13 New Things We Learned About The Haunted Mansion Ride When Watching Behind the Attraction on Disney+

Have you seen the Disney+ show Behind the Attraction?

Haunted Mansion

There are currently two seasons on the streaming platform for your nerdy Disney viewing pleasure (yes, we’ve seen them all). The show goes through the history, facts, and behind-the-scenes of several Disney attractions. You can learn little nuggets of information from all the Disney parks around the world about attractions like Jungle Cruise, nighttime spectaculars, Star Tours, the food, and so much more! For us Disney lovers, it’s a very interesting show. So we thought we would share some cool facts that we learned about the Haunted Mansion while watching the series!

The Haunted Mansion — a slow moving “doom-buggy” ride through a stately mansion inhabited by 999 “happy haunts” — is one of Disney’s most beloved rides. It’s so popular, in fact, that it’s the only Disney attraction that has a version in Disneyland, Disney World, Tokyo Disney, Disneyland Paris, Shanghai Disneyland AND Hong Kong Disneyland.

We have 13 facts about the creation, design, and operation of the Haunted Mansion. No kidding, we just happened to learn ’13’ facts about this spooky ride (this was not planned) — so clearly the happy haunts want you to pay attention to them!

1. A Haunted Mansion Was All Walt’s Idea

From the very beginning of Disneyland back in 1954, Walt Disney had the idea for a haunted house-style attraction.

Haunted Mansion in Disneyland

According to the show, Walt said they needed to have it because “people like to be scared.” Well, we agree Mr. Disney, and are very pleased that this ride eventually came to fruition.

2. “We Will Let the Ghosts Take Care of the Inside”

When Walt and the Imagineers began designing the Haunted Mansion, Ken Anderson was recruited. He started coming up with concepts for the house. He suggested adding things you would expect at a scary attraction — a run down, falling apart mansion, spiders, cobwebs, etc.

Haunted Mansion had to be clean

However, Walt had a different plan. He wanted the outside to look just as nice and clean as the rest of his park. He said, “We will take care of the outside, and the ghosts will take care of the inside.”

3. The Janitors Got a Little Spook

This is an excellent little story about the beginning of the ride! Before everything was actually added to the mansion, the ideas and sculptures were stored in a room. Each night the janitors would have to clean the room, but they requested that the light stay on because it was all a little creepy.

Haunted Mansion Muppets display objects

Rolly Crump, a Disney legend who was working on the ride at the time, decided to play a little trick on the janitors. One night he put everything on a timer so it would all go off to scare them! After that, the janitors refused to clean the room because they were so terrified they were never coming back. So Rolly was told that he would have to clean the room himself.

Rolly Crump | Howard Lipin / The San Diego Union-Tribune

4. Retirement Home Guests Could Apply

At the beginning of the ride’s history, the building sat empty for several years before finally getting finished. At the time, the World’s Fair was underway (which took up all of Walt’s time) and people wondered why they couldn’t go in. So, while it sat empty, a closed sign was placed out front.

Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion

Apparently, the sign said more than just “closed,” it also let you know that retirement homes and guests could apply at Guest Relations! So at the beginning of the ride’s history, you could have become the 1,000th ghost to haunt the Haunted Mansion (if your application was accepted).

5. Rumors Were Flying

As you might expect, an empty, large mansion that is expected to become a ride would add some excitement and anticipation to people walking by it. Soon, rumors started flying about why it wasn’t opening.

Haunted Mansion closed sign

One rumor we heard about in the show was that a lady had fallen into a pit while they were creating the ride so they had to shut down the production!

7. Walt Never Saw the Haunted Mansion Completed

Sadly, Walt Disney passed away before his grand mansion could officially be opened.


His final idea for the attraction, which was based on some of Rolly’s ideas, was to make the Haunted Mansion a museum of the weird. That would have been a completely different experience than what we have today!

6. Pirates of the Caribbean Took Priority

Because Walt passed before the attraction was completed, nobody knew the direction to take for it.

Pirates of the Caribbean in Disneyland

Due to this, the new Pirates of the Caribbean ride that was pitched took priority over the empty mansion.

8. The Haunted Mansion’s Opening Sparked Large Attendance

It wasn’t until August 9th, 1969, that the Haunted Mansion in Disneyland finally opened — 14 years after the opening of Disneyland.

Haunted Mansion Disneyland

Because of all the waiting and anticipation of seeing this big, scary mansion sitting empty for all those years, Disneyland saw one of its highest attendance days ever! Everyone was so eager to finally ride the Haunted Mansion.

9. You Travel Outside of the Park

Disneyland is surrounded by a berm that outlines the resort so you don’t realize that you’re actually inside a city. It lets you imagine that you have truly been transported to a place of fantasy, tomorrow, adventure, and frontier.

Magic Kingdom

When you’re on the Haunted Mansion ride in Disneyland, you go from inside the attraction in the stretching room to a tunnel under the house, under the railroad tracks, and outside of the park’s border (the berm)! You are hardly ever in the actual house itself during your entire ride!

10. The Hatbox Ghost Was Pulled

This piece of history is probably familiar to many of us, but that doesn’t make it any less interesting! The Hatbox Ghost was an animatronic built for the Haunted Mansion, with the idea that his head would disappear from atop his shoulders and appear in the hatbox he is carrying.

Hat Box Ghost

But after about a week in operation, the Hatbox ghost was removed because he didn’t work properly in the lighting conditions. When they tested it, the lighting was different from where he was installed, which led to issues once he was in full operation. Once he was in place, you could see both faces at the same time — no good! The Hatbox Ghost was recently installed in the Disney World version of the ride!

11. If it Fits, it Sits

In Tokyo Disney, the Haunted Mansion sits in Fantasyland — right between “it’s a small world” and Dumbo. It’s kind of a strange place for a spooky, creepy mansion ride.

©Haunted Mansion in Tokyo Disneyland

The ride sits where it does simply because that is where it fits. Therefore, if it fits, it sits!

12. Disneyland Paris’s Haunted Mansion is the Only One That Looks Abandoned

While Disneyland’s version of the Haunted Mansion was actually abandoned, none of the rides, today look very eerie or abandoned on the outside. Except, in Paris.


The abandoned facade of the house in Paris Disneyland, called Phantom Manor, fits the aesthetic of Frontierland where it calls home in the park. This is not the case in the other parks where the aesthetic is much less rugged (thanks, to Walt wanting them to be that way).

13. No Doom Buggies in Hong Kong Disneyland

If we head over to Hong Kong Disney, we’ll find a completely different ride system than all of the other parks!

The ride vehicle for the Mystic Manor attraction at Hong Kong Disneyland.

In Hong Kong, the ride is called Mystic Manor and it uses a free-range trackless system, similar to Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure and Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway. You won’t find any small, tracked Doom Buggies here!

Mystic Manor

We are huge fans of the Haunted Mansion, and despite its rough beginning, we are glad we have it just as it is, today! We’ll be diving into Behind the Attraction to bring you more Disney history, so stay tuned to AllEars!

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