Disney Adulting Ride Guide: Haunted Mansion

Haunted Mansion

The Haunted Mansion is a dark ride attraction in Disneyland (CA), Magic Kingdom (FL) and Tokyo Disneyland. The original attraction opened at Disneyland on August 9, 1969. The attraction, while slightly different in each location, retains the same storyline by placing riders into a “Doombuggy” and transporting them around a haunted manor where “999 happy haunts” await to greet you.


Quick Overview

  • Rating: Dark Ride
  • FP Available: Yes
  • Height Requirement: Any Height
  • Single Rider Available: Yes
  • Duration: 19 Minutes
  • Disney Investment: $7M ($45M by Today’s Inflation)
  • Top Speed: 3 MPH

The Queue: Haunted Mansion

Haunted Mansion

Guests wait in line outside the mansion, passing a pet cemetery, and are led into a spooky parlor by Cast Members dressed as maids and butlers. The mansion is based on the “Shipley-Lydecker” house in Baltimore, Maryland. Once guests enter the house into the foyer they are greeted by candles lighting the room from sconces and the sole chandelier, while an organ plays a single-note melodic line which serves as the theme for the rest of the ride. A mirror is at the entrance. After enough guests have gathered in the foyer, the “Ghost Host” introduces himself and welcomes everyone to the Haunted Mansion. (This is where the real fun begins.)

From there, the guests are brought into an octagonal room, where the door by which they entered becomes a wall and the chilling voice of the Ghost Host taunts them. As the voice speaks, the walls quietly seem to stretch upwards, elongating the paintings on them to reveal the fates of previous guests. The lights go out, lightning and thunder effects fill the gallery and, in a rare instance of Disneyland “dark humor,” a glimpse of the earthly remains of the “Ghost Host” are shown dangling by a noose from the ceiling rafters above – his “way out”. A loud scream is heard followed by the sound of bones clattering.


Walt Disney World Halloween Party


Virtual Queue Experience: Haunted Mansion

Warning: This is a first-version experience of the actual queue. If you have never ridden the attraction, we strongly recommend not watching this video and experiencing the ride and the magic for yourself in person the first time.

At the attraction in Disneyland, the room is, in fact, an elevator with no roof that is being lowered slowly to give the illusion that the room itself is stretching; this brings the guests down to where the ride begins, below ground level. The ceiling above is a piece of fabric called a scrim, which conceals the hanging body until it is lit from above. This elevator effect was necessary to lower the guests below the level of the park-circling Disneyland Railroad.

The actual ride building of this attraction is located outside the berm surrounding the park and the Imagineers developed this mechanism to lower the guests down to the hallway leading to the actual ride building. It is interesting to note that although it is not necessary to lower the guests at the other theme parks, this effect of the stretching room is still used at the other instances of this attraction at the other Disney theme parks, not as an elevator like at Disneyland, but by raising the roof of the room.

When the walls finally do open, guests are ushered into a hallway lined with paintings that change from normal to “spooky” every few seconds. A simulated thunderstorm rages outside while the grim busts of a man and woman placed at the end of the hall seem to turn their heads in relationship to the viewer’s perspective. Guests will load a continuous track of Omnimovers called “Doom Buggies” and begin their journey into the Haunted Mansion.


The Ride: Haunted Mansion

Haunted Mansion

The Haunted Mansion consists of 7 different scenes each leading you deeper into the storyline of the mansion:

  • The Endless Hallway: Pass by an endless hallway and a conservatory containing a coffin whose occupant is trying to get out.
  • Corridor of Doors: Eerie door after door with spooky sounds and beings trying to get out.
  • The Séance Circle: Hosted by Madame Leota, or more like her disembodied head instead of a crystal ball.
  • The Ballroom: Ghosts dance mid-air as a ghostly organist plays the original pipe organ featured in the 1954 film 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea.
  • The Attic: Guests will meet Constance Hatchaway, a bride with a terrible habit of decapitating her many husbands.
  • The Graveyard: Descend into a lively graveyard full of “Grim Grinning Ghosts” who have come out to socialize with guests and the rest of the dead.
  • The Exit & Hitchhiking Ghosts: Guests will discover that they’ve been selected to fill the quota of 1,000 happy haunts an as they pass a group of mirrors a little surprise awaits them.


Unique Facts: Haunted Mansion

  • The Hatbox Ghost, who had previously been removed during the attraction first week of opening, was reinstated on May 9, 2015, as part of Disneyland’s 60th-anniversary celebration after a 46-year absence.
  • The Haunted Mansion ride at Disneyland opened the same day the infamous Manson murders occurred in Beverly Hills and it was based on the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, California where Walt Disney actually visited.
  • In Walt Disney World, one can see a tombstone for J. Thaddeus Toad, the hero of the park’s long-gone attraction Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride.
  • From the fall season through the end of the year, California’s Disneyland Park annually transforms the original Haunted Mansion into Haunted Mansion Holiday.
  • There was a real Madame Leota. Well, sort of. An actual model-building Imagineer named Leota Toombs.
  • The voice actor for the Ghost Host is Paul Frees. He was also the voice of Ludwig Von Drake, the Pillsbury Doughboy, and Boris Badenov of Rocky and Bullwinkle fame.
  • In one of the Haunted Mansion’s early drafts, Walt Disney himself recorded the narration for the attraction. It was eventually scrapped for today’s Ghost Host version.

Disney Adulting Pro-Tip for Riding The Haunted Mansion

We recommend that you try your luck during a parade or keep an eye on lower wait times. Using a Fastpass (or try taking advantage of Maxpass) is a wise choice, especially because it can run as long as 45-minutes or even 120-minutes during the Halloween season. We don’t usually recommend that you try not to wait longer than 30-minutes but do keep in mind that while the wait time and line may seem long, the attraction beings in the queue and it worth the experience.


Virtual Ride Experience: Haunted Mansion

Warning: This is a first-version experience of the actual ride. If you have never ridden the attraction, we strongly recommend not watching this video and experiencing the ride and the magic for yourself in person the first time.

 

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