Supervise children at all times.
Children under age 7 years must be accompanied by a person age 14 years or older.
The Haunted Mansion is a Disney classic featuring a collection of 999 ghosts that range from frightening to playful. The ominous mansion blends in with the Colonial America surroundings and helps set the mood as guests approach the attraction. The mansion itself functions as a “retirement home” for each of the spiritual inhabitants.
The backstory of The Haunted Mansion begins outside the attraction. Prior to the addition of the new graveyard/crypts in 2011, the simplified premise was that The Haunted Mansion was a retirement home for ghosts. Initially guests were made to think that these ghosts were frightening until it would later be revealed that they’re more “playful” than anything.
There are other story elements to the attraction as well, but many of them are fan created. One of the more noteworthy fan creations surrounds a “wedding ring” that was embedded into the concrete around the attraction. The reality was a metal post was cut at the base and it resembled an engagement ring. Fans made up a backstory that centered around the Black Widow Bride throwing the ring out the window. This was removed during one of the refurbishments but was later replaced with an actual wedding ring to reinforce the fan created story.
The structure prior to the 2011 queue changes began as soon as guests approached the building. The mansion itself features gothic architecture and with the the headstones lining the queue a natural spooky feeling was created. At this point, guests do not have any tangible evidence of ghost activity. This changed with the supernatural additions made to the graveyard as the implication is that now the ghosts exist outside of the mansion as well. Previously, the only supernatural indication was the very last headstone before guests entered the mansion. This headstone of Madame Leota would move slightly and look around.
Upon entering the foyer, guests would start to suspect that the mansion is haunted when the portrait above the fireplace transitions from a younger man to a skeleton. Finally, after the obvious encounter in the stretch room and the introduction to the Ghost Host, guests know for certain that spirits inhabit the mansion. Multiple ravens appear throughout the attraction. One of the original concepts had the raven as the story teller of the attraction, as a result it is often visible at times when the Ghost Host is speaking.
Still, at this point and through the beginning of the ride itself guests do not actually see the ghosts, they just sense that they’re their.
As guests board their vehicle the Ghost Host returns with additional narration:
And now, a carriage approaches to carry you into the boundless realm of the supernatural.
Do not pull down on the safety bar, please; I will lower it for you.
And heed this warning: the spirits will materialize only if you remain quietly seated at all times.
Oh yes, and no flash pictures, please! We spirits are frightfully sensitive to bright lights.
The first scene is a long hallway that features windows on the left hand side and paintings on the right. As lightening strikes outside the windows, the paintings reveal a more frightening image.
The hallway leads into the Library where guests see floor to ceiling bookshelves and marble busts that seem to follow the movement of the guests. Many of the books move in and out of place and all of these leads to the sensation that ghosts are present but still not visible. In the hallway, the Ghost Host continues:
Our library is well stocked with priceless first editions, only ghost stories of course, hmmm.
And marble busts, of the greatest ghost writers, the literary world has even known.
The next scene features a staircase and a ghost playing the piano. At this point we can see the shadow of the ghost playing the piano but not the ghost itself. The dialog from the Ghost Host continues:
They have all, retired here to the Haunted Mansion,
Actually we have 999 happy haunts here, but there’s room for one thousand.
Any volunteers? (laughter)
If you should decide to join us, final arrangements, may be made at the end of the tour.
The next scene was added in the 2007 refurbishment and it features M.C. Escher stylized staircases. The staircases run in multiple directions and footprints and candles can be scene moving and disappearing.
The dark hallway that follows features gothic wallpaper and during the 2007 refurbishment, they added blinking eyes that resembled those found in the wallpaper. The hallway continues with a look down another hallway that features a floating candelabra, as guests look around the Ghost Host narrates:
We find it delightfully unlivable here in this ghostly retreat,
Every room has wall-to-wall creeps, and hot and cold, running chills!
The hallway features many elements like doors and areas covered by curtains where sound effects and physical effects further indicate a presence of ghosts. Hands can be scene pushing up the top of a coffin as the inhabitant shouts, “Let me out of here!” . Images of ghosts appear on the wall and the shadow of a hand passes over the face of the grandfather clock as the minute hand spins in circles. At this point, guests can hear the voice of Madame Leota leading a seance. Leota appears as a disembodied head floating in a crystal ball above a table. Her incantation is as follows:
Serpents and spiders, tail of a rat; call in the spirits, wherever they’re at.
Rap on a table; it’s time to respond. Send us a message from somewhere beyond.
Goblins and ghoulies from last Halloween: awaken the spirits with your tambourine.
Creepies and crawlies, toads in a pond; let there be music, from regions beyond!
Wizards and witches, wherever you dwell, give us a hint, by ringing a bell!”
After Madame Leota’s incantation, the Ghost Host explains:
The happy haunts have received your sympathetic vibrations, and are beginning to materialize.
They’re assembling for a swinging wake, and they’ll be expecting me. I’ll see you all, a little later.
At this point, the ghosts are willing to reveal themselves to us, and as we pass into the ballroom scene we can see the ghosts disappear and reappear. In the ballroom, several ghosts are visible doing a variety of activities. Some are at the dining room table, others are dancing, there’s a woman sitting in a rocking chair, another under the table, a couple swinging from the chandelier, and two ghosts in the paintings having a duel.
Following the ball room, guests move into the attic, which has also changed significantly as a result of the 2007 refurbishment. A heartbeat can be heard throughout the scene, and this is a carry over from the previous version of the attraction. The dimly lit room is filled with a variety of artifacts and riches that are arranged in increasingly larger groupings. Each of these groupings is highlighted with an image of a bride with one of her husbands. The bride, known as Constance Hatchaway or the Black Widow Bride first appears in the stretch room pre-show sitting on the grave of her fifth husband, George.
On the wedding photos, the heads of each of Constance’s husbands will disappear and reappear. The husband’s appear in chronological order of the weddings, and as the time passes the riches increase in quantity. Additionally, with each husband, an additional pearl necklace appears around Constance’s neck. The obvious intimation here is that Constance, has murdered each of her husbands and accumulated various items in the process.
Constance appears at the end of the scene wearing a wedding dress and reciting several phrases that are derivations of wedding vows. As she completes each line, an axe appears in her hands.
- Here comes the bride…
- As long as we both shall live..
- For better… or for… worse
- I do… I did…
- In sickness, and in wealth…
- You may now kiss the bride…
- We’ll live happily ever after…
- Til death do us part…
The names of Constance’s husbands are as follows
- Ambrose Harper
- Frank Banks
- Marquis De Doom
- Reginald Caine
- George Hightower
After guest’s pass Constance the track goes down a steep descent. Various explanations have been made as to why this happens, but the most common is that the Black Widow Bride has pushed us out the window of the attic where we fall to our death right outside of a graveyard. At this point in the attraction the guests themselves become ghosts and can now see all of the ghosts much more clearly. This is reinforced by the expression on the face of the cemetery’s gatekeeper. He looks scared, and the understanding is that he sees us as ghosts.
In the graveyard, the lighthearted aspect of the ride is highlighted by the team of ghosts singing “Grim Grinning Ghosts”. Ghosts play instruments, ride bikes and dance. The most memorable aspect of this scene is the five singing busts that help harmonize the attraction’s theme song. The names of these busts are as follows:
- Rollo Rumkin (Played by Verne Rowe, the name is a tribute to Imagineer Rolly Crump)
- Uncle Theodore (Played by Thurl Ravenscroft, often mistaken for Walt Disney)
- Cousin Algernon (Played by Chuck Schroeder)
- Ned Nub (Played by Jay Meyer)
- Phineas Pock (Played by Bob Ebright)
At the end of the graveyard scene, the Ghost Host returns, warning us of what’s to come:
Aaahh, there you are! And just in time, theres a little matter I forgot to mention, BEWARE OF HITCHHIKING GHOSTS!! (laughter)
After the graveyard scene guests encounter the three Hitchhiking Ghosts:
- Phineas (The fatter ghost on the left that wears the top hat)
- Ezra (The skeleton in the center)
- Gus (The older/shorter ghost on the right)
The ghost explains further:
They have selected you to fill our quota, and they’ll haunt you until you return, (laughter)
At this point, the doom buggies are facing mirrors and guests can see themselves with one of the Hitchhiking Ghosts. Prior to the 2011 show change, the ghosts would appear in the reflection in the center of the doom buggy and simply look around. Since the show change, the ghosts will now interact with the guests in the doom buggy by manipulating their heads. They do so by shining a lantern that makes the guest’s heads disappear, swapping the guests’ heads with others in their vehicle, inflating them so they blow around like a balloon and many other options.
The final scene features “Little Leota” a small woman standing on a ledge to close out the attraction, she repeats:
Hurry baa-ack…hurry baa-ack.
Be sure to bring your death certificate if you decide to join us.
Make final arrangements now.
We’ve been dying to have you.
Finally, one last line from the Ghost Host takes place as guests approach the unload area:
Now, I will raise the safety bar, and a ghost will follow you home, kindly watch your step please, watch your step…
Board a “Doom Buggy” to tour the happy haunt of 999 ghouls and ghosts who are “dying” to meet you!
The attraction may intimidate some children, but nearly every guest that enters the park can enjoy this attraction.
TIMES GUIDE - OPENING/CLOSING
This attraction opens with the park.
The Haunted Mansion is one of the mid range demand Fastpass+ reservations in the park. Same day availability typically exists, and guests can save time using Fastpass+ at this location.
Depending on the standby wait, the attraction queue will occasionally spill out into Liberty Square and use the old Davy Crockett Explorer Canoes dock. The first series of switchbacks occur under a maroon cover (this used to be green prior to the 2007 refurbishment) that offers views of the Rivers of America.
In March of 2011, an interactive queue opened to guests giving guests the option to go directly to the attraction (right) or enter through the graveyard (left). If I guest opts to go directly to the attraction they will be brought to a larger holding area that features headstones of a variety of Imagineers that worked on the attraction. These headstones often have clever epitaphs that include:
- RIP Mister Sewell/The victim of a dirty duel (Bob Sewell)
- At Peaceful Rest lies Brother Claude/Planted Here Beneath This sod (Claude Coats)
- In Memoriam Uncle Myall/Here You’ll Lie For Quite a While (Chuck Myall)
- RIP Good Friend Gordon/Now You’ve Crossed the River Jordan (Gordon Williams)
- Dear Departed Brother Dave/He Chased a Bear into a Cave (Dave Burkhart)
- RIP Cousin Huet/We all know you didn’t do it (Cliff Huet)
- Here Lies A Man Named Martin/The Lights Went Out on this Old Spartan (Bill Martin)
- Here Lies Good Old Fred/A Great Big Rock Fell on his Head (Fred Joerger)
- Here Rests Wathel R Bender/He Rode to Glory on a Fender (Wathel Rogers)
- Dear Sweet Leota, Beloved by All, In regions beyond now, but having a ball (Leota Tombs)
The last tomb for “Dear Sweet Leota” is animated. the face on the tombstone will move forward and the eyes will open, close and look around.
In the Graveyard entrance (left side) there are additional headstones, that were relocated after the queue was reconfigured. Those include:
- In memory of our Patriarch/Dear Departed Grandpa Marc (Marc Davis)
- Requiescat Francis Xavier/No Time Of For Good Behavior (X.Atencio)
- Master Gracey Laid to Rest/No Mourning Please at his Request (Yale Gracey)
Additionally, several new headstones also appear in this area
- First lady of the Opera Our Haunting Harriet/Searched for a tune but never could carry it (Harriet Burns)
- Campbell/He died in the fall it’s a fact notwithstanding/But the judges admired his form on the landing (Collin Campbell)
- Our Dearest Dorothea (Dorothea Redmond)
Another mausoleum also includes epitaphs that pay tribute to four additional Imagineers
- Farewell Forever, Mister Frees/Your voice will carry on the breeze (Paul Frees)
- A train made a stain of absent-minded Uncle Blaine Rest in Pieces (Blaine Gibson)
- Drink a Toast to our Friend Ken/Fill your glass and don’t say “when” (Ken Anderson)
- While Brother Roland here reposes/His Soul’s Above, one supposes (Rolly Crump)
The first thing guests witness in the Graveyard side is a family of busts. In the same manner as the headstones, these busts feature rhyming epitaphs
- Bertie: Avid hunter and expert shot/In the end that’s what he got
- Aunt Florence: Never did a dishonorable deed/Yet found face down in canary seed
- Uncle Jacob: Greed was the poison he had swallowed/He went first, the others followed/His killer’s face he surely knew/Now try to discover who killed who
- The Twins Wellington & Forsythia: Departed life while in their beds/With identical bumps on identical heads
- Cousin Maude: Our sleeping beauty, who never awoke/The night her dreams went up in smoke
The next area guests encounter is a small fenced in area that features grass and two of the classic headstones, for Imagineers Marc Davis and X. Atencio. The first interactive area features a double side relief wall with three dimensional instruments on one side and “decomposed” instruments on the other. The three dimensional items play “Grim Grinning Ghosts” when touched. A quote above the standard instrument side reads:
He’s gone from this world of trouble and strife
But a touch of your hand brings his music to life
Attached to this double sided wall is a Ravenscroft organ (referencing Thurl Ravenscroft). This organ also functions based on a guest touching the keys. The organ is highlighted by a Raven as well as skulls on the pipes. Depending on what keys are played, the organ will also surprise guests with small jets of air.
The opposite side of the relief wall features the decomposed instruments as well as the text:
A composer of note and renown here reposes
His melodies fade as he now decomposes
While the classic headstones are also visible from this area, there is a separate plot for Master Gracey that is fenced off in the area. Nearby Master Gracey, is the tomb of Captain Culpepper Clyne. This tomb is a large watery grave that features water effects and sound effects. When one of the “leaks” is plugged a new one forms. The text on this crypt reads:
Allergic to dirt so he’s pickled in brine
He braves the sea and all her wrath
But drowned on land while taking a bath
A large bookshelf that features books that slide in and out. Guest can push the books back in and new books pop out. The spines of some of the books include a cryptogram that was originally deciphered by Ricky Brigante from InsideTheMagic.net. The cryptogram reads:
Welcome home you foolish mortal,
this mansion is your mystic portal,
where eerie sights and spooky sounds,
fill these happy haunting grounds.
The final component before meeting up with the guests that didn’t go through the graveyard is an interactive rhyming book that talks to guests and asks them to complete a rhyming phrase. Above the interactive book is a tapestry that reads:
Her plaintive pleas
can still be heard:
“O muse, provide
The poetry book is part of the grave for Prudence Pock, and her epitaph reads:
Here lies Poetess
She died, tis said,
From writer’s block
The omnimover vehicles are referred to as “Doom Buggies”. They are entirely black and can seat 2-3 guests each. A safety bar lowers into place after guests have loaded into the vehicle and each of the vehicles can rotate independent of one another.
Guests enter the building through two large doors. From there they enter the foyer area where they see a portrait above the fireplace. As the portrait gradually changes from a young man to a skeleton the guests first hear the Ghost Host as he introduces the attraction:
When hinges creak in doorless chambers,
And strange and frightening sounds echo through the halls.
Whenever candlelights flicker,
Where the air is deathly still,
That is the time when ghosts are present,
Practicing their terror with ghoulish delight!
From the foyer, guests are ushered into one of two Stretch Rooms. In the Stretch Room guests see four paintings:
- a young woman holding a parasol
- a bald man in a suit
- an older woman holding a rose
- a man wearing a top hat
A series of eight gargoyles with candles surround the room. As guests enter, the Ghost Host continues:
Welcome, foolish mortals, to the Haunted Mansion!
I am your host, your ghost host. (laughter)
Our tour begins here in this gallery
Here, where you see paintings of some of our guests as they appeared in their corruptible, mortal state.
Kindly step all the way in please and make room for everyone.
There’s no turning back now!
After all guests have entered, a cast member requests that guests move to the “dead” center of the room, and the room begins to stretch as the Ghost Host continues:
Your cadaverous pallor betrays an aura of foreboding,
Almost as though you sense a disquieting metamorphosis.
Is this haunted room actually stretching?
Or is it your imagination, hmm?
And consider this dismaying observation:
This chamber has no windows and no doors, (laughter)
At this point, the four paintings have also expanded so that guests can see the full paintings:
- a young woman holding a parasol while on a tightrope over an alligator
- a bald man in a suit standing pantsless on a barrel of dynamite
- an older woman holding a rose sitting on a tombstone featuring a man with an axe in his head
- a man wearing a top hat sitting on another man’s shoulders and that man is sitting on a third man’s shoulders as they sink into quicksand
There is no break in the Ghost Host’s dialog as the walls, paintings and ceiling have finished stretching:
Which offers you this chilling challenge: to find a way out!
Of course, there’s always my way.
At this point, the lights go out in the room and a lightening bolt reveals someone hanging from the ceiling. There’s a single scream and a crash before the lights turn back on and the Ghost Host continues:
Oh, I didn’t mean to frighten you prematurely,
The real chills come later.
Now, as they say, look alive,
and we’ll continue our little tour.
During this dialog the wall opens up beneath the painting of the woman holding a parasol and guests make their way to the load area.
There are multiple attractions in the parks that use a varient of the omnimover ride system including:
- Under the Sea: Journey of the Little Mermaid
- Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
- The Seas with Nemo and Friends
- Spaceship Earth
In terms of scariness, The Haunted Mansion is more frightening than Pirates of the Caribbean, but less frightening than Tower of Terror.
2011 Queue Refurbishment Imagineers:
- Eric Goodman: Show Producer
- Pete Carsillo: Show Designer and Art Director
The below video is used with permission from the YouTube channel Virtual Disney World. These videos allow users to manipulate the camera a full 360 degrees using their cursor or directional arrows on their computer. Users on a smartphone or tablet can also manipulate the camera by moving their device in the direction they wish to look.
The below video is used with permission from the YouTube channel SoCal Attractions 360. These videos are in 4K or 1080p resolution for peak quality.