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23 Chilling Facts About Disney's Haunted Mansion

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1. There are currently four different versions of the Haunted Mansion across the world.

Disney / Via fuckyeahhauntedmansion.tumblr.com

Along with the Disneyland and Disney World versions, there's one in Disneyland Paris and in Tokyo Disneyland.

2. The Parisian version, which is called the Phantom Manor, features a unique story about a heartbroken bride.

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Set in the town of Thunder Mesa, Melanie Ravenswood's story is one of love, death and, perhaps, what happens when fathers get too protective.

3. In fact, Melanie is prominently featured in all four of the Paris mansion's "stretched" paintings.

She's a bit unlucky, to say the least.
Disney / Via hauntedmansion.tumblr.com

She's a bit unlucky, to say the least.

4. Each mansion features a unique look.

Anaheim
Andy Castro / CC / Flickr: andycastro

Anaheim

Orlando
David / CC / Flickr: pinchof

Orlando

paris
helix90 / CC / Flickr: helix90

paris

The Anaheim version looks like a stately, well-kept Southern home to match its surroundings in the park's New Orleans Square, while the Orlando mansion in the Magic Kingdom's Liberty Square is a worn brick manor with overgrown grounds, much like Tokyo's version. Paris's Phantom Manor, meanwhile, is a Victorian-style home in fictional "Thunder Mesa."

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5. Madame Leota is played by Imagineer Leota Toombs Thomas.

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She also plays the figurine that joyfully encourages you to make your "final arrangements" at the very end of the ride.

6. Madame Leota's voice, however, was provided by Eleanor Audley.

Disney / Via weloveorlandofl.com

You may recognize her as the voice of Lady Tremaine and Maleficent.

7. The "Hatbox Ghost" disappeared from the ride...and then recently reappeared.

Disney / Via youtube.com

In this video, Disney Imagineers explain the character's ~ghostly~ disappearance from the ride shortly after it opened in Disneyland in 1969, and how he emerged, much improved, in 2015.

8. The moving cars that transport you throughout the ride are affectionately known as Doombuggies.

Disney / Via youtube.com

Here you see them alongside some chillingly familiar figures.

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9. Originally, there were plans to include a Museum of the Weird within the Haunted Mansion.

The attraction would've entertained visitors as they waited to enter the ride itself, and was to include a collection of oddities, including a "Candle Man," a man-eating plant, and a ghostly organist.
Disney / Via hauntedmansion.wikia.com

The attraction would've entertained visitors as they waited to enter the ride itself, and was to include a collection of oddities, including a "Candle Man," a man-eating plant, and a ghostly organist.

10. The haunted ballroom scene is created using an illusion known as "Pepper's ghost."

Disney / Via raincausespaininmybrain.tumblr.com

Named for scientist John Henry Pepper, the illusion uses mirrors and lights to create a "ghostly" visual effect. As visitors pass through the ballroom scene, they're actually looking through a large pane of glass at reflections from animatronic figures hidden beneath in an all-black room. You can learn more about it here.

11. The ballroom organ in the Disneyland version of the ride has a story all its own.

Walt Disney Productions
http://disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog/2014/12/the-20000-leagues-under-the-sea-connection-to-the-haunted-mansion-at-disneyland-park/

It's the original organ (with some embellishments removed) from Disney's classic adaptation of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

12. A pet cemetery pays respects to some beloved furry (and scaly) friends.

Originally part of a side lawn passed only by those who choose to leave the Disneyland ride early, the pet cemetery was expanded to the front lawn in 1993 and appears in the Orlando version as well. Among the animals included are dogs, cats, a bat, a pig...and a certain famous toad.
Joe Penniston / CC / Flickr: expressmonorail

Originally part of a side lawn passed only by those who choose to leave the Disneyland ride early, the pet cemetery was expanded to the front lawn in 1993 and appears in the Orlando version as well. Among the animals included are dogs, cats, a bat, a pig...and a certain famous toad.

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The Imagineer who designed the pet cemetery is named Kim Irvine, and she was the daughter of...

... Madame Leota herself, Imagineer Leota Toombs Thomas.
Joshua Sudock, The Orange County Register / Via ocregister.com

... Madame Leota herself, Imagineer Leota Toombs Thomas.

13. The other punny gravestones in the mansion's cemetery are named for actual Disney Imagineers.

One example? "HERE LIES GOOD OLD FRED. A GREAT BIG ROCK FELL ON HIS HEAD" is a tribute to Imagineer Fred Joerger. You can check out the rest right here.
Disney

One example? "HERE LIES GOOD OLD FRED. A GREAT BIG ROCK FELL ON HIS HEAD" is a tribute to Imagineer Fred Joerger. You can check out the rest right here.

14. At the Magic Kingdom, Madame Leota has her own unique tombstone, which allows her to keep an eye on you.

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She truly sees all.

15. The famous Hitchhiking Ghosts have actual names!

Disney / Via disneyc0llections.tumblr.com

The ghost with the suitcase is Phineas, the skeletal ghost is Ezra, and the bearded prisoner is Gus. They're all probably harmless. Maybe.

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16. The "stretched" painting of a woman sitting upon a tomb gives you a hint of what's to come.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cLiK4sBtPDk
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cLiK4sBtPDk

See this old woman sitting atop the grave of a man named George? Well. She also shows up later on in the ride...

...as Constance Hatchaway, the bride in the attic portion of the ride. Constance's cutting wit saw her through many marriages, including one to a man named George Hightower, who completely lost his head over her. Note her rose and his telltale 'stache.
Walt Disney World / Via Mermaidap / hauntedmansion.wikia.com

...as Constance Hatchaway, the bride in the attic portion of the ride. Constance's cutting wit saw her through many marriages, including one to a man named George Hightower, who completely lost his head over her. Note her rose and his telltale 'stache.

17. This grotesquely transforming portrait may be of the man of the house.

Disney / Via captain-halfbeard.deviantart.com

Given the portrait's place of prominence in the main foyer, fans assumed he was the owner of the home, and likely the "Master Gracey" referenced on one of the graves outside. Although this was incorrect (the gravestone was actually made to honor Imagineer Yale Gracey), the park eventually went along with the popular notion, including in the 2003 movie based on the ride.

18. In the Walt Disney World version, there is a hallway in the Servants' Quarters that includes extra information about the home's inhabitants, living or otherwise.

The bell pulls in this section are labeled as such:Ambassador Xavier'sLounging LodgeMadame Leota'sBoudoirGrandfather McKim'sResting RoomUncle Davis'Sleeping SalonMaster Gracey'sBedchamberColonel Coats'Breakfast BerthProfessor Wathel'sReposing Lounge
Norm Lanier / CC / Flickr: normlanier

The bell pulls in this section are labeled as such:

Ambassador Xavier's

Lounging Lodge

Madame Leota's

Boudoir

Grandfather McKim's

Resting Room

Uncle Davis'

Sleeping Salon

Master Gracey's

Bedchamber

Colonel Coats'

Breakfast Berth

Professor Wathel's

Reposing Lounge

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19. The raven seen throughout the ride used to have a lot to say.

Disney

Like any self-respecting haunted home, the Haunted Mansion ride features several ravens, including in the conservatory (which houses a coffin), and in the seance room. In the earliest planned version of the ride, the raven added to the narration, but has since delegated this duty entirely to the Ghost Host narrator.

20. Speaking of the Ghost Host, you actually get to see him TWICE during the ride.

Walt Disney World
http://hauntedmansion.wikia.com/wiki/Ghost_Host?file=HatchetMan-1-.jpg

Except in the Paris version of the ride, you see your Ghost Host both as he helpfully demonstrates his way out of the stretching room: hangin' out, and as a portrait in the corridor of doors portion of the ride, where he comes across a little more...alive.

21. One popular theory about the ride is that you actually DO join the 999 other happy haunts.

In most versions of the ride, you exit the mansion's creepy attic by turning backward in your Doombuggie and into the graveyard below. To repeat that: You exit through the attic, the highest point of the home. To the ground. ~Spooky.~
Disney / Via Joe Penniston / CC / Flickr: expressmonorail

In most versions of the ride, you exit the mansion's creepy attic by turning backward in your Doombuggie and into the graveyard below. To repeat that: You exit through the attic, the highest point of the home. To the ground.

~Spooky.~

22. For a time, the ride actually featured LIVE knights.

Yup, there used to be actual actors inside those suits that would jump out to scare guests. That worked a little too well (one knight was actually punched in the face), so the park switched to mechanical versions.
Disney / Via didyouknowmagic.tumblr.com

Yup, there used to be actual actors inside those suits that would jump out to scare guests. That worked a little too well (one knight was actually punched in the face), so the park switched to mechanical versions.

23. Finally: Legend has it that an alleged figure of a man trapped in a spider web was rumored to have been removed for being too scary.

According to ~Disney lore,~ "Long ago when the Magic Kindgom first opened, there was a man trapped in the spider web to the right of the Doom Buggy path [sic], near the Grand Staircase. However, it was felt that this effect was too scary, which was probably due mostly to the fact that there was a hideous screaming sound that accompanied the effect." Creepy.
forums.wdwmagic.com

According to ~Disney lore,~ "Long ago when the Magic Kindgom first opened, there was a man trapped in the spider web to the right of the Doom Buggy path [sic], near the Grand Staircase. However, it was felt that this effect was too scary, which was probably due mostly to the fact that there was a hideous screaming sound that accompanied the effect." Creepy.

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