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|The Haunted Mansion|
Attraction's facade at Disneyland
|Attraction type||Omnimover dark ride|
|Manufacturers||Arrow Development (Disneyland & Magic Kingdom)
Vekoma (Disneyland Paris)
|Music||"Grim Grinning Ghosts" composed by Buddy Baker|
|Vehicle type||Doom buggies|
|Riders per vehicle||2–3|
|Host||Ghost Host (Paul Frees)
(Teichiro Hori, Tokyo version)
Disney's Fastpass available except for Disneyland Paris
Must transfer from wheelchair
Closed captioning available
The Haunted Mansion is a dark ride attraction located at many Disney theme parks around the world. A significantly re-imagined version of the Haunted Mansion is located exclusively in Disneyland Paris. The Haunted Mansion features a ride-through tour in Omnimover vehicles called Doom Buggies, and a walk-through show is displayed to riders waiting in the line queue. The attraction utilizes a range of technology, from centuries-old theatrical effects to modern special effects featuring spectral Audio-Animatronics. A similar Disney attraction involving the supernatural and set in a mansion, Mystic Manor, opened at Hong Kong Disneyland in 2013.
The idea for the Mansion predates Disneyland and WED Enterprises, to 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.
Disney assigned Imagineer Ken Anderson to create a story using Goff's idea. 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. Anderson studied New Orleans and old plantations and came 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.
Disney, however, did not like the idea of a run-down building in his pristine park. He visited the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, California, and was captivated by the massive mansion with its stairs to nowhere, doors that opened to walls and holes, and elevators. Anderson envisioned 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 well-known Disney villains and spooks. Imagineers Rolly Crump and Yale Gracey recreated Ken Anderson's stories in a studio at WED enterprise.
In 1961, handbills announcing a 1963 opening of the Haunted Mansion were given out at Disneyland's main entrance. 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, 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. The mansion opened to all guests August 12, 1969.
In October 2005, Slave Labor Graphics began publishing a bimonthly Haunted Mansion comic book anthology, with the main recurring story (Mystery of the Manse) concerning "Master Gracey" and inspired by the sea captain concepts proposed for the attraction by Ken Anderson in the 1950s. The comics are non-canonical.
On April 10, 2015, it was officially confirmed that an iconic Haunted Mansion character, The Hatbox Ghost, would return to Disneyland's Haunted Mansion. The character returned on May 9, 2015. The Hatbox Ghost was originally a part of the attraction when it opened in 1969.
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."
...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.
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. On the right side, the guests see the Hatbox Ghost, who maniacally laughs as his head disappears and reappears in his hatbox. 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, also known as "Little Leota," who encourages them to:
"Hurry back...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."
Walt Disney World version
During the production and assembly of the props and audio-animatronics for Disneyland's Haunted Mansion, duplicates of everything were being made for Walt Disney World's Haunted Mansion. It was decided that the Florida version of the attraction would be longer and more elaborate than its California counterpart. Paul Frees recorded additional voice-overs to accompany the extra scenes in the ride. Because of the ample space within the park, the attraction's show building is much larger and not restricted by any railroad berm.
Entering the queuing area through a pair of ornate gates, guests find themselves in the mansion's courtyard. The queuing path leads guests past a black carriage hearse led by an invisible horse and through a haunted cemetery that includes a sea captain's leaky crypt filled with seawater, a tomb in the shape of a pipe organ, and a headstone with a face that occasionally opens its eyes and peers around. Guests are then admitted inside the mansion by a somber, green-uniformed house servant.
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. As he speaks, a portrait of the master of the house above the fireplace slowly transforms into a portrait of a rotting corpse. A pair of sliding doors open to one of two 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 ceiling rises 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. 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 windows (rather than the windowless cupola 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 dark corridor. On the walls are eerie portraits (nicknamed the "Sinister 11" by fans). Seven of these portraits are located within this hall and the adjacent room. As the guests reach the far side of the room, a never-ending stream of black carriages, or "Doom Buggies," emerge eerily around a corner in a strange fashion. The guests board the carriages, accompanied by the Ghost Host, who lowers the safety bars and provides a safety spiel.
After boarding the Doom Buggies, guests are taken through a room containing a Servant's Staircase, where a candelabra floats above the railing. Two of the Sinister 11 portraits are located here. The Doom Buggies then take guests down a long portrait hallway, past windows with lightning flashing onto changing portraits on the opposite wall. Another one of the Sinister 11 portraits is location in this hallway.
Passing under an archway, guests enter the Library with staring busts, moving ladders, flying books, and an unseen ghost rocking in a chair reading a book by candlelight.
After the exiting the Library, the Doom Buggies move through the Music Parlor where a shadow plays a Rachmaninoff-style version of the attraction's theme music on an old piano. A stormy forest is shown in the window behind the piano.
The Doom Buggies then ascend a room full of staircases that defy the laws of physics. Green footsteps appear on the steps of the upside down and sideways staircases. Occasionally, the candelabras on the newel posts 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.
Entering another room, guests come across a living suit of armor, and a chair which appears to be embroidered with a hidden abstract face. The Doom Buggies also pass by the end of a long and seemingly endless corridor. Partway down the corridor is a candelabra, floating eerily.
As guests pass through the conservatory, the Doom Buggy 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.
After leaving the conservatory, guests continue to travel backwards through a corridor lined with doors with moving doorknockers and door handles. Echoing through the hall are the sounds of knockers knocking and ghosts wailing, screeching, laughing, and pounding on the doors. Daguerreotypes of screaming and grinning corpses hang upon the walls. A cross-stitched sign reading "Tomb Sweet Tomb" hangs crookedly on one wall, and a portrait of the Ghost Host wearing a hangman's noose and holding a hatchet is seen on another. At the end of the hall, guests pass a grandfather clock with demonic features. The hands of the clock spin wildly counter-clockwise, striking the number 13 every other second. The clock's swinging pendulum resembles a demon's pointed tail. As the Doom Buggies pass, the shadow of a claw reaches over the face of the clock.
The Doom Buggies then enter the circular Seance Room. In the center of the room, a crystal ball containing Madame Leota’s head floats mysteriously above a table. Floating objects and instruments respond to Leota's incantations while a wispy green specter roams in a corner of the room. A raven can be seen perched on the back of the chair at the table. A book containing Leota's incantations is open with the pages flipped to 1313. Page 1312 shows an image of a figure reminiscent to the Hatbox Ghost.
After leaving the Seance Room, guests arrive at a balcony overlooking festivities below in a ballroom, with a number of ghosts dancing and reveling. Ghosts are seen entering the room through a broken door, where a hearse has crashed with its coffin sliding out. Eerie phantoms are seen flying in and out of the windows above. A merry ghost is seen sitting atop the mantle of a fireplace with a mysterious green fire, with his arm wrapped around a bust. An elderly ghost is seen rocking back and forth in a chair, a book in her lap. Many ghosts have gathered around a dinner table, where a ghost is blowing out candles on a birthday cake. A massive chandelier hangs above the table where a couple of drunks are swinging about. Another balcony is seen across the room, where a curtained doorway is situated between two portraits of dueling gunmen. From time to time, the ghosts of the two duelists appear and shoot at each other with their pistols. 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. Just before exiting the ballroom, the final Sinister 11 portrait can barely be seen in the dark corridor.
The Doom Buggies then proceed into the Attic, an irregularly shaped room cluttered with gifts, personal items, mementos and wedding portraits. Each of the portraits depict wealthy men, each standing next to the same bride. A ghostly pianist is heard 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 Doom Buggies 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, a hatchet appears in her hands, disappearing before she starts her next vow.
The Doom Buggies drift out of the Attic window and onto what appears to be the balcony of the mansion. 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. A red-eyed raven caws at guests from a branch overhead. A caretaker, holding a lantern, and his dog cower in front of the gate of the Graveyard in fear. 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, a skeletal hellhound howls from behind them, and 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 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 an eerie wispy ghost seen from within an open crypt. Guests then pass a group of singing ghosts; an operatic pair, a decapitated knight, a masked executioner, and a prisoner, each 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 entering the crypt, guests 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. Turning around a corner and traveling deeper into the crypt, guests encounter the ghost of a miniature woman standing above a threshold within the crypt, who beckons them to return and join the spirits. After passing underneath this threshold, the guests then exit their Doom Buggies and emerge back out to the "living world."
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. 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, 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
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. It does not include references to departed spirits or the afterlife, due to differences in traditional Chinese culture. The attraction's exterior is that of a large Victorian mansion in an elaborate 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 with the power to bring inanimate objects to life, Albert opens the box and brings all of the house's artifacts to life.
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.
In May 2015, as part of the 60th anniversary for Disneyland, a newly created Hatbox Ghost figure was instated in the attraction's attic scene.
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, 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.
Haunted Mansion Holiday
Since 2001, the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland and Tokyo Disneyland is transformed into Haunted Mansion Holiday during the Halloween and Christmas seasons, inspired by Tim Burton'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 decides to decorate it, outside and in, in his unique way for the 999 happy haunts. Corey Burton replaces Paul Frees as the Ghost Host, as Frees died in 1986.
The world's largest implementation of Pepper's ghost can be found at the Haunted Mansion and Phantom Manor attractions. A 90-foot (27 m)-long scene features multiple Pepper's ghost effects, brought together in one scene. Guests travel along an elevated mezzanine, looking through a 30-foot (9.1 m)-tall pane of glass into an empty ballroom. Animatronic ghosts move in hidden black rooms beneath and above the mezzanine.
The foyer, stretching room, and ride narration were performed by Paul Frees in the role of the Ghost Host. The theme song, "Grim Grinning Ghosts", was composed by Buddy Baker with lyrics written by X Atencio. It can be heard in nearly every area of the ride, with various instrumentations and tempos.
- 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.
- Another video game, Kinect Disneyland Adventures, features a digital version of the ride
- Many of the ghosts from the attraction appear in the direct-to-DVD film Mickey's House of Villains.
- In Toy Story 3: The Video Game , the Sid's House level features a kid friendly version of the ride with the song, "Grim Grinning Ghosts".
- The ride's theme music can be heard as an easter egg in Disney Pixar's Inside Out during one of Riley's nightmare before entering her new house.
||This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. (June 2009)|
- "Urban Legends Pages: Haunted Mansion". snopes.com.
- Glover, Erin (April 10, 2015). "Legendary Hatbox Ghost Comes Out to Socialize in the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland Park in May". Disneyland Resort. Retrieved April 27, 2015.
- "A Tribute to Disney's Haunted Mansion: The Seance Room". Retrieved December 9, 2009.
- Frost, John (June 16, 2015). "Easter Eggs and other hidden tributes in Pixar's "Inside Out"". The Disney Blog. Retrieved 14 July 2015.
- "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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