Happy Spooky Season everybody!
The Haunted Mansion is one of the most iconic attractions at Disney's theme-parks. Conception of the attraction dates back all the way to 1951 with a vacant mansion included on a sketch of Disneyland. Disney announced construction of the new project in 1961, several years after Disneyland opened, originally for a 1963 grand opening. Construction on the project experienced delay and was redesigned in 1966 after the death of Walt Disney. It took another three years before the Disney Imagineers finished all of their work, and the ride opened in 1969.
Home to "999 grim, grinning ghosts", the attraction is essentially a 'haunted mansion'-type funhouse, showcasing various macabre images and set-ups that passengers witness. After a brief introduction in the building's foyer, guests spend the majority of their time cramped together into the Doom Buggies, personalized versions of the omnimovers from Space World. The Doom Buggies slowly ride on a track, during which the guests see the many spooky sights.
Predictably, the Haunted Mansion is by far the spookiest attraction at Disneyland. Though many of the gags are somewhat tongue-in-cheek and silly, there are quite a few genuinely spooky and unsettling images! So, we're not going to give any spoilers here, in case anyone's squeemish. And yet, for many fans, the Haunted Mansion's spookiness and charm make it one of the most beloved attractions at the park.... beloved enough to spawn multiple movies, even!
By the time the Haunted Mansion was under construction, plans were already well underway building Walt Disney World in Florida. As such, the Haunted Mansion was one of the first new attractions that was designed with the second park in mind, so duplicates of most of the parts were made in anticipation of being sent to Florida. One part that was not duplicated, however, was the appearance of the building! As shown above, the Orlando location featured an entirely different design. This design was also, incidentally, used for the design of the titular building in the 2003 movie adaptation. There are other differences too, so it's worth visiting both attractions and comparing for yourself!
And that's just here in the United States. Disney parks across the globe have variations of the attraction: Tokyo Disneyland's The Haunted Mansion is based on the Orlando location; Phantom Manor is located in Disneyland Paris; Hong Kong Disneyland features Mystic Manor, a similar concept with a whole different aesthetic.
In 2003, Disney released their first adaptation of the ride. Starring Eddie Murphy, the film feature a dark and mysterious backstory, where the owner of the house is bereft of his bride-to-be, who dies of mysterious circumstances. The house and all of its residents are cursed never to find peace, until the homeowner can be reunited with his love. 100 years later, suavy realtor Evers (Murphy) is invited along with his wife and kids to the titular residence, where they must unravel the mystery.
And now, 20 years later, Disney's rebooting the film, with a whole new cast and a much creepier vibe! Just in time for Halloween, too! Fans may have caught it in theaters earlier this year, but it's available now on Disney+ as of October 4th. Look for a DVD copy soon!
We hope everyone has a happy and safe spooky season!