Welcome, foolish mortals... Disney's Haunted Mansion is a theme park icon known to anyone who has ever heard the words "Disneyland" or "Walt Disney World." Known for its large, gothic design, Doom Buggies, and of course, the 999 Happy Haunts that call the manor home, the attraction is one of the Disney Parks most popular properties.
The ghosts of the Haunted Mansion are some of the silliest and spookiest characters Disney has ever dreamed up. But the tomb goes deeper than you think. Today, we'll explore the legends and lore of the ghosts of the Haunted Mansion.
10 Mysterious Voices
Anyone familiar with the tune "Grim Grinning Ghosts" will know that it's performed by a group of singing busts in the cemetery. This beheaded barbershop quartet is responsible for the ride's catchy theme song but is more than just a source of musical accompaniment.
The busts are played by an actual singing group The Mellomen. The Mellomen are actually responsible for a handful of classic Disney tunes such as "Heffalumps and Woozles," "The Ballad of Davy Crocket," and the theme for Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room. So next time you visit the parks, listen for music from regions beyond.
9 Master of Horror
The U.S. versions might be the originals, but Phantom Manor in Disneyland Paris has an extra oomph when it comes to ghoulish delights. Henry Ravenswood, the titular phantom of the manor, was voiced by the master of horror himself, Vincent Price. Price not only narrated the original ride but performed as a vengeful spirit as well.
Price's spooky yet soothing voice guides the guests through the attraction, but it's his appearance as the cackling skeletal Phantom that gives us the shivers. The actor's performance is so beloved, his face even appears as the devil on the manor's title plate. Perfect casting if ever there was.
8 On the Wings of the Wind
Though this detail might go over some rider's heads, it can certainly be noticed by the more educated Disney fan. Not all the ghosts of the Haunted Mansion got their start there. In fact, there is a swarm of ghosts in the graveyard that made their Disney debut over twenty years before the doors creaked open.
As the Doom Buggy descends from the attic to the graveyard, a sky full of swirling specters can be seen overhead. But where have we seen that before? The projected ghosts are modeled after the evil spirits of Bald Mountain from Fantasia. Guess they needed a break from old Chernabog.
7 For Better or Hearse
One of the icons of the manor is the horseless-hearse outside the entrance. No eerie, gothic manor would be complete without one, right? Depending on how long the lines are, you may or may not pick up on this spooky little detail.
If one stands near the hearse long enough, they will hear the breathing, snorts, and occasional whinny from a spectral steed. It's not the most complex effect in the attraction, but it's still a nice touch worth mentioning. What better way to carry yourself into the realm of the supernatural?
6 A Familiar Voice
A favorite scene of many Haunted Mansion fans is the Seance room. Hosted by the lovely and levitating Madame Leota, the spirits are called forth by the disembodied mystic to materialize before the guests of the manor. But there's something familiar about the character's voice.
Madame Leota was voiced by Disney Legend Eleanor Audley, the actress behind the famous Disney villains Maleficent and Lady Tremaine. Her powerful and chilling voice has been bringing Leota to life since the day the attraction opened. Let's just hope the mansion lacks any spinning wheels.
5 Ominous Organ
From the first four eerie notes, the Phantom Waltz from the Haunted Mansion is easily recognized. The sound of that pipe organ playing throughout our visit never seems to leave us. It hits a creepy crescendo when guests arrive at the ballroom scene when we see the ghosts start to materialize, but there's something unusual about the organ.
If one looks closer on the pipes, one will notice a series of shrieking skulls hovering out of the pipes. This might not be noticed on the first ride through, but it definitely puts a more chilling effect on the illusion.
4 Here Comes the Bride
Constance Hatchaway, the Black Widow Bride, is certainly one of the mansion's darker characters. With her haunting eyes, evil smile, and sharp ax in her bridal bouquet, she is a femme fatale if ever there was one. But there's one detail that makes her all the more sinister.
As the Doom Buggy floats through the attic, guests see the portraits of all of Constance's unfortunate husbands. What they might not notice is that in each new wedding photo, Constance gains another string of pearls as each husband loses his head. Perhaps that should have served as a warning for any future suitors.
3 Inspiration Strikes
We might be cheating, but we couldn't rest in peace if we didn't think the Mansion itself wasn't a character. With it's winding stairs, endless hallways, and dark nooks and crannies, we wonder who could have designed such a place. The answer might surprise you.
Disney's Haunted Mansion was inspired by a very similar and very real haunted house, the Winchester Mystery House. Commissioned by Sarah Winchester of the Winchester rifle fortune, the house was said to have been built to contain a number of spirits. The design and story behind the house greatly helped inspire the famous Disney attraction.
2 Magical Mystery Manor
We've talked about a house full of hundreds of ghosts, but would you believe that Disney has a manor with no ghosts at all? Mystic Manor in Hong Kong Disney has a large mansion, several enchanted rooms, and music by Danny Elfman, but no ghosts whatsoever.
Due to differences in Chinese culture, Mystic Manor makes no references to ghosts or spirits, but there are several nods to the Haunted Mansion. There's a changing Medusa portrait, a carnivorous plant, and a living pipe organ, but other than that, it's completely unique. It certainly makes us want to visit.
1 1000th Ghost
The Haunted Mansion is famous for its 999 Happy Haunts, but Disneyland is home to number 1000. Thanks to a generous donation to a charity auction, Cary "Jay" Sharp became the 1000th Happy Haunt in 2006. Talk about an impressive title.
Sharp was presented with an official Haunted Mansion burial, a death certificate, and a tombstone bearing his name in the ride. After such a large donation to his chapter's Boys and Girl's Club, we can't say he's not worthy of such an honor. Happy Haunting, Mr. Sharp.