For 45 years, Disneyland's Haunted Mansion has been welcoming visitors into its eerie halls. Starting on August 9th, 1969, employees and a limited number of guests were allowed to ride this attraction. On August 12th, the Haunted Mansion opened to the general audience. Let's hope that this spooky ride will continue to give Disney guests the chills and laughter for many years!
- Muesum of the Weird
During the development stages of Disney attractions there are many changes that take place. These changes form the ride that is known today. The Haunted Mansion is no exception as there were many ideas that contributed to the ride. One idea was the Museum of the Weird. According to the website, doombuggies.com, "In an idea Walt explored with Crump for the Haunted Mansion, the attraction would have two portions: the main body of the walk-through attractions, and a queue, or "spill area", at the entrance." This spill area would have been created into a restaurant the 'Mueseum of the Weird' that would host many curiosities around the world.
- Walking Through The Haunted Halls
The Haunted Mansion was originally meant to be a walk-through attraction. Walt Disney asked conceptual artist, Harper Groff and Imagineer Ken Anderson to start the development of the potential attraction. The Haunted Mansion would have guests walk through the attraction and look at the imaginative ideas and tricks set in place by the Imagineers. However, the Museum of the Weird and the walk-through concept was scrapped.
- Is this Haunted Room Actually Stretching?
The Portrait Room is the best introduction to the Haunted Mansion's ghosts and spooky ambiance. Visitors are invited to enter the Portrait Room where paintings at first seem to be normal. As the Portrait Room stretches, visitors can see the true story behind the art. Yet that is not the true surprise...the Portrait Room is actually an elevator that lowers the guests into the ride's soundstage that is located below ground level. According to the Wikipedia article, The Haunted Mansion " The actual ride building of this attraction is located outside the berm surrounding the park, and the Disney Imagineers developed this mechanism to lower the guests to the gallery leading to the ride building." This portrait hallway is an underground passage.
- Somone is Watching...
At the end of the portrait hallway are marble busts that seem to turn and watch every guest's movement but how is that possible? According to doombuggies.com, "When you look at the statues very closely, you'll notice that they are actually negative impressions in the wall, as opposed to positive objects coming towards you." The trick is actually a simple trick of the light!
- Grim, Grinning Ghost ....
The memorable Grim, Grinning Ghost is a melody that plays throughout the attraction. This song was composed by Buddy Baker, who scored classic films such as The Fox and the Hound. The lyrics were written by Xavier Atencio, who also worked on the theme song of another attraction, Pirates of the Caribbean. An interesting fact is that Xavier Atencio voiced the skeleton stuck in his coffin in the conservatory "Hey! Let me out of here!"
- A Chilling Crew
The Haunted Mansion has a cast of amazing performers. The Ghost Host that narrates the ride was actually voiced by Paul Frees, who voiced Professor Ludwig Von Drake and several pirates of the Pirates of the Caribbean. The singing busts in the graveyard, the Phantom Five are voiced by Verne Rowe, Bob Ebright, Jay Meyer, Chuck Schroeder and Thurl Ravenscroft (who sang You're A Mean One, Mr. Grinch). The spooky fortune-teller was modeled on Leota Toombs (who also plays the Ghost Hostess at the end of the attraction) and voiced by Eleanor Audley, who also performs as Maleficent in Sleeping Beauty and Lady Tremaine in Cinderella
- A Swinging Wake
In the Haunted Mansion there is a celebration going on! In the ballroom, couples sway gracefully on the dance floor while the special guest blows the candles on her "deathday cake" and one phantom swings on the chandelier. If a Disney guests looks at the fancy table there is a plate setting there is a Hidden Mickey!
- A Ghostly Bash
The Death Day party is sure a fun time and everyone celebrates. The music is being provided by a phantom playing a jaunty tune off the grand pipe organ. This grand instrument is an actual set piece from the Disney film 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and belongs to the character Captain Nemo.
- Here Comes the Bride...
In the attic, there is a bride that haunts the area. Known as the Black Widow Bride, Constance Hatchaway married...and desposed her five wealthy husbands. Her ghost still haunts the Haunted Mansion and is waiting for the next Mr. Right. The Black Widow Bride is voiced and played by Kat Cressida. Her photographs are depicted by Julia Lee...who ominously stands next to her husbands.
- 999 Ghosts...And Room for One More
The Haunted Mansion hosts 999 ghosts and ghouls within its halls. Each spook has its own story, ranging from the Egyptian mummy who mumbles the Grim, Grinning Ghost theme song from behind his wrappings to the dueling ghosts in the ballroom. The hitchhiking trio at the end of the ride want to keep on their own story. These three are called Phineas, Ezra and Gus.
- Other Creeping Crypts
There are several Disney Parks that have their own version of the Haunted Mansion. Tokyo Disneyland and the WDW's version is a formidable brick version that is inspired by the Southern Californian original. The Haunted Mansion also inspired the Hong Kong Disney's Mystic Manor and Disneyland Park hosts the Phantom Manor.
- Jingle Bells and Scary Spells
In September, the Haunted Mansion overgoes a rather scary transformation and becomes the Haunted Mansion Holiday. Every year, the residents of Halloweentown arrive to Southern California and stay with the ghosts living in the gloomy manor. This combination of scary and sweet is a seasonal attraction that should not be missed.
"Chapter Two: Rolly Crump's Odd Ideas." DoomBuggies > Explore the history and marvel at the mystery of Disney's Haunted Mansion attractions!. N.p., n.d. Web. 8 Aug. 2014. <www.doombuggies.com/history2.php>.
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