In a recent DePaoli on DeParks column, I lamented over the fact that none of Disney’s developed Muppet dark rides ever came to fruition. But what if the recent announcement of “Muppets Haunted Mansion” finally made this dream a reality?
In case you don’t keep up with news in “The Muppets Universe” (If Marvel and Star Wars can have one, so can The Muppets), Disney+, along with Gonzo and Pepé, announced that this fall, we’ll be getting a “terrifying tale of total scariness” called “Muppets Haunted Mansion” on the streaming service. Considering that I remember a Muppets Halloween special being announced in 2009 at the first D23 Expo, I’m happy to finally see this become a reality. So maybe it’s time to make a dark ride a reality, as well.
One of the first things I thought about when I heard this movie announcement was that if Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion can have a “The Nightmare Before Christmas” holiday overlay, why couldn’t “Muppets Haunted Mansion” happen as well? After all, in the case of The Muppets, the Haunted Mansion will be the literal setting of the Halloween special. It’ll be interesting to see how much of the mansion is used in the special, but we know for certain that it will be more than we see in “The Nightmare Before Christmas.”
I’m saying this as someone who loves Haunted Mansion Holiday; I believe Jack Skellington and the Nightmare gang put an exciting twist on a classic attraction that I look forward to experiencing year after year. What I love so much about it is that Haunted Mansion Holiday truly feels like a new experience. Part of the reason that can happen is because it celebrates both Halloween and Christmas, therefore, the elaborate changes are displayed for approximately four months. If “Muppets Haunted Mansion” were to take over the ride, it would most likely be only for the Halloween season and therefore not get the budget or grandeur of Haunted Mansion Holiday.
Then I read a tweet from @AaronWallace that made me think: perhaps there could be a Muppets overlay from Halloween through Christmas as well. Before I get to that idea, I would like to mention that Wallace is requesting a Muppets overlay at the Haunted Mansion in Magic Kingdom’s Liberty Square, considering it doesn’t currently get an overlay and The Muppets already “live” in that land with “The Muppets Present…Great Moments in American History.” I would want to wait and see which mansion (if any) is specifically used for “Muppets Haunted Mansion” and put the proposed overlay there for continuity’s sake. If it were Disneyland, that might mean saying goodbye to Jack Skellington. Perhaps Nightmare could head east in that case, but I digress.
Now let’s get back to the idea of a Muppets Haunted Mansion overlay for Halloween and through the Christmas season. The story goes that while Imagineers were coming up with ideas for a Haunted Mansion holiday overlay, the thought of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” was briefly considered. After all, it is one of the greatest ghost stories ever told. And who happens to tell one of the greatest interpretations of this classic holiday tale? The Muppets! So, if the geniuses over at Walt Disney Imagineering took concepts and themes from both “Muppets Haunted Mansion” and “The Muppet Christmas Carol,” we could have our four-month Muppetational holiday overlay of Haunted Mansion, and, therefore, justify it being done on a grand scale with a healthy budget similar to the current Haunted Mansion Holiday.
I can already see The Muppets Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come standing at the cemetery entrance where the groundskeeper typically shakes with fear. The Ghost of Christmas Present could almost certainly display a magnificent feast in the Grand Hall. Frankly, I think it could work. Would it be costly? Yes. Is there a chance of it happening? Unlikely. But does the concept excite me? Most certainly.
What do you think? Would you like to see a Muppets holiday takeover of Haunted Mansion? What if it meant we would lose Haunted Mansion Holiday? I’d love to read about any thoughts and ideas you have about this concept in the comments.
If you have any theme park topics you would like to hear my opinion on, let me know in the comments. You might just see it pop up in a future DePaoli on DeParks.
Jeff DePaoli is a producer and voiceover artist living in Los Angeles. He can be heard as the voice of Disney Trivia on Alexa as well as the host of “Dizney Coast to Coast,” the ultimate, unofficial Disney fan podcast. Get your FREE gifts of “America’s Hidden Mickeys,” “On the Rohde Again,” “Theme Park Comfort Kit” and more at DizneyCoastToCoast.com.