The other morning I woke up, looked out the window and thought “it looks like Fall”. That thought lead me to think about Halloween which, of course, led me to think about Disneyland’s transformation of the Haunted Mansion into the Haunted Mansion Holiday.
If you don’t know about this, every October-December Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion is taken over by Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King from Disney’s Nightmare Before Christmas. Jack and his Halloween friends dont miss a trick in converting the Haunted Mansion into his own version of Christmas!
Once the Haunted Mansion is completely decorated inside and out by Jack Skellington, the storyline and theme of the Haunted Mansion change. Although the ride track is the same very little remains the same as you remember the Haunted Mansion.
There are Christmas Gifts, and decorations all over the mansion. Just remember, that they were placed there by the folks from Halloween Town. Their idea of Christmas is a little “skewed”.
Each year, the Haunted Mansion Overlay has new effects and items. The centerpiece of it all is the giant Gingerbread House that sits in the middle of the table in the ballroom. Since the Haunted Mansion Holiday began in 2001 there has been a different Gingerbread House each year. Disney Bakers work tirelessly to decorate a huge sculpture made entirely out of this delicious pastry. The ballroom smells of freshly baked gingerbread too.
As you approach the Haunted Mansion you will see that it has been decorated with not only pumpkins, carved and not, but also Christmas deocrations. There is also a large clock counting down the days until Christmas.
Inside the Mansion, the “Ghost Host” instead of telling you about the Happy Haunts begins to tell you a “tale of what happens when two holidays collide”. The portraits are now stained glass windows and Jack Skellington makes an appearance in the stretching room.
Zero can be seen floating in the hallway where you normally see the floating candlestick.
Madam Leota now recites the 13 gifts of Christmas that her “True Love gave to me”
As the doom buggies exit the attic you will see the graveyard completely covered in snow with a huge Pumpkin sculpture rising from the floor to the ceiling. To me, this is the best scene in the entire mansion. Once you reach ground level, Jack is standing there to thank you for coming and talk to you about what he has done with the mansion.
Beyond the graveyard you will see Oogie Boogy and Lock, Shock and Barrel.
Seeing The Nightmare Before Christmas isn’t a pre-requisite for riding the attraction but, since it is such a great movie, it might be worth it to rent it (or better yet, go see it in 3D when it is released in Theaters for Christms) before going to Disneyland.
The overlay to this attraction draws very large crowds to the park so Disney uses FastPasses at the Haunted Mansion during this time of year.