Haunted Mansion

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For the 2003 film adaptation, see The Haunted Mansion (film). For the 2003 video game, see The Haunted Mansion (video game). For the comics, see Haunted Mansion (comics). For the unrelated 1998 Hong Kong film, see Haunted Mansion (1998 film).
The Haunted Mansion
Haunted Mansion Exterior.JPG
Original attraction at Disneyland
Area New Orleans Square
Status Operating
Opening date August 9, 1969
Magic Kingdom
Area Liberty Square
Status Operating
Opening date October 1, 1971
Tokyo Disneyland
Area Fantasyland
Status Operating
Opening date April 15, 1983
General statistics
Attraction type Omnimover dark ride
Manufacturers Arrow Development (Disneyland & Magic Kingdom)
Designer WED Enterprises
Theme Haunted manor
Music Buddy Baker
Vehicle type Doom buggies
Riders per vehicle 2-3
Duration 4:30 minutes
Audio-animatronics Yes
Host Ghost Host (Paul Frees)
(Teichiro Hori, Tokyo version)
Must transfer from wheelchair
Assistive listening icon.svg Assistive listening available
Closed captioning available

The Haunted Mansion is a haunted house dark ride located at Disneyland, Magic Kingdom (Walt Disney World), and Tokyo Disneyland. Phantom Manor, a significantly re-imagined version of the Haunted Mansion, is located exclusively in Disneyland Paris. Another Disney attraction involving the supernatural and set in a mansion, Mystic Manor, recently opened at Hong Kong Disneyland. The Haunted Mansion features a ride-through tour in Omnimover vehicles called "Doom Buggies," preceded by a walk-through show in the queue. The attraction utilizes a range of technology, from centuries-old theatrical effects to modern special effects and spectral Audio-Animatronics.

The attraction[edit]

Disneyland version[edit]

The Portrait Corridor, which guests pass through after exiting the Stretching Room

Entering the queuing area through a pair of ornate gates, guests find themselves in the mansion's well-tended gardens and courtyards. The queuing path leads guests past a pet cemetery, a mausoleum with pun names, and a white carriage hearse led by an invisible horse. Stepping onto the porch, guests are admitted inside the mansion by a somber, green-uniformed house servant. Through a doorway on the far right of the front side of the house, guests enter a dark foyer, dimly lit by a large chandelier with flickering candles.

In the foyer, the deep, resonant voice (Paul Frees) of an invisible spirit sets the tone with a short opening monologue, accompanied by a funeral dirge played on an unseen pipe organ. A pair of sliding doors open to one of two near-identical octagonal portrait galleries, and a servant ushers guests inside. The invisible spirit mockingly welcomes the guests (referring to them as "foolish mortals") and introduces himself as their "Ghost Host" who will take them on a tour of the Haunted Mansion. The gallery contains four paintings, one on every other wall, each depicting a person from the chest up. The portraits are flanked by eight leering, candle-holding gargoyles. A sliding wall panel closes in front of the doorway where the guests entered, trapping them in the room. As the Ghost Host taunts his guests, the room begins to vertically "stretch." The floor descends and the walls and portrait frames elongate, revealing the grim fates of the previous residents depicted in the paintings, symbolized in humorously macabre situations: a pretty young woman holding a parasol is shown to be balancing on a fraying tightrope above the jaws of an alligator; a middle-aged bearded man holding a document is shown to be standing atop a lit barrel of dynamite in his boxer shorts; a smiling elderly woman holding a rose is shown to be sitting on the tombstone of her late husband George, who is depicted as a stone bust with an ax in his head; and a confident-looking middle-aged man in a bowler hat is shown to be sitting on the shoulders of a frightened-looking man, who sits on the shoulders of a third man who is waist-deep in quicksand, an expression of terror on his face.

“...Consider this dismaying observation: this chamber has no windows, and no doors... which offers you this chilling challenge: to find a way out! Of course, there's always my way...”

With a sudden thunderclap, the lights go out and the ceiling disappears. A ghastly vision manifests above: the skeletal corpse of the Ghost Host dangles from a noose inside an octagonal cupola with four curtainless windows (rather than the hexagonal cupola with six curtained windows seen on the exterior), illuminated by flashes of lightning. Seconds later, the room becomes pitch-black, and a bloodcurdling scream is heard — falling from the ceiling to the floor, ending with the sound of shattering bones.

A wall opens, and guests are then led down a hall of portraits. As lightning flashes from the windows on the opposite side of the hall, the portraits transform into images of ghosts and monsters in sync with the lightning. At the hall's far end are two statuary busts depicting a stern-looking man and woman. The statues appear to turn and gaze at guests, following their every move.

Turning the corner, guests enter a dark room where a never-ending stream of black carriages, or "Doom Buggies," descend one staircase and ascend another. Beyond the stairwell, clouds drift past a mysterious black void. The guests board the carriages, accompanied by the Ghost Host (who lowers the safety bars and provides a safety spiel), and are brought to the second floor, where they face a hallway with no apparent end. A candelabra can be seen floating in the distance of the misty passage. Near its entrance stands a shifting suit of armor.

Turning away from the endless hall, guests travel past a conservatory filled with dead, withered plants and flowers. In the middle of the room is a coffin occupied by a restless "guest" who is attempting to get out. Perched near the coffin is a black raven with glowing red eyes.

The Doom Buggies continue down a corridor lined with doors. The sounds of pounding, screeching, calls for help and maniacal laughter can be heard from behind the doors. Knockers and handles are moved by unseen hands and some doors appear to be "breathing." The walls, covered in demon-faced wallpaper, are adorned with daguerreotypes of screaming and grinning corpses, and a large painting of the Ghost Host with a noose around his neck and holding a hatchet. A demonic grandfather clock chimes 13 as its hands spin backward and the shadow of a claw passes over it.

Guests enter a dark séance room full of floating musical instruments. Madame Leota, a medium whose disembodied head appears within a crystal ball, summons the mansion's spirits while levitating above her table. As she incants:

"Serpents and spiders, tail of a rat / Call in the spirits, wherever they're at. / Rap on a table, it's time to respond / Send us a message from somewhere beyond. / Goblins and ghoulies from last Halloween / Awaken the spirits with your tambourine. / Creepies and crawlies, toads in a pond / Let there be music from regions beyond. / Wizards and witches, wherever you dwell / Give us a hint by ringing a bell."[1]

...the instruments answer her in turn.

Next, guests pass onto the balcony of a magnificent ballroom where spirits are beginning to materialize. A ghostly birthday party appears to be taking place at the dining table (where a dinner plate and two saucers on the left side of the table combine to form a "Hidden Mickey"). Some ghosts sit on the chandelier, drinking, while others enter the hall from an open coffin in a hearse. A fat ghost wraps his arm around a stone bust on the fireplace, in front of which an old lady's ghost rocks gently in a rocking chair. Two gunmen emerge from portraits of themselves and have a duel. An organist plays a discordant melody on a pipe organ (Captain Nemo's organ set piece from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea) while skull-shaped spirits float out of its pipes and several couples waltz through the furniture. [2]

The carriages then proceed to the attic, an irregularly shaped room cluttered with gifts, personal items, mementos and wedding portraits. In each portrait, the same bride is seen with a different groom, whose heads disappear to the accompaniment of a blade sharpening sound. With each successive photograph, the bride gains another string of pearls. The sound of a beating heart fills the room, and a shadowy spirit plays a discordant version of the "Bridal Chorus" on an old piano. Just before the Doom Buggies leave the attic, the ghost of the bride from the pictures, Constance Hatchaway, is seen floating in the air, her words mocking the traditional wedding vows. As she raises her arms, a hatchet appears in her hands.

The Doom Buggies drift out of the attic window and onto the balcony of what appears to be a run-down Victorian mansion, rather than the pristine antebellum house that the guests initially entered. The starry night sky is filled with wispy spirits rising from the graveyard below. The Doom Buggies turn around, and tip backward down a 15-percent grade surrounded by dark, ghoulish trees with knotted expressions. The red-eyed raven caws at guests from a branch overhead.

The Doom Buggies reach the ground and turn towards the gate of the graveyard. There stands a caretaker and his dog, the attraction's only "living" characters. The caretaker's knees shake in fright, an expression of terror on his face, while his emaciated dog whines and whimpers. Around the corner, a ghostly band of minstrels plays a jazzy rendition of "Grim Grinning Ghosts".

Ghouls pop up from behind tombstones, a king and queen balance on a teeter-totter, a duchess swings back and forth from a tree branch, and a skeletal hellhound howls from behind them. The Doom Buggies travel down a hill and turn to see five expressive haunted busts singing "Grim Grinning Ghosts" in barbershop harmony.

Next, guests encounter a ghostly tea party surrounding a hearse stuck in the mud. A bony arm protrudes from a crypt with a wine glass in its hand, while banshees ride bicycles in the distance. An Egyptian mummy sits up in his sarcophagus, holding a cup of tea and singing along, while the ghost of a "wise old man" from the Renaissance period holds an ear trumpet to his ear in an attempt to make out the muffled words of the mummy.

The Doom Buggies turn and pass a group of singing ghosts (an operatic pair, a decapitated knight, a masked executioner, and a prisoner) standing in front of a series of crypts. A bony arm holding a trowel dangles from a partially bricked-in crypt, its occupant attempting to finish the job.

The carriages approach the entrance of a large crypt, and the Ghost Host speaks once again:

"Ah, there you are...and just in time. There's a little matter I forgot to mention: beware of hitchhiking ghosts!"

Entering the crypt, the Doom Buggies pass a group of three ghosts thumbing for a ride. Around the corner, in large, ornately framed mirrors, the guests see that one of the trio is in the carriage with them.

The guests exit their carriages and ascend back to the "living world." The last apparition they see is the tiny Ghost Hostess, who encourages them to:

"Hurry back... Be sure to bring your death certificate, if you decide to join us. Make final arrangements now. We've been ‘dying’ to have you."



The attraction's roots date back to even before Disneyland was built, when Walt Disney hired the first of his Imagineers. The first known illustration of the park showed a main street setting, green fields, western village and a carnival. Disney Legend Harper Goff developed a black-and-white sketch of a crooked street leading away from main street by a peaceful church and graveyard, with a run-down manor perched high on a hill that towered over main street.

While not part of the original attractions when Disneyland opened in 1955, Disney assigned Imagineer Ken Anderson to make a story around the Harper Goff idea and the design of his new "grim grinning" adventure. Plans were made to build a New Orleans-themed land in the small transition area between Frontierland and Adventureland. Weeks later, New Orleans Square appeared on the souvenir map and promised a thieves market, a pirate wax museum, and a haunted house walk-through. After being assigned his project, Anderson studied New Orleans and old plantations to come up with a drawing of an antebellum manor overgrown with weeds, dead trees, swarms of bats and boarded doors and windows topped by a screeching cat as a weather vane.

Despite praise from other Imagineers, Disney did not like the idea of a run-down building in his pristine park, hence his well-known saying, "We'll take care of the outside and let the ghosts take care of the inside." For inspiration, Disney visited the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, California. He was captivated by the massive mansion with its stairs to nowhere, doors that opened to walls and holes, and elevators. Anderson came up with stories for the mansion, including tales of a ghostly sea captain who killed his nosy bride and then hanged himself, a mansion home to an unfortunate family, and a ghostly wedding party with previous Disney villains and spooks like Captain Hook, Lonesome Ghosts, and the headless horseman. Some of the Universal Monsters were even planned to appear.

Rolly Crump and Yale Gracey, two Imagineers put in charge of the "spectral effects," recreated many of Ken Anderson's stories. Disney gave them a large studio at WED enterprises; they studied reports of hauntings, Greek myths and monster movies, and eventually created quite a show in their private studio. Some of these effects frightened the nighttime cleaning crews to such an extent that the management eventually asked the Imagineers to leave the lights on and to turn off the effects after hours. Instead, Crump and Gracey connected the effects to a motion-detecting switch. The next day, when the two returned to work, all the effects were running and a broom had been abandoned in the middle of the floor. Management told them they would have to clean the studio themselves, because the cleaning crew was never coming back.

The duo created a scene where a ghostly sea captain appeared from nowhere. Suddenly a wretched bride emerged from a brick wall and chased the ghost around in circles. The frightened pirate melted into a puddle and flooded the entire scene, only for the water to mysteriously vanish with the bride. "A ghost haunted by a ghost!" Rolly told Walt between chuckles. Walt and the Imagineers were amazed, but Walt still didn't like how the project was coming out. That put the mansion on hold for quite some time.

The decision was made to place the attraction in the New Orleans Square section of the park, and thus the building was themed as a haunted antebellum mansion. In 1961, handbills announcing a 1963 opening of the Haunted Mansion were given out at Disneyland's main entrance.[3] Construction began a year later, and the exterior was completed in 1963. The attraction was previewed in a 1965 episode of Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color,[3] but the attraction itself would not open until 1969. The six-year delay owed heavily to Disney's involvement in the New York World's Fair in 1964–1965 and to an attraction redesign after Walt's death in 1966.

After the fair, many Imagineers such as Marc Davis, X Atencio and Claude Coats contributed ideas to the project. By this time, Ken Anderson had left the project. Rolly Crump showed Walt some designs for his version, which included bizarre things like coffin clocks, candle men, talking chairs, man-eating plants, tiki-like busts, living gypsy wagons and a mirror with a face. Walt liked these ideas and wanted to make the proclaimed "Museum of the Weird", a restaurant side to the now-named Haunted Mansion, similar to the Blue Bayou at Pirates of the Caribbean. Though this concept was never realized, some of its aspects found their way into the final attraction.

Marc Davis and Claude Coats, two of the mansion's main designers, disagreed whether the ride should be scary or funny. Claude, originally a background artist, wanted a scary adventure, and produced renditions of moody surroundings like endless hallways, corridors of doors and other characterless environments. Marc, an animator and character designer, proposed many zany spook characters and thought the ride should be silly and full of gags. In the end, both artists got their ways when X Atencio combined their approaches and ideas, creating an entertaining transition from dark foreboding to "spirited" fun.

After Walt Disney's death in December 1966, the project evolved significantly. The Museum of the Weird restaurant idea was abandoned. The Imagineers had also objected to a walk-through attraction's low capacity, going so far as suggesting building two identical attractions to accommodate twice as many guests. A solution appeared with the development of the Omnimover system for Adventure Thru Inner Space. Renamed the Doom Buggies, the system's continuous chain of semi-enclosed vehicles offered high capacity. The cars could be set to rotate in any direction at any point, allowing the Imagineers to control what guests saw and heard throughout the show. And because each car held from one to three, it was a convenient way to divide guests into smaller groups — a better fit with the story of people wandering "alone" through a haunted house.

Employee previews of the Mansion were held August 9, 10, and possibly the 11th, followed by "soft" openings on August 9 and 10 where limited numbers of park guests were allowed to ride. A "Midnight" Press Event was held on the evening of August 11. The mansion opened to all guests August 12, 1969. The public opening was announced in full-page newspaper ads, creating the anomaly of either two official openings or an advertised "soft" opening. The attraction was an immediate success, attracting record crowds and helping Disney recover from Walt's untimely death.

In the early 1970s, the Imagineers considered resurrecting many of the creatures and effects that Rolly Crump had originally created for the Haunted Mansion's preshow as part of Professor Marvel's Gallery — a tent show of mysteries and delights, a carousel of magic and wonder." This was to be built as part of Disneyland's Discovery Bay expansion area.

At its opening, some considered Disneyland's Haunted Mansion a disappointment. Ken Andersen, an Imagineer responsible for many of the mansion's early concepts and storylines, was upset with how it turned out. Imagineer Marc Davis felt the project had had "too many cooks". Some guests wondered why it wasn't scarier. Nonetheless, the mansion remains one of the park's most enduringly popular attractions, drawing thousands of guests every day.

In 1999, a retrospective of the art of The Haunted Mansion was featured at The Disney Gallery above the entrance to Pirates of the Caribbean. When the 2003 film The Haunted Mansion was released, a retrospective of its art was featured in the gallery as well.

In October 2001, Haunted Mansion Holiday premiered, a seasonal overlay featuring characters from the 1993 film The Nightmare Before Christmas. The seasonal overlay was inspired by the question of what would happen to the Mansion if "Sandy Claws" landed there.

In October 2005, Slave Labor Graphics began publishing a bimonthly Haunted Mansion comic book anthology, with the main recurring story (Mystery of the Manse) centered around "Master Gracey" and inspired by the sea captain concepts proposed for the attraction by Ken Anderson in the 1950s. The comics are non-canonical.

In July 2010, Guillermo del Toro announced that he was set to write and produce a new movie based on the attraction, promising that it would be both scary and fun.

In July 2014, it was announced that a cartoon special based on the attraction, animated by Gris Grimly, was being developed in honor of the 45th anniversary, to be aired on the Disney Channel and Disney XD.

Other Disney parks[edit]

Magic Kingdom version

The attraction opened at Magic Kingdom in 1971, Tokyo Disneyland in 1983, at Disneyland Paris as Phantom Manor in 1992, and at Hong Kong Disneyland as Mystic Manor in 2013.

The Haunted Mansion was an opening-day attraction at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom, which opened in 1971. The attraction was developed at the same time as the Disneyland version, resulting in a very similar experience, though the slightly larger show building allowed the addition of several new scenes. As Magic Kingdom does not have a New Orleans Square, the attraction was placed in Liberty Square, a small land that pays tribute to colonial America. Thus its exterior was given a Dutch Gothic Revival style based on older northeastern mansions, particularly those in areas of Pennsylvania and in the Hudson River Valley region of New York. The mansion is surrounded by large oak trees adorned with Spanish moss, red maples and pines, all of which are native to Florida.

At Tokyo Disneyland, the mansion was placed in Fantasyland and was a near-complete clone of the Magic Kingdom version. The only exterior differences from Magic Kingdom are two bronze griffin statues guarding the main gates, as well as the left bottom and top windows being both smashed open and the top having some velvet curtains hanging out. The narration is in Japanese.

Disneyland Paris is home to Phantom Manor, a "re-imagined" version of the Haunted Mansion. The house is a Western Victorian, in the Second Empire architectural style, based on the look of the Fourth Ward School House in Virginia City, Nevada. Along with the Western architectural style, the attraction uses a Western plot to fit in with the Thunder Mesa and Frontierland backdrop.

Mystic Manor, a somewhat different kind of attraction inspired by the Haunted Mansion, opened at Hong Kong Disneyland in spring 2013. The attraction's exterior is that of a large Victorian mansion in an elaboarte Queen Anne architectural style, and the experience features a trackless "ride" system and a musical score by Danny Elfman. Continuing the Society of Explorers and Adventurers theme of Tokyo DisneySea, the attraction tells the story of Lord Henry Mystic and his monkey Albert. Having recently acquired an enchanted music box, Albert opens the box and brings everything inside the house to life.

When the Haunted Mansion was transplanted to other Disney parks, space management was much less of a problem. For example, in Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom, the entire show building is located within the park boundaries (although this has little, if anything, to do with the quality of the actual ride experience).[4]

Differences between attractions[edit]

The following are elements that are unique to each particular attraction.


  • Disneyland:
    • Guests enter from New Orleans Square.
    • Years ago, the cemetery paid tribute to the Imagineers, much like the one at Florida and Tokyo, but was changed when the queue was expanded some time after the mid-1980s, to make room for the disabled entrance.
    • When plans were being made for a Young Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular, Disney bought a hearse for the show. When plans for the show were scrapped, the hearse was given an invisible phantom horse and placed outside the Disneyland mansion.
  • Walt Disney World:
    • Guests enter from Liberty Square.
    • An invisible phantom horse and hearse, this one black, also waits here.
    • One feature unique to the Florida mansion is a tombstone for Madame Leota. On it is a bronze casting of her face that, by way of Audio-Animatronics technology, occasionally opens its eyes and looks around. In March 2011 an interactive queue was added, featuring such elements as a murder mystery, a sea captain's grave that spits water, a musical crypt, a pipe organ, a library with moving books, and a book that writes itself. Many of the original graves were moved.
    • In the back of the pet cemetery (top left), there is a headstone of Mr. Toad in tribute to Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, which closed in 1998. This statue also appears in Shanghai Disneyland's pet cemetery.
  • Tokyo Disneyland:
    • Guests enter from Fantasyland.
    • In comparison to the other mansions, the Tokyo mansion is more ramshackle and overgrown. A window hangs on its hinges, two ominous griffin statues rest at the entryway, and the gardens are overgrown and messy. Several crypts and fountains appear to be broken, the crypts emptied.
  • Disneyland Paris


  • Walt Disney World and Tokyo Disneyland
    • A portrait of the master of the house rests above the fireplace and slowly transforms into a portrait of a rotting corpse. In the entrance there are also cobweb-covered chandeliers.
  • Disneyland:
    • Guests enter a small rectangular room containing a dusty chandelier and a wooden floor (in the design of a spider's web).
  • Disneyland Paris
    • A portrait of Melanie Ravenswood fades in and out through a mirror while a chandelier hangs from above.

Stretching Room

  • Disneyland and Disneyland Paris
    • In the Disneyland version and Phantom Manor, the room is, in fact, a concealed OTIS elevator. The room is lowered slowly as the ceiling remains in place to give the illusion that the room is stretching. This brings the guests down to where the ride begins, below ground level. This elevator effect was necessary to lower the guests below the level of the railroad that circles Disneyland. The actual ride building of this attraction is located outside the berm surrounding the park, and the Disney Imagineers developed this mechanism to lower the guests to the gallery leading to the ride building.
  • Walt Disney World and Tokyo Disneyland:
    • Guests enter a shorter chamber in which the floor is stationary while the ceiling itself rises, as do the portraits. As both rides (Florida and Tokyo) were built on stable ground, there was no need to lower guests down and out of the park. For the 2007 refurbishment, Walt Disney World's stretch room was given new wallpaper and stretching sounds. The original thunder sound effects were also replaced with more realistic, louder thunder and lightning effects. After the stretching sequence, as guests exit, they can hear the gargoyles whisper.
  • Disneyland Paris
    • Instead of the regular portraits, guests see four portraits of Melanie. In the first one, Melanie steps through a stream. In the second, she holds a parasol, in the third, she picks flowers, and in the fourth, she is having a picnic with her fiance. As the room stretches:
      • Melanie steps through a stream, and reaching for her foot is a hand, connected to a water monster.
      • Melanie clutches a parasol, while in a boat, above a vertical waterfall.
      • Melanie picks flowers, above a gravestone, while a skeleton emerges from the ground.
      • Melanie is having a picnic with her fiance, as ants raid their food, and a snake, scorpion, spider and water beetle approach.
    • The body of the groom, hanged from the rafters in the ceiling over the stretching room by the Phantom,replaces the hanged version of the "Ghost Host."

Leaving Stretching Room

  • Disneyland:
    • The wall opens into a Portrait Hallway. When the walls finally open, guests are ushered into the corridor with paintings that depict seemingly innocent scenes. Windows on the left give guests a peek at the thunderstorm raging outside. With every flash of lightning, the paintings flicker with ghastly images, including a demure young woman sprouting snakes from her scalp (Medusa), a magnificent sailing ship at sea that becomes a tattered and ghostly version thereof in a storm, a man who changes into a decrepit corpse, a knight and horse who both turn into terrifying skeletons, and a woman sitting upon a sofa who is revealed as a were-tiger. The grim busts of a man and woman placed at the end of the hall seem to turn their heads, glaring at the guests as they walk past.
    • After escaping the portrait corridor, the guests walk through an ethereal void, a "limbo of boundless mist & decay", where an eerie green, glowing fog floats between spider webbed-adorned walls, and cobweb-wrapped candelabras dimly illuminate the area. The Ghost Host points out that the house has 999 spirits with room for a thousand ("any volunteers?").
  • Walt Disney World:
    • The wall opens directly to the Doombuggy Load Area, and will always open underneath Parasol Girl's portrait, no matter which Stretch Room guests are in. Seven of the Sinister 11 portraits are located in the load area.
  • Tokyo Disneyland:
    • The wall opens directly to the Doombuggy Load Area. Instead of the Sinister 11 portraits (the paintings with eyes that follow) the walls are adorned with urns.
  • Disneyland Paris:
    • The wall opens into a Hallway similar to that of the Disneyland version. All the changing portraits are the same as at Disneyland. At the end is a picture of Melanie Ravenswood dressed in her wedding dress. Guests pass a green bust whose eyes seem to follow them. Then guests enter the loading area with a grand staircase, where a raging storm keeps turning off the lights. Phantom Manor is the only Haunted Mansion where the changing portraits fade between their counter-images, rather than synchronize with the lightning.

After Load Area and before Conservatory

  • Disneyland:
    • Guests are seated and ascend a pitch-black staircase. A chair whose embroidering resembles a hidden face and a moving suit of armor stand in front of the Endless Hall, where a candelabra floats down the corridor.
  • Walt Disney World:
    • After boarding the Doombuggies, guests are taken through a room containing a Servant's Staircase, where a candelabra floats above. Two of the Sinister 11 portraits are located here. The Doombuggies then take guests down a long portrait hallway, past flashing lightning windows and ghostly portraits like the ones in Disneyland’s changing portraits corridor (minus the "aging man" portrait).
    • Passing under an archway, guests enter a Library with staring busts, moving ladders, flying books, and an unseen ghost rocking in a chair reading a book by candlelight. After this is a music room where a shadow plays a Rachmaninoff version of Grim Grinning Ghosts on a rundown piano. A stormy forest is shown in the window behind the piano.
    • The Doombuggies then ascend a room full of staircases that defy the laws of physics (like the art of M.C. Escher). Green footsteps appear on the steps of the upside down and sideways staircases. Candelabras float along the stairs, lighting the way for a few of the 999 happy haunts. Occasionally, the candles are blown out by unseen spirits and mysteriously re-light themselves. At the top of the stairs, moving and blinking eyes fade into demon-faced wallpaper (there used to be neon-colored spiders and webs, but in the 2007 renovations of the ride, they were retracted).
  • Tokyo Disneyland:
    • Doombuggies take guests down a long portrait corridor, past ghostly portraits whose eyes seem to follow guests as they pass. This scene was once at Walt Disney World until the 2007 refurbishment.
    • The guests ride up a dark staircase with giant spiders in webs.
  • Disneyland Paris:
    • This section of Phantom Manor is identical to the Disneyland version, but an audio-animatronic of Melanie bows at passing guests.

Endless Hallway

  • All parks (except Disneyland Paris)
    • As guests ascend a narrow staircase, whether from the Entrance Hall at Disneyland and Disneyland Paris or in the grand staircase scene in Walt Disney World and Tokyo Disneyland, guests come across a living suit of armor, a chair which is embroidered with a hidden abstract face (which bears a resemblance to Donald Duck), and a long, narrow corridor down the center of a parlor. Partway down the corridor is a candelabra, floating eerily down the hallway.
  • Disneyland Paris
    • In Paris, the scene is identical to the other versions, but guests see Melanie come into view and out of view, while the candelabra she holds remains in view.


  • All parks (except Disneyland Paris)
    • As guests pass through the conservatory, the Doombuggy is spun around to face backward. On the side of the conservatory is a glass room. Dead flowers adorn the whole room with a coffin in the center. A raven sits perched atop a wreath with a banner that reads "Farewell." The coffin's lid is being raised by a pair of skeletal claws while a green glow radiates from the inside.
  • Disneyland Paris:
    • In the conservatory, there is a piano on which sits a red-eyed raven. The keys on the piano seem to play by themselves, an effect obtained by the use of mechanically moving keys. The guests can see the shadow of a phantom pianist projected via GOBO onto the floor. This scene is very much like the Music Room at Tokyo and Florida.

Corridor of doors

  • Disneyland:
    • After leaving the conservatory, guests travel through a dimly lit corridor. Daguerreotypes of family members, all of which resemble zombies and skeletons, hang upon these walls while natural & unnatural sounds echo through the halls. Many doors are seen here; their handles are jiggling and door-knockers are knocking with no one in sight. A cross-stitched sign reading "Tomb Sweet Tomb" hangs crookedly on the wall. A portrait of the Ghost Host wearing a hangman's noose and holding a hatchet is seen to the left of the corridor. Next to that, a door seems to be breathing as if it were human. Two reliefs resembling a smiling and a snarling demon are found here as well. At the end of the corridor is a door with a pair of skeletal hands trying to open the door with an eerie green glow from inside.
  • Walt Disney World:
    • Very similar to the Disneyland Mansion, but with newly drawn portraits and a different version of the Ghost Host's portrait (this time depicting the same decrepit man, but with his shadow raising the hatchet menacingly). Also, along the purple walls where pictures hang are the same eyes that guests see before entering the endless hallway that seem to glare at the guests riding through (but without the white glow).
  • Tokyo Disneyland:
    • Related to both American parks, but instead of family portraits and the hanging man, a portrait of a top-hatted man hangs on the corridor's wall. But, with a slight twist, this portrait seems to grow a three-dimensional face, facing the guests.There is also a door with hands that bends it, as well as with a blue glow & fog machine.
  • Disneyland Paris
    • The Doombuggies pass a series of ten doors. Knocking sounds can be heard behind the doors and the knockers seem to be moving by themselves. At the tenth door, two skeletal hands can be seen trying to force their way through above the door.

The Clock Hall

  • All parks:
    • Each hall contains a single grandfather clock with demonic features. As the shadow of a claw reaches over the face of the clock, the hands spin wildly counter-clockwise, striking the number 13 every other second. The clock's swinging pendulum resembles a demon's pointed tail.
  • Disneyland
    • The clock's pendulum resembles a demon's tongue. Unlike the other parks' clocks, this clock has only 12 hours, with the twelfth hour marked as "13".
  • Walt Disney World
    • Almost identical to the Disneyland version, but instead the hands look like a pair of skeletal fingers. The clock also truly has 13 hour marks, instead of just 12 like at Disneyland. The hands also spin at a much faster speed.
  • Tokyo Disneyland
    • The hands have a Japanese design.
  • Disneyland Paris
    • The clock's minute hand resembles a snake's tail, while the hour hand features a crescent moon shape. The demon wallpaper has faded into the darkness and its eyes glow a greenish color, blinking at guests.

The Séance Circle

  • Walt Disney World:
    • The crystal ball containing Madame Leota’s head floats mysteriously above the table. Floating objects and instruments respond to Leota's incantations while a wispy green specter roams in a corner of the room. Just before guests enter the Ballroom, a book can be seen containing Leota's incantations, with the page flipped to 1313. Page 1312 is of a similar figure reminiscent to the Hatbox Ghost.
  • Disneyland
    • For many years, the crystal ball remained stationary on the table. In 2006, it gained the ability to float. Madame Leota was grounded again in 2009, but recently the floating effect has been reactivated. The wispy spirit that floats reveals a skull-like face in the background. Just before guests enter the Ballroom, a book can be seen containing Leota's incantations, with the page flipped to 1313. Page 1312 is of a similar figure reminiscent to the Hatbox Ghost.
  • Tokyo Disneyland
    • Madame Leota's crystal ball remains stationary while a green specter floats about the room. A purple ghost is in the background as well, exclusive to Tokyo's Mansion.
  • Disneyland Paris
    • Madame Leota's crystal ball sits on a floating table.

The Ballroom

  • All parks (except Disneyland Paris)
    • After leaving the Seance circle, guests arrive at a balcony overlooking festivities below in a ballroom, with a number of ghosts dancing and making merry. Ghosts are seen entering the room through a broken door, where a hearse is crashed with its coffin sliding out. Eerie wraiths are seen flying in and out of the windows above. A merry ghost is seen sitting atop the mantle of a fireplace (spitting out green flames) with his arm wrapped around a familiar bust. An elderly ghost is seen rocking back and forth in a chair while knitting a sweater. Many ghosts have gathered around a dinner table, where a birthday ghost is blowing out 13 candles on a cake. A ghost can be seen at the far end of the table. A massive chandelier hangs above the table where a couple of drunks are swinging about, hanging on with their canes. Another balcony is seen across the room, where a curtained doorway is situated between two portraits of duelists. From time to time, the ghosts of the two duelists appear and shoot each other with their shotguns. A number of elegantly dressed couples are seen below, waltzing to a haunting version of the song "Grim Grinning Ghosts", played on a large organ. The organ is played by a ghostly gentleman while skull-like banshees fly out of the organ pipes. At Walt Disney World, shortly after the 2007 refurbishment, one of the Sinister 11 portraits was relocated here. Also for the 2007 rehab, the ghosts' lights used to create the Pepper's Ghost effect were replaced with more accurate, long beam focus lights. At Disneyland, the organ is the actual prop of Captain Nemo's organ that was used in the film 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. While the organ console remains the same, a bat-shaped note stand at the console has replaced the oval mirror and a new taller set of pipes replaced the original pipe arrangement in the film to better compliment the dimensions of the room and to fit with the ghostly effect of skulls pouring out of them. At the other parks, the organ is a replica of the original.
  • Disneyland Paris
    • At Paris, the table is set for a wedding party. Melanie (the bride) is seen standing on the staircase, upset, while the Phantom looks on from a window, laughing. Most of the rest of the ballroom is identical to the other versions.

The Attic

  • Disneyland:
    • The Doom Buggies pass portraits of wealthy men, each standing next to the same bride. A ghostly pianist is seen banging the keys on an old run-down piano, playing a grim version of Richard Wagner's Bridal March.
    • The grooms' heads disappear from their shoulders in rhythm with the bride's loud heartbeat. For each husband the bride marries, she gains a strand of pearls.
    • Eventually, the Doombuggies come across the bride herself, with a blueish-green hue, uttering her wedding vows in a slow, ominous voice. Halfway through each of her vows, an axe appears in her hands, disappearing before she starts her next vow.
  • Walt Disney World:
    • Similar to the attic at Disneyland, except that the piano player can be heard but not seen. A reverb effect has also been added to the music. The bride is now also a blueish-white hue and holds a hatchet with deep scratch marks.
  • Tokyo Disneyland :
    • Upon entering the attic, a loud heartbeat resonates throughout the room, followed by the screams & shrieks of skeletal ghosts that pop-up from among various bric-a-brac. At the end of the Attic stands a blue, pale-faced bride whose heart glows red; she holds a candle stick.

The Boudoir (Disneyland Paris)

  • The Doombuggies enter the Bride's Boudoir. Melanie is now an old woman and sits in front of a skull-shaped mirror, crying. Following the Bride's Boudoir, Phantom Manor follows a different series of scenes from the standard scenes of the regular Haunted Mansions.

The Graveyard and Ending

  • All parks (except Disneyland Paris):
    • The guests "fall" out of an Attic window & enter the Graveyard of the Mansion. Ghosts rise up from an invisible scrim, and a caretaker holding a lantern and his dog cower in front of the gate in fear. Ghosts pop up from the left and right sides of the buggy. Years ago, they used to scream and shriek, but they are now silent. A Graveyard Band plays an instrumental version of "Grim Grinning Ghosts". White marble busts, a Duke and Duchess, a Mummy, a Decapitated Knight, Prisoner and Executioner and a Hearse Quartet sing "Grim Grinning Ghosts", while a male and female opera singer try to overpower each other and an old man has trouble hearing. A jazzy rendition of "Grim Grinning Ghosts" composed by Buddy Baker plays in the background. For the 2007 rehab, Walt Disney World's Haunted Mansion was given all-new graveyard singers, minus the Singing Busts, the Mummy and Deaf Old Man. The Headless Knight was also muted. Also, the left hand of the ghost’s cloak near the opera singers forms a Hidden Mickey in the Florida version.
  • Disneyland Paris
    • There is no graveyard scene at Paris. Instead, guests leave the Bride's Boudoir into the Manor's backyard where the Phantom stands before an open grave and laughs menacingly. Then the Doom Buggies pass an undead dog.
    • The Doombuggies then travel underground, into some catacombs, and pass a series of coffins being opened by their skeletal residents. Four white marble busts come into view, bearing the expressive faces of four phantoms singing "Grim Grinning Ghosts".
    • As guests pass through a hole exiting the catacombs and enter Phantom Canyon, the supernatural version of Thunder Mesa, great rifts in the earth surrounding the buggies suggest that there is an earthquake happening. An eerie-looking figure is then seen standing before a ramshackle train station, offering guests train tickets to the underworld. This character is nicknamed Ezra (because he resembles one of the Hitchhiking Ghosts from the original mansion that was nicknamed Ezra by fans). Guests then pass a ruined town hall where a mayor stands, inviting guests to become the manor's 1000th ghost. (The Mayor's dialogue is made up of clips from the Paul Frees Ghost Host narration of the American versions of the Haunted Mansion). As he tips his hat, his head comes with it. A shootout follows between a bank robber fleeing a bank on a mule and a cowardly sheriff, with Big Thunder Mountain in the background. Guests see a pharmacy where a green-faced pharmacist drinks a deadly-looking medicine, followed by a saloon with a caved-in front wall. Inside it there is a dancing showgirl, a bartender, and a man playing a honky-tonk piano. Four invisible gambler figures play poker nearby.
    • Another figure of the Phantom leads guests into an open grave. As guests see the silhouette of the Manor ahead, they enter a dark passage and see Melanie's corpse pointing to the way out. The vehicles enter a subterranean chamber lined with large, gilt-framed mirrors in which a ghostly image of the Phantom can be seen above the guests' own Doom Buggies. This replaces the Hitchhiking Ghosts scene from the other versions. Then guests enter a wine cellar and disembark.
      • Much of Phantom Canyon was derived from a planned scene of a mining town called Dry Gulch in the never built Western River Expedition at the Magic Kingdom. Phantom Canyon is also based on a supernatural version of Thunder Mesa, per the backstory of both Phantom Manor and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad in Disneyland Paris.



In 1995, Disneyland's Haunted Mansion was updated. Now, a phantom piano player sits at a run-down piano, just like the music room at Walt Disney World's Mansion. However, instead of the sinister Rachmaninoff-esque version of Grim Grinning Ghosts, a dark version of Richard Wagner's Bridal March plays. New pop-ups and audio were also added. Instead of the screams and shrieks from the old ones, they now scream "I do!" The pop-ups/blast-ups were discontinued in the 2006 upgrades. The La-La Singer/Hearse Background Noise in the internal graveyard was also discontinued.

In 2001, a newer, more detailed safety spiel was added to the onboard audio of the Dommbuggies, now featuring voice-over artist and Paul Frees impersonator Joe Leahy, giving a bilingual safety warning as part of a park-wide attempt to increase safety at the rides.

In 2004, the changing portraits in the Portrait Hallway were reverted to their original style of metamorphosis. Now, just like the original Haunted Mansion, the changing portraits flicker in synchronization with the flashing lightning and turn into their ghastly counter-images, rather than just fading between each other.

On Disneyland's 50th anniversary, The Haunted Mansion was given a number of upgrades. First, the original portrait in the Portrait Hall of a beautiful young lady turning into an old hag (commonly known by fans as the "April–December portrait") was discontinued and replaced with the young man that turns into a skeleton, which can be found in Walt Disney World's Foyer. Next, Madame Leota floats, instead of her crystal ball remaining stationary on the table. A new attic scene was also added. Instead of the old attic scene with pop-ups and a silent bride, there are now five changing portraits. The portraits show Constance Hatchaway, the new "Black widow bride" (played by Julia Lee, voiced by Kat Cressida), and throughout each of the photos, the husbands' heads pictured with her now disappear. In each of the photos, she gains a strand of pearls on her necklace. Her facial expression now turns from a frown into a sly smile throughout each portrait. A new bride was also put in place of the original. Now, the bride utters her wedding vows in a slow and ominous voice: "Here comes the bride..., As long as we both shall live (chuckle)..., For better or for ... worse, (chuckle) I do. I did, In sickness and in (chuckle)... Wealth, You may now kiss the bride, We'll live happily ever after... Till death... do us part..." A hatchet appears in her hands between her vows. Finally, the original stars in the graveyard were replaced with more realistic, more reliable fiber-optic technology. Two keys were also added to the end of the Attic Piano track.

In 2008, The Haunted Mansion at Disneyland received some small changes. The body thud sound in the stretch room was changed to have a bit of reverse reverb, the Chandeliers in the Foyer were cleaned, and stenciling was added on the Load Area belt to simulate an endlessly moving carpet.

In June 2010, Madame Leota's floating technique was presumably replaced with a clearer and digital internal projection, featuring the same HD video technology, just like the current projection of her at the Walt Disney World Haunted Mansion.

Walt Disney World

In 2003, just like at Disneyland, a bilingual safety spiel was added to the Doombuggy Load Area, now featuring voice-over artist and Paul Frees impersonator Joe Leahy, giving a safer warning as part of another park-wide attempt to increase safety at the rides.

At the Walt Disney World Resort, The Haunted Mansion closed for refurbishment on June 8, 2007, and reopened September 13, 2007, a mere day before the first night of "Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party" of that season.

Changes to this version of the attraction during the refurbishment included a new paint job on the facade, the addition of a new audio system for the Ghost Host that makes it seem as if the spirit is floating around visitors' heads, various new wallpaper throughout the attraction, different and enhanced lighting throughout the attraction, and new stretching sound effects for the stretching room. The gargoyles in the stretching room now whisper with messages of "Stay Together", and emit child like giggles after the stretching room sequence. The Music Room Piano had also been reverted to the original speed and pitch, thus fixing the tape error that existed since 1971 when they installed the sound system, and the Ghost Host's line about "999 happy haunts" was changed to the same as Disneyland's. An exclusive Escher-esque staircase scene has replaced the empty dark banister area covered in cobwebs and the giant orange spiders. After the staircase scene, there are all new ghoulish eyes that glow & whisper (or as the official track listing calls it "Bat Eye Noise"), while monstrous sounds echo through the halls. The foyer music has been changed to a lower key as well as taken out of the Corridor of Doors, though it can still be heard briefly in the Conservatory and Portrait Hallway. The original attic sequence is now replaced with the new Disneyland attic scene including the five changing husband portraits and the new Constance. The other major Disneyland enhancements were also implemented at Walt Disney World including the floating version of Madame Leota with a much clearer projection, fiber-optic stars in the internal graveyard (the original Magic Kingdom version had glow-in-the-dark stickers) and the Sinister 11 (the portraits with the following eyes) were replaced with the changing portraits from Disneyland's portrait gallery (minus the aging man portrait found in Disneyland's Portrait Hall). Seven of the Sinister 11 are now located in the loading area of the ride (these include Jack the Ripper, Arsonist, Mariner, Vampire, Witch of Walpurgis[disambiguation needed], and the Ghost Host) while the other four are located in various parts of the mansion. However, they no longer work the way they used to, as the eyes are no longer lit like the way they used to be prior to the Re-Haunting. The voices of the Graveyard Ghosts with the exception of the Deaf Old Man, the Singing Busts, and the Mummy were re-recorded with new singers, featuring slightly different lyrics (instead of the Executioner saying "They pretend to terrorize", he now says "They begin to terrorize" and the Duchess now says "Scream! Or Sugar! instead of "Oh yes they do!"). The speakers were also upgraded to be clearer and crisper. The Decapitated Knight is now silent. The once washed-out blueish-purple ghosts are now a sharp green. The La-La singer was also discontinued. The Doombuggies have also been fixed to a much more quiet track than the high squeaking sound before the refurbishment. This refurbishment was known as "The Re-Haunting."

In early 2008, small changes were made to the attraction. The Stretch Room sequence was shortened by about seven seconds total. This was accomplished by shortening the first stretching sound effect, and the Thunder Sequence was also shortened. The speed and pitch of the Music Room piano was also lowered by 3 steps to better blend with the lower-key Foyer Organ.

In early October 2010, construction walls went up in the queue area of the Haunted Mansion, blocking the view of the small graveyard just outside the entrance. A new effect was also added to the ride: a glowing green arrow points to the left on the back of the Doombuggies as guests exit.

In March 2011, a new "interactive queue" was added, with new tombstones honoring Imagineers; a murder mystery for guests to solve featuring the sinister Dread family; the Composer Crypt, which features musical instruments that play "Grim Grinning Ghosts" when touched; the Mariner's brine-filled sepulcher, whose ghost sings and sneezes from within; a crypt for the poetess Prudence Pock, which features haunted books & Prudence's ghost writing invisibly in her poem book. Guests can solve the unfinished poems by speaking into microphones located on the crypt. Guests may also opt to skip the queue and go straight to the Foyer doors.

On April 6, 2011, changes to the "Hitchhiking Ghost" section of the ride were completed and debuted to park guests. The mirror effects have been extensively updated, using computer technology that simulates the ghosts physically interacting with riders. All three Hitchhiking Ghosts can now be heard for the first time, voiced by Disney voice-over artist and recording vocalist Kurt Von Schmittou.

In September 2013, The Haunted Mansion was given new Fastpass+ signage. This included removing the plaques at the main gate and replacing them with safety instructions, as well as installing a sign that says "Disney Fastpass+" with a clock on it. The scanner that scans the Fastpasses also plays an eerie sound when a Fastpass is scanned. New carpeting, now with a pattern, was also installed in the Foyer and Load Area.

The Haunted Mansion Holiday

Haunted Mansion Holiday[edit]

Since 2001, the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland and Tokyo Disneyland is transformed into Haunted Mansion Holiday during Christmas inspired by Disney's The Nightmare Before Christmas. The Haunted Mansion is closed in September for a few weeks as they revamp the attraction, replacing many of the props and Audio-Animatronics with characters and themes from the movie. It features Jack Skelington as Sandy Claws. Jack discovers the mansion, then shares it with the 999 happy haunts. Corey Burton replaces Paul Frees as the Ghost Host.

Hatbox Ghost[edit]

For the first few weeks, a now fan-favorite character named the Hatbox Ghost existed in the attic portion of the ride at Disneyland Park. However, the character eventually disappeared within a few months. Because the Hatbox Ghost featured prominently in artwork and narration for popular Haunted Mansion record albums sold for many years at Disney parks, and because Disney continues to market the ghost's image, he has never been forgotten and has become somewhat of a legend, complete with cult following. Many fans of the ride wish to see him returned and have gone so far as to circulate petitions calling for the figure's restoration.

Contributions of Kim Irvine[edit]

Leota Toomb's daughter Kim Irvine, a designer for Walt Disney Imagineering, created a rarely seen pet cemetery, once clearly visible to those entering the foyer through the side door reserved for handicapped guests and their parties. Since a wheelchair ramp was added to the front of the mansion, guests rarely see this area. This pet cemetery was popular with the few who saw it, so WDI created a larger one in the normal queue around the time the new ramp was installed. Irvine, who bears a strong resemblance to her mother, also played Madame Leota for Haunted Mansion Holiday.

Behind the scenes[edit]

Building layout[edit]

Space management

The original Disneyland Haunted Mansion required clever space management in a theme park that has always contended with a lack of space. When the New Orleans Square area was added in the early 1960s, there was no more room in that quarter of the park for large attractions. The Imagineers therefore placed the bulk of the two major attractions — Pirates of the Caribbean and the Haunted Mansion — outside the park's earthen berm. The famed "stretching rooms" were implemented simply so guests could be moved underground and outside of the park without them knowing. Most guests do not realize that the portrait hall is actually an underground passage leading under the berm behind the mansion facade. As they enter the loading area, they pass beneath the Disneyland Railroad's tracks and into a vast, approximately 37,000 square feet (3,400 m2), soundstage-like show building located outside the park boundaries. Painted dull green like most Disneyland show buildings, this 35-foot (11 m)-tall facility is roughly rectangular, with a front section that is covered by the berm and through which the train tunnel passes. Guests may catch a brief glimpse of the building while riding the tram from the Mickey and Friends parking structure, or by boarding the Disneyland Railroad at the New Orleans Square station and facing backward in the train. However, the show building has no visible above-ground connection to the themed façade within the park.

The show building extends an additional 10 feet (3.0 m) below the backstage ground level, though much of the attraction takes place around ground level. The layout of the track is convoluted, but it's essentially a clockwise loop that runs through the outer areas of the building. Smaller scenes such as the conservatory and parts of the attic lay outside the loop formed by the track, but most of the major scenes take place on the inside of this loop. This leads to some interesting spatial relationships between them. For example, the organ in the ballroom is back-to-back with a number of crypts in the graveyard, and the back of the loading area shares a wall with the endless corridor.

Backstage areas

The show building houses a number of backstage areas unseen by guests. One of the easiest ways for cast members to enter these parts of the attraction is by entering a small, shed-like protrusion behind the façade. Inside this shed is the entrance to a cast member break room and a staircase that leads down below the berm, making a left turn into the attraction's control tower. This small room (about the size of the conservatory) is hidden between the unloading and loading areas, seen only by handicapped guests who must ride all the way through to the loading area. Another way into the show building from within the park is through a door in one of the queue's crypts. This leads down several staircases into the portrait hall.

Near the tower, a pair of stairways leads beneath the Doom Buggy track and into a passageway that travels between the loading area and the graveyard, below the endless hallway, and behind the ballroom. On the other side of the ballroom, several large maintenance and equipment rooms can be found.

The show scenes themselves are only convincing when viewed from the path of the ride; exploring these areas quickly reveals the fact that they are built much like movie sets in a sound stage. For instance, the wood that the ballroom walls are built of is easily seen from backstage. The back of tombstones also shows plastic, spray paint, etc.

The top 8 feet (2.4 m) or so of the building are separated from the larger area below containing the ride. Numerous air conditioning ducts pass through this attic of sorts, which can be accessed via a caged ladder on the north side of the building. The tops of the large, squarish indentations in the sides of the building mark the floor level of this attic space.

It is worth noting that at Disneyland, the Haunted Mansion and Splash Mountain show buildings are very close to each other. When the Doom Buggies face the back of the graveyard, adjacent to the ghostly band, guests are looking at the building's northwest corner. Just a few yards beyond the back wall is a similar but smaller building housing Splash Mountain. Guests evacuated from Splash Mountain during a breakdown will verify that the Haunted Mansion show building is virtually indistinguishable from the Splash Mountain building, and that the two have only a few yards of pavement between them.[5]

Because of Magic Kingdom's layout, the Haunted Mansion show building is instead located next to the one that houses "it's a small world." This version of the ride takes place within a similar building, though this one is larger and entirely enclosed by other areas of the park. This attraction differs from the original in that the ride takes place at the same level as the mansion itself. In addition, no berm separates the façade from the show building; the back of the mansion has a visible, above-ground connection to the main warehouse. To avoid exposing backstage to the guests, WDI uses trees and other rides to hide the building from view.

Special effects[edit]

Rotating busts

The bust effect, patented by Disney,[6] was achieved by creating inverted busts: they actually recede into the wall. A combination of dim lighting and optical illusion makes the busts appear to stare at the passing guests. A similar effect is used in the Hollywoodland section of Disney California Adventure. (See also: Hollow-Face illusion)

Endless hallway

The endless hallway has a mirror placed at the end of it that fools the guests into thinking they can see twice as far down it as they actually can. The mirror has a scrim over it which serves two purposes: first, to make the corridor appear to stretch away into the mist, and second, to deaden the reflection of the candelabra - the back of which is painted black - in the mirror.

The seance circle

The Leota effect is accomplished through digital projection of an actress (Leota Toombs)'s face onto a head sculpture with features of the actress. At Tokyo, the movement of the cable-suspended sphere is synced to the projection via computer-control (what Anaheim had originated), while in Florida the projector is located inside the Crystal Ball. In Tokyo, when the projection is not correctly synchronized with the movement of the bust, Leota's crystal ball rests in a cradle on the table.

The other floating objects in the room are held up by fishing lines.

Constance Hatchaway, the singing busts in the graveyard, and the Ghost Hostess are also created using the same projection technique as Madame Leota's.


The ghosts in the ballroom are commonly believed to be holograms. However, all the ghosts in the ballroom scene are created using a clever variation of Pepper's Ghost, an illusion invented in the mid-19th century. The version of the illusion in the Haunted Mansion works like this: a row of columns in front of the mezzanine are supporting gigantic panes of glass, which are nearly invisible to guests. The "ghosts" are merely the reflections in the glass of Audio-Animatronics figures, located in rooms above and below the mezzanine, where the walls are painted entirely black. The Audio-Animatronics figures of the ghosts that appear on or near the floor are located below the mezzanine, while those of the ghosts which appear near the ceiling are located above the mezzanine. None of the reflections are at the guests' eye level, since that would require the Audio-Animatronics figures to be located in a place visible to guests.

This scene was designed for the most part by Marc Davis, who designed all the humanoid spooks and portraits. It is the largest example of the Pepper's Ghost effect in the world.

Other ghosts

Disney used other techniques to make the graveyard ghosts appear to be ethereal. They are made of mostly translucent or transparent materials, which glow in the ultraviolet light that is used to light their scenes. They are made to appear blurry and indistinct through the use of scrims mounted between the guests and the ghosts.

The crypt

The mirrors in which guests see the hitchhiking ghosts are actually two-way mirrors. The ghosts are Audio-Animatronics figures in a room behind the mirrors. They move along in sync with the Doom Buggies and weak lights shining on them allow them to be seen through the mirrors.

The Hatbox Ghost

While Disney has claimed that the infamous Hatbox Ghost was removed from the ride during the first few days it was open due to being "too scary," it is believed that it was in fact the special effects that sealed the ghost's fate. The disappearing/reappearing effect could only be done through the use of strategic lighting, that once placed in the ride with ambient lighting, could no longer function. The effect was supposed to make it look like the ghost's head would disappear and then reappear in the hat box the ghost is holding. Though the ghost was briefly in the attraction you can still find plenty of Hatbox Ghost merchandise including pins and big figs.



The foyer, stretching room, and ride narration was performed by Paul Frees in the role of the Ghost Host. For the Disneyland and Magic Kingdom versions of the ride, different recording sessions were used in some places. The Magic Kingdom version of the ride includes a library scene, in which a unique piece of narration is used. At Tokyo Disneyland, whose mansion is a replication of the one in Florida, both inside and out, the narration is provided by Teichiro Hori, a movie producer from Toho Studios (Hori also provides the voice of the talking skull in Tokyo's version of Pirates of the Caribbean). In 2002, an imitation of Paul Frees (by Joe Leahy) could be heard in the Disneyland and the Magic Kingdom versions instead of the original safety spiel, giving a more detailed warning in the load area, followed by a Spanish spiel. In Tokyo, the safety spiel is done by the Ghost Host himself. In Florida's versio the breakdown spiels were also re-recorded by Leahy, while California retains the ones recorded by X. Attencio.

Theme song

Main article: Grim Grinning Ghosts

Grim Grinning Ghosts was composed by Buddy Baker and the lyrics were written by X Atencio. It can be heard in nearly every area of the ride, with various instrumentations and tempos. Contrary to popular belief, "Grim Grinning Ghosts" is not performed by the Mellomen, but rather by a pickup group. The only member of the Mellomen heard is that of the deep bass voice of Thurl Ravenscroft (best known for voicing Tony the Tiger in television commercials), who sings as part of a quintet of singing busts in the graveyard scene. Ravenscroft's face is used as well, projected onto the bust. His face is often confused with that of Walt Disney himself.[7]


"Grim Grinning Ghosts" has also been used in various shows in Disney theme parks:

The Story and Song from the Haunted Mansion

Disneyland Records released The Story and Song from the Haunted Mansion as a record album in 1969. It featured the story of two teenagers, Mike (Ron Howard) and Karen (Robie Lester), who get trapped inside the Haunted Mansion, with Thurl Ravenscroft as the Narrator, Pete Reneday as the Ghost Host, and Eleanor Audley as Madame Leota. Some of the effects and ideas that were planned but never permanently made it to the attraction are mentioned here: the Raven speaks in the Stretching Room, and the Hatbox Ghost is mentioned during the Attic scene. It was reissued in 1998 as a cassette tape titled A Spooky Night in Disney's Haunted Mansion.

A second reissue was released on CD in 2009 for the Halloween season. It used the original title of The Story And Song From The Haunted Mansion and used the original cover artwork. Along with the story from the record, the CD also contained the song "Grim Grinning Ghosts" in its entirety as a separate track. The CD was also enhanced with high resolution artwork drawn by Collin Campbell. The CD's case doubled as a story book depicting various scenes from the attraction with illustrations by Collin Campbell.

Furthermore, there is another record featuring another story from The Haunted Mansion. This time the narrator was voiced by Robie Lester who was also the story's central character. This album's name was The Haunted Mansion Read Along Book. This record however, was aimed more at young children elementary school children ages eight and up.

Previously, as the Haunted Mansion attraction was in its planning stages and still known as "The Haunted House," Disneyland Records released the album Chilling, Thrilling Sounds of the Haunted House (1964), a collection of sound effects and brief "stories in sound" introduced by a narrator, Laura Olsher. Many of the sound effects, originally created for the vintage Disney cartoons, were later used in the Haunted Mansion ride. Disneyland Records used the same title in 1979 for a new album of sound effects and story situations.

Popular culture[edit]

  • The video game Epic Mickey features a Haunted Mansion-like level known as Lonesome Manor. According to Warren Spector, it is the different versions of the Haunted Mansion ride thrown together.
  • In the first episode of Kevin Smith's "Clerks: The Animated Series", a ride through the rival convenience store "Quicker Stop" is mechanized much like the Haunted Mansion, complete with Leonardo Leonardo (voiced by Alec Baldwin) in the role of the "Ghost Host". A customer upon seeing his ghostly image in the car next to him screams "The dead live!" and flees in terror.
  • Many of the ghosts from the attraction appear in the direct-to-DVD film Mickey's House of Villains.


  1. ^ "A Tribute to Disney's Haunted Mansion: The Seance Room". Retrieved December 9, 2009. 
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ a b "Urban Legends Pages: Haunted Mansion". snopes.com. 
  4. ^ Live Search: The Magic Kingdom's Haunted Mansion building within the park's boundaries http://maps.live.com/default.aspx?v=2&cp=nr34cm8618c0&style=o&lvl=1&tilt=-90&dir=0&alt=-1000&scene=5219433&encType=1
  5. ^ "Microsoft] Live Site". 
  6. ^ US 5,782,698  "Optical Illusion Device", Keller; Allan, 1998.
  7. ^ "Busted!". Snopes. August 21, 2007. Retrieved December 6, 2007. 
  • "Disneyland's Ghost House". (2004). The "E" Ticket (41).
    This is the Fall 2004 issue of the magazine The "E" Ticket, which was dedicated to the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland.
  • Eastman, Tish. (1997). "Haunting Melodies: The Story Behind Buddy Baker's Score for the Haunted Mansion". Persistence of Vision (9) 39.
    Persistence of Vision is an irregularly published magazine "celebrating the creative legacy of Walt Disney." Back issues can be found at The Book Palace.
  • Smith, Paul. (1997). "Tales from the Crypt: Life in the Haunted Mansion." Persistence of Vision (9) 89.
  • Surrell, J. (2003). The Haunted Mansion: From the Magic Kingdom to the Movie. New York: Disney Editions. ISBN 0-7868-5419-7
    A book published by Disney giving a comprehensive history of the Haunted Mansion from early inception, in which it was a walk-through attraction, to its current form. It includes information on the Haunted Mansion movie.

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