The Haunted Mansion is not just a ride, it’s a journey in to the imagination…and for my family, no visit to Magic Kingdom is complete without a visit to this iconic Disney attraction. Since I’m an East Coast girl, I’m going to talk about Disney World’s Haunted Mansion today. Even though I’ve ridden The Haunted Mansion dozens of times, I still find new things that I haven’t noticed before. Which makes it even more fun.
A Magic Kingdom classic! Since it’s debute during the opening of the Magic Kingdom on October 1, 1971, the Haunted Mansion has been one of the best-loved attractions at Walt Disney World Resort. Located atop a hill overlooking Liberty Square, this spooky house is home to 999 happy haunts — but there’s always room for one more…any volunteers? Muhahahaha!
So, what makes The Haunted Mansion so special? Lots of things! And here are just a few of my favorite things, along with some fun facts I’ve learned over the years about one of my favorite attractions in all of Disney World…
Did you know that many of the cast members believe that the mansion is really haunted? In both the Disney World and Disneyland attractions, they claim to have seen real ghosts who appear even when the ride is not operating! One in particular is that of an old man with a cane wandering down the corridor towards the Doom Buggies.
I’ve heard that people dump ashes in the Haunted Mansion all the time! It’s said that ash dumping happens so often that Disney had to purchase special HEPA vacuums that can pick up ashes, but also little tiny bone fragments that are often left behind after a cremation. So, if you ever hear a Haunted Mansion cast member calling for a “HEPA clean-up,” you might want to visit a different attraction and come back to it once the crew has taken care of that little mousekeeping matter. Ash dumping happens all over Disney World. In Bay Lake, the moat around the castle, on Pirates of the Caribbean to name a few. But DON’T DO IT! It’s illegal, unsanitary, and if the wind picks up, do you really want your loved one’s remains going home in another guest’s tote bag?! Ewe. Just don’t.
Although many people think Orson Welles is the Ghost Host in the Disneyland and Walt Disney World versions of the Haunted Mansion, the voice actor is Paul Frees. He was also the voice of Ludwig Von Drake, the Pillsbury Doughboy, and Boris Badenov of Rocky and Bullwinkle.
In the Haunted Mansion’s early planning stages, Walt Disney himself recorded the narration for the attraction! Eventually they nixed it for the Ghost Host version. But wouldn’t it have been wonderful and so apropo to have Walt’s voice ringing throughout this iconic attraction?!
After entering the mansion’s gothic, dimly lit foyer, you are ushered in to what we like to call “The Stretch Room”. But is this room really stretching? Well, it depends which park you are visiting. Because there is limited space at Disneyland in California, guests have to be transported to a larger building beyond the park’s boundaries. The Chamber is actually an elevator that takes guests down to an underground passageway, which leads to the show building. In Florida space is less of an issue, so the ride building is directly behind the facade. In that stretch room the ceiling rises, and guests remain on the same level.
At one point during the ride, guests ride past a séance being held by Madame Leota. Her disembodied head projects from a crystal ball. The face is that of the late Leota Thomas, but the voice is Eleanor Audley, who also provided the voices of other well-known characters in Disney movies. Eleanor brought to life Sleeping Beauty’s Maleficent and Cinderella’s Lady Tremaine!
Then of course there is the ever famous dining room scene. You can find one of the most popular Hidden Mickeys in all of Disney World here, three simple dinner plates sitting on the table. I tend to copy that happy reminder of Disney at home too. Thankfully my family loves it as much as I do! There are a ton of things to see in the dining room scene, and it seems I notice more and more of them every time we go on the ride. Of course there are the ballroom dancers, and the organ player. But have you ever noticed the skulls coming in and out of the windows? How about the two ghosts in the paintings that are shooting at each other? What about the jolly guy sitting on the fireplace mantle? Yep, love it!
The Grim Grinning Ghosts are next to come out and socialize. I love this graveyard. The busts who sing. Which ad a comical element to the spookily haunted cemetery. And of course it’s never over til the fat lady sings. She looks like she belongs in the Norway pavilion at Epcot, but I like her just where she is.
And, other than the Grim Grinning Ghosts song, my favorite part is definitely at the very end where the ghost bride invites you to ““Hurry back… Be sure to bring your death certificate, if you decide to join us. Make final arrangements now. We’ve been ‘dying’ to have you…hurry baaaack, hurry baaack”.
I hope you enjoyed yet another one of my Amazing Disney Adventures! Thanks for coming along for the ride.