The Haunted Mansion is Disney’s darkest ride. There are three of them – one at Disneyland, one in the Magic Kingdom and one in Disneyland Tokyo. The chills you get are supposed to be for fun, but we’ve learned that the Haunted Mansion in Disneyland may give you … let’s say a more authentic experience.
The Haunted Mansion is one of the oldest ideas to be executed within the Walt Disney theme parks. It was actually thought of before there was a Disneyland and is the product of one of the original “imagineers” that Disney hired to develop the theme park concepts.
It was Harper Goff and Ken Anderson who would be tasked with taking the concept from idea to execution. At first, Walt Disney didn’t like the idea at all. He felt that the “run-down haunted house” look would spoil the park and he wasn’t keen to take it forward to development.
Then he visited Winchester Mystery House in California and realized that it wasn’t necessary for a haunted house to be ramshackle. It was this visit that gave Goff and Anderson the green light to take the project forward.
When the house opened, there was a bit of controversy from the cleaning staff. Rolly Crump, an imagineer, said: “Once, we got a call from personnel saying that the janitors requested that we leave the lights on in there due to the creepiness of all the audio-animatronic ghosts and such.”
He continued, “they complied, but put motion sensors in the room that would extinguish the lights and turn on all the ghost effects when triggered. The next morning, they came in and found all the ghost effects still running and a broom lying in the center of the floor. Personnel called and said that the janitors would not be back.”
The ride opened to the public on August 12, 1969, at the stroke of midnight. It was a smash hit success with the public and critics alike. It was called “a tent show of mysteries and delights, a carousel of magic and wonder.”
Of course, the thrills and chills were all by design. Or were they? In fact, while the Haunted Mansion was not built on a previously haunted site, many have reported since it opened that day in Disneyland that the site is now actually haunted.
Visitors have described the terror of seeing a man who perished in a plane accident who now stalks the hallways. Others have reported that images of the spectral riders in the ride aren’t the images which were programmed to appear and in fact, were never programmed into the system at all.
Even more creepy is the tale that’s told of the grieving mother that came to Disney with the ashes of her deceased child. She is said to have taken a ride on the Haunted Mansion and scattered his ashes throughout the place and now his spirit walks within the walls trapped for an eternity.