The Haunted Mansion New Orleans Square Disneyland
The Haunted Mansion is home to 999 Happy Haunts… with room for 1000. Any volunteers? Doom Buggies carry guests on a tour of the mansion, through the spooky hallways to the spirited ballroom, the ghastly garret to the ghostly graveyard.
A classic Disneyland attraction!
On the far side of New Orleans Square sits an old antebellum Southern mansion. The queue winds around outside around the grounds and past the family cemetery before entering the front doors of the mansion. An impassive Cast Member will usher you into one of two octagonal rooms, and instruct you to proceed to the dead center of the room.
The door is closed, and suddenly the room begins to descend. Watch the changing portraits on the walls — all is not as it first appears! Your invisible Ghost Host will greet you and present you with a challenge –“to find a way out!”
But not to worry — a door opens into a long hallway, lined with portraits and other ghostly artwork. The portraits change as you walk by, and the spectral busts at the end of the hall appear to turn and watch you, and only you — but ask your fellow guests, and they’ll tell you they were looking at them!
At the loading area you’ll step onto a moving walkway and be shown into your Doom Buggy vehicle. Each seats two adults and a child, or three friendly adults. Your Ghost Host will speak to you periodically on this 8-minute ride, offering a few warnings and safety reminders.
On the tour of the mansion you’ll ride through many spectral scenes, including a seance held by Madame Leota, a disembodied head projected inside a crystal ball. The face is that of the late imagineer Leota (Toombs) Thomas, and the voice that of Eleanor Audley, who also provided the voices of other well-known Disney movie characters like Maleficent and Cinderella’s stepmother.
In the ballroom scene, the images that appear to dance around the room are created with a variation on an illusion known as “Pepper’s Ghost.” With this effect the transparent ghosts appear to be superimposed over the solid objects in the ballroom. Take a close look at the table — there’s a “hidden Mickey” in one of the table settings.
The mysterious Hat Box Ghost appears just after the attic scene. This figure was in the mansion for a very brief time after it first opened, then disappeared, finally returning in 2016.
Near the end of your tour your Ghost Host will warn you to “Beware of hitchhiking ghosts!” But it’s too late — as your Doom Buggy turns and glides past a mirror, you’ll see that you’ve been joined by an uninvited guest.
Step out of your Doom Buggy onto the moving walkway and take the escalator. As you rise back up to the land of the living a hologram of “Little Leota” will appeal to you to “hurry back… hurry baa-aack…”
In October 2001, Disneyland began the seasonal presentation of “Haunted Mansion Holiday”, in which Jack Skellington and the rest of the Halloweentown gang take over the Haunted Mansion. The entire mansion is transformed as Halloween collides with Christmas — with plenty of pumpkins, spider webs, and Santa hats. The Ghost Host has a new rhyming holiday “tale that’s quite charming” which continues throughout the attraction. All of the portraits in the stretching room and the entry hall are replaced by representations of various Nightmare Before Christmas characters and themes. Madame Leota’s seance becomes a holiday-themed tarot card reading: “On the 13th day of Christmas, my ghoul love gave to me Thirteen rings of power, embracing strength that never ends.” Much of the background music throughout the attraction features spooky renditions of familiar Christmas carols — in discordant minor keys. At the beginning of the final graveyard scene an audio-animatronic Jack Skellington, dressed as Sandy Claws, offers a holiday greeting. As for the rest of the graveyard scene — it’s amazing and really must be seen in person — words don’t do it justice.
Haunted Mansion Holiday typically starts the second weekend in September and runs through the first weekend of January. During this time the Haunted Mansion crowds are much heavier than usual and the Fastpass machines are activated.
Read about Walt Disney World’s Haunted Mansion attraction HERE.
Lightning Lane access for Haunted Mansion is available with the purchase of Genie+, but by arriving at park opening you can ride several times in a row with little or no wait.
Except on the busiest days, the standby wait for the attraction is usually not more than 30 minutes, and often shorter. During “Haunted Mansion Holiday”, however, the lines can get very long, with wait times rivaling popular attractions like Indy and Splash Mountain.
The ride system at Haunted Mansion is a continuous-loading OmniMover, which allows for a steady flow of guests. Although this is a slow-moving, smooth ride, each Doom Buggy vehicle is programmed to dip and turn at specific moments, thus directing your attention to important show elements. Be aware that at some points your Doom Buggy travels backwards as it goes downhill.
Wheelchair/ECV users should enter through the regular queue and proceed to the front porch where a Cast Member will provide further direction. They must transfer out to ride. Other guests should be aware that the Doom Buggies often stop during the attraction for the loading/unloading.
Hand-held captioning devices may be used here.
There are no height restrictions for the Haunted Mansion, but some people, both adults and kids, may find the darkness and ghosts to be scary.
Be sure to check out the tombstones in the family and pet cemeteries — though if the line is short, you may not be queued through both of these areas.
The closest restrooms are located in the back of New Orleans Square, around the corner from the Mint Julep Bar.
The premise of the Haunted Mansion is obviously that of a creepy haunted house, but the ride is intended for the entire family. Many of the scenes are more humorous than frightening, but since every child has different fears, parents should be aware that the attraction features lots of dark rooms, spooky noises and voices, and a few potentially scary scenes with skeletons, bats, spiders, and lots of ghosts and ghouls.
When Haunted Mansion Holiday is running, Jack Skellington and Sally greet guests near the mansion.
There are many places to dine in nearby New Orleans Square. The French Market is the closest, serving Southern-inspired cuisine, including sandwiches, soups and salads. Full service is available at the Blue Bayou, which offers a selection of Cajun and Creole dishes and a Bayou-side atmosphere. Cafe Orleans also offers full-service dining, including Monte Cristo sandwiches, crepes, and beignets.
For a quick meal, the Harbour Galley, just across from the exit of the Haunted Mansion, serves soups and salads in bread bowls.
The Mint Julep Bar, around the back of the French Market, serves the famous Disneyland Mint Julep as well as a Mickey beignets, pastries and ice cream bars.
Le Bat en Rouge in New Orleans Square features Nightmare Before Christmas and Disney villains merchandise.
Nightmare Before Christmas Cart — normally located in front the Haunted Mansion, this cart has a limited selection of Nightmare and Mansion merchandise, like hats and t-shirts.
The Haunted Mansion opened August 8, 1969, although work on the attraction actually began in 1957. The original concept involved a backstory set in the early 1800s in which the mansion belonged to a wealthy sailing merchant who built the house for his bride. After moving in the new bride discovered that her husband was a bloodthirsty pirate, and upon confronting him with her discovery, he killed her. Her ghost haunted the house and the husband eventually committed suicide. Today the only remaining elements of that story are the sailing ship weathervane on the top of the house, and the bride that haunts the attic.
The singing busts in the graveyard scene warble the attraction’s theme song, “Grim Grinning Ghosts.” Though sometimes mistaken for Walt Disney, the face on the bust on the left actually belongs to Thurl Ravenscroft, the song’s soloist. Ravenscroft was best-known as the voice of Tony the Tiger, the mascot of Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes cereal. In addition to Ravenscroft, the Singing Busts include Jay Meyer, Verne Row, Bob Ebright, and Chuck Schroeder.
Grim Grinning Ghosts, with lyrics by X Atencio (who also wrote the Ghost Host’s script) and music by Buddy Baker, was recorded by the Mello Men, a singing group made up of Bill Lee, Max Smith, Bob Stevens, and Thurl Ravenscroft. The group also provided the vocals in many of the Disney films and theme park attractions.
Legendary voice artist Paul Frees — known to many as Boris Badenov from “The Rocky & Bullwinkle Show”– is the attraction’s narrator, or “Ghost Host.” He also provided the voices for most of the rogues in Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean attraction.
For Disneyland’s 50th anniversary, one of the 50 “Hidden Mickeys” was placed on the front of the Haunted Mansion.
If you have comments or tips to share with others about touring Disneyland, please email us. Thank you.