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Disney Adulting Ride Guide: Haunted Mansion
The Haunted Mansion is a dark ride attraction in Disneyland (CA), Magic Kingdom (FL), and Tokyo Disneyland. The original attraction opened at Disneyland on August 9, 1969. The attraction, while slightly different in each location, retains the same storyline by placing riders into a “ Doombuggy ” and transporting them around a haunted manor where “ 999 happy haunts ” await to greet you.
- Rating: Dark Ride
- FP Available: Yes
- Height Requirement: Any Height
- Single Rider Available: Yes
- Duration: 19 Minutes
- Disney Investment: $7M ($45M by Today’s Inflation )
- Top Speed: 3 MPH
The Queue: Haunted Mansion
Guests wait in line outside the mansion, passing a pet cemetery, and are led into a spooky parlor by Cast Members dressed as maids and butlers. The mansion is based on the “ Shipley-Lydecker ” house in Baltimore, Maryland. Once guests enter the house into the foyer they are greeted by candles lighting the room from sconces and the sole chandelier, while an organ plays a single-note melodic line which serves as the theme for the rest of the ride. A mirror is at the entrance. After enough guests have gathered in the foyer, the “Ghost Host” introduces himself and welcomes everyone to the Haunted Mansion. ( This is where the real fun begins .)
From there, the guests are brought into an octagonal room, where the door by which they entered becomes a wall and the chilling voice of the Ghost Host taunts them. As the voice speaks, the walls quietly seem to stretch upwards, elongating the paintings on them to reveal the fates of previous guests. The lights go out, lightning and thunder effects fill the gallery, and, in a rare instance of Disneyland “dark humor,” a glimpse of the earthly remains of the “Ghost Host” are shown dangling by a noose from the ceiling rafters above – his “way out”. A loud scream is heard followed by the sound of bones clattering.
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Virtual Queue Experience: Haunted Mansion
Warning: This is a first-version experience of the actual queue. If you have never ridden the attraction, we strongly recommend not watching this video and experiencing the ride and the magic for yourself in person the first time.
At the attraction in Disneyland, the room is, in fact, an elevator with no roof that is being lowered slowly to give the illusion that the room itself is stretching; this brings the guests down to where the ride begins, below ground level. The ceiling above is a piece of fabric called a scrim, which conceals the hanging body until it is lit from above. This elevator effect was necessary to lower the guests below the level of the park-circling Disneyland Railroad.
The actual ride building of this attraction is located outside the berm surrounding the park and the Imagineers developed this mechanism to lower the guests down to the hallway leading to the actual ride building. It is interesting to note that although it is not necessary to lower the guests at the other theme parks, this effect of the stretching room is still used at the other instances of this attraction at the other Disney theme parks, not as an elevator like at Disneyland, but by raising the roof of the room.
When the walls finally do open, guests are ushered into a hallway lined with paintings that change from normal to “spooky” every few seconds. A simulated thunderstorm rages outside while the grim busts of a man and woman placed at the end of the hall seem to turn their heads in relationship to the viewer’s perspective. Guests will load a continuous track of Omnimovers called “Doom Buggies” and begin their journey into the Haunted Mansion.
The Ride: Haunted Mansion
The Haunted Mansion consists of 7 different scenes each leading you deeper into the storyline of the mansion:
- The Endless Hallway: Pass by an endless hallway and a conservatory containing a coffin whose occupant is trying to get out.
- Corridor of Doors: Eerie door after door with spooky sounds and beings trying to get out.
- The Séance Circle: Hosted by Madame Leota, or more like her disembodied head instead of a crystal ball.
- The Ballroom: Ghosts dance mid-air as a ghostly organist plays the original pipe organ featured in the 1954 film 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea .
- The Attic: Guests will meet Constance Hatchaway, a bride with a terrible habit of decapitating her many husbands.
- The Graveyard: Descend into a lively graveyard full of “Grim Grinning Ghosts” who have come out to socialize with guests and the rest of the dead.
- The Exit & Hitchhiking Ghosts: Guests will discover that they’ve been selected to fill the quota of 1,000 happy haunts an as they pass a group of mirrors a little surprise awaits them.
Unique Facts: Haunted Mansion
- The Hatbox Ghost , who had previously been removed during the attraction first week of opening, was reinstated on May 9, 2015, as part of Disneyland’s 60th-anniversary celebration after a 46-year absence.
- The Haunted Mansion ride at Disneyland opened the same day the infamous Manson murders occurred in Beverly Hills and it was based on the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, California where Walt Disney actually visited.
- In Walt Disney World, one can see a tombstone for J. Thaddeus Toad , the hero of the park’s long-gone attraction Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride.
- From the fall season through the end of the year, California’s Disneyland Park annually transforms the original Haunted Mansion into Haunted Mansion Holiday .
- There was a real Madame Leota . Well, sort of. An actual model-building Imagineer named Leota Toombs.
- The voice actor for the Ghost Host is Paul Frees . He was also the voice of Ludwig Von Drake, the Pillsbury Doughboy, and Boris Badenov of Rocky and Bullwinkle fame.
- In one of the Haunted Mansion’s early drafts , Walt Disney himself recorded the narration for the attraction. It was eventually scrapped for today’s Ghost Host version.
Disney Adulting Pro-Tip for Riding The Haunted Mansion
We recommend that you try your luck during a parade or keep an eye on lower wait times. Using a Fastpass ( or try taking advantage of Maxpass ) is a wise choice, especially because it can run as long as 45-minutes or even 120-minutes during the Halloween season. We don’t usually recommend that you try not to wait longer than 30-minutes but do keep in mind that while the wait time and line may seem long, the attraction begins in the queue, and it worth the experience.
Virtual Ride Experience: Haunted Mansion
Warning: This is a first-version experience of the actual ride. If you have never ridden the attraction, we strongly recommend not watching this video and experiencing the ride and the magic for yourself in person the first time.
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The Haunted Mansion (attraction)
- View history
- Magic Kingdom
- Tokyo Disneyland
The Haunted Mansion is a dark ride attraction located at Disneyland , Magic Kingdom , and Tokyo Disneyland . Although differing slightly in each location, the attraction places riders inside a haunted manor with "999 happy haunts".
At Disneyland Paris , the attraction is called Phantom Manor . A trackless version of the attraction known as Mystic Manor can be found at Hong Kong Disneyland .
The attraction's theme is a visit to a haunted house in which the ghostly residents have taken full possession of the premises. The attraction inspired the 2003 movie of the same name , starring Eddie Murphy and its 2023 reboot Haunted Mansion .
As the opening spiel says: We have nine hundred and ninety-nine happy haunts here, but there's room for a thousand. Any volunteers?
- 1 Disneyland
- 2 Magic Kingdom
- 3 Tokyo Disneyland
- 4.1.1 Interactive Queue
- 4.3.1 Portrait Gallery
- 4.4 The Load Area
- 4.5 The Portrait Hallway
- 4.6 The Library
- 4.7 The Conservatory
- 4.8 The Music Room
- 4.9.1 The Endless Hallway and the Corridor of Doors
- 4.9.2 The Seance Circle
- 4.9.3 The Ballroom
- 4.9.4 The Attic
- 4.9.5 The Graveyard
- 4.9.6 The Exit
- 5 Effects and Music
- 6 Haunted Mansion Holiday
- 7 The 1,000 th Happy Haunt
- 8.1 Other Differences
- 9.1 Haunted Mansion Holiday
- 9.2 2006 (Disneyland)
- 9.3 2007 (Walt Disney World)
- 11.1 Kinect: Disneyland Adventures
- 11.2 Adventures in the Magic Kingdom
- 11.3 Mickey's Great Adventure in Tokyo Disneyland
- 12 Television Appearances
- 14 References
- 15 See also
Disneyland [ ]
Originally conceived in the mid-1950s by Walt Disney as a walk-through ghost house, artist Harper Goff was tapped to conceptually design the attraction. The house originally had a rural American design and was intended to be at the end of a crooked path that led away from Disneyland's Main Street, U.S.A. . Eventually, the decision was made to place it in New Orleans Square and thus the mansion's exterior was themed as an antebellum home.
The attraction went through many concept changes before its facade was completed in 1963 , six years before it would open to the public, delayed by Disney's involvement in the 1964 New York World's Fair . At one point, it was conceived as a walk-through that would empty out into an exhibit called "The Museum of the Weird". Conceptual drawings were done for this concept, but the Museum of the Weird would be left on the drawing board due to the walk-through idea being shot down in favor of making the attraction a ride-through.
In what might be considered to be a unique twist to a supposedly "abandoned" structure, the exterior appears pristine and the surrounding grounds are meticulously maintained. Designers wanted to make the exterior look like a stereotypical run-down and decrepit haunted house, but Walt himself overrode the idea, claiming "we'll take care of the outside and let the ghosts take care of the inside."
On August 9 , 1969 , the attraction officially opened to the public and has remained mostly unchanged, with the exception of the yearly conversion into "Haunted Mansion Holiday" discussed below.
Magic Kingdom [ ]
The Magic Kingdom version was produced in conjunction with the Disneyland one, as they would only open about two years apart from each other. This meant that two of every figure, prop, and scenic element were produced at the same time, the sole exceptions being new Florida exclusive elements such as the Library and Music Room. Because of this, it was the first of the park's attractions to complete construction and installation.
As New Orleans Square was replaced by Liberty Square in the Magic Kingdom's design plans, the attraction's exterior would take on an entirely different look to match. Intended to evoke Upstate New York and New England horror stories such as The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and the works of Edgar Allen Poe, the attraction took on a "Dutch Gothic" appearance that would more strongly communicate the haunted interior.
It has had several changes over the years, with various queue enhancements taking place in 2001 and 2011 . The largest changes would come in 2007 after a year-long refurbishment called "The Re-Haunting", which would incorporate some of the various incremental changes made at Disneyland in previous years, such as the introduction of a floating Madame Leota and the new attic bride Constance Hatchaway as well as new things like the Endless Staircase and enhanced audio in the Stretching Room. 2011 would also see the replacement of the Hitchhiking Ghosts mirror effect with new computer generated ghosts.
Sometime in the 90s, Cast Members had created their own history of the house and compiled the stories onto a website known as the Ghost Gallery . Though unofficial, it has had a significant influence on media adaptations such as the 2003 film and Slave Labor Graphics comic series and some of the character names, such as those of the Hitchhiking Ghosts were officially adopted. It is also responsible for the confusion over the Ghost Host and Master Gracey being the same character.
Tokyo Disneyland [ ]
Early plans for Tokyo Disneyland would have placed the attraction in the middle of Westernland on the shores of the Rivers of America . However, upon seeing the popularity of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad in the American parks, it was decided late in the park's planning to relocate the attraction to Fantasyland and build Big Thunder Mountain Railroad on the spot after the park's opening.  This new placement in Fantasyland would be justified by the prominent role that ghosts and spirits held in Japanese folktales.
The mansion itself borrows heavily from the Florida version, albeit with many differences. In addition to a different queue, the mansion itself is more rundown and decrepit, similar to concept art of the original mansion in California. The idea of a decrepit exterior would also be used for the design of Phantom Manor .
Since 2004 , Tokyo Disneyland has hosted the Haunted Mansion Holiday Nightmare overlay for the Halloween and Christmas season, resulting from Magic Kingdom management rejecting an offer for their own Haunted Mansion Holiday overlay.
In 2023, the Haunted Mansion got a Disney Story Beyond update.
Attraction Walkthrough [ ]
He rode to glory
In the California version, the queue is located outside the mansion, passing a pet cemetery which leads into a spooky parlor with cast members dressed up as maids and butlers. It is based on the "Shipley-Lydecker" house in Baltimore, Maryland (as shown above, in black and white) and sits pushed to the back of a very well-kept lot. The foyer is where the guests begin their tour of the mansion. Flickering candles light the room from sconces and the sole chandelier, while an organ plays a single-note melodic line which serves as the theme for the rest of the ride. A mirror is at the entrance. After enough guests have gathered in the foyer, the Ghost Host introduces himself and welcomes everyone to the attraction. From there, the guests are brought into an octagonal room, where the door by which they entered becomes a wall and the chilling voice of the Ghost Host taunts them:
As the voice speaks, the walls quietly seem to stretch upwards, elongating the paintings on them to reveal the fates of previous guests. (For instance, one man - noted in an early script as " Alexander Nitrokoff " - is seen to be standing on a keg of dynamite with a candle lighting the fuse.) The lights go out, lightning and thunder effects fill the gallery and, in a rare instance of Disneyland's "dark humor", a glimpse of the earthly remains of the Ghost Host are shown dangling by a noose from the ceiling rafters above - his "way out". A loud, ear-piercing scream is heard, followed by the sound of skeleton bones clattering.
In the California version, the room is, in fact, an elevator with no roof that is being lowered slowly to give the illusion that the room itself is stretching; this brings the guests down to where the ride begins, below ground level. The ceiling above is a piece of fabric called a scrim, which conceals the hanging body until it is lit from above. This elevator effect was necessary to lower the guests below the level of the park-circling Disneyland Railroad .
The actual ride building of the attraction is located outside the berm surrounding the park and the Imagineers developed this mechanism to lower the guests down to the hallway leading to the actual ride building. It is interesting to note that although it is not necessary to lower the guests at the other theme parks, this effect of the stretching room is still used at the other instances of this attraction at the other Disney theme parks, not as an elevator like at Disneyland, but by raising the roof of the room.
In the Florida version, the queue for the attraction begins at the entrance of Liberty Square coming from Fantasyland , in a way bridging the gap between fantasy and reality. The line snakes around the front of the attraction's facade and in front of a hearse, before winding around the riverbank shore of the Rivers of America and turns inland to the side of the attraction. Here, we see the family plot for the family that lived in the mansion prior to our arrival. To the left side of the walkway are gravestones, while in front of us are a pair of black doors, that will open as soon as the attraction is ready for us. An awning was added to the queue a few years after the ride was opened, providing shade for those in line. In 2011 , as part of Disney's NextGen initiative, an interactive extension to the queue's graveyard was added, diverting from the primary queue path. Several large crypts, as well as relocated tombstones are now located here, including a musical tomb implied to belong to the attraction's Organist, a water and bubble emitting tomb for the Sea Captain of the Sinister 11 paintings, and a tomb for a poet with a bad case of writer's block, calling from beyond the grave for help with her rhyming. There is also a series of busts of a family that call out for guests to solve the mystery of who murdered the group. In addition to these interactive elements, some new stones and crypts have homages to more Imagineers and people involved in the attraction.
At night, the exterior is illuminated with an eerie purple light, and lights in the windows flicker. Every now and then, shadowy figures block the lights in the windows and loom out of view before lighting (which is merely a strobe effect) strikes. During Halloween, music outside the mansion is much more prominent, more lighting effects are scattered around the cemetery, and fog machines are scattered throughout the queue, but the ride itself remains unchanged.
Interactive Queue [ ]
The Florida version now features an interactive queue area. A musical crypt, a leaky tomb, and a ghost writer are among the creepy haunts located just outside the main entrance. These new hands-on experiences include:
- The Dread Family - A series of busts of a family that once lived in the mansion that killed each other over inheriting a large fortune. Epitaphs for each bust offer clues to figure out who killed who, with the solution of who the final survivor was being placed in portrait form next to the Hitchhiking Ghosts at the end of the ride.
- The Musical Crypt - Tap any of the embossed musical instruments on this creepy crypt to hear a haunted tune mysteriously play.
- Sepulcher of the Sea Captain - Water leaks and bubbles rise from this age-old tomb as the Captain inside sings a long-lost tune. Beware of a drizzling sneeze!
- Tomb of the Posthumous Poetess - Words inexplicably appear upon the poetess’ tomb but she needs your help in overcoming a deadly dose of writer’s block.
- The Secret Library - Push in the books that mysteriously pop out at this haunted bookcase that includes a cryptogram for you to decipher.
In the Tokyo version, the queue is very similar except for the fact that it does not go along the shoreline of the Rivers of America. Also in the queue, two stone gargoyles also stand on the pillars of the gate, occasionally turning their heads to look at us. Instead of having a family burial plot to the side of the house, this scene was moved to the front of the attraction and was replaced with a stone crypt with falling debris and a secret part of the mansion not seen at the Florida version.
When hinges creak in doorless chambers. When strange and frightening sounds echo through the halls. Whenever candlelights flicker when the air is deathly still... That is the time when ghosts are present, practicing their terror with ghoulish delight. - The Ghost Host
Upon entering the house, we are greeted by a dimly lit hallway. Following this hallway, we enter a foyer, which features a fireplace to the left side. There is a picture hanging above the fireplace, which shows a handsome, young man (quite possibly the owner of the mansion). Our Ghost Host welcomes us and gives his usual spiel. As he is talking, the picture above the fireplace starts to change, showing the many ages of the man until his final days. One of the walls opens up next to the picture, revealing an octagonal room.
The Stretching Room [ ]
Welcome, Foolish Mortals, to the Haunted Mansion! I am your host, your Ghost Host! MUAHAHAHA! Our tour begins here in this gallery. Here where you see paintings of some of our guests, as they appeared in their corruptible, mortal state. - The Ghost Host
This two story room features four pictures (these pictures look like the California version's Stretching Room pictures, aside from a few differences). The wall that let us in to this room immediately closes, and the pictures on the walls begin to stretch. As these pictures stretch, we are shown the terrible fates of the people in the pictures. The Ghost Host then begins to tell us that we are not much better off than the people in these pictures: we are trapped inside this room with no possible way to escape. Well, states the ghost host, "there's always my way." Suddenly, the roof above us disappears, revealing an attic. In it, it reveals the Ghost Host (presumably) committing suicide by hanging. A loud, frightening scream is heard, and the lights go dark.
Unlike California and Paris ' Stretching Rooms which act as elevators, this version does not need to take its guests underground, under the railroad tracks to a show building. However, the Stretching Room effect proved so popular, it was installed in Florida - the ceiling of the room stretches upward, but the guests are not moved to a lower floor. The Stretching Room has since become a staple of Haunted Mansions.
It should also be noted that there is a slight difference between the spiels of the American parks here. In the California version, the Ghost Host says "Our tour begins here in this gallery, where you see paintings of some of our guests, as they appeared in their corruptible, mortal state." He says "where" as if he were to say "Here where" but was cut off, and ends up saying something to the effect of "h-where". In the Florida version, this error has been corrected and the Ghost Host says "Here where". The California version also has the Ghost Host introduce the paintings after telling the guests to "Kindly step all the way in... and make room for everyone," whereas the Florida version has the paintings mentioned before.
Portrait Gallery [ ]
When the walls finally do open, guests are ushered into a hallway lined with paintings that change from normal to "spooky" every few seconds. A simulated thunderstorm rages outside while the grim busts of a man and woman placed at the end of the hall seem to turn their heads in relation to the viewer's perspective. The effect, patented by Disney, was achieved by creating a negative image using a mold. This effect was discovered when the eyes in a mask created for the Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln attraction appeared to follow the observers. Lighting effects give the illusion of a positive image.
The Load Area [ ]
Oh, I didn't mean to frighten you prematurely. The real chills come later. Now, as they say, "look alive", and we'll continue our little tour, and let's all stay together, please. - The Ghost Host
Having left our mortal selves behind, we are now able to travel through walls and escape the stretching room. We encounter a long hallway, leading to a short queue that is used to board the Doom Buggies, as opposed to a large open-windowed area featuring an orange spider but also containing cobwebs and chandeliers. The Ghost Host's spiel has been cut in half from the California version, mainly because there is nothing to look at in the hallways in the Florida and Tokyo versions, with one exception; the Florida version loading hall contains seven of the " Sinister 11 " portraits: The Arsonist, Jack the Ripper, The Mariner , Hatchet Man, The Witch of Walpurgis, Dracula , and The Old Man. The other four portraits: The Couple, December , The Opera Glasses Lady, and Medusa are located elsewhere. In Tokyo, this hall instead has large urns adorning the walls.
The Portrait Hallway [ ]
Concept art for the new Portrait Hallway
Do not pull down on the safety bar, please - I will lower it for you; and heed this warning: the spirits will materialize only if you remain quietly seated at all times. Oh yes, and no flash pictures, please. We spirits are frightfully sensitive to bright lights. - The Ghost Host
After boarding our Doom Buggies, we go under a landing that features a dimly-lit candle. We then enter the Portrait Hallway, which in the Florida version until 2007 , featured all the Sinister 11 portraits with eyes that follow you. In 2007, the Portrait Hallway was redone to be an exact copy of the one in the California version (windows on one side, pictures that change when lightning strikes on the other). It also features a new organ.
The Library [ ]
Our library is well stocked with priceless first editions, only ghost stories of course; and marble busts of the greatest ghost writers the literary world has ever known. - The Ghost Host
Leaving the Hallway behind, we enter a library. There are hundreds of books here, some of them being pulled off of their shelves- with no one in sight. The book ladder slides across a beam on the top of the book shelves by itself, and chairs rock back and forth. We only stay in the library for a few moments, and then we move on into the Music Room.
It should be noted that the Library is the only scene in the Florida and Tokyo versions that is not in the California and Paris versions.
The Conservatory [ ]
We then pass a coffin whose occupant is trying to get out, screaming," Let me out of here!"
The Music Room [ ]
They have all retired here to the Haunted Mansion. Actually, we have 999 happy haunts here, but there's room for a thousand. Any volunteers?? Hmm? - The Ghost Host
Leaving the Library behind, we enter a large room that features a staircase, a large window, and a piano. Upon close inspection, we notice that the piano itself is playing a haunting rendition of the Screaming Song . Upon even closer inspection, we see a shadow on the floor that seems to be playing the piano.
Until 1994 , the California version did not have a Music Room. This was changed during a refurb, in which the pianist was relocated to the attic.
The Stairway [ ]
Concept art of the new Stairway scene
Well, if you should decide to join us, final arrangements may be made at the end of the tour. A charming "ghostess" will be on hand to take your application. - The Ghost Host
We leave the music room and climb up a stairway, exactly the same stairway that we begin our ride in the California and Paris versions. However, the staircase used here features many other staircases as well, each one going in a different direction. Some are upside-down, some are tilted, and some feature footsteps and candles as well as entrances to doors.
Prior to 2007 in the Florida version, right after you climbed the staircase, you entered a pitch-black room and saw giant spiders on spiderwebs on either side of you before passing the Endless Hallway and entering the Corridor of Doors. These were replaced by the blinking eyes that fade into the wallpaper effect that is in place now, although the spiders remain in the Tokyo version. The spiders themselves in the Florida version were repainted to appear more exotic, and make a reappearance in the Jungle Cruise . There was also early concepts circulating this area that would have the area much more riddled with cobwebs with either a corpse or a screaming man, with the screaming man rumored to have been in the ride but quickly removed due to being too frightening. Concepts for the corpse ensnared in cobwebs exist, though the screaming man's existence has never been confirmed.
These stairs seem strikingly similar to M.C Escher's " Relativity " painting, in which staircases are everywhere and appear to defy physics and perspective. The stairs are also a shoutout to the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, California. The Mystery House itself is a vast maze-like mansion in which stairs seem to lead nowhere, doors open up to walls, and a lot of rooms appear to be false due to the original owner's superstitious belief. Walt Disney had originally visited the house and had an idea for a physics defying room for his haunted attraction project (which later became the Haunted Mansion.) Coincidentally, the Winchester Mystery House is also considered haunted.
The Endless Hallway and the Corridor of Doors [ ]
From here, the guests travel up a staircase and begin the guided tour of the house. They pass an endless hallway, through the music room, and a conservatory containing a coffin whose occupant is trying to get out. They then travel down a corridor of doors. Finally, the guests' attention is directed towards a large grandfather clock which is striking thirteen as an eerie shadowy hand passes by.
The Seance Circle [ ]
After the corridor of doors, guests move into a seance circle, hosted by Madame Leota - a disembodied head inside of a crystal ball. After this encounter, it seems that the happy haunts "have received your sympathetic vibrations and are beginning to materialize." From here, the Doom Buggies move up another flight of stairs and up to a balcony overlooking the ballroom.
The Ballroom [ ]
In the ballroom, the Doom Buggies pass a ballroom where ghosts dance in mid-air through the use of "Pepper's Ghost" (an effect from the Victorian era which makes figures appear ghostly). Also taking place in the ballroom is a birthday party and with each effort of the birthday girl to blow out the candles, the rest of the figures sitting at the table disappear and reappear. There are also two ghostly gunmen coming out of their portraits to fire their guns at each other.
An important part of Disney history is located in this scene. The pipe organ on the far left of the scene is the original prop from the 1954 film, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea . Prior to the construction of the attraction, it had been on display in an attraction in Tomorrowland . A ghostly organist plays upon the instrument as banshee heads float from their pipes.
The Attic [ ]
Guests enter the attic, where they are shown wedding portraits of Constance Hatchaway --a bride with a terrible habit of murderous decapitating her husbands.
This May 3 , 2006 change to the attic scene is quite possibly the most ambitious to date. The previous versions of the scene were lit with black lights and fluorescent paint. Ghouls and shrunken heads on vertical lines attached to the floor and ceiling would occasionally pop out from inside their boxes with help from blasts of compressed air. A faceless ghostly bride with glowing blue eyes and red pulsing heart rocked slowly back and forth near the exit to the graveyard scene.
The changes include some groundbreaking optical effects and a considerably darker storyline. In the new scene, wedding gifts are neatly stacked throughout the attic along with five corresponding wedding portraits. The bride, whose name is Constance (with her body played by Julia Lee and voiced by Kat Cressida ), is the same in each portrait, with her husband being different each time. In each portrait, the head of each husband slowly disappears and reappears as the bride admits to doing each of them in. The new bride, now appearing to the left of the scene's exit, utilizes sophisticated digital video projection inside a mannequin in a manner similar to Madame Leota to present the bride and her confessions. A hatchet appears and disappears in her hands throughout her monologue.
Just as they exit the attic and head onto the balcony, guests come face to face with the Hatbox Ghost , whose head disappears from his body and reappears in the hatbox that he's holding in his hand.
The Graveyard [ ]
From here, the guests descend down to a graveyard full of " Grim Grinning Ghosts " who have come out to "socialize." Guests pass a frightened caretaker and his dog, then enter the graveyard proper. A band of musicians is playing, a quintet is singing, and many other spooks are enjoying the "swinging wake". A skeletal wolf can be seen in the background, howling into the sky.
From here, the guests enter the crypt and are issued this warning: "Beware of Hitchhiking Ghosts ." Guests learn that they have been selected to fill the quota of 1000 happy haunts and that they will be haunted until they return - the safety bar will be raised and a ghost will follow them home! Guests pass a group of mirrors where a ghost seems to sit right in the Doom Buggy. Afterward, they arrive at the unload area.
The Exit [ ]
After the guests' exit out of the Doom Buggies, they pass through the remainder of the crypt and see the " Ghost Hostess " (unofficially dubbed by WED as "Little Leota"), who eerily invites the guests back and reminds them to bring their "death certificates" the next time they come. She also tells them to hurry back.
Effects and Music [ ]
The special effects used in the attraction were groundbreaking for the time.
Though the setting is spooky, the mood is kept light by the upbeat "Grim Grinning Ghosts" theme which plays throughout the ride. The music was composed by Buddy Baker and the lyrics written by X Atencio . The deep voice of Thurl Ravenscroft sings as part of a quartet of singing busts in the graveyard scene. Ravenscroft's face is used as well, as it is projected onto one of the busts, specifically one with a detached head. Spooky sound effects such as a coyote and wolf howl can be heard.
The other incarnations of the ride are very similar but have their differences. It is the only ride to appear in each of the Disney theme parks in a different location in the park. The Florida version is located in Liberty Square and has a New England facade, likely because the intention there was to base the attraction around the story of Ichabod Crane and the Headless Horseman .
Tokyo Disneyland placed the attraction in Fantasyland. The Paris version is in Frontierland , named Phantom Manor, and features different music (although it still contains the "Grim Grinning Ghosts" theme), an Old West theme, and a more cohesive storyline than the other three versions (an opening narration by Vincent Price was recorded but not used, and is available on the soundtrack). The Florida and Tokyo versions still have a stretching octagonal room to greet their guests, though in these three the ceiling actually raises instead of the floor moving; there was no need to use an elevator in those Mansions.
Haunted Mansion Holiday [ ]
Beginning in 2001 , the California version is redecorated from September (just prior to Halloween) until just after the new year into Haunted Mansion Holiday , featuring characters from The Nightmare Before Christmas . In 2004 , the Tokyo version received a copy of the overlay called "Haunted Mansion Holiday Nightmare".
The 1,000 th Happy Haunt [ ]
On October 21 , 2004 , a bidder on a Disney-sponsored auction on eBay won the right to be the first non-Disneyland employee to have his name added to an attraction. Cary Sharp, a doctor and health-care attorney from Baton Rouge , Louisiana placed a winning bid of $37,400 ( US ) to become the "1000th ghost" with the addition of his nickname, a joke epitaph, and the signatures of Disney Imagineers on a tombstone to be displayed in the attraction. Its placement was guaranteed for ten years and will remain as a permanent exhibit.
According to the Los Angeles Times , the opening bid of $750 was placed by horror novelist Clive Barker . Sharp, who had only visited Disneyland once before, placed the bid in good faith as a way to entertain his friends and never expected to win. The tombstone, with the name of "Jay" on it, is located in the finale and can be seen just as the "Doom Buggy" enters the graveyard gates. The money was donated to the Boys and Girls Club , with half of the monies raised going to the local Anaheim chapter of the main charity and the other half going to the Baton Rouge chapter.
Recent changes [ ]
With a few exceptions, the California version has remained largely unchanged since its 1969 opening.
When the 2004–2005 edition of the "Haunted Mansion Holiday" overlay was removed, two significant changes were made at the same time:
- The first was to the portraits in the gallery scene. The portraits were originally backlit and "morphed" from normal to haunted scenes. Today, they are darkened and the morphing occurs in stroboscopic synchronization with the simulated thunderstorm outside. One portrait, that of a young woman who morphs into an old hag (occasionally referred to as the " April–December " portrait), has been replaced by that of an aristocratic gentleman (often incorrectly identified as Master Gracey) who morphs into a skeleton, arguably a more frightening change. This is actually a change back to a very early version of the effect originally implemented in 1969 but this time it changes to Medusa. Examples of this effect can be viewed on the March 22 , 1970 , episode of The Wonderful World of Disney titled " Disneyland Showtime ".
- The second change was to the seance room. The disembodied head of fortuneteller Madame Leota, who spoke from within a crystal ball mounted to the table, now floats around above the table while still within its ball. The effect was one of the attraction's most sophisticated from the onset and involved a complicated projection system invented and patented by Disney specifically for the attraction.
- The Hatbox Ghost, who had previously been removed during the attraction's first week of opening, was reinstated on May 9 , 2015 , in Disneyland as part of its 60th anniversary celebration after a 46 year absence. He will be added to the Magic Kingdom version in 2023.
Other Differences [ ]
From there, the attraction is nearly exactly the same as the California and Paris versions. Here are some more differences.
- The Ghost Host has additional narration going through the corridor of doors and even introduces Madame Leota. In the Florida version, he stops speaking at "...Shh, listen." and begins speaking at "The happy haunts have received your sympathetic vibrations..." However, the extra Disneyland narration was removed, as the attraction didn't open with these tracks in the first place.
- In Florida's Seance Room, there is a wispy green light on the far right corner, that floats around in circles. In the California version, this light forms a skull. In the Tokyo version, a specter floats around the entire room.
- Until 1994, all the Attics (stateside versions) were the same. In 1994, the pianist that is shown in the Florida version was added to the California version's Attic and played a chilling rendition of the Wedding March, to help match the theme of The Bride in the Attic. The popup ghosts were given top hats and suits and started shouting "I do!", mocking The Bride by yelling the words she never was able to say. In 2006, the California version's Attic was redone and the storyline of the attraction reworked. The Bride and the popup ghosts were taken out, and a new Bride was put in. An axe would appear every so often in the new Bride's hands, playing on the fact that the new Bride was supposedly a "Black Widow" Bride who would kill her rich husbands for their money. The Florida version has received the new Bride, but the Tokyo version has not. Voice actress Kat Cressida provides the voice of the new bride, named Constance.
- As you descend from the Attic window in the California version, you see tall, dead trees akin to the ones in Snow White's Scary Adventures with knobs and holes as faces and their branches in the shape of arms and fingers, "reaching" for the guests. Contrary to popular belief, these trees do not move. The position they are in suggests movement, but they do not move. The Florida version also has them, but minus the "faces" and the branches are not like reaching arms. They are also not as well defined than the ones in the California version, so it is easy to miss them.
- The stars in California's graveyard scene are fiber-optic (akin to those used in its version of Peter Pan's Flight ). Until the 2007 refurbishment, in which the stars in Florida's graveyard were updated to fiber-optics as well, the stars were glow-in-the-dark stickers.
- In Florida and Japan's graveyard scenes, instead of the version of "Grim Grinning Ghosts" where there is only one character singing at a time in California's graveyard scene, all of the characters are singing it loudly at once.
- The popup ghosts within the graveyard originally popped up after each verse, screaming loudly while doing so. At some point, the timing was removed, making the popups more randomized, and the screams were removed as well.
- The "la-da singer" can also be heard in Story and Song from The Haunted Mansion album. In the album, the singer sings in short, staccato la's, while the current Japan version sings in long, legato la's.
- The Hooded Phantom in the mausoleum right before you get to the Opera Singer has his left hand in the shape of a Hidden Mickey in the Florida version. The Hooded Phantom in the California version has both arms at his side.
- Little Leota is part of the Florida version of the ride, before you get off. She is chanting "Hurry back... Hurry back... Be sure to bring your...death certificate." In the California version, you see her as you are going up a moving ramp.
- Right after seeing Little Leota as you are exiting the Florida version, the Ghost Host has final safety instructions for you: "Now, I will raise the safety bar and a ghost will follow you home! Kindly watch your step please...watch your step." In the California version, the Ghost Host's spiel ends with "They have selected you to fill our quota, and will haunt you until you return! Muahahahahahaha!" with someone else doing an exit spiel.
- In the Florida version, you walk through another hallway to get out of the attraction, walking past doors labeled "Servant's Quarters". Outside, you pass by a mausoleum, with a memorial to Bluebeard . You then pass a pet cemetery before exiting right in front of the Memento Mori shop. In the California version, the exit leaves you on the same street that you entered the attraction from (as if nothing ever happened), bringing the experience full circle.
- The Florida version's Mirror Finale with the Hitchhiking Ghosts has been virtual since 2012 with facial recognition technology. As of April 17 , 2016 , the Hitchhiking Ghosts now recognize your name if you are wearing a Magic Band, utilizing NFC technology. They may take your name and put it on a tombstone epitaph.
Voice Cast [ ]
- Ghost Host - Paul Frees
- Man in Coffin - Xavier Atencio
- Madame Leota - Eleanor Audley
- Executioner - Bill Days
- Mummy - Allan Davies
- Prisoner - Candy Candido
- Falling Woman, Dog, Wolf, Raven - Jimmy MacDonald
- Deaf Old Man, Whimpering Dog, Stretch Room screams - Dallas McKennon
- Bust #4 (Ned Nub) - Jay Meyer
- Opera Ghost - Loulie Jean Norman
- Bust #2 (Uncle Theodore) - Thurl Ravenscroft
- Little Leota - Leota Toombs
- Duchess - Betty Wand
- Ghost Host - Corey Burton
- Barrel - Danny Elfman
2006 (Disneyland) [ ]
- Constance Hatchaway - Kat Cressida
2007 (Walt Disney World) [ ]
- The California version opened the same day the infamous Manson murders occurred in Beverly Hills.
- The attraction is based on the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, California which Walt Disney actually visited.
- Many characters featured in the attraction, such as Master Gracey and Madame Leota, are named after Disney Imagineers , such as Yale Gracey and Leota Toombs .
- By coincidence, Adult Swim itself also later released stop motion crossovers based on Rick and Morty alongside sci-fi/horror films such as Honey, I Shrunk the Kids .
- The more-gothic black version outside Magic Kingdom's version was rumored to have held the bones of Disney child actor Bobby Driscoll , but is mainly false as he was buried in Hart Island, New York. The Florida hearse is also a bit of a movie star in its own right as it was previously used in the Western film The Sons of Katie Elder starring John Wayne. 
- It is referenced in the Dinosaurs episode " Variations on a Theme Park " as "The Haunted Slaughterhouse".
- The Halloween Party from Disney's Sing-Along Songs: Happy Haunting: Party at Disneyland! takes place at the Haunted Mansion in Disneyland. Although none of the interior shots were filmed at the actual Mansion, the sets still contain references to the attraction though.
Video Games [ ]
Kinect: disneyland adventures [ ].
The California version is featured in the Frontier Developments game Kinect: Disneyland Adventures .
Adventures in the Magic Kingdom [ ]
The attraction appears as a side-scrolling level in the NES game Adventures in the Magic Kingdom . The player must defeat ghosts by throwing candles at them to retrieve one of the keys.
Mickey's Great Adventure in Tokyo Disneyland [ ]
- The Tokyo version is featured in the Japanese Super Famicom game Mickey's Great Adventure in Tokyo Disneyland .
Television Appearances [ ]
- A Behind the Scenes look on The Haunted Mansion was featured in the 2021 Disney+ series Behind the Attraction .
- The Haunted Mansion crossovered with The Ghost and Molly McGee in Chibi Tiny Tales and Random Rings .
Gallery [ ]
- Attraction Photography
A Spirited Tour
The disembodied voice of the Ghost Host is your private guide through the cadaverous realm of an eerie haunted estate, home to ghosts, ghouls and supernatural surprises.
Glide past a casket-filled conservatory, Madame Leota’s chilling séance room and a ghostly graveyard of singing specters as you attempt to find your way out. Beware of hitchhikers—these phantom pranksters may follow you home.
Set your sights on a sinister delight. Starting in late November 2023, the Hatbox Ghost will materialize inside the Haunted Mansion. Be on the lookout for this unhappy haunt during your visit.
Before Entering the Mansion
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The Slowest Rides at Walt Disney World
While we’re often pre-occupied with life in the fast lane at Walt Disney World, whether that’s from making sure we see everything there is to see or cruising the high-speed thrills of Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, today we’re more concerned with the tortoises to Test Track’s hare.
While speed is usually king, we’re taking a look at the slowest rides in Disney World based on their top speed. If you’re looking for double digit numbers, you’ve come to the wrong place.
These are the slowest Disney World attractions by speed!
Haunted mansion / under the sea — journey of the little mermaid / the seas with nemo and friends.
We’re starting off the list with the classic omnimover ride system you’ll find utilized in three Disney World attractions: the Haunted Mansion, Under the Sea — Journey of the Little Mermaid, and the Seas with Nemo and Friends. These three attractions all move at the slow but steady (maximum) pace of three miles per hour.
Soarin’ Around the World
Did you see this one coming? While Soarin’ Around the World is a thrilling virtual journey over some of the world’s greatest landmarks, it doesn’t have forward or backward motion beyond the minimal amount required by the hanglider system. The ride doesn’t accelerate of its own accord at all, bringing the top speed of this attraction to, well, 0 mph.
The speed at which you’re traveling during this simulated hang gliding adventure is just that: simulated. Your bench may rise and fall and swing with the motion on the ride film, but any speed you experience is an illusion.
Living with the Land
This edutainment attraction from EPCOT is not going to be a contender for breaking the sound barrier, but it does make for a simple, enjoyable break from E-tickets like Test Track and Mission: SPACE. We weren’t able to find an official (or unofficial) speed for this attraction, but suffice to say, it’s slow enough to be relaxing.
Living with the Land, like most Disney boat rides, slow things down to let you take in all of your surroundings. This is especially helpful in this attraction because there are a lot of interesting agricultural techniques and unique foods to see.
it’s a small world / Gran Fiesta Tour / Na’vi River Journey
Yes, it was inevitable after Living with the Land that we would be talking about more Disney boat rides. Much like our previous trio, it’s a small world, Gran Fiesta Tour, and Na’vi River Journey share a similar ride vehicle and pacing at a consistent two miles per hour, so they get to share a spot.
Again, just because these three attractions aren’t moving as fast as, say, Splash Mountain doesn’t mean they’re not worth experiencing. Na’vi River Journey in particular is filled with such beautiful sets and one of the most complex audio-animatronics at this time that it deserves a ride.
This icon of EPCOT also happens to be one of the slowest attractions in all of Walt Disney World, clocking in a top speed of 1.24 miles per hour (whoa, slow down there, Spaceship Earth).
Spaceship Earth was built using an omnimover system much like the Haunted Mansion, but the speed of the vehicles is slower. We think it just gives us more time to appreciate this grand and miraculous spaceship of an attraction.
Which slow-moving attraction is your favorite at Walt Disney World? Let us know in the comments!
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