Imagineer Zach Riddley Shares the COOLEST Details About Disney World’s Haunted Mansion Design!

The Haunted Mansion could possibly be one of Disney Parks’ greatest Imagineering achievements, even over 50 years after the original version of the attraction opened at Disneyland in 1969.

Haunted Mansion

From grim grinning ghosts hosting a swinging wake to Madame Leota summoning spirits to hitchhiking ghosts who will follow you home, the theming and special effects in the Haunted Mansion still thrills guests on a daily basis.

The design of the Haunted Mansion at Disney World, though, has an interesting backstory. Imagineer Zach Riddley revealed a few secrets about the architecture that inspired the Florida attraction.

Although the original version of the ride at Disneyland in Anaheim was themed to fit into a New Orleans-inspired part of that park, the Orlando version of the mansion takes its architectural inspiration from further north.

Haunted Mansion Concept Art ©Disney | Zach Riddley

Riddley wrote on his Instagram:

“The Haunted Mansion is based on 19th-century Hudson River Dutch Gothic architecture that is prevalent in the Northeastern United States. This allows it to exist in the hinterlands beyond the bounds of our burgeoning harbor town of Liberty Square.

The style is English Tudor, with towering brick walls and stone-encased windows that bring a heaviness to the façade. Gothic arches (those are the pointy ones), stone staircases flanked by large urns, and mausoleum-like columns and balustrades complete the foreboding look.”

Haunted Mansion Construction ©Disney | Zach Riddley

The Haunted Mansion opened with Magic Kingdom in 1971 and has had room for one more ever since. The rest — as they say — is history.

What’s your favorite part of the Haunted Mansion? Let us know in the comments!

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One Reply to “Imagineer Zach Riddley Shares the COOLEST Details About Disney World’s Haunted Mansion Design!”

  1. Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion is not the “original version”. According to Imagineer Jason Surrell’s “The Haunted Mansion, Imagineering a Disney Classic”, Disneyland’s and Magic Kingdom’s Haunted Mansions are BOTH the original version. All interior sets were fabricated simultaneously. The only difference is that the set for Orlando had to sit in storage until Magic Kingdom construction proceeded. That’s why the interiors look identical. Most of the interiors literally are duplicates constructed at exactly the same time. This is a rare example of one coast’s version of an attraction not being the later, plussed version of the other coast’s attraction. Disneyland’s was always to be shorter. Magic Kingdom’s was always to be longer. And neither is based off of the other.