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The Haunted Mansion
Walt Disney World Haunted Mansion
Magic Kingdom
Land Liberty Square
Designer WED Enterprises
Theme Haunted house
Opening date October 1, 1971
Hosted by The Ghost Host (voiced by Paul Frees)
Music Buddy Baker
The Haunted Mansion
Walt Disney World Haunted Mansion
Tokyo Disneyland
Land Fantasyland
Designer WED Enterprises
Theme Haunted house
Opening date April 15, 1983
Hosted by The Ghost Host (voiced by Paul Frees)
Music Buddy Baker
The Haunted Mansion is a popular Omnimover dark ride at Magic Kingdom at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida and Tokyo Disneyland at the Tokyo Disney Resort in Japan. It opened on October 1, 1971 and April 15, 1983


Summary

During the production and assembly of the props and audio-animatronics for Disneyland's Haunted Mansion, duplicates of everything were being made for Walt Disney World's Haunted Mansion. It was decided that the Florida version of the attraction would be longer and more elaborate than its California counterpart. Paul Frees recorded additional voice-overs to accompany the extra scenes in the ride. Because of the ample space within the park, the attraction's show building is much larger and not restricted by any railroad berm.

The Haunted Mansion - Ride-through - Magic Kingdom - Walt Disney World08:49

The Haunted Mansion - Ride-through - Magic Kingdom - Walt Disney World

Entering the queuing area through a pair of ornate gates, guests find themselves in the mansion's courtyard. The queuing path leads guests past a black carriage hearse led by an invisible horse and through a haunted cemetery that includes a sea captain's leaky crypt filled with seawater, a tomb in the shape of a pipe organ, and a headstone with a face that occasionally opens its eyes and peers around. Guests are then admitted inside the mansion by a somber, green-uniformed house servant.

In the foyer, the deep, resonant voice (Paul Frees) of an invisible spirit sets the tone with a short opening monologue, accompanied by a funeral dirge played on an unseen pipe organ. As he speaks, a portrait of the master of the house above the fireplace slowly transforms into a portrait of a rotting corpse. A pair of sliding doors open to one of two octagonal portrait galleries, and a servant ushers guests inside. The invisible spirit mockingly welcomes the guests (referring to them as "foolish mortals") and introduces himself as their "Ghost Host," who will take them on a tour of the Haunted Mansion. The gallery contains four paintings, one on every other wall, each depicting a person from the chest up. The portraits are flanked by eight leering, candle-holding gargoyles. A sliding wall panel closes in front of the doorway where the guests entered, trapping them in the room. As the Ghost Host taunts his guests, the room begins to vertically "stretch." The ceiling rises and the walls and portrait frames elongate, revealing the grim fates of the previous residents depicted in the paintings, symbolized in humorously macabre situations: a pretty young woman holding a parasol is shown to be balancing on a fraying tightrope above the jaws of an alligator; a middle-aged bearded man holding a document is shown to be standing atop a lit barrel of dynamite in his boxer shorts; a smiling elderly woman holding a rose is shown to be sitting on the tombstone of her late husband George, who is depicted as a stone bust with an ax in his head; and a confident-looking middle-aged man in a bowler hat is shown to be sitting on the shoulders of a frightened-looking man, who sits on the shoulders of a third man who is waist-deep in quicksand, an expression of terror on his face. With a sudden thunderclap, the lights go out and the ceiling disappears. A ghastly vision manifests above: the skeletal corpse of the Ghost Host dangles from a noose inside an octagonal cupola with four windows (rather than the windowless cupola seen on the exterior), illuminated by flashes of lightning. Seconds later, the room becomes pitch-black, and a bloodcurdling scream is heard — falling from the ceiling to the floor, ending with the sound of shattering bones.

A wall opens, and guests are then led down a dark corridor. On the walls are eerie portraits (nicknamed by the "Sinister 11" by fans). Seven of these portraits are located within this hall and the adjacent room. As the guests reach the far side of the room, a never-ending stream of black carriages, or "Doom Buggies," emerge eerily around a corner in a strange fashion. The guests board the carriages, accompanied by the Ghost Host, who lowers the safety bars and provides a safety spiel.

After boarding the Doom Buggies, guests are taken through a room containing a Servant's Staircase, where a candelabra floats above the railing. Two of the Sinister 11 portraits are located here. The Doom Buggies then take guests down a long portrait hallway, past windows with lightning flashing onto changing portraits on the opposite wall. Another one of the Sinister 11 portraits is location in this hallway.

Passing under an archway, guests enter the Library with staring busts, moving ladders, flying books, and an unseen ghost rocking in a chair reading a book by candlelight.

After the exiting the Library, the Doom Buggies move through the Music Parlor where a shadow plays a Rachmaninoff-style version of the attraction's theme music on an old piano. A stormy forest is shown in the window behind the piano.

The Doom Buggies then ascend a room full of staircases that defy the laws of physics. Green footsteps appear on the steps of the upside down and sideways staircases. Occasionally, the candelabras on the newel posts are blown out by unseen spirits and mysteriously re-light themselves. At the top of the stairs, moving and blinking eyes fade into demon-faced wallpaper.

Entering another room, guests come across a living suit of armor, and a chair which appears to be embroidered with a hidden abstract face. The Doom Buggies also pass by the end of a long and seemingly endless corridor. Partway down the corridor is a candelabra, floating eerily.

As guests pass through the conservatory, the Doom Buggy is spun around to face backward. On the side of the conservatory is a glass room. Dead flowers adorn the whole room with a coffin in the center. A raven sits perched atop a wreath with a banner that reads "Farewell." The coffin's lid is being raised by a pair of skeletal claws while a green glow radiates from the inside.

After leaving the conservatory, guests continue to travel backwards through a corridor lined with doors with moving doorknockers and door handles. Echoing through the hall are the sounds of knockers knocking and ghosts wailing, screeching, laughing, and pounding on the doors. Daguerreotypes of screaming and grinning corpses hang upon the walls. A cross-stitched sign reading "Tomb Sweet Tomb" hangs crookedly on one wall, and a portrait of the Ghost Host wearing a hangman's noose and holding a hatchet is seen on another. At the end of the hall, guests pass a grandfather clock with demonic features. The hands of the clock spin wildly counter-clockwise, striking the number 13 every other second. The clock's swinging pendulum resembles a demon's pointed tail. As the Doom Buggies pass, the shadow of a claw reaches over the face of the clock.

The Doom Buggies then enter the circular Seance Room. In the center of the room, a crystal ball containing Madame Leota’s head floats mysteriously above a table. Floating objects and instruments respond to Leota's incantations while a wispy green specter roams in a corner of the room. A raven can be seen perched on the back of the chair at the table. A book containing Leota's incantations is open with the pages flipped to 1313. Page 1312 shows an image of a figure reminiscent to the Hatbox Ghost.

After leaving the Seance Room, guests arrive at a balcony overlooking festivities below in a ballroom, with a number of ghosts dancing and reveling. Ghosts are seen entering the room through a broken door, where a hearse has crashed with its coffin sliding out. Eerie phantoms are seen flying in and out of the windows above. A merry ghost is seen sitting atop the mantle of a fireplace with a mysterious green fire, with his arm wrapped around a bust. An elderly ghost is seen rocking back and forth in a chair, a book in her lap. Many ghosts have gathered around a dinner table, where a ghost is blowing out candles on a birthday cake. A massive chandelier hangs above the table where a couple of drunks are swinging about. Another balcony is seen across the room, where a curtained doorway is situated between two portraits of dueling gunmen. From time to time, the ghosts of the two duelists appear and shoot at each other with their pistols. A number of elegantly dressed couples are seen below, waltzing to a haunting version of the song "Grim Grinning Ghosts", played on a large organ. The organ is played by a ghostly gentleman while skull-like banshees fly out of the organ pipes. Just before exiting the ballroom, the final Sinister 11 portrait can barely be seen in the dark corridor.

The Doom Buggies then proceed into the Attic, an irregularly shaped room cluttered with gifts, personal items, mementos and wedding portraits. Each of the portraits depict wealthy men, each standing next to the same bride. A ghostly pianist is heard playing a grim version of Richard Wagner's Bridal March. The grooms' heads disappear from their shoulders in rhythm with the bride's loud heartbeat. For each husband the bride marries, she gains a strand of pearls. Eventually, the Doom Buggies come across the bride herself, with a blueish-green hue, uttering her wedding vows in a slow, ominous voice. Halfway through each of her vows, a hatchet appears in her hands, disappearing before she starts her next vow.

The Doom Buggies drift out of the Attic window and onto what appears to be the balcony of the mansion. The starry night sky is filled with wispy spirits rising from the Graveyard below. The Doom Buggies turn around, and tip backward down a 15-percent grade surrounded by dark, ghoulish trees with knotted expressions. A red-eyed raven caws at guests from a branch overhead. A caretaker, holding a lantern, and his dog cower in front of the gate of the Graveyard in fear. Ghouls pop up from behind tombstones, a king and queen balance on a teeter-totter, a duchess swings back and forth from a tree branch, a skeletal hellhound howls from behind them, and five expressive haunted busts singing "Grim Grinning Ghosts" in barbershop harmony. Next, guests encounter a ghostly tea party surrounding a hearse stuck in the mud. A bony arm protrudes from a crypt with a wine glass in its hand, while banshees ride bicycles in the distance. An Egyptian mummy sits up in his sarcophagus singing along, while the ghost of a "wise old man" from the Renaissance period holds an ear trumpet to his ear in an attempt to make out the muffled words of the mummy. The Doom Buggies turn and pass an eerie wispy ghost seen from within an open crypt. Guests then pass a group of singing ghosts; an operatic pair, a decapitated knight, a masked executioner, and a prisoner, each standing in front of a series of crypts. A bony arm holding a trowel dangles from a partially bricked-in crypt, its occupant attempting to finish the job.

The carriages approach the entrance of a large crypt, and entering the crypt, guests pass a group of three ghosts thumbing for a ride. Around the corner, in large, ornately framed mirrors, the guests see that one of the trio is in the carriage with them. Turning around a corner and traveling deeper into the crypt, guests encounter the ghost of a miniature woman standing above a threshold within the crypt, who beckons them to return and join the spirits. After passing underneath this threshold, the guests then exit their Doom Buggies and emerge back out to the "living world."

History

The Haunted Mansion was an opening-day attraction at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom, which opened in 1971. The attraction was developed at the same time as the Disneyland version, resulting in a very similar experience, though the slightly larger show building allowed the addition of several new scenes. As Magic Kingdom does not have a New Orleans Square, the attraction was placed in Liberty Square, a small land that pays tribute to colonial America. Thus its exterior was given a Dutch Gothic Revival style based on older northeastern mansions, particularly those in areas of Pennsylvania and in the Hudson River Valley region of New York. The mansion is surrounded by large oak trees adorned with Spanish moss, red maples and pines, all of which are native to Florida.

The Haunted Mansion Holiday Nightmare

Haunted mansion

At Tokyo Disneyland's Haunted Mansion, a holiday overlay similar to Disneyland's Haunted Mansion Holiday. Characters from The Nightmare Before Christmas are added to the ride from October to early January.

See Haunted Mansion Holiday for more information.

Differences With Original

Both versions are somewhat different than the original, located in Disneyland California (see Haunted Mansion). All versions have The Stretching Room, but at the Magic Kingdom and Tokyo Disneyland, the ceiling goes up, rather than the floor going down. At Disneyland California, the lack of space requires an elevator passage, so the stretching room is used as an elevator, but other versions use it as a queue feature by itself. Once you board, you'd notice that you go through The Hall of Portraits. In Disneyland, the hall is much smaller and is used as part of the queue, but in these versions it is portrayed in the actual ride. The Library is an additional room where busts watch your every move. Though these scene is not in the original, the glaring busts are located in the queue.

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