides, Shows & More
The Secret History of Disney Rides: Haunted Mansion
Located in the heart of New Orleans Square, the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland has been thrilling foolish mortals from all over the world since 1969. The Mansion is a delightfully unlivable home to 999 happy haunts (but there's room for a thousand in case you wanted to volunteer). The ride features a slow-moving Doom Buggy Omnimover ride system, a number of special effects and some secret surprises that make it a truly unique experience. Every year, fans look forward to Haunted Mansion Holiday, a layover that allows The Nightmare Before Christmas to take over the Disneyland ride from early September through early January. Then every winter, classic Haunted Mansion lovers look forward to the return of this iconic and beloved ride. It's like getting two rides in one spot!
The Haunted Mansion is an original ride that did not come from a movie, but there have been several movies and specials inspired by the ride. The most recent film in 2023 is based on the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland! It stars Jamie Lee Curtis (as Madame Leota), Owen Wilson, Danny DeVito, Jared Leto, Tiffany Haddish and LaKeith Stanfield. "The Muppets Haunted Mansion" is a 2021 comedy Halloween comedy special. There are so many fun references to the ride in it! Then, there was the 2003 "The Haunted Mansion" movie, starring Eddie Murphy.
The Secret History of Haunted Mansion
Not only is the history of the Haunted Mansion pretty awesome, but the facts are even cooler. Before we leap to the interesting facts, let's discuss the secret history of Haunted Mansion.
The idea of a haunted attraction at Disneyland was first thought of in the 1950s. DoomBuggies.com reports that Walt Disney was in the midst of designing Disneyland and in the design, an "Old House on the Hill" was to sit right off Main Street. He then discussed the idea of a "ghost house" with Imagineer Ken Anderson and conceptual artist Harper Groff; instead of the ride we know it as today, the attraction was actually planned to be a walk-through! According to Mental Floss , the walk-through would consist of maids and butlers acting as guides and leading guests, while revealing the story behind the mansion involving a sea captain and his bride. It was later decided to be made a ride (using the Omnimover system to direct riders' where to look) for the sake of capacity.
Two of the Haunted Mansion's main designers (Marc Davis and Claude Coats) had different ideas about whether the Haunted Mansion should be scary or fun. Architect and animator Xavier Atencio combined each of their ideas to make it work really well for all visitors. Buddy Baker composed the music for the theme song, "Grim Grinning Ghosts." Atencio wrote the lyrics (as "Francis Xavier"). You can hear different versions of the song throughout the ride. In the foyer, the organ music actually plays the song backward!
The first sketch of the Haunted Mansion showed it as an old, run-down house, and matching the New Orleans theme of the Disneyland area it would be set in. Disney, however, wanted it to still look properly maintained, so Anderson used inspiration from a Victorian house in Baltimore. Via DoomBuggies.com, the backstory of the mansion continued to go through several revisions until Imagineers decided that it didn't necessarily need an official beginning and end — that was left to the guests! Local legend suggests the Haunted Mansion was first built by a prosperous sea captain, and mansion’s staff faithfully maintains the happy haunting grounds.
After construction of the Haunted Mansion's exterior finished in 1963, the attraction sat unused during the 1964-65 New York World's Fair. After Disney's death in 1966, Imagineers went back to deciding what to do with the Haunted Mansion. Some of the Imagineers on the project included Rolly Crump and Yale Gracey. Taking in what they learned at the World's Fair, the Imagineers included Audio-Animatronics, "doom mobiles" and more. Gracey was responsible for creating a large amount of the mansion's special effects, including giving a see-through effect to my personal favorite ghost, Marc Davis' Hatbox Ghost character!
The official opening of Disneyland's Haunted Mansion finally happened on August 9, 1969. People absolutely loved the Haunted Mansion! Soon enough, plans for a Haunted Mansion at Disney World were in the works.
The Haunted Mansion at Disney World (and Around the World)
Today, there's a Haunted Mansion version in every Disney Park with the exception of Hong Kong Disneyland. Hong Kong has a mansion ride but with a totally different theme and concept! In Disneyland Paris, it is called Phantom Manor.
Haunted Mansion Disneyland Exterior
The Haunted Mansion reopened following the pandemic in 2021 after undergoing a remodel. Outside, the pet memorials received new landscaping that helped tell their stories. Take a whiff near the skunk tombstone. Stinky flowers surround it! Note the leaves that look like lily pads near Old Flybait. (He croaked.) Inside, the April-December portrait returned.
New additions are materializing to the Disneyland Haunted Mansion grounds in 2024. The pet cemetery and funeral hearse remain, but the grounds and outdoor queue expand to build on the story of the attraction. The changes include new gardens inspired by Master Gracey, Madame Leota and the one-eyed cat. Guests can enjoy new elements such as a water fountain, gazebo, themed statuary and landscaping. A new greenhouse where the groundskeepers grow their plants will be part of the queue. Construction begins January 2024.
A new gift shop is being added. Upon exiting the ride, guests will pass an all-new retail shop. Madame Leota felt it was time to continue her presence beyond the walls of the Mansion in her carriage house full of goods she predicts you'll be "dying" to add to your collection.
Speaking of exiting, Disneyland is improving accessibility. Guests with disabilities will be able to use a new elevator to exit the attraction.
Haunted Mansion Interior
When guests enter the Mansion, they travel from the foyer to a chamber that has no windows and no doors. The room has portraits of some of the mansion's inhabitants in their mortal states. But as the ceiling appears to stretch up, the portraits reveal the cause of death for them or in one case, the death of a husband, foreshadowing some scenes to come in the attic.
Is This Haunted Room Actually Stretching?
So, "Is this haunted room actually stretching, or is it your imagination, hmm?" You may be surprised to know that the actual Haunted Mansion at the Disneyland ride building exists outside the park on the other side of the Disneyland Railroad tracks. It's not in the house you see from the park. The popular stretching room is actually a giant elevator that takes guests down to a lower floor. People exit the elevator to walk down a portrait-lined hallway to get to the actual ride vehicles called Doom Buggies. The Ghost Host and sound effects muffle the sounds of the elevator and distract you from the sensation of going down and stopping.
You are actually walking under the train tracks to get to the ride building, so the stretching room serves a useful purpose. This is also the reason that Disneyland's Pirates of the Caribbean has two hills and Indiana Jones Adventure has long tunnels and caves leading to the boarding area. They take you under the train tracks to the actual ride buildings outside the park boundary.
The Haunted Mansion at Disney World also has a stretching room even though it does not technically need one. The room was so popular and such an iconic part of the ride pre-show that it had to be included, even if it's just the ceiling rising up. Mystic Manor in Hong Kong Disneyland does not have a stretching room. Phantom Manor in Disneyland Paris also uses the stretching room as an elevator to take the guests to the loading area.
Haunted Mansion Holiday Overlay
Since 2001, fans have flocked to the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland for a complete takeover with Tim Burton's "The Nightmare Before Christmas." Both the exterior and interior of the Haunted Mansion get a change in decor that demonstrates what happens when two holidays collide. You'll come across Jack Skellington, Zero, Sally, Oogie Boogie, Lock, Shock and Barrel and more. You sing along to songs from Danny Elfman's score and enjoy all-new rhyming narration that parodies "The Night Before Christmas" poem.
Following in her mother's footsteps, Kim Irvine — daughter of Leota Toombs and also a Disney Imagineer — recorded the part of Madame Leota's face for Haunted Mansion Holiday. Super fans may have recognized Kim Irvine in the "Muppets Haunted Mansion" special. She plays a maid who cleans the ball (bearing Miss Piggy's likeness).
During Haunted Mansion Holiday, there is a giant gingerbread creation on the ballroom table. You can smell the gingerbread!
Find a Hidden Mickey at Haunted Mansion Disneyland
It's always fun to search for hidden Mickeys at Disneyland. Haunted Mansion has a few, especially during Haunted Mansion Holiday.
During both versions of Haunted Mansion, look for the arrangement of plates and saucers in the ballroom that form a Mickey.
During Haunted Mansion Holiday, spot two hidden Mickeys in the stretching room. You can see one in red stained glass before the room starts to stretch. The other is also red and on the ceiling. In the ballroom, the snow on the floor forms a hidden Mickey.
Haunted Mansion Famous Ghosts and Characters
Of the 999 happy haunts who call the Haunted Mansion home, there are a few well-known ghosts and other characters. Some even have materialized outside the mansion to take place in parades, movie premieres or to meet park guests.
The Ghost Host is voiced by Paul Frees. He implies that it's his body hanging from the beam in the stretching room.
- The Bride (Constance Hatchaway) — Her image has changed over the years. She married five men and murdered each of her husbands. In her portrait in the stretching room, she holds a rose and sits on the tombstone of her husband, George. In the attic, you can hear her beating heart and voice (by actress Kat Cressida).
- Alexander Nitrokoff stands on a keg of dynamite.
- Sally Slater stands on a tightrope above an alligator.
- In Disney comics, the three men in quicksand are known as gamblers Hobbs, Big Hobbs and Skinny Hobbs.
Madame Leota's face appears in the crystal ball as she summons spirits to materialize. Her face is actually Leota Toombs, a Disney Imagineer. Her voice is Eleanor Audley, an actress who was the voice behind such Disney villains as Lady Tremaine and Maleficent.
The Hatbox Ghost appeared as an original Haunted Mansion character, but he disappeared when his special effect didn’t work. But he reappeared in 2015 at Disneyland, with his head disappearing off his neck and reappearing in the hatbox he holds in his hand. He is being added to the Haunted Mansion at Disney World in 2023.
The singling busts in the graveyard are (from left to right) Rollo Rumkin (Verne Rowe), Uncle Theodore (Thurl Ravenscroft), Cousin Algernon (Chuck Schroeder), Ned Nub (Jay Meyer) and Phineas P. Pock (Bob Ebright).
The hitchhiking ghosts are known as Ezra Beane, Professor Phineas Plump and Gus. The Ghost Host says, "Beware of hitchhiking ghosts" and that "a ghost will follow you home" before you exit. Don't tell my friends, but when I was a tiny tadpole, I would spend the rest of the day looking behind me and trying to lose that ghost. Now I help my little sister Lily chase off her ghosts.
During Halloween Time, you get a photo op with the Hitchhiking Ghosts audio-animatronics from the Haunted Mansion during Disney's Happiest Haunted Guided Tour. The tour has an additional fee, and a reservation is required.
Master Gracey, in a tribute to Yale Gracey, is the unseen master of the mansion. Gracey was the chief Imagineer in charge of special effects at the Haunted Mansion. See if you can spot the tombstone of Master Gracey in the family plot of the mansion.
In the beginning scene with a long hallway, there used to be a live actor. The knight would jump out and scare people in their doom buggies. That knight has returned for special events and after-hours parties, such as the 50th anniversary of the Haunted Mansion separately ticketed event at Disneyland.
Even some furniture items have a backstory. The pipe organ in the Disneyland Haunted Mansion banquet hall is a prop from the “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” movie. The organs in the other park's Haunted Mansion are all replicas.
Fun Facts and Secret History of the Haunted Mansion
- If you see a posted wait time of 13 minutes, that means there is almost no wait for this attraction.
- The doom buggies can carry up to 2,500 guests per hour. You can fit two to three people per Doom Buggy.
- When you use a wheelchair, you ride back up in the stretching room elevator. Without the Ghost Host narration, the mechanics of the elevator are actually quite loud!
- Constance Hatchaway is the name of the woman sitting on the tombstone in the stretching room. Her husband is pictured on the tomb with an axe in his head. Fast forward to the attic scene, where you see many wedding portraits of the same bride with different husbands, each with the head periodically disappearing from the portrait. The ghost of Constance now resides there in her wedding dress. You can see her in the corner with an evil grin on her face and a bouquet of flowers with a hatchet hidden within.
- Constance Hatchaway, the hitchhiking ghosts, ballroom dancers and gravediggers appear in a Haunted Mansion-themed scene with a Haunted Mansion float in the Frightfully Fun Parade in Disney California Adventure. You can only see this parade during the separately ticketed Oogie Boogie Bash Halloween party .
- One of the coolest scenes is the ghosts who materialize in the ballroom. It's done with a bit of magic called Pepper's Ghost. As you pass by the ballroom, there is another ballroom built behind your Doom Buggy with ghost mannequins. The mannequins in the ballroom behind reflect off an angled piece of glass, making them look like transparent ghosts.
- There's another trick just past the portrait wall. You'll see two busts who seem to be staring right at you. The faces are inverses. Setting them up against a black background in an alcove makes it appear as if the busts are facing outwards. Because they are inverses no matter where you move, the illusion is that the busts appear as if they are always staring at you.
- After you round the bend from the portrait hallway and past the busts, pay attention to the April-December portrait. The young woman ages and withers right before your eyes.
- The Haunted Mansion usually closes the last three weeks of August and for several weeks in mid to later January to prep or remove the Nightmare Before Christmas overlay.
- If you wear a MagicBand+ , pay attention to it after you exit the ride at Disneyland.
- At Magic Kingdom's Haunted Mansion, you'll see tombstones in the graveyard honoring Imagineers Marc Davis and Claude Coats! The tombstones read "Brother Claude and Grandpa Marc." The Hidden Magic of Walt Disney World by Susan Veness reports that you'll find many other honored Imagineer and artist names, including Imagineer Tony Baxter as "Brother Dave," Yale Gracey as the one-and-only "Master Gracey" and X. Atencio.
Do you know any secrets about the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland we did not mention? Please share them in the comments section below. If you are looking to save money on your Disneyland visit, you can save some green by buying discount tickets from your favorite froggy friends at Undercover Tourist!
Related: Secret History of Rides: Indiana Jones Adventure
Related: Halloween Time at Disneyland
Tags: Magic Kingdom , Disney , Disney World , Disneyland
Add Products Related to This Post
3-Day 1-Park per day (Disneyland)
4-Day Disney Theme Park Base Ticket
Disney's Contemporary Resort
I saw a 4 part series documentary and on one episode covering Haunted Mansion at DL, it said the ride actually goes outside the park boundary (underground). Not necessarily outside Disney property but the park property line itself. Found that to be interesting.
undisputedly the coolest dark ride ever
casey says the 999 happy haunts are freindly
i love the haunted mansion
I like the haunted mansion because they have ghosts and is amazing
eh house in Baltimore does look very much like the Disneyland Haunted Mansion. sadly as I just found out, it was torn down to make room for ugly apartments. too bad
Interesting... we were on a historical tour in Charleston, SC and the tour guide pointed out a home there that was supposedly the inspiration for the Haunted Mansion after Disney saw it. Wonder what the real story is.
While we can’t say for sure, this house in Baltimore looks very familiar to a famous mansion in Disneyland!
I've always wondered about the trio of singing ghost busts near the end of the ride. They are all men and I'd swear the the broken one looks like Walt Disney himself.
This is the Phantom Five! They are Ned Nub (performed by Jay Meyer), Uncle Theodore (Thurl Ravrenscroft), Rollo Rumkin (Verne Rowe), Phineas Pock (Bob Ebright) and Cousin Al (Chuck Schroeder). Disney musical contributor, Allan Davies, was going to originally get actors for the faces of the busts, but after seeing the band members perform the song, he decided to stick with their own faces!
Leave a comment
About Undercover Tourist
Undercover Tourist is the leading supplier of online discount tickets to Orlando , Florida-area attractions, including Walt Disney World ® Resort , Universal Orlando Resort™ , SeaWorld® Orlando , LEGOLAND® Florida Resort and more.
Sign up for our newsletter!
Most commented posts.
- The Ultimate Guide on When to Use Express Pass at Universal Orlando 4546
- The Very Best Times to Visit Disney World in 2023 and 2024 3786
- The Very Best Times to Visit Universal Orlando in 2023 and 2024 6542
- What's Coming to Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando in 2023 and Beyond 846
- Answering Your Frequently Asked Questions About Using Genie Plus at Disney World 237
- Beaches and Sandals Resorts
- Cities & Family Travel
- Disability Travel
- Disney Crafts, Recipes & Fun Stuff
- Family / Kids Advice
- Family Ski Trips
- Hotels, Resorts & Lodging
- Live Events
- News & Announcements
- Restaurants & Dining
- Theme Park Tips & Planning
- When to Visit
Our step-by-step guides will save you up to 4 hours a day.
- Los Angeles
- Southern California
- Magic Kingdom® Park
- Disney's Animal Kingdom® Theme Park
- Disney's Hollywood Studios®
- Universal Studios Florida
- Universal Islands of Adventure
- SeaWorld® Orlando
- Disneyland® Park
- Disney California Adventure® Park
- Universal Studios Hollywood TM
Create An Account
In order to save your favorite items, you'll need to create an account. Already have one? Sign in .
- Ultimate Fan Event
- News and Events
- Disney A TO Z
- WALT DISNEY ARCHIVES
- VIDEO & PHOTO GALLERIES
- Redeem Gift Membership
- Redeem Gold Affiliate
- Gift Gold Membership
- 2023 Gold Collector Set
- Destination D23
- Disney Parks
- Disney Princess
- Company History
- About Walt Disney
- Ask Archives
- Disney A to Z
- Guest Services
- Terms & Conditions
- D23 Exclusive
- D23 Inside Disney Podcast
- Just For Fun
- Videos & Photos
- Recipe Collection
Thirteen Fun Facts About The Haunted Mansion
Because it’s one of Disney’s most beloved attractions, it’s only (super) natural that
everyone has their favorite story about The Haunted Mansion .
Here are 13 fun facts:
1 . The Haunted Mansion is the only attraction located in four different lands in four different Disney Parks: New Orleans Square at Disneyland; Liberty Square at Walt Disney World; Fantasyland at Tokyo Disneyland; and Frontierland at Disneyland Paris.
2 . Eddie Murphy had been looking to do a ghostly comedy in the vein of Bob Hope and Abbott and Costello when he learned about Disney’s Haunted Mansion film and asked to see the script.
3 . Imagineer and Disney Legend Claude Coats briefly developed a water ride version of The Haunted Mansion in which guests would float through the ruins of an old plantation house partially submerged in a Louisiana bayou.
4 . A “live” Caretaker character was featured in almost every draft of the Haunted Mansion film script, but was ultimately cut in favor of a ghostly cameo appearance in the graveyard, complete with cowardly canine companion.
5. Imagineers produced the Audio-Animatronics ® figures, props and set pieces for both the Disneyland and Walt Disney World versions of The Haunted Mansion at the same time, knowing that the Florida attraction would open less than two years after its Anaheim predecessor.
6 . The Disneyland Haunted Mansion was largely inspired by the Shipley-Lydecker House in Baltimore, Maryland, pictured in Decorative Art of Victoria’s Era , a book found in the Walt Disney Imagineering Information Research Center in Glendale, California.
7 . Legendary creature designer Rick Baker originally modeled the Haunted Mansion film’s singing busts after Marc Davis, Thurl Ravenscroft, Blaine Gibson, Paul Frees and even Walt Disney himself! Only the Frees and Ravenscroft busts made it into the film.
8 . Paul Frees, voice of the Ghost Host, also provided voices for Ludwig Von Drake, Boris Badenov, the Pillsbury Doughboy and many of the Pirates of the Caribbean , including the infamous Auctioneer.
9. Early drafts of the Haunted Mansion film script were set in upstate New York, with a manor house inspired by the Walt Disney World attraction. Director Rob Minkoff and production John Myhre felt the movie should feature a mansion inspired by the Disneyland original, and moved the otherworldly action to New Orleans.
10. Imagineer Leota Toombs, Madame Leota’s face and namesake, rehearsed her incantations on the night of daughter and future Imagineer Kim Irvine’s school dance, prompting Kim’s surprised date to ask, “Wow, what’s up with your mom??”
11. An ill-fated bride was featured in almost every proposed version of the Disneyland Haunted Mansion , dating back to Imagineer Ken Anderson ‘s very first creative treatment in 1957.
12. X Atencio’s tongue-in-cheek epitaph eulogizing “Master Gracey” — a nod to Imagineer and master of illusion Yale Gracey — has led both fans and Cast Members to consider him the true — if unofficial — lord of the manor. The Haunted Mansion movie crew decided to honor the tradition and dub the master of their house “Gracey,” too.
13. The Haunted Mansion ‘s infamous “eye wallpaper,” long credited to Imagineer Marc Davis, was actually a collaboration between “Museum of the Weird” creator Rolly Crump and Claude Coats.
See This Fan-Created LEGO Haunted Mansion and Other Disney Ideas for LEGO Sets
A Fan's Obsession With Haunted Mansion and an Inside Look at Memento Mori
Summoning Memories of The Haunted Mansion ’s Opening Night
Disneyland's Haunted Mansion ride slated for expansion, upgrades in 2024
The popular ride will undergo construction in 2024 to add handicap accessibility and expand the outdoor area of the theme ride at the southern california resort..
Disneyland is expanding the grounds of its Haunted Mansion next year, adding handicap accessibility and deepening the lore of the iconic theme ride at the Southern California resort.
Renovation plans, unveiled Tuesday on the Disney Parks blog , include a new garden, a new gift shop near the attraction's exit and an upgraded plaza for live entertainment. The additions are intended to bolster the experience of guests while they wait in line by building on the story of the Haunted Mansion, which was brought to life in July on the big screen .
Wait times vary but it can take over an hour to get into the Haunted Mansion.
More changes: Disneyland is changing its early entry policy for guests staying at its hotels
Titanic: The US is against a plan set for 2024 to retrieve items from the Titanic wreckage
Renovations part of Disneyland revamp of New Orleans Square
The upcoming changes are among many coming to the New Orleans Square area of the theme park and resort in Anaheim.
Tiana's Palace, a New Orleans-inspired soul food restaurant inspired by the 2009 animated movie "The Princess and the Frog," will open next month .
The park also has previously announced plans to overhaul and replace the now-closed Splash Mountain ride with Tiana's Bayou Adventure, also set to debut in 2024 .
Splash Mountain closed in May after 33 years as a mainstay at the resort after a petition to change the beloved water ride 's theme went viral. Because of the attraction's association with the 1946 Disney film " Song of the South ," the ride has long been criticized for its idealized portrayal of plantation life.
Walt Disney World in Florida closed its version of the ride in January.
Garth Brooks: Country star's sports-themed Tailgate Radio hits TuneIn in time for college football
New gardens, improved accessibility among plans
Planned renovations to the Haunted Mansion attraction will focus on the outdoor area where guests wait their turn to climb into a "doom buggy" for a tour of the spooky property.
Once completed, the queue area will feature gardens teaming with fountains, gazebos and themed statues inspired by famed characters of the attraction, including mansion owner Master Edward Gracey and psychic medium Madame Leota. Other famed elements of the grounds, such as the pet cemetery and horse-drawn funeral hearse, will remain.
The plaza adjacent to Tiana’s Palace will feature a new park replete with live entertainment and the shade of new and historic trees. Plans also call for improvements to accessibility of these areas for those with physical disabilities, including a new elevator exit from the Haunted Mansion.
Construction is slated to begin in January. Renderings of the changes are viewable here .
Eric Lagatta covers breaking and trending news for USA TODAY. Reach him at [email protected].