A Tale of Two Haunted Mansions

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Haunted Mansion Disneyland

Disneyland‘s Haunted Mansion

When hinges creak in darkened chambers
And strange and frightening sounds echo through the halls
Whenever candlelights flicker where the air is deathly still
That is the time when ghosts are present
Practicing their terror with ghoulish delight!

The Haunted Mansion is high most Disney lovers’ list of top attractions. Few theme park rides in history have inspired the kind of fervor that Mansion lovers have. Fans collect merchandise, listen to the soundtrack, and decorate their own homes to pay homage to the place where 999 ghosts live. (But there’s always room for one more!)

I’ve had the pleasure of riding this classic attraction at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World. One of the most charming things about the Haunted Mansion is that each location’s version of this ride has something unique to offer. So even if you’ve ridden it on one coast, definitely ride it on the other, because the experience is not identical!

Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion Holiday


On the West Coast, you’ll find the Haunted Mansion located in New Orleans Square, a section of Disneyland Park that wasn’t there on opening day. The Haunted Mansion opened in 1969 and quickly became a very popular attraction. Walt Disney was very involved in the planning and design. Sadly, he died before it opened.

The exterior of the Mansion resembles a stately home you might come across in New Orleans. Once guests enter the building, they are ushered into a mysterious “stretch room” – a cleverly disguised elevator that brings guests down a level into the loading area for the ride.

Once you board your Doom Buggies, you are treated to a creepy (but certainly not seriously terrifying) tour of the Mansion. Among the sights you will see is a ghost holding a hatbox. The Hatbox ghost is not present at Walt Disney World’s Mansion.

If you happen to visit Disneyland during the Halloween season (which typically begins mid September) through the Christmas season (which typically begins mid November) you will be treated to the Haunted Mansion Holiday. In this seasonal overlay, Jack Skellington and his friends from The Nightmare Before Christmas take control of the Mansion and try very hard to celebrate Christmas, albeit in a Halloween style.

Both the traditional Haunted Mansion and the Haunted Mansion Holiday offer FastPass. Lines for this attraction vary depending on the time of day and season, but in general, Haunted Mansion Holiday lines are quite long, especially during the beginning of its run.


Walt Disney World’s Haunted Mansion

On the East Coast, you’ll find the Haunted Mansion located in Liberty Square, in the Magic Kingdom Park. This attraction opened with the rest of Walt Disney World in 1971.

The exterior of the Mansion is enormous, much bigger than it’s Disneyland counterpart. The exterior resembles an old manor that you would find along the Hudson River, to reflect its place in Liberty Square.

The ride itself is slightly longer and more elaborate than at Disneyland, since the Magic Kingdom afforded Imagineers the blessings of space. One notable difference is the stretch room. Here, it is not an elevator, but a room that remains stationary while the ceiling and walls elongate overhead.

Exterior of Walt Disney World’s Haunted Mansion

Recently the Mansion added a very fun interactive queue. Now guests can entertain themselves while waiting to enter by tapping on musical instruments to hear them play an eerie melody, see water leaking from an old sea captain’s tomb, watch words magically appear in the blank pages of a book, and try to push in all the books that keep popping out of a haunted bookcase.

If the queue doesn’t sound interesting to you, FastPass+ is offered for the Haunted Mansion. The length of the line here really depends on the time of year and time of day you are visiting.

Hurry back…hurry back…be sure to bring your death certificate!

Which is your favorite version of The Haunted Mansion and why? Share in the comments.

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