Last week, I talked about the Boo-to-You Halloween parade and how much we dig Halloween in our house (no pun intended). It’s no secret (just ask our neighbors) that we decorate for Halloween September 1st (sorry, not sorry). It’s also no secret to our friends and family that many of those decorations are Haunted Mansion themed. Naturally, one would conclude in our journey through my top attractions that the Haunted Mansion would certainly be on that list. Keep reading to hear why!
Growing up, my brother used to force me to watch scary as you-know-what movies. I say force, but really I just wanted to be cool and hang out with him and his friends, so I had to be able to handle not sleeping from terror that night. I remember him explaining to me that none of it was real; it was all just make-up and made-up stories for movies (whew). I was glad to learn that Freddie Kruger was NOT going to pull me through my bed into his dream world and kill me (anyone else?).
With all that said, I had an affinity for spooky things from a young age. (They remind me of spending time with my brother!) I used to love watching scary movies, visiting haunted houses, riding scary rides, you name it. The scarier any of it was, the better. Over the years, this has changed, but my love for the Haunted Mansion at Walt Disney World has stayed the same. As I mentioned before for other attractions, it’s another one of those staples when we visit Magic Kingdom. It’s an attraction that has been there my entire Disney-loving career and not too much has changed. I love the familiarity, and I know what to expect.
Of all the haunted houses I have been through, the Haunted Mansion has always been my favorite (throw in the haunted house ride from the Myrtle Beach Pavilion in there too). It’s chock full of fun-filled frights that are delightfully spooky. I am not a huge fan of the jump-out-and-get-punched-in-the-face-by-my-husband type thrills. I don’t mind being an innocent bystander ,but when I don’t know something is about to pop out at me, the fun ends.
This is one of the things I love most about HM; I can see everything coming and I don’t have to worry about being scared to death. It’s seriously fun for the whole family. Most of the “happy haunts” are just that — “happy haunts.” Ever since I heard a small child in line of HM say to his mom “It’s just a little bit spooky,” that has been the description of many things in my life.
Doug and I are also huge fans of ANY Disney history we can glean and the history behind all of the Haunted Mansion rides at all of the parks is extra fun for us. We all know Disney doesn’t do anything by accident and has “mad game” when it comes to details. To say this attraction isn’t littered with details would be a lie. For example, we love knowing the HM was originally meant to be a walk-through haunted house type attraction before the omnimover track was invented (Thank you, Lord).
I could also go into a novel about the infamous Hat Box Ghost (Hattie), but I will spare you this time. One thing I was super excited about last year was seeing the film “Winchester,” because the HM at WDW was themed after this particular home that actually exists in San Jose, California (check it out if you’re into that sort of thing). While the history lesson could ensue for days, let’s talk about the ride.
Let’s go back a while and picture the line for the HM before the interactive line queue got added. It wasn’t that much fun then, BUT with the addition of the interactive line queue, bonus levels galore. Disney was able to bring so much more out of the story of the HM before guests even enter the house just through the line. Between headstones, Captain Clyne’s overflowing crypt, the moving bookcase, and ghost instruments, guests get a small picture of what they are about to experience. The moving Madame Leota headstone will always remain a staple in the graveyard as well (I hope).
There are too many details of the actual attraction to give away but if you’ve ever had the privilege of sitting in a doom buggy with the chance that a ghost will follow you home, you already know what a treat it is. For those who have yet to ride, or for those who have never paid much attention, be sure to watch out for more details on the story of the mansion.
As I mentioned, the story now starts in the line and moves throughout the entire attraction through the room with no windows and no doors to the actual ride itself. I never thought much about the actual story being told until recent years, but now that I know, it’s so much more fun. For example, after entering and exiting the attic space where the bride is, I never realized going back down into the graveyard was supposed to simulate being pushed off the balcony of the house (who would have thought)?
It’s the small things you can pick up on that really bring these attractions to life. I don’t think the HM is going anywhere and it will always remain a favorite of ours. We will continue to collect themed Halloween decor and ride it as many times as we can when we are able to visit the parks. I highly recommend the same for you and yours. If it’s already a favorite of yours, I would love to hear your own memories! Feel free to reach out (Greg) and remember, “there’s room for one more” at the Haunted Mansion.