Haunted Mansion

Under moonlit skies, a horse drawn carriage sits outside the eerily illuminated exterior of the Haunted Mansion

Frightful Delights Await

Dearly depart into a foreboding estate, drag your body to the dead center of the Portrait Chamber and watch as the walls begin to stretch before your eyes. Climb into your waiting Doom Buggy and embark on a shivering journey into an unearthly realm.

The disembodied voice of the Ghost Host is your private guide through the cadaverous dwelling—home to grinning ghosts and other spectral surprises. 

Glide past a rattling casket in the conservatory. Head off to Madame Leota's spirited séance room. Float by the Grand Ballroom and its waltzing apparitions. Take a spin through a cemetery where the spirited residents regale you with song. 

Beware of lurking hitchhikers—these phantom pranksters may try to follow you home!

Creepy Fun for Little Ones

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San Gabriel Valley Tribune

San Gabriel Valley Tribune

5 questions about when Disneyland will reopen Haunted Mansion

Posted: December 15, 2023 | Last updated: December 15, 2023

Dec. 15—The upcoming closure of Disneyland's Haunted Mansion for an extended refurbishment to expand the backstory, reconfigure the queue and add a retail shop leaves many questions unanswered for fans of the beloved dark ride eager to reconvene with the 999 happy haunts.

Among the many unknowns, there's one thing we know for certain. The last day to ride Haunted Mansion Holiday this season will be Jan. 21 with construction beginning Jan. 22 on the grounds of the attraction, according to Disneyland officials.

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ALSO SEE: Haunted Mansion at 50: Decades of delays and distractions nearly derailed Disneyland's venerable dark ride

During the closure, Disneyland will enhance the outdoor queue, install a new accessibility elevator for wheelchair users exiting the ride and add a new retail shop at the attraction's exit.

Walt Disney Imagineering plans to build on the lore of the Haunted Mansion in the new garden queue with an expanded backstory involving Madame Leota, Master Gracey and a prosperous sea captain — who all play key roles in Disney's latest "Haunted Mansion" live-action movie.

That's what we know at the moment. Let's take a closer look at five unanswered questions about the Haunted Mansion extended refurbishment.

ALSO SEE: 10 'Haunted Mansion' movie Easter Eggs from the Disneyland ride

1) When will the Haunted Mansion reopen?

Disneyland isn't saying just yet. The Anaheim theme park hasn't even narrowed the reopening date to 2024.

Disneyland will share more Haunted Mansion construction details early next year.

Why hasn't Disneyland narrowed the reopening date to spring, summer or fall of 2024?

In part because construction has not yet begun. Digging at Disneyland can present a host of problems that might affect the construction schedule. Some of the pipes and conduits underneath the park are as old as Disneyland and others haven't been unearthed for decades.

Another reason Disneyland hasn't put a finishing date on Haunted Mansion construction is the uproar it might cause. Which brings us to our next question.

ALSO SEE: We decode the hidden tributes behind all 13 Haunted Mansion tombstones at Disneyland

2) Will the Haunted Mansion return in holiday mode?

Transforming the Haunted Mansion back and forth between classic and holiday modes takes considerable effort.

Leaving the attraction in holiday mode during construction saves time and money.

Disneyland has pushed the launch of Halloween Time to Aug. 23 in 2024 — the earliest start ever to the holiday season.

ALSO SEE: Everything Disneyland changed in the Haunted Mansion and the backstory behind it all

Bringing the Haunted Mansion back in August would allow Disneyland to leave the ride in holiday mode during construction — but would likely enrage fans who can't imagine being without their favorite attraction for seven months.

It would be tough to justify leaving The Nightmare Before Christmas holiday overlay in place if the Haunted Mansion emerges from construction in spring or summer.

Disneyland could gin up a Halloween in June or Christmas in July storyline to justify the decision — but fans of the classic ride would likely revolt. Which brings us to our next question.

3) Will the classic version of Haunted Mansion return before 2025?

You'll need four hands to count the number of months fans will be without the classic version of Haunted Mansion if Disneyland brings back the ride in holiday mode after construction.

The Mansion faithful may have to go without the classic version of the ride for 16 months — from Sept. 1, 2023 to early January 2025. Let that sink in for a minute and you quickly understand why Disneyland hasn't put a return date on the Haunted Mansion.

Any firm date for the end of construction raises a host of unappealing questions. Including this next one.

ALSO SEE: What to expect during Disneyland's 2024 Halloween Time and Oogie Boogie Bash

4) Does Critter Country become a dead zone?

The Haunted Mansion sits next door to Splash Mountain — which is also under construction.

The transformation into Tiana's Bayou Adventure is expected to last until late 2024.

That means the two major attractions will be sitting behind construction scrims for the first half of 2024 or longer.

Add in the Mark Twain Riverboat sitting at the Pelican Landing dock during an extended refurbishment and you've got a warren of construction walls at the border of New Orleans Square and Critter Country.

ALSO SEE: This Haunted Mansion Airbnb is just like sleeping inside the Disneyland ride — If you dare

Bringing down one major ride for a brief or extended period has a ripple effect on the nearby attractions and the rest of the park. Bringing down two major draws right next to each other creates a doughnut hole that will likely put pressure on the entire west side of the park.

The rides most likely to suffer the greatest impact: Pirates of the Caribbean, Indiana Jones Adventure, Jungle Cruise, Rise of the Resistance and Millennium Falcon: Smuggler's Run. Indy and Rise already have issues with downtime. More pressure isn't likely to improve things.

Expect long lines at Pirates, Jungle Cruise and maybe even Falcon starting in late January.

5) Is Disneyland making any storytelling changes to the Haunted Mansion?

Yes and no.

Disneyland officials say the Haunted Mansion backstory that guests know and love will remain the same.

Making any significant changes would likely enrage Mansion diehards who consider the ride's backstory sacrosanct. But Imagineering is tinkering with the Haunted Mansion story around the edges.

The expanded Haunted Mansion queue featuring a fountain, gazebo, statues, greenhouse and a garden will lean into storylines involving Madame Leota, Master Gracey and a prosperous sea captain.

Leota's carriage house next door to the mansion will serve as the new exit through the gift shop when the Haunted Mansion returns from its extended refurbishment — whenever that is.

Leota, the Gracey clan and the mariner ghost played key roles in the "Haunted Mansion" live-action film released by Disney this summer and now streaming on Disney+.

Could there be a movie tie-in or a set up for a sequel? Disney incorporated Jack Sparrow into the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. Would they dare mess with the Haunted Mansion?

Fans will be watching very closely — and waiting impatiently for the return of the ride.

(c)2023 San Gabriel Valley Tribune, West Covina, Calif. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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Haunted Mansion

An Attraction in Disneyland

Last updated: November 22, 2023

At a Glance

The Haunted Mansion is a fun attraction more than a scary one. An ingenious preshow serves as a vehicle to deliver guests to the ride's boarding area, where they board "doom buggies" for a ride through the mansion's parlor, dining room, library, halls, and attic before descending to an uncommonly active graveyard. Disney employs almost every special effect in its repertoire in The Haunted Mansion, making it one of the most inventive and different of all Disney attractions. Be warned that some youngsters build a lot of anxiety concerning what they think they will see. The actual attraction scares almost nobody.

The Haunted Mansion is one of veteran Unofficial Guide writer Eve Zibart's favorite attractions. She warns:

Don't let the childishness of the old-fashioned Haunted Mansion put you off: this is one of the best attractions [in the park]. It's jam-packed with visual puns, special effects, hidden Mickeys, and really lovely Victorian-spooky sets. It's not scary, except in the sweetest of ways, but it will remind you of the days before ghost stories gave way to slasher flicks.

Each September, The Haunted Mansion substitutes a special holiday version of the attraction that runs through early January. Inspired by Tim Burton's 1993 stop-motion musical The Nightmare Before Christmas , the overlay features characters such as Jack Skellington and Oogie Boogie cavorting among the familiar mansion haunts to songs from Danny Elfman's classic score. Everything from the outside facade, the signage, the stretch room pre-show, and the entire ride is decked out with Nightmare story. Started in 2001, it's been very popular with the Disneyland locals and first-time visitors alike. In overlay mode, it's an entirely different attraction, and definitely worth a look if you've only seen the original attraction. Be aware that the attraction will be closed for several weeks each January and September to install and remove the overlay.

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Disneyland will be a lot different when it finally reopens on April 30th, with the newly reimagined "Snow White's Enchanted Wish" attraction opening alongside the reopened park and the all-new Avengers Campus ready to welcome guests just a few weeks after. And now Disney has announced that during the over year-long closure of Disneyland some upgrades have been added to The Haunted Mansion at the park. 

The changes begin with fresh landscaping details including new tributes to dearly departed pets, sharing their stories from beyond the grave. Continuing inside the attractions, guests winding their way through the portrait gallery will find updated design embellishments on some of the classic paintings as well as  the return of one of the Mansion’s original portraits known as “April to December”. You can see these changes up close in the sneak preview below:

Disneyland park and Disney California Adventure park will officially reopen to California residents only on April 30, 2021 and those with existing tickets who were impacted by the closure can make park reservations now. New ticket sales are set to kick off on April 15. 

Like at Walt Disney World, capacity will be limited, and shows, parades, nighttime spectaculars and some attractions will not be returning immediately with the park. You can click here for more on what attractions will be available, how long the parks will be open, how park hopping will work, and more. 

is haunted mansion open at disneyland

Managing editor of Theme Park Tourist and dark ride enthusiast. Amanda is a lifelong theme parks fan who lives just outside Orlando. When she’s not booking FastPass+ reservations, standing in a queue or eating the latest specialty cupcake, you can find her watching a Marvel movie, reading a book (probably by Neil Gaiman) or singing along to showtunes in her car.   Contact: [email protected]

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Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion updates reveal that a purr-fect idea never dies

One of the Haunted Mansion's original portraits, "April to December," is returning.

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Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion has been a source of fan mystique for even longer than its nearly 52 years at the park. When it returns with upgrades and additions April 30 — the day Disneyland is set to fully reopen in Anaheim — it should prove the old adage that a good idea doesn’t die so much as haunt the universe until it becomes a reality.

Recently materialized in the attraction are a smattering of new illusions and curiosities; a few will be particularly familiar to many of the Haunted Mansion’s borderline-obsessive fan community.

Among the most prominent: the return of a dynamic portrait dreamed up by Disney master animator-designer Marc Davis of a once-beautiful woman aging less than gracefully. There’s also a not-so sly nod to a demonic, eye-catching cat crafted by another of Disney’s famed animators-turned-theme park architects, Xavier Atencio. This fiendish feline would have followed guests throughout the ride, a creature said to despise living humans and with predatory, possessive instincts.

In Atencio’s concept art, the cat featured elongated, vampire-like fangs and a piercing red eye. In a nod to Edgar Allan Poe’s story “The Black Cat,” it had just one eyeball, which sat in its socket with all the subtlety of a fire alarm. Sometimes we’d see the cat as simply an eye in the darkness; other times, there would be allusions that this phantom was on the prowl for a spirit to possess. Discarded eventually — a raven essentially fills a similar role — the cat, which will now be represented as an elegant statue, stands as a reminder that the Haunted Mansion was once envisioned more as a walk between the hair-raising and the humorous.

Beyond the cat figurine, there are many other additions for guests to spot, from floating chairs to puzzling dollhouses. Both inside and outside the Mansion, Disney creatives aim to gently deepen the mystery of the ride. As part of a pre-pandemic plan to tidy up effects and give the Mansion a much needed cleaning, Walt Disney Imagineering — the secretive arm of the company responsible for theme park experiences — has also found a way to squeeze in an extra scene, in a nook just before guests board the ride’s “doombuggies.”

Haunted Mansion

In the last year, Disney has announced multiple changes and upgrades to its rides, many designed to bring the attractions in line with modern cultural sensibilities. Splash Mountain, for instance, will be rethemed to “The Princess and the Frog” in an effort to remove its connection to the racist film “Song of the South.” The Jungle Cruise is receiving multiple enhancements to strike its offensive portrayal of Indigenous people . Recently, there have been calls for removal of a hanging scene in the Haunted Mansion, noting its association with suicide and lynchings.

Disney has heard those complaints, but for now, the scene will remain unchanged. “It’s been discussed for sure,” says Disney’s Michele Hobbs, who managed the Haunted Mansion refurbishment. “It’s definitely something that we’re thinking about.”

For the Haunted Mansion, expect lighter touches throughout, rather than a sweeping show scene or a removal of any set pieces.

Here, resurrected, is a portrait from Davis, the Disney legend who designed such characters as Snow White, Tinker Bell and Maleficent, as well as the creative force behind the look of many of the animation-inspired vignettes of the park’s foundational rides. Davis’ “April to December” painting, in which a gorgeous woman slowly transforms into jagged bones and aged flesh, was removed from the Haunted Mansion’s portrait hallway at Disneyland in the mid-2000s.

Hobbs says that at the time, the painting’s gradual four-scene change didn’t work with a technological update to the ride that created crisper, more instantaneous two-slide transformations. Imagineering has now extended the portrait hallway, placing a remade version of Davis’ art around a bend — past the illusion of the busts watching guests.

In the past, once guests rounded the corner, they were fixated on boarding the ride. Now, they will see a mysterious door, the re-imagined artwork and the devil cat. The changes were partly inspired by the black-lighted colors and characters that populate the space during the Haunted Mansion’s “Nightmare Before Christmas” holiday makeover.

A look inside the updated hallway of Disneyland's Haunted Mansion.

“That’s what Kim and I were saying — the only time this area comes alive is during the holidays,” says Imagineering’s Hobbs, who is stationed in Anaheim and works closely with Kim Irvine , Disneyland’s longtime art director and the daughter of Leota Toombs, one of the first women to work for Imagineering and the portrayer of Madame Leota, whose disembodied head floats in a crystal ball in the Haunted Mansion’s séance room.

“So let’s see what can we do during these other months to try to reinvigorate this area,” Hobbs adds. “Bringing back ‘April to December’ was an awesome way to do it.” Although the painting is newly created and uses more current technology, Hobbs stressed that “it is the original image, and it is the one our guests will recognize.”

Anything that harks back to Davis is sure to attract fans’ attention, and “April to December” is one of the Mansion’s most striking portraits. The work stands apart from the other images — a woman changing into a big cat, a knight shifting to a skeleton — because rather than play into horror mythology, it references our own mortality. The woman in Davis’ original final scene is ghostly but still of this world.

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“In April, she’s a hot-looking item!,” Davis says, as quoted in the Disney-published book “Marc Davis in His Own Words: Imagineering the Disney Theme Parks.” “June — it’s sexy! In September, she’s past her prime — kind of a not-attractive lady; but in December, she’s had it! Just like it happens to all of us.”

And yet that also gets to the heart of the Haunted Mansion’s enduring appeal and why Disney could sell out multiple $300 events to celebrate the ride’s 50th birthday in 2019. The Haunted Mansion is an equalizer, an attraction that laughs at our limited time on Earth and then gives us a swinging wake that pokes fun at our sinful ways. Key to its allure is Davis’ colorfully exaggerated characters, figures whose wide-eyed facial expressions convey a multitude of emotions.

Without a clear, linear story, the Haunted Mansion is a place for guests to fill in the blanks, and its closest character to a princess is its black widow bride. Her name is Constance, and she stalks the attic. Depending on your point of view, she’s either an ax murderer who has taken revenge on the patriarchy or a reminder that a happily ever after is but a dream.

And with Atencio’s furry spirit at long last finding its way into the Haunted Mansion, visitors will have another character to imagine storylines around. Today, the cat is in statuesque form. But just because it’s out of its nine lives doesn’t mean it has fully passed on.

Just before guests board the doombuggies is where our kitty demon awaits. “You’ll see this beautiful statue of this cat. Maybe you’ll see red coming out if its eye. Maybe not,” says Hobbs.

“For those fans that know, we’ll definitely have a callback to ‘X’ there, for sure,” adds Hobbs, referring to Atencio as he was known to friends and colleagues.

As guests continue along the ride, they can expect to see an assortment of updates and additions, including new draperies and random accouterments in the attic, such as a dollhouse and various trinkets that belonged to Constance’s many ill-fated husbands. “What we’ve done is just gone through each of the scenes and added little tidbits and flavors of additional property to help support each of those ‘love stories,’ if you will,” says Hobbs.

Madame Leota’s séance room has also been updated.

Now among the floating musical instruments is a wicker chair. Although that may sound random, longtime fans will likely connect a chair in such a room to Disney designer Rolly Crump , one of the first Imagineers to work on the mansion in the late 1950s, a full decade before it would open. In Crump’s version of the séance room, the centerpiece was a chair that would come alive.

ANAHEIM, CALIF. -- FRIDAY, JUNE 30, 2017: It's a Small World ride at Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif., on June 30, 2017. (Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

Which attractions will be open on Disneyland’s opening day, and which will still be closed?

Some of Disneyland’s rides and attractions, such as the Matterhorn Bobsleds, will still be shut, but Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean and Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance are slated to be available.

April 7, 2021

While Hobbs says this is a new design that was not pulled from the archives, the Haunted Mansion is filled with so much history and speculation that even a chair is cause for conversation. “There wasn’t any history to it,” Hobbs says of the chair. “That was something that Kim looked into. What would make sense there? What would work stylistically and creatively and be floating in the air? Why not a chair? Perhaps from the Mansion porch?”

Elsewhere, the spider-web flooring in the Mansion’s entryway has been remade, the exterior has been repainted — multiple shades of white meant to evoke shadows on outdoor walls — and the small pet cemetery has been outfitted with flowers and plants that add more elegance to the departed animal companions. Mostly. A tomb for an expired skunk is now accompanied by an ever-so-slight garlic odor courtesy of society garlic.

“We all love our beloved pets. What would you do if it was your pig named Rosie? You would decorate. We treated this as we would our own pets,” says Hobbs. Rosie, of course, is surrounded by roses, but be on the lookout for catnip, large toad lilies and other new flora to match the animals and put them on a larger pedestal.

Consider such a landscaping touch a further heightening of the Haunted Mansion’s themes — a love for what we’ve lost and who we are, follies and all. And an embrace of our pets, even when it’s a cat that’s raising hell.

Artist rendering of the front of the Disneyland Haunted Mansion ride.

Digging up the ghosts of Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion ride

Long before there were hitchhiking ghosts or merry ghouls frolicking in a ballroom, there was the tale of a sea captain — a sea captain who murdered his wife and buried her in a brick wall.

Oct. 16, 2015

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Todd Martens joined the Los Angeles Times in 2007 and covers a mix of interactive entertainment (video games) and pop music. Previously, Martens reported on the music business for Billboard Magazine. He has contributed to numerous books, including “The Big Lebowski: An Illustrated, Annotated History of the Greatest Cult Film of All Time.” He continues to torture himself by rooting for the Chicago Cubs and, while he likes dogs, he is more of a cat person.

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Disneyland Haunted Mansion Closure 2024 – Dates, Why It’s Closed, What’s Coming

Haunted Mansion closure

The Disneyland Haunted Mansion now has a closing date for early 2024. Typically the Disneyland Haunted Mansion closes at this time of year to remove the Nightmare Before Christmas-themed Haunted Mansion Holiday overlay from the attraction but this year the closure is related to bigger construction coming.

A few months ago Disney revealed new details about a big expansion of the Disneyland Haunted Mansion area to redevelop the area around the Haunted Mansion attraction to improve guest flow, add in an elevator for wheelchair users to exit the attraction, and to add in a new store. You can read more about this Haunted Mansion construction below.

Disney has now revealed when the Haunted Mansion attraction will close for this redevelopment of the area around the Haunted Mansion attraction.

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Disneyland Haunted Mansion Closure

Haunted Mansion closure details

Disneyland has now released on the refurbishment calendar that the Haunted Mansion will close starting on January 22, 2024. The attraction will remain as the Haunted Mansion Holiday overlay until this date. That means that the attraction will remain open a couple of additional weeks after the official end of the Holidays at Disneyland celebration which is on January 7, 2024.

The Haunted Mansion closing date is listed on the Disneyland calendar and we confirmed it with a Disneyland spokesperson.

The “it's a small world” Holiday overlay also has to be removed during this period.

With the closure of the Haunted Mansion, two of the major attractions in this corner of the park will be closed. There is still no Splash Mountain reopening date set for when the ride will become Tiana's Bayou Adventure . Disney just confirmed that the Tiana's Bayou Adventure attraction will not open until “later in 2024” at Disneyland so we can expect to see this area with the two attractions closed for at least a little while.

That leads us to wonder…

When Will Disneyland Haunted Mansion Reopen?

Haunted Mansion closure at Disneyland

The Disneyland Haunted Mansion does not currently have a reopening date set for the attraction . When the news of the changes coming to the area around the attraction that we detail below were first announced we actually assumed that the attraction would keep operating normally or largely normally with a few interruptions throughout the year while the construction happened around the attraction. It's amazing what they can accomplish with construction walls!

Typically the Haunted Mansion Holiday attraction closes every year in early January around the least day of the holiday season as we detail in our Disneyland refurbishments and closures article.

While it could have been that this was just a normal closure for the Haunted Mansion to remove the holiday overlay, we now have the further context that this closure relates back to the announcement made about the work starting on the changes to the exterior of the attraction in 2024. We don't yet know the length of the closure coming in January but if the attraction is going to be closed for the entire time that these changes are coming to the park, it could be quite a long closure that stretches further into the year. Some of the changes, which we'll share a little more on below won't be quick and will be structural changes made to the attraction building.

What we do know is that when Disneyland shared all the 2024 special events they mentioned that Disneyland Halloween would include “uniquely themed attractions” so we can assume that the work will be all done in time for the August 23, 2023 beginning of Disneyland Halloween 2024 .

What is the Haunted Mansion Construction Coming to Disneyland?

Disney previously announced that Haunted Mansion will be getting some new additions that will “build on the story and lore” of the beloved attraction. The construction during the Haunted Mansion closure will add an expanded outdoor queue and a new retail shop adjacent to the attraction's exit. Construction will also introduce new additions to improve the accessibility of these areas, including an elevator exit from the attraction for guests with disabilities.

Haunted Mansion closure queue construction

The expansion will connect to the local legend of the Haunted Mansion being first built by a prosperous sea captain and new gardens inspired by Master Gracey, Madame Leota, and the one-eyed cat. The gardens will feature unique elements like a water fountain, gazebo, themed statuary and landscaping, and more. The pet cemetery and horse-drawn funeral hearse will still be featured. You can see the concept art for this outdoor queue area above!

Haunted Mansion closure queue changes

In addition to the queue expansion during the Haunted Mansion closure, a new retail shop inspired by Madame Leota will be added. The shop will be the “carriage house of the mansion” belonging to Leota, with more details to come in the future. You can see the concept art for the shop below:

Haunted Mansion closure Madame Leota shop

There will also be enhancements made to the plaza adjacent to Tiana's Palace to create a “new, elegant park-like setting” that will be a place to rest and enjoy live entertainment. You can see the concept art for this area below:

Haunted Mansion closure plaza

Importantly for the construction closure timeline for Haunted Mansion, they will also be adding an elevator to the exit of the attraction. This could cause the longest part of the closure as it is structural and work could end up block the attraction from running.

We are looking forward to seeing these new additions added to the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland!

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Disneyland's Haunted Mansion ride slated for expansion, upgrades in 2024

The popular ride will undergo construction in 2024 to add handicap accessibility and expand the outdoor area of the theme ride at the southern california resort..

is haunted mansion open at disneyland

Disneyland is expanding the grounds of its Haunted Mansion next year, adding handicap accessibility and deepening the lore of the iconic theme ride at the Southern California resort.

Renovation plans, unveiled Tuesday on the Disney Parks blog , include a new garden, a new gift shop near the attraction's exit and an upgraded plaza for live entertainment. The additions are intended to bolster the experience of guests while they wait in line by building on the story of the Haunted Mansion, which was brought to life in July on the big screen .

Wait times vary but it can take over an hour to get into the Haunted Mansion.

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Titanic: The US is against a plan set for 2024 to retrieve items from the Titanic wreckage

Renovations part of Disneyland revamp of New Orleans Square

The upcoming changes are among many coming to the New Orleans Square area of the theme park and resort in Anaheim.

Tiana's Palace, a New Orleans-inspired soul food restaurant inspired by the 2009 animated movie "The Princess and the Frog," will open next month .

The park also has previously announced plans to overhaul and replace the now-closed Splash Mountain ride with Tiana's Bayou Adventure, also set to debut in 2024 .

Splash Mountain closed in May after 33 years as a mainstay at the resort after a petition to change the beloved water ride 's theme went viral. Because of the attraction's association with the 1946 Disney film " Song of the South ," the ride has long been criticized for its idealized portrayal of plantation life.

Walt Disney World in Florida closed its version of the ride in January.

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New gardens, improved accessibility among plans

Planned renovations to the Haunted Mansion attraction will focus on the outdoor area where guests wait their turn to climb into a "doom buggy" for a tour of the spooky property.

Once completed, the queue area will feature gardens teaming with fountains, gazebos and themed statues inspired by famed characters of the attraction, including mansion owner Master Edward Gracey and psychic medium Madame Leota. Other famed elements of the grounds, such as the pet cemetery and horse-drawn funeral hearse, will remain.

The plaza adjacent to Tiana’s Palace will feature a new park replete with live entertainment and the shade of new and historic trees. Plans also call for improvements to accessibility of these areas for those with physical disabilities, including a new elevator exit from the Haunted Mansion.

Construction is slated to begin in January. Renderings of the changes are viewable here .

Eric Lagatta covers breaking and trending news for USA TODAY. Reach him at [email protected].

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Disneyland Sets Closure Date for ‘Haunted Mansion’ to Begin Expansion and Updates

  • by Michelle Snow
  • December 12, 2023 December 12, 2023

is haunted mansion open at disneyland

This summer, Disneyland announced a massive refurbishment of its “Haunted Mansion” attraction that would include an expansion of the queue area, among other things, and now the park has announced when the it will close the attraction to begin the revamp.

The Details

Disneyland has announced that the last day to experience the “Haunted Mansion Holiday” overlay will be on January 21, 2024.

Then, the attraction will close for refurbishment starting Monday, January 22, and work will begin. This date has been confirmed by the Disneyland calendar .

Disneyland calendar.

In 2024, the additions will build on the story and lore of the “Haunted Mansion” and include an expanded outdoor queue to immerse guests in enhanced theming.

The carriage house of the mansion, belonging to Madame Leota, will also be upgraded to become a new standalone shop.

Disney says it will use the refurbishment to improve the accessibility of the attraction, as well, which will include a new elevator exit from the “Haunted Mansion” for guests with disabilities and mobility issues.

Haunted Mansion at Disneyland

Reopening Date

Disneyland has not yet provided a reopening date for “Haunted Mansion,” or a timeline for the work being done. When we hear of a date, we’ll let you know.

However, D23: The Ultimate Disney Fan Event will be coming to Anaheim August 9-11, 2024, bringing thousands of Disney fans to the area, so I’m sure they plan to have one of their most popular attractions open for that. Perhaps even debuting the changes during the event.

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Disneyland | everything disneyland changed in the haunted mansion and the backstory behind it all, walt disney imagineering worked on the latest refurbishment of the haunted mansion that started in january 2020 before the covid-19 pandemic closed the park..

is haunted mansion open at disneyland

Haunted Mansion superfans notice everything that’s ever been added or removed from the beloved Disneyland attraction throughout the half century-plus history of the enigmatic and eerie haunted house at the Anaheim theme park.

“Our fans are amazingly in love with the mansion,” Walt Disney Imagineering producer Michele Hobbs said. “It’s always been steeped in this mystery.”

Hobbs and the Imagineering team worked on the latest refurbishment of the Haunted Mansion that started in January 2020 before the COVID-19 pandemic closed the park. The 15-month home improvement project brought new draperies, carpet, wallpaper and decor inside the attraction and fresh paint and plants on the exterior. The Haunted Mansion returned when Disneyland reopened last month after a yearlong coronavirus closure.

Visitors to The Haunted Mansion stand in household groups inside...

Visitors to The Haunted Mansion stand in household groups inside the elevator of the dark ride in New Orleans Square at Disneyland in Anaheim, CA, on Friday, April 30, 2021. The resort’s parks have been closed for 412 days due to the COVID-19 outbreak. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange County Register/SCNG)

New drapery hangs around the windows inside The Haunted Mansion...

New drapery hangs around the windows inside The Haunted Mansion in New Orleans Square at Disneyland in Anaheim, CA, on Friday, April 30, 2021. The resort’s parks have been closed for 412 days due to the COVID-19 outbreak. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange County Register/SCNG)

New wrought iron separates the line from the loading area...

New wrought iron separates the line from the loading area at The Haunted Mansion at Disneyland in Anaheim, CA, on Friday, April 30, 2021. The resort’s parks have been closed for 412 days due to the COVID-19 outbreak. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange County Register/SCNG)

The “April to December” portrait shows a lovely young woman...

The “April to December” portrait shows a lovely young woman age instantaneously in the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland. (Courtesy of Disney)

Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion renovation brings new draperies, carpet, wallpaper and...

Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion renovation brings new draperies, carpet, wallpaper and decor inside the attraction. (Courtesy of Disney)

A memorial for a frog is now surrounded by lily...

A memorial for a frog is now surrounded by lily pads in the outdoor queue of the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland. (Courtesy of Disney)

The mysterious mansion has long been a source of fascination for die-hard fans.

“It starts back in 1963 when we built the facade. We didn’t open the attraction until six years later,” Hobbs said during an online video interview. “Where we’ve landed today is this awesome, family-friendly, funny, yet surprisingly intriguing piece of art that manages today to be totally relevant and wonderful for our guests.”

SEE ALSO:  Haunted Mansion at 50: Decades of delays and distractions nearly derailed Disneyland’s venerable dark ride

The layers of intrigue and mystique with the Haunted Mansion extend from the pet cemetery and tombstone tributes to something as simple as the exterior paint color.

“There are multiple colors of white on the mansion,” Hobbs said. “If you stand and look at it, you probably couldn’t tell. But if you get closer, you can see there’s a little bit of perspective and eeriness there in each of those different colors that gives it that look.”

The outdoor pet cemetery features subtle new planting enhancements designed to reinforce the storytelling taking place in the attraction’s outdoor queue.

A memorial for a frog named Old Flybait — his tombstone reads “He croaked” — is now surrounded by lily pads. A tombstone for a pet skunk named Stripey — “Your presence will always linger on” reads his memorial — is bordered by Society Garlic, a purple-flowered plant known for producing a skunky smell similar to marijuana. A monument to Rosie the pig is edged by roses while a cat tombstone is flanked by catnip.

“That kind of storytelling is probably not so obvious, but I think it’s important to get across to our fans who are intrigued by the mansion,” Hobbs said.

SEE ALSO:   Will Disney’s new Haunted Mansion movie be better than ‘dreadful’ Eddie Murphy flop?

The extended closure of Disneyland allowed Imagineering to further enhance the Haunted Mansion backstory and bring back some old favorites that have been missing from the attraction for a while.

A changing portrait that may be familiar to longtime Haunted Mansion fans has rejoined the portrait gallery between the elevator and load station in the attraction queue. The “April to December” dynamic portrait based on original artwork by Disney Legend and Imagineer Marc Davis shows a lovely young woman age instantaneously.

“April to December” was removed in the early 2000s when the dynamic effects of the portrait didn’t work with some technology upgrades to the Haunted Mansion.

“We were able to extend the portrait hallway into what was otherwise a black box where you just got on your Doom Buggy,” Hobbs said.

Superfans notice when Imagineering adds or removes the smallest details from the Haunted Mansion, according to Hobbs. Hardcore mansion fans obsess over seemingly minor additions like the “April to December” portrait.

“When we’re able to bring it back in an even better way than it was before, which I think we’ve done, it enhances the story so much for us and drives the demand to ride the attraction,” Hobbs said.

SEE ALSO:   She decorated her husband’s home office to look like Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion

A new cat statue next to the “April to December” portrait is based on discarded Haunted Mansion concept art created by Disney Legend and Imagineer X Atencio. One eye of the cat statue occasionally glows red.

Walt Disney deemed the original cat concept dreamed up by Atencio as too scary for his family-friendly park, according to Hobbs.

“X had this idea of this fiendish, devilish cat with a red eye,” Hobbs said. “He was going to be the host and you would see him like you do the raven in the scenes. It was definitely deemed a lot more intimidating, so it was scrapped for the raven.”

A new dollhouse has been added to the attic scene in the Haunted Mansion.

“The dollhouse is symbolic of the mansion itself,” Hobbs said. “If you get a good look at it, it’s a neat play on the architecture of the mansion itself.”

Eagle-eyed Haunted Mansion fans will want to look for a smattering of trinkets belonging to Constance Hatchaway the black widow bride that tell her “love story” with her five deceased husbands.

“You get more feedback and some storytelling on who they were,” Hobbs said. “You should be looking for new things and then also looking for some enhancements in terms of how we staged things. Things are staged a little bit differently to bring to light some of the more prominent pieces.”

SEE ALSO:   We decode the hidden tributes behind all 13 Haunted Mansion tombstones at Disneyland

A new floating wicker chair has been introduced in the seance scene.

“If you look at the balcony of the mansion, there’s some furniture out there,” Hobbs said. “Maybe that was an old piece that was out on the balcony at one point.”

Longtime fans may spot some enhancements to the graveyard scene they might not have noticed before — like a laughing mummy sitting with a tea cup.

“You’re able to see so much more now,” Hobbs said. “There are so many things that, especially as you go through the graveyard scene, that have been enhanced from a color perspective.”

SEE ALSO: Disneyland sets reopening date for Blue Bayou with booze — plus a passholder exclusive returns

Before the latest Haunted Mansion makeover, Hobbs worked on the Sleeping Beauty Castle renovation, Tropical Hideaway eatery expansion and Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa refurbishment.

Before Imagineering, Hobbs was the first female officer in the U.S. Army’s 10th Engineer Battalion, which is part of the Army Corps of Engineers.

“My transition from the Army to Disneyland was amazing,” Hobbs said. “I’m much older than I was back when I was in the Army. I’d much rather work on the Haunted Mansion than be sleeping in the rain with a poncho over my head.”

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is haunted mansion open at disneyland

Disney History

Haunted Mansion at Disneyland Park

Today in Disney History: Haunted Mansion Opened at Disneyland Park in 1969

Michael Ramirez

by Michael Ramirez , Public Relations Director, Disneyland Resort

On August 9, 1969, the doors of the Haunted Mansion first creaked open to ghoulish ghosts (and guests) looking for an unlivable home. Today, all foolish mortals are able to visit this “spirited” attraction in New Orleans Square at Disneyland park.

Haunted Mansion construction

The Haunted Mansion at Disneyland was the first major Disney attraction to open without the direct supervision of Walt Disney. Although Walt reviewed many early concepts and vignettes, he never saw the completed show. Construction for the Haunted Mansion attraction began in 1961 and the exterior of the attraction was completed in 1963. It was unoccupied until 1969 while Walt Disney participated in the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair and his Imagineers were re-tasked to work on those timely projects. The World’s Fair experience made way for some of the technology that’s used in the Haunted Mansion.

Haunted Mansion sign

During the early period before the attraction opened, a tantalizing, witty sign was displayed outside of the Haunted Mansion, which read:

“Notice! All Ghosts and Restless Spirits. Post-lifetime leases are now available in this Haunted Mansion!… For reservations, send resume of past experience to: Ghost Relations Dept., Disneyland. Please! Do not apply in person!”

Haunted Mansion

As you enter the Haunted Mansion, you are taken into the Portrait Chamber featuring some of the ghosts in their “corruptible mortal state.” Suddenly, the chamber begins to stretch and, once you stop, you are led into a hallway filled with eerie lighting and transforming portraits. Shortly thereafter, as you enter your “Doom Buggy,” the Ghost Host greets you and prepares to take you on your haunting journey. Your tour of the Mansion offers a ghastly glimpse into the “after life,” including a séance conducted by Madame Leota, a ghostly party in the Grand Hall, complete with dancing and a birthday cake, followed by a trip up to the abode’s attic where a far-from-blushing bride and the Hatbox Ghost reside, all before ending up in the graveyard where the ghosts of the Haunted Mansion have gathered for a “swinging wake.”

Take a look back at this beloved attraction in the video below:

Here are some frightfully fun facts to celebrate the 50 th anniversary:

  • The idea for a haunted house at Disneyland was included in an early concept design sketch by Harper Goff dating back to 1952, when Disneyland was still being conceptualized.
  • Within a week of the Haunted Mansion’s opening, Disneyland celebrated what was then its highest single-day attendance.
  • 20 tombstone tributes exist both inside and around the exterior of the attraction. The epitaphs on the tombstones were written to honor several Disney Legends and Walt Disney Imagineers who created and maintain the attraction.
  • The final exterior concept for the house is heavily influenced by the Victorian-era Shipley-Lydecker House in Baltimore, Maryland.
  • Thurl Ravenscroft is the voice of “Uncle Theodore” who leads the “Phantom Five” quintet of singing headstones. His voice can also be heard at Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room as the voice of both Fritz and Tangaroa.
  • The pipe organ seen in the ballroom sequence was featured as Captain Nemo’s pipe organ in the Disney film classic, “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.” For more details, check out George’s story here .
  • Leota Toombs, a former Walt Disney Imagineer and Disney Legend, served as the famous face of Madame Leota.
  • The Hatbox Ghost was featured in Haunted Mansion when the attraction first opened. Then, he mysteriously vanished, only to reappear in 2015 in time for the 60th anniversary of Disneyland.

So, foolish mortals, make your way to the Disneyland Resort to celebrate 50 years of ghoulish delights and happy haunts. The ghosts of the Haunted Mansion are just “dying” for you to join them – as there is always room for one more!

Destinations: Today in Disney History: Haunted Mansion Opened at Disneyland Park in 1969 , Disneyland Park

Topics: Disney History

This is a great story! The pictures are particularly good. I am intrigued to see windows/doors open on the upper stories of the Mansion in the photo from its construction period–I have never seen that occur in all the many times I’ve been to Disneyland. The sign looking for “leasees” is brilliant!

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Today in Disney History, 1969: Haunted Mansion Opened at Disneyland

by Brittany DiCologero | Aug 9, 2021 | Disney History , Disneyland , WDW Blog

Foolish mortals encountered the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland for the very first time on August 9, 1969. Since then, it has changed quite a bit and even had sister mansions open across the globe. Learn how the original mansion has evolved since its spooky opening day.

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New Orleans Square

The sun rises over Haunted Mansion … for now. Photo by Brian Shih

The Haunted Mansion in Disneyland is located in New Orleans Square , the first themed land to be added to the park after its 1955 opening. Since July 24, 1966, New Orleans Square has immersed guests in a setting based on 19th-century New Orleans, complete with quaint architectural details like wrought iron fences, French design inspiration, and even authentic food at fan-favorite restaurants like the Blue Bayou.

In 1969, the Haunted Mansion became the last major attraction added to the park’s new land , following the opening of the Disneyland Railroad in 1966 and Pirates of the Caribbean earlier in 1969.

Can’t get enough Haunted Mansion history? Get our special edition Haunted Mansion issue for all the inside secrets about your favorite haunted house .

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Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion is unique to other Haunted Mansions added later around the world as it is the only one to be located in New Orleans Square and claim a matching exterior . (Walt Disney World’s attraction is located in Liberty Square, Tokyo Disneyland’s is in Fantasyland, and Disneyland Paris has a mansion in Frontierland.) 

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While the interior of the Haunted Mansion is similar to some of the other parks, it does have its differences (especially during the holidays, but we’ll get to that soon!), and the outside in Disneyland is unique to its opulent Southern estate theming. For a more concrete look into the background of Disneyland’s exterior though, look to the Shipley-Lydecker House in Baltimore, Maryland, as Imagineers were heavily inspired by the home’s architecture while designing the Mansion .

Get the scoop on Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion opening

Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion Opening Day

The Haunted Mansion opening day at Disneyland marked the last attraction to open at New Orleans Square. Photo by Brian Shih

The Haunted Mansion’s opening at Disneyland was delayed numerous times as Imagineers disagreed on how the attraction should look and operate . Their disagreements, however, actually led to multiple styles of art and storytelling making their way into the mansion, and upon seeing the finished product, we wouldn’t have it any other way.

Imagineers were also pulled off the project in the late 1950s because their skills were needed to create attractions for the 1964 New York World’s Fair . While construction was well underway by the end of 1961, and the ride’s exterior show building was completed by 1963, work on the World’s Fair delayed the Haunted Mansion’s opening until 1969. 

In the meantime, Imagineers worked out the details of the ride’s interior, while guests were greeted with spooky promotional materials promoting the current vision for the Haunted Mansion along with nods to the former idea from Imagineering called the Museum of the Weird . 

Work on the rides seen in the World’s Fair likely contributed to the success of the Haunted Mansion as some of the technology developed by Imagineers for the fair later made its way into the Haunted Mansion. It is worth noting, though, that while he did work extensively on the project prior to its opening, the Haunted Mansion is the first major Disney attraction to open without Walt Disney as he passed away in 1966 . 

Disneyland vs. Walt Disney World

Photo by Jaysen White

While much of the attraction once inside the show building is the same, or at least very similar, between the Disneyland and Walt Disney World attraction, there are some notable differences . As far as the ones guests may notice, they mainly come in the beginning of the ride . 

(If you’re worried that details of how some of the effects in the mansion work are “not safe for magic,” skip down to the “Haunted Mansion Holiday” section .) 

The Stretching Room is one of the first areas of the mansion that guests interact with outside of its eerie exterior and interactive themed queues through the cemetery. (Disney officially calls this area, and the one inside the attraction, the Haunted Mansion’s “graveyard,” but in reality, a graveyard implies association with a church whereas a cemetery does not …The more you know!) 

In Walt Disney World, the ceiling rises, lifting the walls above the portraits in the Stretching Room to create the illusion that the room is actually stretching .

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If you ever have the opportunity to work at the Haunted Mansion or as a Cast Member at Walt Disney World who is lucky enough to find themselves on a backstage tour, you may be invited to lie on the floor of while the effect works in reverse , which is quite a frightening, but fun, experience!

In Disneyland , the Stretching Room is indeed an elevator. The different levels of the two mansions does have an impact on how the ride is laid out, but visually the two are very similar, so guests who have experienced both are not likely to notice these small layout changes . 

Magic Kingdom’s Haunted Mansion at night. Photo by Brett Svenson

One of the first areas beyond the Stretching Room that guests come to is a portrait hall with images that change into ghostlier versions of themselves as lightning strikes .

In Disneyland, guests walk through this area, as a nod to the original concept for the Museum of the Weird. (The Museum would have been a walk-through attraction.) In Walt Disney World, guests move by the portraits while seated in their Doom Buggies. 

The last noticeable difference for Guests comes with the Hatbox Ghost . The figure first debuted in the attic scene soon after the attraction’s opening in Disneyland, but it was quickly removed as the effect was not working as Imagineers had envisioned it . 

The figure made its return only to Disneyland with enhanced technology in 2015 , showing the Hatbox Ghost, appropriately holding his hatbox for guests to see his head vanish and reappear inside the box.

One change since opening day that can be seen in both US parks is Madame Leota’s crystal ball floating as opposed to its original placement on the table in the Séance Room. The effect was originally created using projections and voice work from Imagineer and Disney Legend Leota Toombs . 

As new technology became available to make the projection look even more realistic, Imagineers redesigned the space, allowing the crystal ball containing Leota to float beginning in 2004 .

There are rumors that Imagineers made the decision to float Madame Leota following incidents of guests leaving their ride vehicles to attempt to grab the crystal ball, but it is difficult to confirm how much this factored into the decision. 

Haunted Mansion Holiday

Haunted Mansion Holiday. Photo by Brian Shih

The last very noticeable difference comes with Disneyland’s annual transformation into the Haunted Mansion Holiday . The Haunted Mansion Holiday is a seasonal overlay based on Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas that only takes place at Disneyland and Tokyo Disneyland. 

Each year, the mansion is decorated with characters and props from the film, bringing together a unique experience celebrating both Halloween and Christmas as well as the cult classic film at one of the park’s most beloved attractions. 

Photo by Brian Shih

If you are planning your visit around the Haunted Mansion Holiday, look out for its annual opening typically in September with its run lasting through the holiday season (and note that the weeks prior to its opening, the mansion will be closed for this transformation.) 

The Haunted Mansion in Disneyland also got a couple of new updates upon the park’s 2021 reopening . If it’s been a while since your last visit, keep your eyes peeled for a new addition in the pet cemetery, the return of an original work of art, and decor updates to both the exterior and interior of the mansion .

You can find all the details in this post, too.  

Were you there on Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion opening day—either in 1969 or its re opening in 2021? Tell us all about it on Facebook .

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Disneyland News Today

Construction Walls Up Around Haunted Mansion Queue at Disneyland Park Ahead of Grounds Refurbishment

As we get closer to the closing date for the Haunted Mansion ahead of its expanded grounds refurbishment , new construction walls have gone up in the attraction’s queue at Disneyland Park.

Construction Walls Up in Haunted Mansion Queue

is haunted mansion open at disneyland

We noticed the walls had gone up yesterday, January 9, 2024. The attraction is scheduled to close on January 22 for its grounds refurbishment. Reports indicate that the classic Haunted Mansion will not return to Disneyland Park until 2025 as a result of the refurbishment and timing related to Haunted Mansion Holiday.

is haunted mansion open at disneyland

As a result of the walls going up, the Lightning Lane and regular queues have also been adjusted. Guests purchasing Lightning Lane will now have to travel straight up to the front porch of the ride’s facade.

is haunted mansion open at disneyland

The regular queue for the Haunted Mansion is now designated by tape on the ground, around the perimeter of the construction walls.

is haunted mansion open at disneyland

Wait signs have been added to the walls, also, due to the queue being re-routed around them.

is haunted mansion open at disneyland

In addition, the popcorn cart near Haunted Mansion has been moved to accommodate the queue changes. Instead of its normal location, guests can now find it on the opposite side of the walkway in New Orleans Square.

is haunted mansion open at disneyland

The rest of this area has been roped off to help create more queue space.

Haunted Mansion Expanded Grounds Refurbishment

The expansion to the Haunted Mansion grounds was first announced in August 2023, with a “spirited metamorphosis” in the garden area to help build upon the lore of the classic attraction, as well as a new retail shop adjacent to the ride’s exit.

is haunted mansion open at disneyland

The official announcement for the grounds expansion references a “local legend” that suggested the manor as we know it was originally built by a prosperous sea captain, and that the mansion’s staff “faithfully maintains the happy haunting grounds” to this day.

is haunted mansion open at disneyland

The expanded queue will also include other details, like new gardens inspired by Master Gracey, Madame Leota, and the one-eyed cat.

The one-eyed cat was an original idea for the attraction by Imagineer Xavier Atencio, in which the cat would have appeared throughout the ride as a sort of antagonist. This idea eventually gave way to the raven seen in the final attraction, though many of the elements of that characterization were not used. A statue of the cat was added to the load area in 2021 alongside the return of the “April to December” portrait.

Each of the new gardens will have unique elements, including a water fountain and gazebo, themed statues, and landscaping. Leota’s garden will include items related to her incantations from the ride. There will also be a new greenhouse where the groundskeepers for the mansion grow their plants.

is haunted mansion open at disneyland

The new retail location will be themed as a carriage house for the mansion, with the inside shop belonging to Leota.

Will you be taking advantage of these last 12 days to ride Haunted Mansion before it closes for refurbishment? Which part of the new additions are you most excited about? Let us know in the comments.

For more Disneyland Resort news and info, follow Disneyland News Today on  Twitter ,  Facebook , and  Instagram . For Disney Parks news worldwide, visit WDWNT .

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13 Facts About Disney’s Haunted Mansion

By alan finn | aug 8, 2014.

is haunted mansion open at disneyland

Wikimedia Commons

Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion opened on August 9, 1969, and quickly became one of the park’s most beloved attractions. Every Magic Kingdom built since then, from Florida to Tokyo and beyond, has included some version of the Haunted Mansion. To celebrate all these years of grim, grinning ghosts, here are 13 facts about the spookiest ride ever devised by Walt Disney and his team of “Imagineers.”

1. In the Beginning

Disney first approached Imagineer Ken Anderson about the idea for a haunted attraction in 1957. Originally planned as a walk-through attraction, it would have involved maids or butlers guiding guests through the mansion and telling them about the tragic tale of a sea captain and his bride. Also planned was a “Museum of the Weird,” which would have showcased strange creatures and odd, interactive illusions.

2. An Empty House

is haunted mansion open at disneyland

Construction of the Haunted Mansion’s façade began in 1962 and was finished in 1963. The building sat empty after Disney and his Imagineers focused on the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair. It remained that way following Disney’s death in 1966 as Imagineers, now left to their own devices, struggled to decide what to do with the attraction.

3. From Baltimore to New Orleans

is haunted mansion open at disneyland

longforgottenhauntedmansion

Although the Haunted Mansion is located in Disneyland’s New Orleans Square and appears to be a typical antebellum manse, it was inspired by a home almost 999 miles to the north—Baltimore. The Shipley-Lydecker House was built in Baltimore in 1803.

4. Movie Influences

is haunted mansion open at disneyland

Passport to Dreams Old & New

Many Haunted Mansion experts think that three films were major inspirations for the Imagineers as they completed the attraction— La Belle et La Bete , Jean Cocteau’s 1946 version of Beauty and the Beast ; The Haunting , Robert Wise’s 1963 adaptation of Shirley Jackson’s novel The Haunting of Hill House ; and the 1927 version of The Cat and the Canary . Design elements from all three movies can be seen in the ride itself.

5. Expensive Ghosts

is haunted mansion open at disneyland

According to an official Disneyland press release from 1969, the Haunted Mansion cost $7 million to develop and build . That translates to roughly $45 million today.

6. 999 Happy Haunts

is haunted mansion open at disneyland

From the very beginning, Disneyland press materials touted that 999 ghosts resided in the mansion. While the number of actual ghostly figures in the attraction has never been officially tallied, it is generally acknowledged that there’s always room for one more.

7. Different Lands

is haunted mansion open at disneyland

The Haunted Mansion is the only Disney attraction to be featured in different lands at each of the five Magic Kingdoms. In Disneyland, it’s in New Orleans Square. At Walt Disney World, it’s located in Liberty Square. It resides in Fantasyland at Tokyo Disneyland and in Frontierland at Disneyland Paris, where it’s known as Phantom Manor. At Hong Kong Disneyland, a completely different attraction known as Mystic Manor is located in Mystic Point.

8. Up or Down?

is haunted mansion open at disneyland

Davelandweb.com

The world-famous stretching rooms, in which guests are introduced to the attraction’s “Ghost Host,” descend at Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion and at Phantom Manor in Disneyland Paris. At Walt Disney World and Tokyo Disneyland, the ceiling rises while guests remain on the same level.

9. Familiar Voices

is haunted mansion open at disneyland

The voice of the Ghost Host was provided by actor Paul Frees , who was also the voice of Boris Badenov on The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show and the Disney character Professor Ludwig von Drake. The voice of the main singing bust in the graveyard scene belongs to Thurl Ravenscroft , who voiced Tony the Tiger. Madame Leota, the disembodied head inside the crystal ball, is the voice of Eleanor Audley, who also provided the voices of Maleficent in Sleeping Beauty and the Wicked Stepmother in Cinderella .

10. Dancing Ghosts

is haunted mansion open at disneyland

The dancing ghosts in the ballroom are created using a theatrical effect that’s been around since the early 1800s. Called the Pepper’s Ghost illusion, it’s a relatively simple trick in which illuminated objects are reflected onto a pane of glass, making them appear translucent. It’s named after John Henry Pepper, who popularized the effect.

11. Nemo’s Organ

is haunted mansion open at disneyland

At Disneyland, the pipe organ played by a spectral musician in the ballroom scene is the same organ used by James Mason as Captain Nemo in Disney’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea . The prop was modified for use in the Haunted Mansion. The organs used in other versions of the ride are replicas of the original.

12. Hitching a Ride

is haunted mansion open at disneyland

The names of the three hitchhiking ghosts guests encounter at the end of the ride are Gus, Ezra, and Phineas. Gus is the short one with the ball and chain, Ezra is the tall, skeletal one with the bowler hat, and Phineas is the one carrying the carpet bag.

13. Pet Cemetery

is haunted mansion open at disneyland

Both the Disneyland and Walt Disney World versions of the ride have a small pet cemetery located outside the mansion. 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.

Haunted Mansion: 10 Differences Between The Disneyland & Disney World Rides

All Disney visitors need to visit the famous Haunted Mansion ride, but is the better version in Disneyland or Disney World?

Two parks, two mysterious mansions, 1998 Happy Haunts, and one dedicated fanbase help make up Disney's Haunted Mansion. The frighteningly fun haunted house ride from the minds of Walt's Imagineers has been a Disney Parks staple since the 60s, but the question on everyone's mind has always been which is the better mansion?

Both are icons of their respected parts, both have their ghosts, ghouls, and gags, but which one is the definitive manor? Sure the original lives in Disneyland, but Disney World's improved the formula. We might not be able to settle the debate, but we'll definitely share what splits them apart. These are the ten differences between the mansions of Disney World and Disneyland.

RELATED: Disney Parks: 10 Haunted Mansion Legends You Didn’t Know Existed

10 The South Out West

The original mansion's design took a lot of influence from the southern plantation houses of New Orleans. After all, the structure is set in New Orleans Square and the South is home to arguably more haunted activity. What better place to have a haunted mansion, right?

From its large windows and wraparound porch and balcony to its southern gothic decor and antebellum facade, Disneyland's Mansion absolutely screams old south. It looks like the setting of one of Poe's tales of the macabre, and certainly appears to be a place ghosts would want to call home. But then again, so does it's Floridian cousin.

9 Colonial Creeps

The mansion in the Walt Disney World resort is located in Liberty Square, an area of the park inspired by the early days of our country. Naturally, a southern plantation house would not fit in amongst the colonial setting, so the design was altered to that of a Dutch Colonial-inspired mansion. In our opinion, it's perhaps the more haunted-looking of the two.

Where the mansion in California resembles an antebellum abode, the one in Florida carries notes of Castle Frankenstein with its stony structure, high towers, and spiked gate. Not only does this mansion look larger than the other, but it also bears a slightly more intimidating and foreboding appearance than the original, especially at night.

RELATED:  Disney Parks: 10 Things You Didn’t Know About The Haunted Mansion

8 Room For a Thousand... Or More

Both Manors play host to 999 Happy Haunts, but with room for a thousand. Though the original makes good on this promise, the one in Walt Disney World arguably has more ghosts than it lets on. But they aren't necessarily inside the mansion.

Due to the larger crowds and size of the park, the mansion has a larger and more interactive queue space, but more on that later. This queue is home to a few ghosts lurking around, including a statue family of murder victims, a spooky storyteller, and a pickled sea captain. Looks like the Florida version wins when it comes to playing numbers.

7 Little Leota's Location

Known to some as the Ghostess, she's more commonly referred to as Little Leota, bearing the same likeness as her sister in the seance room. She's present in both versions of the Haunted Mansion, but in each incarnation of the ride, she appears in different spots. Still, at least someone's there to tell us to  hurry baaaack...

On the original ride, Little Leota bids guests farewell as they depart the ride. This makes her one of the few ghosts guests have an up-close interaction with. But, in the Disney World version, she appears as the Doom Buggies are exiting. Still giving us creeps on the small scale, we thought she was definitely worth a mention.

RELATED:  Disney Parks: 10 Hidden Details About The Characters In The Haunted Mansion Everyone Missed

6 Going Up or Down

Is this haunted room actually stretching? Or is it your imagination? One of the most iconic scenes in the ride is the portrait gallery or "Stretching Room." Here, guests can see the changing portraits of some of the Haunted Mansion's residents before they are sent into the ride. Though most assume this is a trick of an elevator, they're only half right.

Where the original does make use of an elevator to deliver its guest to the ride's official beginning, the Florida version actually has a stretching room. The ceiling rises and stretches the portraits before a hidden door opens to reveal the line for the Doom Buggies. Watch closely on your next visit.

5 A Little Something Extra

Unless you ride both versions one right after the other, you might notice some extra scenes in the Disney World version that the Disneyland version lacks. Though the original is still classic and well-regarded amongst fans, the one in Florida gives us a few additional tricks and treats.

There is an extended changing gallery, a room of neverending staircases, and an improved Hitchhiking Ghosts sequence that the original mansion lacks. Granted, this doesn't mean the Disney World mansion is necessarily better than its Californian counterpart, but we'd be lying if we said we didn't enjoy the additions.

RELATED:  Disneyland Vs. Disney World: Which Disney Resort Is Better?

4 Home of the Hatbox Ghost

Though the infamous Hatbox Ghost appears on nearly all the merch for both mansions, the grim grinning ghoul calls the original manor in Disneyland his home. In the Florida version, he only appears as a portrait in the hallway. For the real deal, you gotta go to California.

The Hatbox Ghost made his debut in 1969 but vanished shortly after. He has since made a triumphant return to the mansion, much to the ghoulish delight of fans and staff alike. Though he is keenly wanted in the larger park, we're not entirely sure the attic has enough room for him with all the extra odds and ends previously mentioned.

3 Hitchhiking Hijinx

One of the biggest differences between versions of the Mansion is the way three of its most famous residents. Phineas, Ezra, and Gus are the three Hitchhiking Ghosts that will follow guests out of the mansion when they pass the mirrors. However, the version in Disney World handles it much better than the one in Disneyland.

Disney World's version has received an update in recent years. Now, instead of the simple projections like they do in Disneyland, there is a modern, interactive version installed by Disney Imagineers. Truly and technologically marvelous, Disney World's ghosts take home the gold.

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2 Holiday Horrors

Disney World might have better Hitchhiking Ghosts, but Disneyland is Jack Skellington's favorite place to play for the Haunted Mansion's Holiday. Inspired by the classic Tim Burton film, the Haunted Mansion Holiday is what happens when Jack and the residents of Halloween Town come home for Christmas.

During the Halloween and Christmas season, Jack sics his creepie cronies on the entire structure, and the whole thing is saturated in the creepy and kooky holiday cheer only Tim Burton could invent. Jack, Sally, and even that big bad bag of bugs Oogie Boogie are all shacking up at the mansion for some holiday hauntings.

1 Stay a While Longer

The biggest difference between the rides is without a doubt the lengths. Disney World takes the crown, but not by much. Let's look at all the factors the Magic Kingdom's version has going for it. It has a better queue, additional scenes, and a more modernized experience. No wonder Disney wants guests to extend their stay.

Though the Disney World version is longer, that doesn't mean the original doesn't have its perks. Both inspire and practically require multiple ride throughs to properly experience them, and both are equal parts spooky and silly. They are easily worthy of the name Disney Icon.

NEXT:  10 Things Only People Who Stay On-Site At Disney Parks Know

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Is the Haunted Mansion closing after the holiday overlay comes down for a big refurbishment? There have been outlets posting it will be closed for a long time in 2024. -hopeful for my April 2024 trip! ”

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Disneyland's Haunted Mansion: The Surprisingly Complex History Of The Popular Ride

As Disney takes another shot at turning the Haunted Mansion into a movie, we take a look back and remember how hard it was to get the attraction made in the first place.

Haunted Mansion exterior

20 years ago when Disney made its first attempts to turn popular theme park attractions into hit movies , it was little surprise that the two movies out of the gate were based on Pirates of the Caribbean and Haunted Mansion. They are two of the most popular attractions ever created, and they exist in one form or another in nearly every Disney parks resort around the world. While Pirates was a massive hit, The Haunted Mansion was not.

Now Disney is taking another shot at adapting the Haunted Mansion attraction for the big screen, and with the movie’s release, it’s a fitting time to take a look back at the inspiration for both films, Disneyland's Haunted Mansion. It was the first, it is the most well-known, and despite the rude’s enduring popularity today, it was one of the most difficult attractions in Disney history to actually open.

Walt Wanted A Haunted Mansion Attraction In Disneyland From The Beginning 

The Haunted Mansion opened at Disneyland in August of 1969, more than 14 years after Disneyland first opened to the public. And yet, the idea for a haunted house attraction had been on the drawing board for Disneyland since literally the beginning. In fact, that Haunted Mansion precedes Disneyland, as the original concept designs of what was then called Mickey Mouse Park, when the plan was to locate the park across from the Disney studios in Burbank, included a decrepit old house.

However, Walt’s ultimate desire for his theme park to be unlike the amusement parks of the day, which he saw as dirty, defeated the haunted house idea, as he decided he didn’t want a run-down old house in his clean, state-of-the-art park. The house wouldn’t be built in Disneyland’s original phase, but the idea would never be too far from Walt’s mind.

The Haunted Mansion Façade At Disneyland Sat Finished, And Empty, For Years 

Eventually, Walt decided to move forward with his Haunted Mansion idea. When the park planned its first expansion, New Orleans Square, construction began in 1961 and the facade of a Southern plantation house mansion was built and completed in 1963. But when New Orleans Square opened in 1966, it did so with Pirates of the Caribbean as the only attraction . The Haunted Mansion was left behind locked gates because there was nothing inside it.

A big part of the reason for the delay was the 1964-65 World's Fair. WED Enterprises, the company that became Imagineering, had been hired to create four different attractions for the fair, and that took all of the Imagineering talents away from the Mansion. When the Imagineers could finally focus on the attraction again, what it would be had significantly changed. 

The original plan was that the Haunted Mansion was going to be a walk-through attraction, with tour guides taking guests regularly through the house, and each room would provide different ghostly interactions or otherworldly effects. Stories and characters were created with this in mind. Walt reportedly visited the Winchester Mystery House in Northern California and was inspired by it, which is probably where the idea of a guided tour came from.

In the end, it was decided that a walking tour would severely limit the attractions’ capacity, which led to the decision to use the new Omnimover systems, developed for the World's Fair, to take ghosts through the attraction after a short, self-guided, walking tour.

Imagineers Fought Over Whether The Haunted Mansion Should Be Scary Or Funny 

It may seem obvious that if you’re working on making a haunted house-style attraction, you should make something scary, but that wasn’t entirely obvious inside WED Enterprises. Two different designers, Claude Coats and Marc Davis, were put in charge of the project, and each had a different idea for what the mansion should be. Coates argued for something far more spooky, while Davis, who was known for his sense of humor, (he's the guy largely responsible for transforming the Jungle Cruise into its modern pun-tastic form ) wanted something a lot more fun.

Disneyland had always been conceived as a place where families could have fun together, and there was a fear that if the Haunted Mansion was too scary, it would drive away potential guests who were either too young to handle it or just didn’t care to be scared.

For his part, Walt Disney wasn’t a lot of help. He would seem to go back and forth himself, at different times supporting the scarier ideas, The late Rolly Crump 's early Museum of the Weird idea, which Walt said scared the hell out of him, almost became a separate attached attraction, and then it was later decided that there should be more gags. Things became even more complicated in 1966 when Walt passed away , without any final decision being made on which direction to take.

In the end, as any who have experienced the Haunted Mansion can attest, the final result falls somewhere in between. The attraction opens with several chilling elements, including what has to be the scariest thing at Disneyland : the sight of a corpse who has hung himself and still hangs from the rafters above. It ends with ghosts throwing a party and literally singing and dancing. The disparate tones shouldn’t work, but somehow they do. 

One Major Haunted Mansion Effect Didn’t Work For 45 Years 

Even if you’re not that familiar with the Haunted Mansion as an attraction if you’ve seen the Haunted Mansion movie trailer , then you’ve seen a character called the Hatbox Ghost. He has the ability to transport his head between his neck and a hatbox he’s carrying, and he’s an original part of the attraction... sort of.

The Hatbox Ghost effect was in use when the Haunted Mansion first opened in 1969, but it didn’t actually work very well. In the end, the decision was made to pull the effect shortly after opening. The Hatbox Ghost was gone for more than four decades, but in the early 2010s, the effect was revisited, and with the advancements in technology, a way was found to make it work. The Hatbox Ghost returned to Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion in 2015, and it has been announced that Ghost will make his appearance at Disney World’s Haunted Mansion for the first time ever sometime in 2023. 

The Haunted Mansion movie , which opens on July 28, will certainly contain lots of visual references to the popular Disneyland attraction. So many parts of it have become absolutely iconic. Considering everything the ride went through simply to exist, it’s a testament to the hard work of everybody involved, who was somehow able to put together not simply a fun ride but one of the best rides at Disneyland. 

CINEMABLEND NEWSLETTER

Your Daily Blend of Entertainment News

Dirk Libbey

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian, Dirk began writing for CinemaBlend as a freelancer in 2015 before joining the site full-time in 2018. He has previously held positions as a Staff Writer and Games Editor, but has more recently transformed his true passion into his job as the head of the site's Theme Park section. He has previously done freelance work for various gaming and technology sites. Prior to starting his second career as a writer he worked for 12 years in sales for various companies within the consumer electronics industry. He has a degree in political science from the University of California, Davis.  Is an armchair Imagineer, Epcot Stan, Future Club 33 Member.

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Everything You Need To Know About the Haunted Mansion

in Disneyland Resort , Walt Disney World

everything you need to know about the haunted mansion

Every Disney fan or vacation-goer has that one attraction that they just can’t go without when they visit. We are here to show you why this particular attraction is not to be missed! Disney’s Haunted Mansion has everything a Guest wants to experience during their trip. It has mystery, illusion, Disney magic, and that special Walt Disney touch.

haunted mansion in disneyland

In this guide to all things Haunted Mansion, you will learn how the incredible Disney Imagineers took Walt’s vision and turned it into a beloved piece of Disney history that stretches over 50 years.

We’ll also explore how this spooky yet lovable attraction has expanded over Disney Parks around the world and inspired new stories to be told to Guests everywhere.

History of the Haunted Mansion attraction at Disney Parks

the history of the haunted mansion

Although the attraction opened in 1969, ideas and plans for the Mansion began years earlier. About 10 years to be exact.

Disney Legend and Imagineer, Rolly Crump , joined a design team for the attraction 10 years prior to the opening. And it was Walt Disney himself that came to Crump with the concept of doing a “Museum of the Weird”. Later in development, the museum turned into a haunted house of sorts.

Where did the designs for the Haunted Mansion come from?

Crump had done some sketches of all things weird and seen all the spooky and scary movies that were coming out at that time for inspiration. Little did he know, that all his sketches would become the inspiration for what would finally become the Haunted Mansion. Specifically, Crump’s sketches of some weird chandeliers inspired what Disney fans now recognize as the famous purple wallpaper of the Haunted Mansion. Tania Norris used Rolly Crump’s chandelier sketch to design the iconic wallpaper.

famous wall paper of the haunted mansion

Related: Actor Reveals Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion Has a “Secret Room”

poster prior to haunted mansion opening

As for the exterior, construction for Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion began in 1961 and was completed in 1963. However, the inside of the structure remained untouched, as Walt Disney and his team of Imagineers worked on more pressing projects to take to the 1964-1965 New York World’s Fair. During this time, Disneyland Guests could gaze upon the mansion’s exterior, but had no idea what was to come of this dormant attraction. But a sign was left outside the mansion, stating:

Notice! All Ghosts and Restless Spirits. Post-lifetime leases are now available in this Haunted Mansion!… For reservations, send resume of past experience to: Ghost Relations Dept., Disneyland. Please! Do not apply in person.

The famed exterior that kept Guests waiting was a concept that was put into place long before construction began. Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion was very much inspired by the Shipley-Lydecker House in Baltimore, Maryland . A photo of this mansion was found in a book that was in the Walt Disney Imagineering Information Research Center. The style of the mansion had changed over time during the 1950s.

Haunted Mansion at Disneyland Park – Hitchhiking Ghosts

But, it was when Walt and his team of Imagineers decided to put New Orleans Square just off the beaten path that is Main Street, that the design changed to fit the turn-of-the-century Louisiana. It’s also said that Walt Disney liked the concept of a plantation-style mansion look and wanted it to always be kept neat and clean, which led him to state this famous quote, “We’ll take care of the outside, and let the ghosts take care of the inside”.

Technology used in the Haunted Mansion displays at Disney Parks

Imagineers Rolly Crump and Yale Gracey assumed the task of filling the mansion with the spooks and frights that we all love to this day. They had the job of filling soundstages and coming up with scenes to occupy the mansion. However, with such a big task, the two Imagineers eventually had a team accompany them.

With new technology and new techniques they acquired from the World’s Fair, Imagineers were able to come up with what is now known as the “doom buggy” for their ride vehicle. For the ghosts, the team worked on many audio-animatronics to bring some after-life to the attraction. But, Crump and Gracey needed a way for these animatronics to appear more ghost-like. So they had to take a page out of the history books to bring one of the most clever uses of this particular technology to the Haunted Mansion.

Related: This Haunted Mansion Illusion Is Hundreds of Years Old!

peppers ghost illusion in the haunted mansion

What technology originally gave the Haunted Mansion its spooky, scary thrill?

So, the dynamic duo started to work on an age-old technique known as the “Pepper’s Ghost” illusion. Discovered in the 1800s, this illusion effect was used by stage magicians and performers to trick the audiences. With the use of light, glass, mirrors, animatronics, and just the right angles, the spirits of the Haunted Mansion began to materialize!

constance hatchaway

It seems that from the beginning, one of the spirits was intended to be an ill-fated bride. Ken Anderson was the Imagineer that first proposed the idea back in 1957, and it stuck. Eventually, through development, she ended up with the name Constance Hatchaway, which is fitting because when guests see her, she is always holding a hatchet!

leota toombs

Another famous spook is that of the floating fortune teller, Madame Leota. Famously named after Imagineer, Leota Toombs, she is possibly one of the most recognizable spirits from the mansion. Did you also know that Madame Leota’s face was out of Toombs’s likeness as well?

When Was Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion Completed?

Disney’s Haunted Mansion was well on its way to being completed when the unthinkable happened. Walt Disney , their fearless leader, passed away in 1966. Further plans for the mansion were put on hold and the Haunted Mansion team was left with one big unanswered question — They still didn’t know if they should continue with plans to make the attraction appear more on the serious and spooky side or add some whimsy to it.

Inevitably, the Imagineers were left with no clear direction.

walt with model of the haunted mansion

In the end, it was Imagineer Marc Davis who felt like the attraction would be more of a success with a mixture of both spooky and silly. Davis also felt like it would be best for the attraction to be character driven as well, by having some of the spirits stand out more than others. Thank goodness for that, because it was Davis that created the most recognizable spirits, such as the Hitchhiking Ghosts and the Hatbox Ghost.

Related: At Home Imagineering: DIY Haunted Mansion Effects

hitchhiking ghosts at the haunted mansion

And although Walt Disney always saw this as a guided walk-through experience, due to the size of the mansion, Imagineers knew that it would work better as an attraction. Thank goodness for all the wisdom they gained at the World’s Fair, because that’s what gave Imagineers the idea for what we know now as the “doom buggy” ride vehicle, but what is technically known at the Omnimover system. This system allows guests to focus on different and specific scenes at a time, to help with telling the story of the Haunted Mansion.

As for the guided part? Well, even though the team didn’t go through with a guided walk-through concept. They realized that the attraction couldn’t be just self-guided, especially not with the doom buggy system directing guests to certain scenes. They needed a guide, or more accurately, a host.

The Music & Lyrics Behind Disney’s Haunted Mansion

What do you get when you mix the musical director for the Mickey Mouse Club House, the lyricist from the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction, and a little bit of William Shakespeare? One of the most recognized songs in Disney history! Disney legend Buddy Baker who worked as the music director for the company at the time collaborated with lyricist Francis “X” Atencio to work on the music behind the mansion.

The attraction also needed a script. And Atencio and Baker realized quickly that there were elements of this attraction that needed to be explained as riders are guided through different rooms in this mansion. Atencio would later be honored with a headstone along the mansion queue like other famed Imagineers that brought this attraction to reality.

x atencio wrote the lyrics for grim grinning ghosts

Many don’t actually know where the title “Grim-Grinning Ghosts” comes from. Well, X. Atencio drew inspiration from a Shakespeare poem, Venus and Adonis. The poem reads:

Grim-grinning ghost, earth’s worm, what doust thou mean To stifle beauty and to steal his breath,  Who when he liv’d, his breath and beauty set Gloss on the rose, smell to the violet?

Listen to a version of the classic song by none other than the Disney Dapper Dans in the video below

When Did Haunted Mansion Open for Visitation?

The Haunted Mansion finally opened its gates to guests on August 9, 1969. The attraction was an instant hit and it still widely loved by Disney fans all over. Little did Imagineers know that this hit would go on to inspire Haunted Mansions and Manors across the world, films, and a massive overlay on the home front! Now, here we are over 50 years later, and cannot wait for what the future holds for the Haunted Mansion.

Where to find the Haunted Mansion attraction at each Disney Park

One of the great things about Disney’s Haunted Mansion is the fact that Guests from all over can experience the attraction in similar yet different ways.

How many different Haunted Mansions are there, where are they, and why are there so many?

Did you know that there are 5 different variations of the attractions across 5 different parks? Did you also know that it is the only attraction that stretches across 5 different lands? We’ll tell you which parks have a Haunted Mansion and where to find them.

Disneyland Resort, California

disneyland's haunted mansion does a holiday overlay months out of the year

The original Haunted Mansion has become a hit for almost all ages over the years and the attraction has been through some updates and modifications. One of which holds a tale that most die-hard mansion fans know about- the bullet hole. Now, it is said that child had launched some sort of projectile into the glass of the ballroom scene that created a crack. Due to the location of the glass and its magnificent size, it would be too risky and expensive to replace the entire piece. So, Disney covered it up with a spider web.

Another more widely known fact is that this particular attraction began one of the most massive overlays in Disneyland history. In October of 2001, after a lengthy transformation, Disneyland reopened the Haunted Mansion gates to reveal that Jack Skellington and all his friends from the Nightmare Before Christmas film had taken over for the holiday season. It became such a hit that the New Orleans Square attraction kept this holiday tradition as an annual one. Now, the overlay will be celebrating its 20th-year anniversary in fall 2021!

Walt Disney World, Florida

haunted mansion at walt disney world in florida

Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom opened on October 1, 1971 and with it came the Haunted Mansion. The exteriors of the now two Haunted Mansions were different in comparison and in different locations. Magic Kingdom’s Haunted Mansion resides in Liberty Square, as Walt Disney World does not have a New Orleans Square.

Just like the original attraction, in the queue, you could see headstones inspired by the Imagineers who created the Haunted Mansion. However, later at Disneyland, those headstones were replaced by a pet cemetery scene. At the Magic Kingdom, in 2011, Imagineers altered the queue to make it more interactive for guests.

interactive haunted mansion queue at wdw

A lot of the Walt Disney World Haunted Mansion is similar to its Disneyland counterpart but done on a much larger scale and without the presence of a Hatbox Ghost . It’s also important to note that the attraction in the Magic Kingdom does not do an overlay during the holiday season.

Phantom Manor, Disneyland Paris

phantom manor at disneyland paris, exterior

The Phantom Manor at Disneyland Paris opened on April 12, 1992. This attraction is currently undergoing a major refurbishment and will have more spooks in store for the Guests upon reopening.

What makes this attraction unique and separates it from the original Haunted Mansion isn’t just the story — it’s the exterior. The outside of the manor looks rundown and creepy to match the interior.

phantom manor interior

Disneyland Paris describes the Phantom Manor as:

Tucked away in a corner of Frontierland stands Phantom Manor, once home to one of Thunder Mesa’s founding families. Local residents steer clear  of the dilapidated house, claiming it to be haunted, but any intrepid Disneyland Park visitors who dare to enter will soon discover its terrible secrets.

Haunted Mansion, Tokyo Disneyland

haunted mansion in tokyo disneyland

The first-ever Haunted Mansion to open in Asia was in 1983 at Tokyo Disneyland . This attraction is very similar to the one at Walt Disney World. However, it does a Nightmare Before Christmas- themed overlay just like at the Disneyland Resort in California. Located in the Fantasyland area of Tokyo Disneyland , the attraction is described as:

This ominous gothic mansion is haunted by 999 ghosts, goblins, and ghouls. They’re all “dying” to make their number an even 1,000. Look over there! It’s a statue with glowing eyes. And invisible hands are playing strange music on that piano. Now, who’s that sitting next to you?

Mystic Manor, Hong Kong Disneyland

mystic manor at hong kong disnyeland

Mystic Manor located in Mystic Point at Hong Kong Disneyland opened its doors to Guests in 2013. This attraction is especially unique, because of its completely original storyline. This manor doesn’t happen to be haunted at all. It does have quite a sense of mystery and fun. Hong Kong Disneyland describes Mystic Manor as follows:

You’re invited to tour the manor house and private museum of Lord Henry Mystic—eccentric adventurer, explorer and collector of art—and his faithful monkey friend, Albert. Regarded as one of the foremost museums in the world, Mystic Manor was built to house Lord Henry’s ever-growing collection of illustrious art and artifacts, including a newly acquired relic: a beautifully carved Balinese music box said to make inanimate objects spring to life with its enchanting music dust. 

What other historical trivia should you know about the Haunted Mansion?

One of the other fascinating things about the Haunted Mansion attraction is that it’s history is full of fun historical facts and lore. As such a beloved attraction, we’re sure you might have heard one of these facts or another

  • Before the first Haunted Mansion film began production, lead actor Eddie Murphy was already planning on doing a ghost-like comedy film. When he heard talks about a Haunted Mansion film, he asked to see the script.

claude concept art

  • One early concept of the attraction was a water ride! Imagineer Claude Coates came up with a concept that would take guests through a Louisiana swamp that the mansion had been partially submerged in.
  • A lot of the props, set pieces, and even Audio-animatronics for the attractions in both Disneyland and Walt Disney World were developed at the same time. This was due to Walt Disney World opening less than two years after the attraction opened at Disneyland.

paul frees voice of ghost host

  • Paul Frees is the famous voice of the Ghost Host, but did you know he also lend his voice to the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction? You can Paul Frees voice at the Auctioneer the next time you’re in Adventureland.
  • The stretching room is an iconic element of the Haunted Mansion’s queue, but is it actually stretching? If you are at the original Haunted Mansion at Disneyland, then you are in on an elevator platform that takes you down to meet the rest of the queue. If you are at the attraction at Walt Disney World, then the ceiling “stretches” while you stay stationary- which gives off the same effect.

captain nemo's organ

  • The organ in the ballroom scene is actually Captain Nemo’s organ, minus the pipes, from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea .

Making Future Memories with the Haunted Mansion

It’s tough to say exactly what is in store for all the Haunted Mansions all over the world. But what we do know is that with what this attraction has already inspired for Disney Parks, there’s no limit to what can be done with the Haunted Mansion.

Now, we have another feature film to look forward to. In 2003, Disney released a live-action comedic take on the famed attraction starring Eddie Murphy. The film didn’t do great with audiences, but this time Disney wants to turn that around. Haunted Mansion fans are hoping for something with a more serious tone and along the same lines of the Pirates of the Caribbean films- which had the dramatic effect and sprinkled with a bit of comedy.

So far, there is no official completed script for this live-action adaptation . But we can only hope to hear some more news about a Haunted Mansion film, soon.

haunted mansion exterior

This is why you cannot spend a day at the park without a visit to Disney’s Haunted Mansion. Its breakthroughs in technology throughout Disney history make it a timeless classic. And with different renditions of the attraction at five Disney Parks around the world, you can’t miss it!

What do you love about Disney’s Haunted Mansion? Have you experienced others at different parks? Let us know in the comments!

Trying to visit all the Haunted Mansions and need a little help planning? Let Academy Travel help you in planning the most magical vacation!

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VIDEO

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COMMENTS

  1. Haunted Mansion

    Embark on a spooky tour through an eerie haunted estate at Haunted Mansion in Disneyland Park at the Disneyland Resort in Southern California. Greet singing ghosts, ghouls and spirits on this spooky dark ride filled with 999 happy haunts, including Madame Leota, hitchhiking ghosts and more.

  2. New Haunted Mansion Grounds Expansion, Retail Shop Coming to Disneyland

    The stately grounds of the Haunted Mansion will expand with a spirited metamorphosis at Disneyland Resort next year. In 2024, the additions will build on the story and lore of the Haunted Mansion and include an expanded outdoor queue to immerse guests in enhanced theming, as well as a new retail shop adjacent to the attraction's exit.

  3. Construction Walls Up Around Haunted Mansion Queue at Disneyland Park

    As we get closer to the closing date for the Haunted Mansion ahead of its expanded grounds refurbishment, new construction walls have gone up in the attraction's queue at Disneyland Park.

  4. 5 questions about when Disneyland will reopen Haunted Mansion

    Dec. 15—The upcoming closure of Disneyland's Haunted Mansion for an extended refurbishment to expand the backstory, reconfigure the queue and add a retail shop leaves many questions unanswered ...

  5. The Haunted Mansion

    The Haunted Mansion is a dark ride attraction located at Disneyland, Magic Kingdom, and Tokyo Disneyland.The haunted house attraction features a ride-through tour in Omnimover vehicles called "Doom Buggies", and a walk-through show is displayed to riders waiting in the queue line. Each location differs slightly in design, utilizing a range of technology from centuries-old theatrical effects to ...

  6. Haunted Mansion

    3 min. Haunted Mansion is Disney at its best: another not-to-be-missed attraction. Because The Haunted Mansion is in an especially high-traffic corridor (between Pirates of the Caribbean and Splash Mountain), it stays busy all day. Try to see The Haunted Mansion before 11:30 a.m., after 9 p.m., or while a parade is in progress.

  7. The Haunted Mansion Will Open With Several Changes at Disneyland

    The Haunted Mansion Will Open With Several Changes at Disneyland. Disneyland will be a lot different when it finally reopens on April 30th, with the newly reimagined "Snow White's Enchanted Wish" attraction opening alongside the reopened park and the all-new Avengers Campus ready to welcome guests just a few weeks after.

  8. When Disneyland will close and reopen Haunted Mansion for holiday

    The Haunted Mansion will be closed for refurbishment from Aug. 16 to Sept. 2 to transform the dark ride with 'The Nightmare Before Christmas' holidays overlay, according to the Disneyland website.

  9. Disneyland's Haunted Mansion updates reveal that a purr-fect idea never

    April 12, 2021 1:17 PM PT. Disneyland's Haunted Mansion has been a source of fan mystique for even longer than its nearly 52 years at the park. When it returns with upgrades and additions April ...

  10. Disneyland Haunted Mansion Closure 2024: Dates, Why Closing

    Disneyland has now released on the refurbishment calendar that the Haunted Mansion will close starting on January 22, 2024. The attraction will remain as the Haunted Mansion Holiday overlay until this date. That means that the attraction will remain open a couple of additional weeks after the official end of the Holidays at Disneyland ...

  11. Everything you could ever want to know about Disneyland's Haunted Mansion

    It's one of Disneyland's most beloved rides for a reason: The Haunted Mansion has it all. There's ghostly lore, historical drama, 999 Easter eggs and more than a few secrets waiting to be explored ...

  12. Disneyland's Haunted Mansion slated for expansion, upgrades in 2024

    Disneyland's Haunted Mansion ride slated for expansion, upgrades in 2024 ... a New Orleans-inspired soul food restaurant inspired by the 2009 animated movie "The Princess and the Frog," will open ...

  13. Disneyland Refurbishment Schedule & Ride Closures

    Haunted Mansion typically closes during January to remove the holiday overlay. A return date has not been confirmed yet, as the calendar only shows park hours, entertainment showtimes and refurbishments up until Jan. 24 at this time. ... and Haunted Mansion usually stays open until mid-August before it closes for the holiday overlay ...

  14. I'm visiting January 13th, 2024 with a haunte...

    Welcome foolish mortal Michelle to planDisney! Our tour begins here at my all-time favorite attraction at Disneyland Resort - Haunted Mansion!I'm sure your little one is bursting with excitement about your upcoming visit and their chance to volunteer to join the 999 happy haunts that reside in Haunted Mansion.

  15. Haunted Mansion Holiday

    Exterior view of the mansion. Haunted Mansion Holiday is a seasonal overlay of The Haunted Mansion attraction at Disneyland and Tokyo Disneyland that blends the settings and characters of the original Haunted Mansion with those of the 1993 film The Nightmare Before Christmas. Taking inspiration from "The Night Before Christmas", the attraction retells the story of Jack Skellington (as "Sandy ...

  16. Disneyland Sets Closure Date for 'Haunted Mansion' to Begin Expansion

    Disneyland has announced that the last day to experience the "Haunted Mansion Holiday" overlay will be on January 21, 2024. Then, the attraction will close for refurbishment starting Monday, January 22, and work will begin. This date has been confirmed by the Disneyland calendar. . In 2024, the additions will build on the story and lore of ...

  17. Everything Disneyland changed in the Haunted Mansion and the backstory

    New drapery hangs around the windows inside The Haunted Mansion in New Orleans Square at Disneyland in Anaheim, CA, on Friday, April 30, 2021. The resort's parks have been closed for 412 days ...

  18. Today in Disney History: Haunted Mansion Opened at Disneyland Park in

    The Haunted Mansion at Disneyland was the first major Disney attraction to open without the direct supervision of Walt Disney. Although Walt reviewed many early concepts and vignettes, he never saw the completed show. Construction for the Haunted Mansion attraction began in 1961 and the exterior of the attraction was completed in 1963.

  19. Haunted Mansion Opening Day: Disneyland History

    The Haunted Mansion in Disneyland is located in New Orleans Square, the first themed land to be added to the park after its 1955 opening.Since July 24, 1966, New Orleans Square has immersed guests in a setting based on 19th-century New Orleans, complete with quaint architectural details like wrought iron fences, French design inspiration, and even authentic food at fan-favorite restaurants ...

  20. Construction Walls Up Around Haunted Mansion Queue at Disneyland Park

    The rest of this area has been roped off to help create more queue space. Haunted Mansion Expanded Grounds Refurbishment. The expansion to the Haunted Mansion grounds was first announced in August 2023, with a "spirited metamorphosis" in the garden area to help build upon the lore of the classic attraction, as well as a new retail shop adjacent to the ride's exit.

  21. 13 Facts About Disney's Haunted Mansion

    3. From Baltimore to New Orleans. longforgottenhauntedmansion. Although the Haunted Mansion is located in Disneyland's New Orleans Square and appears to be a typical antebellum manse, it was ...

  22. Haunted Mansion: 10 Differences Between The Disneyland ...

    2 Holiday Horrors. Disney World might have better Hitchhiking Ghosts, but Disneyland is Jack Skellington's favorite place to play for the Haunted Mansion's Holiday. Inspired by the classic Tim Burton film, the Haunted Mansion Holiday is what happens when Jack and the residents of Halloween Town come home for Christmas.

  23. How Disneyland's Haunted Mansion changed Halloween forever

    Having a haunted house attraction was part of the original plan for Disneyland, but it was shelved for the park's 1955 opening because of time constraints and financial issues. As the park's ...

  24. Is the Haunted Mansion closing after the holi...

    According to the Disneyland Park Daily Schedule, the Haunted Mansion will be Closed for Refurbishment beginning January 22, 2024. I'm afraid that we don't have a projected end date for this project, but I would recommend that you keep following the Disney Parks Blog for news and updates. Even without this staple attraction, there's still plenty ...

  25. Disneyland's Haunted Mansion: The Surprisingly Complex History Of The

    The Haunted Mansion opened at Disneyland in August of 1969, more than 14 years after Disneyland first opened to the public. And yet, the idea for a haunted house attraction had been on the drawing ...

  26. There's a secret cemetery at Disneyland's Haunted Mansion

    Legend has it that the first pet cemetery at the Haunted Mansion appeared in the early 1980s on the west side of the building. The cemetery was reportedly dreamed up by Imagineer Kim Irvine ...

  27. Everything You Need To Know About the Haunted Mansion

    The first-ever Haunted Mansion to open in Asia was in 1983 at Tokyo Disneyland. This attraction is very similar to the one at Walt Disney World. This attraction is very similar to the one at Walt ...

  28. Laura Slawter-Little Luxuries Travel on Instagram: "Breaking Disney

    0 likes, 0 comments - littleluxuriestravellaura on September 9, 2023: "Breaking Disney news from D23: Disney Adventure is the name of Disney Cruise Line's newest ..."

  29. These might be the best and worst times to visit Disneyland in 2024

    Article continues below this ad. If there's a single time to avoid in 2024, it may well be Memorial Day weekend. On Friday, May 24, " Fantasmic " is set to return after shutting down when ...