This mysterious mansion has been home to a lively lot of 999 happy haunts for 50 years, and its “Doom Buggies” have carried countless guests on a spectral tour of the property. To honor this milestone anniversary, here are our top 10 frightful facts that you may not know about the Haunted Mansion – both at Disneyland and Walt Disney World:
1. The idea for a haunted house at Disneyland was included in an early concept design sketch by Harper Goff dating back to 1952 when Disneyland was first being conceptualized.
2. The Haunted Mansion is the only Disney attraction to be featured in four different park lands worldwide. Currently, you can experience the Haunted Mansion in Liberty Square at Walt Disney World, New Orleans Square at Disneyland, Fantasyland at Tokyo Disneyland, and Frontierland at Disneyland Paris (known there as Phantom Manor).
3. Originally, The Haunted Mansion was going to be a walk-through attraction where guests would be led in small groups by a cast member, who would describe scenes that lasted two to three minutes each.
4. At one point, Imagineer and Disney Legend Claude Coats briefly developed a water ride version of The Haunted Mansion, in which guests would float through old plantation house ruins partially submerged in a Louisiana bayou.
5. The exterior of Disneyland’s mansion was built in 1962-1963 and was left unoccupied until 1969. During that time, Walt was taking part in the 1964-1965 New York World’s Fair and had his Imagineers re-tasked to work on those projects instead.
6. The designers of the Disneyland version of the attraction originally wanted to make the outside of the mansion look spooky and run-down. Walt Disney, however, wanted to keep the outside pristine and “let the ghosts take care of the inside.”
7. The Haunted Mansion at Disneyland was Disney’s first major attraction created without the direct supervision of Walt Disney. Walt did review many of the early vignettes, but he never saw the completed show concepts.
8. There are 20 tombstone tributes both inside and outside the mansion that honor the Disney Legends and Imagineers who created and maintain the attraction.
9. At Walt Disney World, the five singing busts in the graveyard scene feature a face that looks somewhat like Walt Disney – but the face on the bust farthest to the left actually belongs to Thurl Ravenscroft, the song’s soloist. Ravenscroft is also the voice of Fritz in Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room!
10. While the late Walt Disney Imagineer Leota Toombs is the face of Madame Leota in the séance scene, voice artist Eleanor Audley provides her voice! Audley is best known for being the voice of the mistress of all evil, Maleficent, in Disney’s animated feature “Sleeping Beauty.” During Haunted Mansion Holiday at Disneyland’s mansion, Imagineer Kim Irvine, Toomb’s daughter, can be seen performing the spirited role of Madame Leota.
How are you celebrating the milestone anniversary of this spooktacular attraction? Let us know in the comments!