The Haunted Mansion has been one of the Magic Kingdom’s most popular attractions since it opened with the park on October 1, 1971. The home of “999 happy haunts” is a quintessential dark ride, with just a little bit of thrill that’ll make you “scream” with delight!
But there’s more than meets the eye here! The Imagineers certainly had fun creating this beloved attraction, and slipped in quite a few subtle details. Here are some things to be on the lookout for on your next ride.
1. A Missing Engagement Ring
One of the most delightful things about the Haunted Mansion is that Imagineers left the story just vague enough for you to make your own interpretations. One of the most popular legends of the Mansion came from a small scrap of metal in the cement. While in reality, this was leftover from an old gate post removal, it bore a striking resemblance to a wedding ring. Cast members and guests alike would tell different variations of where the ring came from – the most popular being that the Haunted Mansion’s attic bride, Constance, must have thrown it off the balcony after she murdered one of her husbands. During a refurbishment of the attraction, the “ring” was removed and guests were outraged. So, when the Haunted Mansion’s interactive queue was added in 2011, the Imagineers added a real engagement ring to keep the legend alive. Look for it as you weave through the line – and if you can’t find it just ask a Mansion Maid or Butler. They’re always DYING to help out guests.
2. An Eye on You
Do you ever get the feeling someone is watching you? Well, at the Haunted Mansion that might be true! Just before you enter the building, you’ll notice a graveyard to your left. One particular tombstone will catch your eye – Madame Leota’s. Watch her long enough and she might just spring to life. This is fitting because you will see her again shortly – she’s the floating head inside the seance room of the Mansion.
3. A Haunted Game Piece
Do you recognize the cement ornaments on the Mansion’s rooftop? They’re chess pieces! Legendary Imagineer Marc Davis, who is largely known for adding humor into classic attractions like Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean, was also a huge fan of the game. When designing the attraction, he would leave his pieces around the models, and one night left them on top – and they made their way into the real thing! But chess aficionados might notice one piece missing – the Knight. Marc Davis let one of his best jokes live on forever because, as he would say, “It’s not missing. Every evening NIGHT falls on the Haunted Mansion.”
4. Meet Your Host, Your Ghost Host
Many are familiar with the chilling voice of the Ghost Host, provided by the incomparable Paul Frees. A lot of Mansion fans can recite the stretch room monologue word for word. But did you know you can actually SEE the Ghost Host on the ride? That’s right, his portrait hangs in the Mansion! Notice the rope around his neck? That’s how the Imagineers let us know it’s him. Legend has it, the axe he’s holding is how he cut himself down. Creepy, huh? Keep a look out for the portrait after you pass the casket with the hand escaping, as you’ve turned backwards. It hangs on your right before you swivel around and see the grandfather clock.
5. An Old Friend in the Pet Cemetery
As you’re leaving the attraction, look to your left and you’ll see a special graveyard for Mansion pets. Notice someone familiar? In the back middle, look closely and you’ll spot Mr. Toad! Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride was an opening day Fantasyland attraction that was replaced by The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. The Imagineers payed homage to the fallen amphibian with a epitaph that’s rumored to read:
DEAR MR. TOAD
IT’S SAD BUT TRUE
NOT NEARLY AS MARKETABLE
AS WINNIE THE POOH
Have you noticed these secrets at the Haunted Mansion before? Let us know your favorites in the comments!
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