Secrets About Walt Disney’s Haunted Mansion

Who doesn’t love a good friendly ghost?

The 999 happy haunts started greeting Guests in 1971 at Magic Kingdom (1969 in Disneyland) and became a fast favorite among morbid mortals. From the interactive queue up through the tour of the mansion on the famous “Doom Buggies,” this dark ride attraction brings eternal delight to Guests of every age.

Our tour begins here with 4 secrets about the Haunted Mansion you probably didn’t know!

It Was Intended to Be a Walk-Through Attraction

Walt had hoped his idea for a haunted mansion could debut with the opening of Disneyland in 1955, but with budget restraints, it got pushed back. When the time came to focus on the project again, it would no longer be a simple façade located on the end of Main Street, as Walt had originally wanted; it was reimagined as a walk-through attraction for Guests where they could explore the mansion and learn its backstory at their own pace. It followed the story of Bartholomew Gore who kills his wife when she finds out he’s a pirate. Over the years, it evolved into the beloved attractions we have today.

The Head Imagineers Had Artistic Differences

Marc Davis and Claude Coats were fresh off the boat from designing Pirates of the Caribbean and, based upon its success, were thought to be a great pair for the completion of the Haunted Mansion. But they didn’t see eye-to-eye in their vision for this gloomy attraction.

While Coats wanted a spookier, ominous atmosphere for the Haunted Mansion, Davis envisioned a laidback experience with plenty of humor. This is why the queue and the beginning of the attraction give you quite a chill, but the ending in the graveyard might provoke a few laughs with the hilarious singing heads and hitchhiking ghosts!

Luckily, their adversities didn’t prevent them from producing a classic attraction that is cherished by mortals and spirits alike!

The United States’ Versions Were Built Side-By-Side

If you have ridden both Disneyland and Disney World’s Haunted Mansion, you’ll notice they’re quite similar. That’s because they were built at the same time! Since Disney World’s Haunted Mansion would haunt Guests only two years after Disneyland’s premiere of the attraction, the Animatronics, set design, and props were assembled and built simultaneously! However, they look different from the outside, as Disneyland’s is themed around New Orleans Square and Disney World’s is based on Liberty Square.

There Are Some Famous Disney Voices

Did you ever ride through the mansion on your Doom Buggy and think, “Now where have I heard that voice before?” They probably strike you as familiar because some characters in the Haunted Mansion share the same voice as some of your favorite Disney characters! Madame Leota’s voice is none other than Eleanor Audley, who voiced Maleficent and Lady Tremaine! The voice of your famous Ghost Host was supplied by Paul Frees, who voiced Boris in The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show and provided narrations for many Disney attractions.

There are plenty more spooky secrets to spill about the Haunted Mansion. Are you curious to know what a Haunted Mansion walk-through would’ve looked like? Let us know in the comments if you would like to learn more secrets about the Haunted Mansion! 

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Bayley Clark

Former elementary teacher turned Travel Blogger, taking monthly trips to explore all aspects of Disney Parks, Resorts, or Food for over 8 years now. Sharing the secrets and writing guides to help make your next trip magical.

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