Haunted Mansion

54 Years of the Haunted Mansion

Today the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland celebrates its 54th anniversary. Since opening originally in 1969, it has been a fan favorite as the happy haunts bring spirited delight to those who make their way through its spooky halls.

Haunted Mansion History

The Haunted Mansion took many years to come to be. Walt Disney had the idea for the Haunted Mansion attraction back in the early 1950s. In 1952, Disney Legend Harper Goff developed a black-and-white sketch of a haunted mansion that would become the basis for the attraction. The sketch showed a run-down manor perched on a hill, surrounded by a graveyard and a crooked street. At the time, what would become Disneyland wasn’t going to be in Anaheim. Instead, a smaller version of the park was being planned to hopefully be built across the street from the Walt Disney Studios. Ultimately, this never happened and it would be nearly two decades before the Haunted Mansion would open in New Orleans Square at Disneyland.

Construction on the Haunted Mansion began in 1961, and the exterior was completed in 1963. However, the attraction itself did not open until 1969. There were a few reasons for this delay. First, Disney was heavily involved in the New York World’s Fair in 1964–1965, and he wanted to focus his attention on that project. Second, after Walt’s death in 1966, the Imagineers decided to redesign the attraction to be more in line with his vision.

The Haunted Mansion finally opened to the public on August 9, 1969. It was an instant success, and it has remained one of the most popular attractions at Disneyland ever since. The attraction takes guests on a tour through the Haunted Mansion. Along the way, they encounter a variety of ghosts and spirits, including Madame Leota, the Hatbox Ghost, the Singing Busts the Hitchhiking Ghosts.

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Haunted Mansion Holiday

In the early 1990s, the Imagineers at Disneyland were looking for a way to give the Haunted Mansion a seasonal makeover for the holidays. They wanted to create something that would be both spooky and festive, and that would appeal to guests of all ages.

One day, an Imagineer named Chris Merritt had an idea. He thought it would be fun to combine the Haunted Mansion with Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas. The two properties had a lot in common, both visually and thematically. They were both about the magic of the holidays, and they both featured a cast of quirky and lovable characters.

Merritt pitched his idea to the other Imagineers, and they loved it. They started working on a plan to transform the Haunted Mansion into a winter wonderland, complete with Jack Skellington and his friends from The Nightmare Before Christmas.

The result was the Haunted Mansion Holiday, which debuted at Disneyland in 1999. The overlay was an immediate favorite and has been a popular tradition ever since. It’s a frightfully fun way to celebrate the holidays at Disneyland. It’s a great way to introduce The Nightmare Before Christmas to new generations of fans.

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Haunted Mansion Legacy

The legacy of the Haunted Mansion continues to live on. The attraction has been replicated and is also an inspiration for other attractions around the globe. Two movies have been made based on the Haunted Mansion as well. The Haunted Mansion is a fan favorite that continues to be so over five decades after guests first were able to experience the happy haunts that inhabit its halls. It continues to thrill and inspire the imaginations of Disney fans around the world as it shows what can be done with imagination and collaboration.

What do you think of the Haunted Mansion? What is its legacy to you? What is your favorite part of the Haunted Mansion? Do you have a favorite ghost? If so, who? Share your thoughts and opinions in the comments below!


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