Walt Disney first announced his plans to add a haunted house-style attraction to Disneyland in 1958, but the Haunted Mansion didn’t open until a full eleven years later. It is believed to be the last attraction Walt had a hand in before his death in 1966. But, what happened in between conception and the Mansion’s opening in 1969? Take a look at the evolution of the attraction under Walt’s tutelage from a scare-a-minute walk-through to the creepy but comical Doom Buggy ride we all know and love. Join Imagineer Kim Irvine, Walt Disney Company alum Ed Squair, and Winchester Mystery House General Manager Walter Magnuson for a discussion on Walt’s influence on this adored attraction and the three scripts developed by his original “Illusioneers”: Ken Anderson, Marc Davis and X. Atencio.
Sat, Oct 15
Two times: 11am–12:30pm & 3–4:30pm
These two presentations will be identical.
$18 members | $12 student & youth members
$20 non-members | $15 student & youth non-members
Ticket On-Sale Date and Time
Tickets will be on sale to the public beginning Thursday, September 22 at 10am online.
Walt’s Circle donors and Supporter-level members may purchase program tickets for this program beginning Monday, September 19 at 10am. All other members may purchase program tickets for this program beginning Wednesday, September 21 at 10am.
The Haunted Mansion at Walt Disney World is scheduled to close for a brief refurbishment late this year.
The refurbishment is scheduled to begin on November 28th and end on December 1st, reopening to gusts on December 2nd.
Work is currently underway on an exterior refurbishment, with the Mansion behind a construction scrim, but currently operating as normal.
There are few attractions at Disneyland or Walt Disney World that are quite as beloved as the Haunted Mansion. For over 45 years, the mansion has been a sort of home away from home for lovers of all things gothic and spooky. Mansion inhabitants like Madame Leota, the three hitchhiking spooks and, most recently, the Hatbox Ghost have all become Disney icons. Now, Disney Publishing Worldwide is expanding the world of the mansion beyond just the theme parks by introducing a new series of young adult novels titled Tales of the Haunted Mansion.
The first book in the new Tales of the Haunted Mansion series, The Fearsome Foursome, was “written” by mansion librarian Amicus Arcane, described as “an all-new character whom Walt Disney Imagineering allowed Disney Publishing to create.” In reality, the novel was written by award-winning TV and animation writer John Esposito (R. L. Stine’s The Haunting Hour, Teen Titans), with art by Kelley Jones (Batman, Swamp Thing, Sandman). The book is designed to look and feel like it came straight out of the Haunted Mansion itself.
Based on the attractions from the Disney Parks, each new book tells the story of one of the Haunted Mansion’s 999 ghosts. With eerie illustrations throughout and a beautiful three-piece cloth cover, the books are designed to look like they came straight from the library in the Haunted Mansion. Tales from the Haunted Mansion is a fun, spooky ride, just like the attraction from the Disney Parks. And if readers are familiar with the ride, they’ll see elements of it throughout the entire story, from items straight of the Mansion (are those pictures stretching?) to lyrics from the narration that is heard in each Doom Buggy. In this bone-chilling book, you will hear the terrifying tales of the Fearsome Foursome–four kids who look to out-scare each other. But just wait until they hear my spooky stories.
The story follows four middle schoolers—the Fearsome Foursome—who constantly try to out-scare each other with tales of terror. One night, after their clubhouse is destroyed, they are all invited to a spooky old mansion to tell their tales, where they are introduced to a mysterious librarian named Amicus Arcane. Amicus asks to join their competition because he has the scariest stories of them all. You see, Amicus’ stories are about each of them. The stories—which have elements of classic horror like Poe and Lovecraft—get creepier and creepier (but never too scary) as the book goes on. And as Amicus tells the kids their own scary stories, our four protagonists eventually realize where they are—they are a part of the 999 ‘happy haunts’ that inhabit the Haunted Mansion.
Disney is launching a new interactive Haunted Mansion “scare package” subscription service at $199 for 3 monthly shipments.
According to the official Ghost Relations Department website, “Your ‘scare’ packages will be filled with unique – possibly haunted – artifacts, each one a key to unlocking secret and special powers. And each box unfolds a chapter in a new Haunted Mansion adventure.”
Subscriptions will be limited to 999 US residents, and an iPhone is required. The Phantom Radio iPhone app makes your iPhone particularly sensitive to the haunted artifacts you will receive in your subscription. Using the app, you can unlock new aspects of your objects and connect with the ghosts of the Haunted Mansion.
Subscribers will receive their first package at the end of March 2016. Read more and signup now at the official Ghost Relations Department website.
Disneyland’s legendary Hatbox Ghost rematerialized at the Haunted Mansion this morning.
The Hatbox Ghost was one of the early residents of the Haunted Mansion and also one of the shortest in longevity. The Hatbox Ghost featured an effect where the ghost’s head would disappear, then reappear in his hatbox. The effect relied on lighting and never worked particularly well, so Disney removed it from the Mansion within a few weeks of the attraction’s opening in 1969.
At the 2013 D23 Expo, Walt Disney Imagineering showed off a new Hatbox Ghost animatronic, reviving fans’ hopes that an improved version of the Hatbox Ghost would return to the Mansion. Earlier this year, Disney hinted at and the eventually announced the Ghost’s return. This morning hundreds of Mansion fans to rushed to the attraction at rope drop to see its debut.
When some Haunted Mansion fans spotted a new window appearing at the end of the attic scene around the time of Disney’s announcement, this prompted fears that the Hatbox Ghost would be a screen effect. This morning, that window and the wall around it were gone, revealing an open space in which the Hatbox Ghost performs his new, and much more convincing, disappearing “hat trick.”
Here is a short video of the Hatbox Ghost –
Hatbox Ghost Video
You may remember Disneyland’s chilling challenge from a few months ago, in which they asked you to guess which spooky specter was preparing to materialize inside the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland park. Today, I’m excited to tell you that many of you were correct! The Hatbox Ghost is reappearing in May. Here’s a sneak peek!
The Hatbox Ghost appeared in the Haunted Mansion for a short time around the opening of this classic attraction in 1969. Although brief, his presence sparked a decades-long following, and this reclusive resident of the Haunted Mansion was never forgotten. I think we’re all excited that he will soon materialize once again!
Memento Mori, the Haunted Mansion-themed merchandise shop, is officially open in Liberty Square at Magic Kingdom Park. You may recall reading about this new location in early September on the Disney Parks Blog. Once considered the abode of Madame Leota, this shop is the destination for a variety of Haunted Mansion Authentic merchandise created especially for Disney Parks.
If you are planning a visit, here are a few important things to know:
- There will be a purchase limit of six items per style, per guest, per day for products carried in the shop.
- The new Haunted Mansion open edition pins will be carried in both Memento Mori in Liberty Square and Frontier Trading Post in Frontierland.
- The Haunted Mansion-themed Dooney & Bourke bags will be released in Uptown Jewelers on Main Street, U.S.A. starting on October 6. They will not be found at Memento Mori or at Cherry Tree Lane at the Marketplace Co-Op in Downtown Disney Marketplace. For guests in California, the Dooney & Bourke bags will also be released on Monday, October 6 at Vault 28 in Downtown Disney District. There will be a purchase limit of two items, per style, per guest, per day.
Finally, the Disney Parks online store will also be carrying select items from the Haunted Mansion Authentic program beginning on October 6. I invite you to visit http://www.DisneyStore.com/HauntedMansion.
A few weeks ago, Disney announced that a new Haunted Mansion-themed merchandise shop is coming to Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World Resort this fall. This destination will carry an incredible assortment of Haunted Mansion authentic merchandise created especially for Disney Parks (you can see some of those items in this video article. As friendly spirits continue preparing the shop to open in the fall, I caught up with my Walt Disney Imagineering partners who shared some additional details about what guests can expect.
The image shown above is part of the art for the yet-to-be-named location. Look carefully as you may see a familiar looking face in the artwork that is related to the shop’s storyline:
“Rumors have been whispered for years about the little shop that once was the abode of Madame Leota. While she disappeared many years ago, it has been said her visage appears now and then and her voice, carried on the breeze, is sometimes heard, humming a mournful tune.”
When asked about the cast members who will work at this shop:
“The shop staff is a friendly, if somewhat quiet, group. They go about their duties with a calm and reverent manner but with a knowing glint to their eyes. They are well aware that the locals view the shop with a sense of mystery but come in anyway, hoping to find the perfect memento or to possibly learn about their future or past.”
Speaking of mementos, here are some additional Haunted Mansion authentic products coming to this location.
The Haunted Mansion is schedule to close for a refurbishment from December 1 – 19, reopening on December 20th of 2014.
In related news….The Yankee Trader, which will be home to a new Haunted Mansion gift shop has been pushed back to the end of the year.
The refurbishment will be transforming the Liberty Square shop into a dedicated Haunted Mansion gift shop and on-ride photo pickup, now will run through December 31, 2014, nearly a 3 month extension to the originally scheduled September 30th completion.
As it turns out, Madame Leota and the 999 happy haunts from the Haunted Mansion attraction have also received your sympathetic vibrations. This fall, they are gathering to open a new merchandise destination in Liberty Square at Magic Kingdom Park in Florida.
The new merchandise shop will be located in the current Yankee Trader shop, which had its last day of operation on July 27th. Inspired by Madame Leota, the new location will carry select items from the upcoming Haunted Mansion Authentic program including apparel, home goods, souvenirs, and more.