By iBelieve Diva What could be further from winged fairies and pink princesses than hauntingly scary phantoms? The Haunted Mansion, which is tucked away mysteriously in seemingly peaceful Liberty Square in the Magic Kingdom. It is home to 999 happy haunts who are patiently waiting for one more… The strange architecture of the Winchester Mansion in San Jose, California, was part of Walt Disney’s inspiration for this creepy attraction. The doors to nowhere and extreme build-upon-build nature of the Winchester Mystery House was appealing to Walt Disney who was in constant pursuit of attractions that could tell their own stories.
Before we get into the heart of the ride, let’s explore the entrance to the attraction! The enhancements to the outdoor portion of the queue are fascinatingly frightening! Technology paired with Imagineering creativity has turned a boring wait line into a journey of exploration. Disney’s goal is to make the whole experience into a magical story (even the 60+ minute waits). You just may find yourself holding up the line to play with the interactive, high-tech toys that run along the entrance to the Haunted Mansion. In addition to composing chilling music with the touch of a hand and occasionally getting sneezed on by a deceased sea captain’s crypt, you will also notice several headstones along the way. Many of these clever grave markers are actually tributes to Disney Imagineers and other important people in Disney history. Just before entering the foyer, take a look to your left. One of the headstones featuring the famous Madame Leota might just be watching you!
If you survive the deadly distractions in the entry queue, you arrive into a chamber with no windows and no doors where your challenge is to find a way out of the eight-sided stretching room. This portion of the attraction does have moments of complete darkness. Once you are (reluctantly) released, a dusty, dimly lit corridor welcomes you to the other side. If you arrive in the upright position, you are invited into your very own Doom Buggy. This villainous vehicle will be your ticket into a series of haunted staircases, sinister portraits, headless husbands, and ghastly graveyards. You will be calling in the spirits wherever they are while dancing with phantoms in a disturbed ballroom. As most ghosts tend to gather under cover of night, the main ride is also mostly dark. Grim grinning ghosts are out to socialize!
If you are still among the living, the exit is home to a little mischievous spirit. The mirror will reveal a haunted hitchhiker who will magically interact with you, or rather, attempt to decapitate you to increase the Haunted Mansion ghost count to 1000. This interactive experience is random and can vary depending on the ride.
Although The Haunted Mansion is drastically different from many other WDW attractions, the real-world inspiration along with Imagineering storytelling genius will not fail to horrify, I mean impress! So enjoy the lighthearted special effects while waiting in line, while you still have a beating heart; those ghosts are in constant pursuit of another soul to join their frightful festivities…