Welcome, World Travelers! 13 Haunted Facts About The Haunted Mansion
by James Coulter
For more than 50 years, The Haunted Mansion has been offering guests ghoulish delight with its more than 999 happy haunts—and there’s always room for 1,000! The mansion’s walls havemany stories behind it, and here are 13 haunted facts about our favorite mansion:
1. “Is this room actually stretching?” It depends on which Haunted Mansion you’re visiting. In Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, the roof of the stretching room is stretching upward. In Disneyland, the floor is stretching downward, as the room is an elevator that lowers guests underground to the ride. Either way, it’s not just your imagination.
2. The Ghost Host narrator was voiced by Paul Frees. The famed voice actor also performed the voices of notable characters such as Boris Badenov in “The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show,” KARR from “Knight Rider,” and Proffesor Ludwig Von Drake in many Disney shorts.
3. Each of the tombstones in the queue area graveyard pay tribute to an Imagineer who helped create the ride. For example, “Master Gracey” refers to Yale Gracey, an Imagineer who created most of the special effects and visual illusions. “Grandpa Marc” refers to Mard Davis, who painted the stretching room portraits. And “Brother Claude” refers to Claude Coats, who developed the ride layout and painted the portrait gallery portraits.
4. The Haunted Mansion is one of the only attractions that appears in a different land in a different park. Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion is located in New Orleans Square, Disney World’s is located in Liberty Square, and Tokyo Disneyland’s is located in Westernland (Frontierland). Disneyland Paris has Phantom Manor, which is located in Frontierland, while Hong Kong Disneyland has Mystic Manor, which is located in Mystic Point. Shanghai Disneyland is the only Disney Park without a Haunted Mansion attraction.
5. The Hatbox Ghost was one of the original characters created for the ride when it originally opened in Disneyland in 1969. The animatronic featured a special effect where its head would disappear off of its body and appear, true to its name, inside the hatbox it carried. However, as the effect never worked properly, the animatronic was removed from the ride shortly after it opened. A new Hatbox Ghost animatronic was installed in 2015.
6. The ballroom scene is created using a visual effect called Pepper’s Ghost, where the animatronics are reflected via mirror onto glass to make them appear ghostlike. However, the Imagineers never factored in how the reflection would reverse the images of the animatronic dancers. As such, the effect makes it appear as thought the women are leading the waltz rather than the men.
7. Contrary to urban legend, Walt Disney’s face does not appear as one of the singing busts in the graveyard scene. The main bust is voiced by Thurl Ravenscroft, who performs the lead vocals to the song, “Grim Grinning Ghosts.” He’s most famous for voicing Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes mascot, Tony The Tiger.The other busts are performed by Chuck Schroeder, Bob Ebright, Jay Meyer, and Verne Rowe.
8. The original version of the Haunted Mansion in Disneyland was rumored to be so scary that one of the guests suffered a heart attack, forcing the ride to be closed and revamped to be “less scary.” Snopes confirms this urban legend to be false. As the website states: “The Haunted Mansion has undergone only relatively minor changes since it originally opened…[and] no one has ever suffered a heart attack brought about by touring the attraction.”
9. Another rumor asserts that the horse-drawn hearse in front of the Disneyland Haunted Mansion was originally used to carry the body of the Mormon patriarch Mormon patriarch to his burial in 1877. Snopes also debunks this claim as false. As the website states: “The truth is, nobody really knows where Disneyland’s hearse came from. Disneyland purchased it from a Malibu collector named Dale Rickards, but he had no documents to establish its lineage.”
10. When Imagineers were still developing the attraction, they wanted to test out the special effects and props to see how scary they were. Imagineer Rolly Crump tells how they outfitted their workshop with motion sensors so that, when the sensors were tripped, the lights turned off and the animatronics turned on. The very next morning, they came in to find the effects still running and a janitor’s broom in the middle of the floor. The custodial staff was so scared that they refused to come back.
11. The hitchhiking ghosts that “follow you home” at the end of the ride actually have names. The tall hitchhiker in the hat is named Ezra, the one in ball and chains is named Gus, and the one carrying the carpetbag is named Phineas.
12. Many guests have taken the invitation to become the 1,000th ghostly mansion resident literally. Many guests have attempted to spread the ashes of their deceased loved ones into the attraction. “The Haunted Mansion probably has so much human ashes in it that it’s not even funny,” one Disneyland custodian told the Wall Street Journal. In fact, the spreading of ashes happens so frequently in Disney parks that cast members have a special code (“HEPA cleanup”) and protocol to address the situation and clean up the remains.
13. Being a dark ride, the Haunted Mansion is a popular place for couples to make out. However, many adventurous lovers have been caught doing far more than kissing and hugging. Many cast members have reported catching guests engaging in”hanky panky” on the ride, and even calling them out on the ride’s loud speaker to make them stop.
Those are my thoughts, but I want to know what you think: What do you love most about the Haunted Mansion? Leave your comments below or on Facebook!