Walt Disney World’s Haunted Mansion has been a family favorite for so many years. It wasn’t always one of my favorites though, in fact – it terrified me! My very first visit that I can remember to the Haunted Mansion I think I was about 4 or 5 years old. I remember walking in to the stretching room and hearing an ominous voice tell me that there was “no turning back now”. I was in my Dad’s arms clinging to him as tightly as I could. I remember being so scared I was crying and my Dad whispered to me “It’s okay honey, it’s Disney, nothing bad is going to happen”. The pictures started to grow and stretch and I cowered in to my Dad’s chest, terrified to open my eyes! The next thing I knew we were in our Doom Buggy and I had stopped crying. We were slowly moving through the mansion and I started to believe what my Dad was telling me, there was no reason to be scared. This began my love of the Haunted Mansion.
I have visited the Haunted Mansion hundreds of times since that first visit. You might wonder what keeps me coming back and not getting bored – it’s the details! Disney are the masters at creating experiences that keep you coming back so that you can learn and experience details that you didn’t know were there. I know that I haven’t discovered all of the secrets that the Mansion has to offer – but here are just a few examples of things that you might not notice – unless you’re looking for them!
- The tombstones you pass on the way in pay tribute to the Imagineers that worked on the attraction
- When they designed the effects for the ballroom the used mirrors – but the dancers now appear backwards because of it. If you look closely – the women are leading the men
- If you’re walking past the Haunted Mansion at night – look up at the windows, you might see ‘someone’ walking by!
- As you leave the ballroom and begin to move backward – it is intended to signify you falling out of the attic. The caretaker and his dog are lighting the way to the graveyard as the only living people in the mansion
- As you stroll down memory lane with the bride and her husbands – notice that the bride appears to be gaining wealth with each marriage! With each wedding scene she acquires an extra strand of pearls
- As you leave the mansion – be sure to pay your respects to Mr Toad. He sits in the very back of the pet cemetery to pay homage to the attraction that was closed at Walt Disney World. The Many Adventures of Winnie The Pooh now sits in its place.
In July 2015 I happened to be at Walt Disney World by myself for a few days. I was wandering the Magic Kingdom late one evening and had a great conversation with a Cast Member that told me the story of the additional strand of pearls on the bride as well as the fact that she seems to get more china each time she gets married. I thanked her for all of the information and got in line – I had to validate what she said! I was so excited to go through and see it all again with a new perspective and new details to find. As I walked in to that stretching room just after midnight, by myself, I couldn’t help but remember my very first time. As I was reminded that there was “no turning back now”, I smiled and thought to myself “It’s okay Dad, it’s Disney, I can do this by myself now”.