Two parks, two mysterious mansions, 1998 Happy Haunts, and one dedicated fanbase help make up Disney's Haunted Mansion. The frighteningly fun haunted house ride from the minds of Walt's Imagineers has been a Disney Parks staple since the 60s, but the question on everyone's mind has always been which is the better mansion?
Both are icons of their respected parts, both have their ghosts, ghouls, and gags, but which one is the definitive manor? Sure the original lives in Disneyland, but Disney World's improved the formula. We might not be able to settle the debate, but we'll definitely share what splits them apart. These are the ten differences between the mansions of Disney World and Disneyland.
10 The South Out West
The original mansion's design took a lot of influence from the southern plantation houses of New Orleans. After all, the structure is set in New Orleans Square and the South is home to arguably more haunted activity. What better place to have a haunted mansion, right?
From its large windows and wraparound porch and balcony to its southern gothic decor and antebellum facade, Disneyland's Mansion absolutely screams old south. It looks like the setting of one of Poe's tales of the macabre, and certainly appears to be a place ghosts would want to call home. But then again, so does it's Floridian cousin.
9 Colonial Creeps
The mansion in the Walt Disney World resort is located in Liberty Square, an area of the park inspired by the early days of our country. Naturally, a southern plantation house would not fit in amongst the colonial setting, so the design was altered to that of a Dutch Colonial-inspired mansion. In our opinion, it's perhaps the more haunted-looking of the two.
Where the mansion in California resembles an antebellum abode, the one in Florida carries notes of Castle Frankenstein with its stony structure, high towers, and spiked gate. Not only does this mansion look larger than the other, but it also bears a slightly more intimidating and foreboding appearance than the original, especially at night.
8 Room For a Thousand... Or More
Both Manors play host to 999 Happy Haunts, but with room for a thousand. Though the original makes good on this promise, the one in Walt Disney World arguably has more ghosts than it lets on. But they aren't necessarily inside the mansion.
Due to the larger crowds and size of the park, the mansion has a larger and more interactive queue space, but more on that later. This queue is home to a few ghosts lurking around, including a statue family of murder victims, a spooky storyteller, and a pickled sea captain. Looks like the Florida version wins when it comes to playing numbers.
7 Little Leota's Location
Known to some as the Ghostess, she's more commonly referred to as Little Leota, bearing the same likeness as her sister in the seance room. She's present in both versions of the Haunted Mansion, but in each incarnation of the ride, she appears in different spots. Still, at least someone's there to tell us to hurry baaaack...
On the original ride, Little Leota bids guests farewell as they depart the ride. This makes her one of the few ghosts guests have an up-close interaction with. But, in the Disney World version, she appears as the Doom Buggies are exiting. Still giving us creeps on the small scale, we thought she was definitely worth a mention.
6 Going Up or Down
Is this haunted room actually stretching? Or is it your imagination? One of the most iconic scenes in the ride is the portrait gallery or "Stretching Room." Here, guests can see the changing portraits of some of the Haunted Mansion's residents before they are sent into the ride. Though most assume this is a trick of an elevator, they're only half right.
Where the original does make use of an elevator to deliver its guest to the ride's official beginning, the Florida version actually has a stretching room. The ceiling rises and stretches the portraits before a hidden door opens to reveal the line for the Doom Buggies. Watch closely on your next visit.
5 A Little Something Extra
Unless you ride both versions one right after the other, you might notice some extra scenes in the Disney World version that the Disneyland version lacks. Though the original is still classic and well-regarded amongst fans, the one in Florida gives us a few additional tricks and treats.
There is an extended changing gallery, a room of neverending staircases, and an improved Hitchhiking Ghosts sequence that the original mansion lacks. Granted, this doesn't mean the Disney World mansion is necessarily better than its Californian counterpart, but we'd be lying if we said we didn't enjoy the additions.
4 Home of the Hatbox Ghost
Though the infamous Hatbox Ghost appears on nearly all the merch for both mansions, the grim grinning ghoul calls the original manor in Disneyland his home. In the Florida version, he only appears as a portrait in the hallway. For the real deal, you gotta go to California.
The Hatbox Ghost made his debut in 1969 but vanished shortly after. He has since made a triumphant return to the mansion, much to the ghoulish delight of fans and staff alike. Though he is keenly wanted in the larger park, we're not entirely sure the attic has enough room for him with all the extra odds and ends previously mentioned.
3 Hitchhiking Hijinx
One of the biggest differences between versions of the Mansion is the way three of its most famous residents. Phineas, Ezra, and Gus are the three Hitchhiking Ghosts that will follow guests out of the mansion when they pass the mirrors. However, the version in Disney World handles it much better than the one in Disneyland.
Disney World's version has received an update in recent years. Now, instead of the simple projections like they do in Disneyland, there is a modern, interactive version installed by Disney Imagineers. Truly and technologically marvelous, Disney World's ghosts take home the gold.
2 Holiday Horrors
Disney World might have better Hitchhiking Ghosts, but Disneyland is Jack Skellington's favorite place to play for the Haunted Mansion's Holiday. Inspired by the classic Tim Burton film, the Haunted Mansion Holiday is what happens when Jack and the residents of Halloween Town come home for Christmas.
During the Halloween and Christmas season, Jack sics his creepie cronies on the entire structure, and the whole thing is saturated in the creepy and kooky holiday cheer only Tim Burton could invent. Jack, Sally, and even that big bad bag of bugs Oogie Boogie are all shacking up at the mansion for some holiday hauntings.
1 Stay a While Longer
The biggest difference between the rides is without a doubt the lengths. Disney World takes the crown, but not by much. Let's look at all the factors the Magic Kingdom's version has going for it. It has a better queue, additional scenes, and a more modernized experience. No wonder Disney wants guests to extend their stay.
Though the Disney World version is longer, that doesn't mean the original doesn't have its perks. Both inspire and practically require multiple ride throughs to properly experience them, and both are equal parts spooky and silly. They are easily worthy of the name Disney Icon.