Why I Love The Haunted Mansion
Disneyland is known for their variety of rides for all ages. Everyone has a favorite ride, well mine is Haunted Mansion. I personally have always had a fascination with the Haunted Mansion. It is a constant part of all my Disney memories. One of my first memories of this classic ride was when I was little, and I was terrified of it. Though it is not the scariest ride in the park (that award is reserved only for Snow White’s Scary Adventure!), it is still up there. Particularly the attic scene was the most traumatizing for my little mind.
I do not know when it became my favorite ride, but I believe it was once I experienced the Holiday edition of the ride. The Nightmare Before Christmas is one of my favorite movies and being able to see those scenes and characters come to life is a type of magic that only Disney can create! After this, my love for the ride grew and translated to the normal version of the ride. As I became older, I learned more of the history behind the attraction. I believe once I learned about the long history of the ride then it was official; I was hooked! I would like to share some of the things I have learned about this ride! So here are 13 spooky facts about The Haunted Mansion! Enjoy!
13 Fun & Spooky Haunted Mansion Facts
- Walt Disney himself ordered the creation of a haunted mansion to be added to the park. It took a total of 14 years for the ride to be completed. It was pushed further back due to both the 1964 New York World’s Fair and the death of Walt Disney in 1966.
- The exterior of the ride is based on two famous houses; The Evergreen House in Baltimore, NC and the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, CA. It also went through many conceptual changes; some of which included a museum of the weird and a water ride, like Pirates of the Caribbean. However, after The World’s Fair was when the technology used in the Doombuggies was released.
- One of the major questions associated with the Haunted Mansion is, “Is this haunted room actually stretching? Or is it your imagination? Hmm…” In the original Disneyland version of the room is actually an elevator that takes guests down to an underground passageway, which leads to the show building. This was done due to space constraints, so the majority of the ride does take place underground.
- There was a real Madame Leota! The character is based on Imagineer Leota Toombs. After she passed away, Imagineers needed to film some new Madame Leota footage for Haunted Mansion Holiday. They turned to the Madame’s daughter, Kim Irvine, who also works for Walt Disney Imagineering and bears a strong resemblance to her mother.
- The Hatbox Ghost was part of the original ride! However, Imagineers quickly realized that the illusion of the character’s face moving was not effective as guests could see how it worked. The original Hatbox Ghost was removed after the opening day of the ride. Much to fans excitement in 2015, a new version of the Ghost was brought back! Though the original ghost has disappeared and none of the Imagineers know where he has gone…
- The Ghost Host that leads us on The Haunted Mansion tour was played by voice actor, Paul Frees. If you think that his voice sounds familiar, then you are right! He also a voice featured in Pirates of the Caribbean with his famous line “Dead men tell no tales.”
- Speaking of voices, in the graveyard scene there may be a familiar voice singing. Thurl Ravenscroft is the famous baritone voice. He was also best known as the voice of Tony the Tiger. He also sang, “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” in the television version of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.”
- If you are a veteran Disney fan, then you will notice that there are ravens throughout the ride, specifically five times. In concept, the raven was going to be the narrator of the ride, but the idea was scrapped for the Ghost Host.
- The singing busts in the graveyard scene all have individual names! They are known as Rollo Rumkin, Uncle Theodore, Cousin Algernon, Ned Nub and Phineas P. Pock Croon. However, as a whole, they are known as “The Grim Grinning Ghosts.”
- The organ featured in the ballroom scene at Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion ballroom scene was the original organ from Disney’s classic adaptation of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.
- The first idea for the ride involved a storyline about a bloodthirsty pirate nicknamed “Captain Gore” and his wife, Priscilla. They lived in his mansion until one day while in the attic, Priscilla finds a trunk of his pirate things. Furious that she exposed his secret, he kills her. Her means of death are debated, but it makes the most sense that he threw her out of the attic window. We experience this when we fall down backward as a transition from the attic scene to the graveyard scene. Stricken with grief, “Captain Gore” hangs himself on the rafters. You can still see traces of this storyline in the stretching room when you look up to see a figure hanging in the rafters! There is another nod to this original storyline with a ship weather vane on the top of the exterior of the ride.
- There are a total of 5 Haunted Mansion rides throughout the world. Both the ones in Anaheim, Orlando and Tokyo are named “The Haunted Mansion,” the version featured in Paris is named “Phantom Manor,” and lastly the version in Disney Hong Kong is known as “Mystic Manor.”
- On October 9, 2001, Disneyland began Haunted Mansion Holiday, transforming the ride into scenes and featuring characters from Tim Burton’s iconic The Nightmare Before Christmas!
Special thank you to my sister, Amber, who wrote this amazingly spooky post!