The Haunted Mansion has been a Disney park favorite since its inception. The ride came to Disneyland in 1969 followed shortly after by Magic Kingdom's installment in 1971. Like most Disney attractions, the Haunted Mansion sticks to its theme from the moment you step foot on the looming edifice's grounds. Even in the daylight, something about the place seems eerie and ominous, despite being in the "happiest place on Earth."
With this integral theming comes hidden insights that make the ride all the more thrilling. There are hidden cameos throughout the interior of the mansion, including some fun easter eggs in the graveyard queue. Even the most passionate Disney enthusiasts may not know these tidbits. Here are ten things you didn't know about the Haunted Mansion.
11 There are 999 Ghosts
This interior dark ride takes passengers in compressed carriages and into every major room inside the mansion. Naturally, there are tons of spooky apparitions seen along the way, giving ample meaning to its name. Some of these hauntings have been given specific names, while others simply serve to create a formidable backdrop.
Disney has precisely 999 ghosts inside the Haunted Mansion, most of which can be found in the ballroom scene which showcases a room full of transparent figures.
9 You Are the 1,000th Ghost
It’s hard to say what the true storyline is for the Haunted Mansion, but a few ideas have surfaced on the internet that gives a pretty good idea of what the ride is all about. Of course, there is the movie starring Eddie Murphy that audiences can go by.
However, another legend actually puts passengers as a part of the ride. The storyline starts off where you find yourself in the mansion and start seeing all sorts of strange things, the least of which is Madame Leota sending spirits to scare you away. When you get to the ballroom and see all the real ghosts, you finally realize the mansion is haunted. Scared, you run to the attic where you see the ghost of Emily in a wedding dress. She angrily pushes you down the stairs which is when you fall backwards on the ride. If you look to your right, you can even see an attic window that is broken where are you supposedly fell out. The fall actually “kills" the passenger making you the 1,000 ghost in the Haunted Mansion.
8 The Carriages Are Called Doom Buggies
The small carriages that take riders up and down the staircase of the Haunted Mansion are actually called Doom Buggies. It's a pretty fitting name, but not one that people know how to reference.
If you listen closely the track playing throughout the ride, you can hear the narrator address these carts. It's also on one of the tombstones just outside the queue.
7 Tony The Tiger Makes An Appearance
So the famous animated character may not make a direct appearance on the ride, but the man behind the voice that says, "Theeeeey're great!" certainly is. Thurl Ravenscroft is one of the five Grim Grinning Ghost busts that sing in a quintet during the ride. His deep bass is easily recognizable in the ensemble.
Fun fact: Ravenscroft is also the singer of "You're a Mean One, Mister Grinch" and is sometimes mistaken as Walt Disney on the ride.
6 It Has Different Names Overseas
While the name The Haunted Mansion is used intrinsically in both Disneyland and Disney World, it's actually given different names in Disney Parks around the globe. It's called Phantom Manor in Disneyland Paris and Mystic Manor is Disneyland Hong Kong.
The former has a bit of a different storyline than the one mentioned above. The official Disney blog says the Phantom Manor is about "a family of Western settlers who struck it rich during the gold rush and were later affected by a series of mysterious demises."
5 Madame Leota is Voiced By a Famous Disney Star
Madame Leota, who makes a noticeable appearance in the film adaptation, is voiced by a very famous Disney voice actress. Eleanor Audley supplies the voice for Leota in the séance room. She is best known for her voice gig in the Sleeping Beauty where she portrays the original Maleficent.
She's also the voice of Lady Tremaine in Cinderella. The actual head and some other audio recordings is that of Leota Toombs who is a former Disney Imagineer.
4 The Names On The Tombstones Are Real People
Other Disney employees made their own unique appearances on the ride. The tombstones in the queue all actually pay homage to cast members and Imagineers who helped bring the ride together. Fred Joerger became "Good ol' Fred" and was a set designer and sculptor for the ride.
The special effects guy, Yale Gracey, became "Master Gracey" who the Disneyland mansion is named after. And the "Dearly Departed Grandpa Marc" is a Disneyland designer for the Haunted Mansion and his tombstone can also be found while waiting in line at Disneyland.
3 The Elevator Is Fake In Disney World
When the Haunted Mansion is ready for another group of potential victims (passengers) they initially enter a great circular room. It is known as the Stretching Room where the portraits steadily grow to reveal how they met their demise Many people have wondered whether or not this elevator effect is real.
Well, actually, in Disneyland most of the ride is below ground level so it really is an elevator that lowers guest to the Doom Buggies. However, in Disney World, the ride is actually be hidden behind the Haunted Mansion veneer so there’s not an actual elevator. The ceiling is just going up to create an illusion.
2 The Hitchhiking Ghosts Have Names
The three hitchhiking ghosts that find their way onto your Doom Buggy at the end of the ride actually all have names. The tall, stringy fellow is Ezra, the plumb ghost is Phineas, and Gus is the tiny older man.
It used to be that these ghosts only appeared directly on top of the passengers, but with today’s technology, the ghosts now interact between each cart and can be found in various places so that you never know where your ghostly hitchhiker might land.
1 Walt Disney Originally Recorded The Narration
Walt Disney had always been one to put his two cents in on every aspect of his theme parks. Each of the rides was held near and dear to him, and a lot of the rides we see today are the work of the creator himself. In fact, in one of the early drafts for the Haunted Mansion, Walt Disney recorded the narration for the ride himself.
The daunting voice you hear now is the voice actor of Paul Frees, who is also known for being the Pillsbury Doughboy and Rocky and Bullwinkle. The narrator‘s official title is Ghost Host.